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"Don't fight the holidays. They are bigger than you and they are always going to win."

"Don't be shy about busting out your hot glue gun or knitting skills."

"Don't be scared to snoop around online."




Florida Election Screw Up Déjà Vu Independent News | December 13, 2012 | Volume 13 | Number 48 | | Cover Models: Lacey Berry & Jarrod Burris / photo by Samantha Crooke



Cover Models: Lacey Berry & Jarrod Burris / photo by Samantha Crooke

For a lot of people the holidays are about surviving. The never-ending shopping lists, the extra party invites, the mandatory family time, the excessive eating and drinking—sometimes just coming out on the other side of December alive seems like a win. But we think you do can better. We think you can

December 13, 2012

thrive and actually have happy holidays (if you want to). So we've created an extensive "How To" guide to help you do just that. From how to shop locally, to how to get crafty, to how to wrap with style, we've packed more than enough advice into this issue. And here's the best tip we can of-

fer you: Don't fight the holidays. They are bigger than you and they are always going to win. Being a cynical Scrooge will only make it worse—trust us. So just put on your reindeer sweater, starting humming along to "Jingle Bells," drink a cocktail (or two) and try and have yourself a merry, little Christmas.


Be A Better Gift Giver by Joani Delezen

a gift giver—with just a little initiative and creativity. Even people like my boyfriend who swear up and down that shopping freaks them out and they just don't know how to do it. So before you punt and buy socks or that cheese ball (again), you should at least try and do a little better. Here are some tips from my personal arsenal that will hopefully help you step up your gift giving game.


If there's one thing I pride myself on, it's being a good gift giver. I've never given a generic gift basket in my life—even when I worked at a lotion shop in the mall and gift baskets were all around me. And I don't plan on starting anytime soon. For me, finding the perfect gift for every person on my list is the best part about the holidays. I start early, do my research, shop around for good prices and always ask myself a series of questions before I purchase: Would they buy this for themselves? Will they actually use this? Will it make them happy? Will it show them that I "get" them? If the answer is "yes" to any (or hopefully all) of these questions, then it's probably a pretty good gift. I also believe that anyone can become

Seems easy enough, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do it. Most of us give away hints about what we want—some on purpose, some not—in everyday conversations. "No, I haven't read that book yet, but I want to." "I love that store!" "You know what I could really use…"


"He's spending $100 on me, so I have to spend at least $100 on him, right?" Wrong. It should be about the quality of the gift, not the price tag. Don't get caught up on price matching or you might miss out on a truly great gift. If you happen upon a neverbeen-opened copy of their favorite record at yard sale for $2 and you know they don't have it on vinyl, that trumps most things you'd spend more on. Trust me.


Even the most generic gifts can become

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great if you're willing to go an extra step. Personalizing things like tote bags, wine glasses, even football jerseys, take them from "just a gift" to "just for you." A lot of stores—like Pizzaz in Gulf Breeze—offer monogramming in store, so you don't even have to go very far out of your way.


Before you punt and buy socks or that cheese ball (again), you should at least try and do a little better.

Don't be afraid to give vintage finds as gifts—if they are really good. Nobody wants to unwrap a random used t-shirt Christmas morning. But most people would be more than happy to unwrap a vintage ‘80s tour t-shirt from their favorite pop star. Or a used first edition copy of their favorite book found on eBay. If it's a great gift, nobody will care if you had to knock a little dust off of it.


Don't be scared to snoop around online and see if anybody on your list has an Amazon Wish List or Pinterest board dedicated to things they want. I've heard some people call this "cheating," but I think it's just smart. They wouldn't take the time to "pin" it if they didn't really like it, so why not take a peek? Whether you shop directly from these lists or just use it as "research" is up to you. It's really no different from a wedding gift registry if you think about it.


of your school photos, you should make her one. There's probably nothing you can buy her that will top it. And in a lot of cases—it really is the thought that counts and nothing shows thoughtfulness more than handmade gifts. So don't be shy about busting out your hot glue gun or knitting skills.

