Ah, the Christmas season. How I loath it. It should come as no surprise to the people close to me. The incessant consumerist drive to consume, consume, consume. The obligatory socialization centred around feasting on dead body parts. The school parties and pageants. Making sure that your kids don’t ruin the secret of Santa Clause or express too deeply their disbelief in Jesus-as-God to their fellow classmates.
And the music on the radio. Don’t even get me started about the music.
But OK, fine. I am in my mid 30s now, and I like to think that I am self-aware enough to at least try to push through and enjoy the parts of the season that I do like — spending time with friends and family, contributing to and celebrating acts of charity. Working to end to speciesist heteronormative white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. You know, the usual.
Some days it is easier than others.
I recently went to a Christmas potluck for my middle child’s pre-school. Just how Christmassy it was kind of shocked me, considering it is a public school. No mention of Christ, but Santa Clause, along with an elf, and the idea that Santa is watching all year long and he knows if you are naughty or nice (which is of course, why rich kids get more presents — we all know that they are nicer than poor kids… also, surveillance state much? But I digress…). And then came the food. No nuts allowed, of course, and even though there are actually kids in his class with both egg and dairy allergies, they are both welcome in large quantities. No matter how many of these types of events I go to, there is always some serious culture shock. Cheese platters piled high. Animal carcasses cooked and butchered on the spot. The tiny room crammed with the families of 30 children meant there were at least 100 people there, and it was hot, and it stank of cooked flesh.
I felt like Morrissey.
None of us ate. The kids just played, and then I packed up our stuff and we left a little early so that they could eat at home. It wasn’t intentional — we brought food to share and eat. The smell had ruined my appetite, and the kids were too busy playing to want to stop and eat.
I get to do it all over again Monday morning. A breakfast at my eldest son’s school. His best friends are brining cow’s milk, and cow’s milk cheese respectively. There will be buttered French pastries, and bacon.
Meanwhile, people will talk about peace, and love, and the success of the Paris climate talks. All the while they ignore the fact that they are contributing directly to the destruction of our world while supporting unimaginable violence and horror. And for what? Custom. Habit. Palate pleasure.
It is the hardest part about being vegan — having to interact socially with non-vegans and pretend that what you are participating in doesn’t horrify you.
Photo: Scrooge and Marley Shop by Ciaran Laval. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0