Sometimes the best gifts can't be bought, they have to be made. If your mom has always hinted about wanting a scrapbook


A few small gifts can have a bigger impact than one larger ticket item—especially if you can't afford a big, pricey gift. For example a set of stationery, a nice pen and a book of stamps make a perfect gift if you've got a paper lover on your list. Random items thrown together just to fill up a gift bag, often give themselves away; so just make sure if you're thinking small you're actually thinking. A coffee mug and bottle of wine is weird, but a coffee mug and bag of decent coffee works.


I hate when I hear people say things like "She didn't giving me anything last year, so I'm not getting her anything this year." Thinking about gift giving that way completely misses the point. You should give gifts because you want to, not because you want something back in return. So if you see something that's just perfect for someone in your life, just get it. The fact that you made them happy can be your gift—so cliché, I know. But it's still true. {in}

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Shop Local 1.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the IN is encouraging you to shop local whenever possible this holiday season. We do it every year. But just because the message is familiar, doesn't mean it's any less relevant or important. Everyone benefits when you keep your money local—mostly you. Lines are shorter, parking is easier, crowds are less annoying and the people who work at most small shops are actually knowledgeable and helpful. So even if the price is a dollar or two more than Wal-Mart, you're still saving when it comes to your sanity. And that's priceless—especially this time of year and you know it. So whether you look at it as "how to shop local" or "how to save yourself some headaches" you should make a commitment to buy as much as possible locally. We've made it pretty easy for you to get started by picking out tons of great local gift options—most of which we are personally giving to our lucky friends and family (and ourselves) this holiday season.

2. 3.


4. 5.


7. 1. Sugar Booger by Ore Lunch and Snack Set. My Favorite Things, 2813 E. Cervantes St., 2. Tadpole & Lilly Bow Tie; Mudpie Hair Bow; Mudpie Santa Socks. Sugarbabies by Pizzaz, 832 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., 3. Cubebot by Areaware. Urban Objects, 500 N. 9th December 13, 2012

Ave., 4. Cookies and cupcakes bake set. Yana Apothicaire, 518 N. 9th Ave., 5. Lucy the Wooden Crocodile by Areaware. Urban Objects, 500 N. 9th Ave., 6. Baby gift set including Turkish towel and natural

baby products (selection varies). Yana Apothicaire, 518 N. 9th Ave., 7. Build Your Own Kaleidoscope Kit; Ringers & Bombers Set. Nancy's Haute Affairs, 555 Scenic Hwy., 8. Personalized three-piece dinnerware set. Childhood Treasures, 11

10. 11. 9.


12. 14.


16. 17.

9. Pantone Universe Cup & Saucer Set; Pantone Universe Colored Pencils Set. Urban Objects, 500 N. 9th Ave.,

12. Rifle Paper Co. Pony Express Social Stationery Set; Garden Recipe Cards. Nancy's Haute Affairs, 555 Scenic Hwy.,

15. Assorted plush dog bones. The Spotted Dog Pet Boutique and Bakery, 124 S. Palafox,

10. Rifle Paper Co. "Better Days..." Print Set. Duh for Garden and Home, 501 N. 9th Ave.,

13. Flowers for a year. Fiore, 824 E. Belmont St.,

16. Bank in the Form of a Pig by Areaware. Urban Objects, 500 N. 9th Ave.,

11. SkinMedica Gift Set; Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System. Stillwaters Day & Medical Spa, 20 N. Tarragona St.,

14. Tweets & Status Updates for All Occasions book by Knock Knock. Pizzaz, 832 Gulf Breeze Pkwy.,

17. Rifle Paper Co. Canine Coaster Set. Duh for Garden and Home, 501 N. 9th Ave.,

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24. 23. 25. 18. Golf Ball Wine Bottle Stopper and Corkscrew Set by J.O. Collection. My Favorite Things, 2813 E. Cervantes St.,

21. Mellow Militia Tiki Toss Ring Game. Fitness Onboard Retail Shop, above Atlas at The Fish House, 600 S. Barracks St.;

19. Napa Valley Wine Blending & Tasting Kit. Aragon Wine Market, 27 S. 9th Ave.,

22. Waterboyz Brand T-Shirt and Hat; Ashton Howard Skateboard. Waterboyz, 380 N. 9th Ave.,

20. "Mag Swag" koozie and signature pint glass. The Magnolia, 2907 E. Cervantes St.,

December 13, 2012

23. Inaugural Season Photo Book; Blue Wahoos Hat. Pensacola Blue Wahoo's Bait & Tackle Shop, inside the Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, 351 W. Cedar St., 24. ENO Hi‑Fi Speaker Case. Intracoastal Outfitters, 701 E. Gregory St., 25. Garmin Forerunner 210; Yurbuds Performance Fit Earphones. Running Wild, 3012 E. Cervantes St.,









26. Multi Glitter TOMS. Intracoastal Outfitters, 701 E. Gregory St.,


Bar & Boutique, 122 S. Palafox,

27. Pandora holiday charm bracelet. Elebash’s Jewelers, 36 S. Palafox,

31. SAM Collection, Customizable at the SAM Spot Inside Susan Campbell Jewelry. Susan Campbell Jewelry, 32 S. Palafox,

28. C.C Exclusives Knit Head Wraps; assorted Slap Watches. Lee Tracy, 701 E. Gregory St.,

32. Lacey.B Crystal Sash and earrings. Indigeaux Denim Bar & Boutique, 122 S. Palafox,;

29. Milano Felt Bag. Duh for Garden and Home, 501 N. 9th Ave.,

33. Assorted scarves. Yana Apothicaire, 518 N. 9th Ave.,

30. Olivia Graye clutch; Emi-Jay™ Hair Ties. Indigeaux Denim 414 1



35. 38. 40.



41. 42.


34. Peppermint and Gingerbread Men Bar Soap; Peppermint Swirl Sugar Body Scrub. Belle Ame' Bath & Body, 112 S. Palafox, 35. Get Real Wooden Cutting Board and Spoon by Talisman Designs; The Whole Hog Cookbook; Dark Chocolate Truffle with Hickory Smoked Bacon and Milk Chocolate Ganache Center. My Favorite Things, 2813 E. Cervantes St., 36. Dancing Deer Baking Company All-Natural Gingerbread Cookie House Kit; TruJoy Organic Candy Canes; Renfroe Shelled Pecans. Ever'man Natural December 13, 2012

Foods, 315 W. Garden St.,

37. Assorted Neighborhood Honey; assorted handmade soaps. East Hill Honey,

41. Aged balsamic vinegar set; Bread dipping duo olive oil set. The Bodacious Olive, 407-D S. Palafox,

38. Redneck Wine Glass. Angel's Garden, 1208 N. 12th Ave., 39. Vintage tea set. Blue Moon Antique Mall, 3721 W. Navy Blvd. 40. Fred Flare ABC Cookies Gingerbread Cookie Cutter set. Pizzaz, 832 Gulf Breeze Pkwy.,

42. Vagabond House Alligator Salt & Pepper Shakers. Duh for Garden and Home, 501 N. 9th Ave., 43. Assorted holiday cupcakes; gift cards also available. Oh Snap!, 707 E. Cervantes St., Suite A, 15

Mind Your Manners by Jennie McKeon

scented candle or specialty food items such as jams and jellies can easily be appreciated by anyone.


While you attend holiday parties, graciously give and receive presents and spend quality time with out-of-town relatives, don’t forget to be on your best behavior. When it comes to etiquette, there’s no better resource than the Emily Post Institute. Here are a few tips to help you survive the holiday season, in the most polite way possible.

HOSTESS GIFTS: Not mandatory, but a lovely gesture. As the Emily Post website states, gifts aren’t usually taken to a formal dinner party, but in the instance of a casual party, gifts are a great way to show appreciation to the hostess. You don’t always have to resort to a bottle of wine either. Gifts such as flowers—preferably in a simple vase, chocolates, a picture frame,

Maybe you already know you shouldn’t pick your teeth at the table, but just in case here are the Top Ten Table Manners. 1. Chew with your mouth closed. 2. Avoid slurping, smacking, blowing your nose, or other gross noises. (If necessary, excuse yourself to take care of whatever it is you need to take care of.) 3. Don’t use your utensils like a shovel or as if you’ve just stabbed the food you’re about to eat. 4. Don’t pick your teeth at the table. 5. Remember to use your napkin at all times. 6. Wait until you’re done chewing to sip or swallow a drink. (The exception is if you’re choking.) 7. Cut only one piece of food at a time. 8. Avoid slouching and don’t place your elbows on the table while eating (though it is okay to prop your elbows on the table while conversing between courses.) 9. Instead of reaching across the table for something, ask for it to be passed to you. 10. Always say ‘excuse me’ whenever you leave the table.


Holiday parties—at the office or your grandma’s house—can bring all kinds of people together. Sometimes, it’s easy for someone to say something inappropriate without thinking. As a host, you can help ease the tension by interrupting and changing the subject, or ask the offending person for his or her help in another room, where you can privately tell the person that their joke or remark made others uncomfortable. Be sure to apologize privately to anyone who might have been offended. At dinner talk to people on




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both sides of you and across the table. Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” to avoid that awkward pause. Suggest small topics such as weather, sports and local events.


guest, it is important to RSVP in a timely manner and ask your host if you can bring a friend. For the host, greet your unexpected visitor graciously and do your best to include them. Set another place setting—even if it doesn’t match the rest. If there isn’t enough space, take the party to the living room and eat on your lap.

front of the giver, thank the person eagerly. You can complement the gift without calling attention to your disapproval by saying things like: “It was so nice of you to think of me” or “What an imaginative choice.” Now, when you hear someone say this you’ll be paranoid they hate their gift. The thoughtful gift doesn’t have to go unappreciated. According to the Emily Post Institution, it is okay to re-gift only when you’re certain that the gift is something the recipient really wants, the gift is brand new and comes in its original box with instructions and if the gift isn’t one the original giver took great care to select or make.

You can complement the gift without calling attention to your disapproval by saying things like: “It was so nice of you to think of me” or “What an imaginative choice.”

HOUSEGUESTS: If you’re staying

with family, remember to be a gracious and helpful guest. Make your bed, keep the bathroom clean, offer to help out in the kitchen, be adaptable, offer to pitch in for groceries if you are staying more than two or three nights and remember to send a gift or a handwritten thank you note. As a host, you can make your guest feel welcome with extra towels, washcloths, nighttime snacks and reading material in their room so that they don’t have search around the house when the need for such items arises.


No matter what your future plans are, when opening a gift in


It’s important to show appreciation to those who make your life a little easier. If your budget doesn’t allow for tips, consider a homemade gift. If you tip throughout the year, you can choose to give a small gift instead. Any gift or tip should be accompanied by a short, handwritten note. When considering to tip and how much to tip, consider the quality and frequency of the service, your relationship with the service provider and the number of years you have used the service. When in doubt, you can always ask the company if tipping is accepted and what is typical from other customers. Check out for an extensive list on how to show your appreciation to service providers in all industries. {in}


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SUPPLIES: To practice furoshiki at home, Myers recommends starting with a 33-inch square of fabric then hemming or surging it. You can use almost any fabric. “I get my fabric from a local fabric store. If choosing your own, keep in mind that different fabrics have different uses,” she said. “The silky ones make the tightest knots. I love flannel because it is so cozy and the pattern is on both sides. Cotton quilting fabric is the crispest but you are probably not going to add it to your fashionable ensemble.”


Lindsay Myers was first introduced to furoshiki—a Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in cloth—through a love of Lush bath and body products. “They started offering it as a re-useable, ‘green’ alternative to traditional wrapping paper,” she explained. “I loved reusing the fabric I had either as scarves or to wrap other gifts in. I decided other people would enjoy the concept as well.” Not only is cloth wrapping pretty and sustainable, but it’s easier to clean up. “I hate how after Christmas morning or a birthday there tends to be an entire garbage bag full of gift wrap,” Myers said. “Furoshiki enables anyone to present a

beautiful gift. You don’t need extra ribbon or bows—you don’t even need tape.” Myers suggests getting lost on Youtube for many ways to reuse and retie the fabric. “Furoshiki is such a beautiful idea— both because it is so versatile and personal,” she said. “In Japanese custom you actually have a ‘signature’ fabric and the recipient of a gift returns the fabric after the gift is given.” She has full confidence that anyone can wrap their gift creatively and beautifully in cloth, but just in case take a look at her step by step process. “If you can tie your shoelaces you can present a lovely and totally unique gift,” Myers said.

STEPS: • To wrap a basic gift you place the gift in the center of the fabric so that the gift is square to you and the fabric diagonal. • Fold two of the corners of the fabric inward so they are parallel to the edges of the gift. • Wrap them to cover the gift altogether. • Next, gather the other two ends of the fabric. • Tie them together on top of the gift. • Prettify!

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STEPS: • Place object in the center of the wrap. • Fold each corner inward, pointing toward the middle. • On opposite sides tie corner into an overhand knot, tightening around the object. • Next, tie a square knot in the loose ends from the overhand knot keeping the same corners together. • Pull the handles, cinching around the object(s), to form a bag! {in}

Wrapping 1

Wrapping 2

YO U C A N PU RCH A S E FA B R IC FRO M MY E R S I N H E R E T S Y S H O P AT E T S Y.CO M / S H O P/ N O RT H H I L L H O M E S T E A D December 13, 2012


Get Crafty This X-Mas

by Joani Delezen and Lilia Del Bosque Oakey Whitehouse

For most of us, handmade gifts are a holiday myth—like the Elf on the Shelf or new year’s resolutions. We love the idea of getting crafty and personalizing gifts, but we never actually do it. So this year, members of the IN team and friends decided to pick some of the fun ideas that have been gathering digital dust on our Pinterest boards and actually make some stuff. We hope you’re inspired to do the same.

Glitter Barettes

Nothing says “happy holidays” quite like a dose of sparkle and shine, so we decided to give some standard hair barrettes a glittery upgrade. It’s the perfect gift and easy craft for the girly girl on your list. And don’t feel limited to just barrettes—because you certainly aren’t. Mason jars, magnets, shoes, coasters, iPhone cases—the possibilities are pretty much endless. SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED: • Glitter (whatever color or combo you fancy; we suggest super fine glitter) • Barrettes (or really anything you want to add some sparkle to) • Mod Podge • Paint brush

STEPS • Measure out a 1 to 1 ratio of Mod Podge and glitter and mix them together— and make sure you mix them good • Using the paint brush, cover the desired parts of your barrette in the mixture. Don’t worry if it looks too light or glue like—the Mod Podge will dry clear • Keep applying layer after layer until the barrette is covered and sparkly • Let it try and then apply more if it’s still not glittery enough (Note: If you’re like us, you’re probably going to end up with way too much of the Mod Podge/glitter mixture, so you’re going to have to find more stuff to glitterize—that’s the fun part!)

Stuffed Animal from a Child’s Drawing

Bring a child’s drawing to life by making it into a stuffed animal. You only need to know how to sew a straight line in order to make your child’s imagination jump off the page.

SUPPLIES YOU NEED: •Fabric •Polyfill •Child’s Drawing •Notions (buttons, ribbon, etc) •Thread and needle 818 1

•Scissors •Hot Glue Gun (optional)

STEPS •Make a pattern from the drawing and cut out fabric. You can freehand the pattern or use tracing paper •Put the right sides of your fabric (the nice sides) together, facing inwards, and sew the pieces

together. Make sure you leave a 1 or 2 inch opening toward the bottom. Your creation should now be inside out. •Pulling the fabric through the opening, turn your creation right side out.

•Using the opening, stuf f your creation with polyfill. •Using ver y small stitches, stitch the opening closed . •Add notions such as buttons for eyes, embroider y thread for the mouth or accents, or ribbon.

Yarn Pom Poms These little balls of fluff can be used for just about anything—especially this time of year. Ornaments, package decorations, shoe clips, even luggage tie-ons. You can even string them together and make garland. And it really is easy—we promise.

SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED: • Pom pom maker (available in most craft stores) • Yarn in whatever colors you fancy • Scissors

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STEPS • Open one side of pom maker • Wrap the two pieces together with yarn. And keep wrapping. Seriously, wrap enough yarn around so that when you close it, the side fits in snuggly. You want some pouf to these poms, right? • Repeat on other side • Following the groove in the middle, cut yarn on both sides. (If you’ve used lots of yarn—and we hope you have—you may find it easier to cut in layers.) • Slide a long piece of yarn inside the center groove, pull very tight and double knot. • Time to free your pom—grab the white part of the pom maker on either side and pull apart. It feels like you might break it but trust us, you won’t. Ta da—you’ve got a finished pom! • Trim any extra long or weird pieces of yarn to get that perfectly round ball of fun look.

December 13, 2012

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Give an Entertaining Gift COST: $390-$2500 DETAILS: 934-8444 or


Savings on tickets, merchandise and access to the Wingman Club are just a few of the perks that come with the Pensacola Ice Flyers season ticket package. You can purchase for the full or half season. COST: $189.60-$625.50 DETAILS: 466-3111 or


Subscribe ahead of time to upcoming plays you’re excited about, sign someone up for acting classes or donate in the name of friend or relative. You can also purchase the Holiday Flexpass, which is good for six tickets and expires in one year. COST: $85 for Holiday Flexpass, $60-$275 for acting classes DETAILS: 434-0257 or

Ballet Pensacola / photo by Meg Baisden For a present that gives all year long— and isn’t a typical gift card—try gifting a membership or season ticket package to your friend’s favorite non-profit organization or sports team. There are more than a few local choices:


Supporting the local ballet company through a membership enables Ballet Pensacola to produce quality shows, sustain profession dancers and educate thousands of students. Depending on your contribution, you can even save on tickets. COST: $100-$5000 DETAILS: 432-9546 or

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As a non-profit co-op, Ever’man is owned and operated by its members. Benefits include member specials, new member coupons and discounts on groceries, cooking classes and educational seminars. COST: $5-$12 per year DETAILS: 438-0402 or


The sports lover in your life will be able to fend off the winter blues by imaging his or her reserved seats during baseball season. Ticket holders get an exclusive gift, a discount card for merchandise and invitations to ticket holder-only events.

tions support and sustain the quality of the opera’s mainstage productions as well as educational and outreach programs. You can also purchase season tickets and receive benefits such as savings of 20 percent, priority seating and ticket exchange privileges. COST: $50-$50000+ for Friends of the Opera or $50-$180 for Season Tickets DETAILS: 433-6737 or


You can choose to support the symphony through a membership, or with season tickets. Purchasing season tickets saves the music lover significant discounts, the right to retain seats, ticket exchanges and invitations to dress rehearsals and community activities. COST: $70-$250 for Masterworks Season Tickets $28-$150 for Pops! Season Tickets and $50-$5000 for membership services DETAILS: 435-2533 or {in}


A membership at PMA can get you unlimited, free admission to the museum, entries into exhibits, invitations to special receptions and members-only events. Memberships fit just about every budget. COST: $15-$1000 DETAILS: 432-6247 or


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Survive the Holidays as a Vegan by Sarah McCartan

nog, widely available at your local grocery. Dress it up with a dash of cinnamon and a hefty splash of the good stuff (strong liquor) and carry on your merry little way!


Maybe you are going out of town this holiday to a vegan oasis, San Fran, Austin, New York, Portland or somewhere booming with a farmer’s market on every corner. Lucky you! It is just as likely you are going out of town or even returning home to a place that does not provide you the luxury of running out to snag your own food. Instead, this leaves you at the mercy of the dreaded—someone else’s refrigerator. This is where careful planning comes in to play. In these cases it is totally acceptable to practice the art of bringing your own food. As long as your intent to make your host’s life easier is clearly communicated, this can be seen as catering, rather than rude. It’s all in the delivery! So pack your cooler full of vegan favorites and hit the road jack. Stop by Ever’man before you head out of town or plot a Whole Foods along your route.


’Tis the season to spread holiday cheer and share good tidings of peace and joy, not being put on the defensive for one’s dietary needs. Now you may be thinking: Why do vegans need special considerations during the holidays? Don’t they get enough attention for being different the rest of the year? Why can’t they just sit down, shut up and eat some Tofurkey? Whether you are vegan or vegetarian (or any degree of herbivore) by values or sheer choice, or even by force—such as an allergy or another dietary intolerance or restriction—the holiday season can be an especially trying time. From dinners to gift exchanges, everyone knows if there is one thing that is plentiful around the holidays it is food. Simply trying to navigate these settings potentially centered around or driven by food that you may not be able to eat can quickly become overwhelming and nerve-wracking. This can even result in derailing your focus from enjoying treasured moments spent with those near and dear to you. As a “veggie,” you should feel just as prepared for the holidays as the rest of them, not exclaiming “Bah, Humbug!” And December 13, 2012

so, here is a brief look at how to survive a few festive settings you may find yourself faced with this holiday season.


Oh, you don’t eat wheat? You don’t say! No, no my dear great-aunt whom I haven’t seen in nearly a decade. I said I don’t eat MEAT. I don’t have a gluten allergy—yet. Whether you’ve told them a million times or this is a new development, it’s important to give everyone at your dinner table that just can’t seem to spell vegan, a heads up prior to sitting down at the table. Instead of providing a list of what you can’t eat, remind them of what you can and that by making some simple replacements, such as trading butter for a vegetable-based margarine or swapping it all together with oil, you can eat many of the items that make their way to the table. Go a step further and bring your own dish! Try vegan-izing a classic casserole, or whipping up a batch of vegan cookies. Cookies put a smile on everyone’s face.


Some people have the luxury of their place of work catering to their each and every need.

Oh man, thank you so much for these gelatin filled candies. I can’t wait to get home with them (and throw them away). Remember, waste not want not as they say. Just because you don’t eat something, doesn’t mean you can’t pass it along to someone who does. Receive a bag of truffles? Try taking them to someone working a service industry job, forced to work through the holiday. Trust me when I say, taking your barista re-gifted delectable treats is a surefire way to get some extra cheer in your morning cup o’ joe. When preparing for a gift exchange or any gift giving for that matter, regardless of the recipient’s dietary choices, consider using this time to educate on eco-friendly purchases. If you can’t feel good about what you get, at least you can feel good about what you give! No matter where you find yourself this holiday season, keep in mind that the health and happiness of yourself and your merry kin should remain at the very top of your list. ’Tis the season for positive thinking, healthy choices and a hell of a lot of soy-nog to wash away any sudden stress that comes your way! {in}

Oh, you don’t eat wheat? You don’t say! No, no my dear great-aunt whom I haven’t seen in nearly a decade. I said I don’t eat MEAT.

Then there’s everybody else. If your work gathering is scheduled to take place at a local eatery, research ahead of time to see what vegan selections may be available. The same research comes into play if the party is at someone’s home. It is totally acceptable to casually inquire whether or not there are animal ingredients hidden in any given dish, and if you don’t know, the safest choice is to politely decline. Eating something beforehand if you feel you won’t be able to eat there is also a good rule of thumb. Trust me, everyone can deal with hurt feelings more than they can with your stomach defaming their restroom. The good news is: holiday parties also tend to involve hefty amounts of alcohol, shifting the focus away from food. If the party is at someone’s residence, find out if you can bring your own festive beverage to contribute! Remember drinks such as Eggnog can be easily traded with seasonal soy-based