Can this be done, politely?

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veganmadre
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Can this be done, politely?

#1 Postby veganmadre » Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:17 am

I am getting ready to turn a new leaf in life. With this, I'd like to make my life as consistent as possible with my ideals. This will be difficult for my immediate and distant family. I am wondering if it is ever appropriate and to what extent to inform family of this change. My daughter's have birthday's in October and November and then there is also Christmas. I DO NOT want gifts for my girls if they aren't in line with my beliefs. Therefore, I would prefer only natural care/vegan items (no silly "bubble bears" or other animal product filled bath gunk), compassionate toys and would also like to eliminate all items from horrible american corporations - ie. Walmart, Nike, ...I have been following this lifestyle for some time but have been lax when it comes to gifts. I would really like to be on the same page with family, even if it means isolating them a little bit for a better good.

I've thought about specifically requesting gifts and giving websites or store locations but I can't find an appropriate way to not appear insulting and rude. Plus, certainly family members would prefer to be the "creative genius" behind the gift giving - understandable but frustrating nonetheless. Any suggestions??

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#2 Postby Sknydpr » Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:26 am

Personally, I would just accept the gifts graciously and if they're not in keeping with your beliefs, donate them to Goodwill.

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nobbi
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#3 Postby nobbi » Sun Sep 25, 2005 2:29 am

What about second hand stuff? If you are not able to find the right gifts you could give bubble bears, which you buy on e-bay for example. You wouldn't buy directly from the companies you want to avoid. Also, second hand goods save the envoirnment. Depending on what you are looking for you can often find goods, which are almost new.

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it's the most wonderful time of the year....ha! (IMO)

#4 Postby CollegeB » Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:22 am

Skyndpr has a good point, but then how do you explain that to your kids, will they understand why you are taking away the bubble bear? Is it common for your kin folk to call up and ask what the kids and yourself want for christmas? That would be an approprate time to tell family some items. The thing is that I have found with my family most will understand if they know what vegan is. I never abruptly told anyone, it has just happened when family are around and we eat I can explain some things to them. This december will be the first test because my extended family knows of veganism too. Like last year i got one of those huge cans of flavored popcorn and the giver discovered I had gone vegan, they felt bad, but I said dont worry about it. Then my family ate all that popcorn so things turned out fine, and this year I probably wont get flavored popcorn. Passing on gifts is great. And I didnt feel bad then tellin them I couldnt eat the popcorn, I hadnt said anything to them about veganism so maybe you could find a time to tell your family (I also only talk to this person at christmas so really calling them up just to say im vegan here is what you get me I think could be rude,but veganism is a value system and people should respect that so maybe it is okay to just let people know of changes)...I am really unsure what to do. Also children seem to be really understanding and caring for animals so they may very well understand something was tested on a dog and made the dog cry and that buying these things is sad, but then they may say something to family like they make dogs cry etc. You are in a tough positoin madre, but you know that already.

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Richard
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#5 Postby Richard » Sun Sep 25, 2005 5:03 pm

Phrase it as nicely as you can, but people will get insulted if they feel like it. There isn't actually anything insulting about being vegan, but some people will be offended, no matter how nice you are.

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#6 Postby veganmadre » Sun Sep 25, 2005 5:30 pm

Also children seem to be really understanding and caring for animals so they may very well understand something was tested on a dog and made the dog cry and that buying these things is sad, but then they may say something to family like they make dogs cry etc.


The thought of my daughter saying that to my family is purely delightful! :D My family completely ignores me when I plead for their compassion - I betcha they'd be reluctant to ignore a sweet little 3 y/o. Ha ha!

It took a while for my family to think before buying leather products, etc but eventually they got a clue when I began getting snarky. I don't try to pick fights, really, they just enjoy their ignorance TOO much. I might send out a nice letter to everyone I know explaining some of my life changes (one is particularly BIG yet unrelated to veganism) and slip in some info regarding my stance on sweatshop labor/Walmart and other atrocities. Like you say, Richard, it may agitate some family but I'd prefer they have an deeper awareness of my lifestyle. I don't care. How can asking for respect be all that disrespectful?! :x

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#7 Postby compassionategirl » Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:11 pm

veganmadre wrote: Like you say, Richard, it may agitate some family but I'd prefer they have an deeper awareness of my lifestyle. I don't care. How can asking for respect be all that disrespectful?! :x


Exactly, Veganmadre. And I also think what ZCollege said about explaining to your daughter why those gifts are not nice but sad because they made dogs cry etc is an excellent idea. I am 1000% in favour of raising compassionaste children and aware and empathetic children from a young age, provided of course it is done in an age appropriate matter.

Kudos to you for doing so veganmadre. 8) YOU are a role model for meat eating meat head parents out there! :D

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#8 Postby CollegeB » Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:53 pm

The thing with your kid though if they start talking about things like suffering animals it may just really offend your relatives and they will say "what lies have you been telling this child etc." and it could become a how to raise your child battle, but you probably have had some of those already.

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#9 Postby veganmadre » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:00 am

CollegeB wrote:The thing with your kid though if they start talking about things like suffering animals it may just really offend your relatives and they will say "what lies have you been telling this child etc." and it could become a how to raise your child battle, but you probably have had some of those already.


I'm already distant from most of my family so I am not concerned with further isolation. My immediate family is 100% aware that my statistics and facts are valid. They simply believe that my stance is "too extreme". They love their ignorance and way of life. :evil: My mother disagrees with me but would not dream of starting a battle over how I raise my girls. While my compassion is considered "extreme" with regards to animals, I know that my family appreciates the accepting, liberal and compassionate lifestyle I am teaching my children.

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#10 Postby Crash » Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:05 am

Write the letter veganmadre. When my nephews were born, they were the first on both sides of the family and everyone bought them tons of stuff. My brother-in-law and sister didn't want them to get spoiled, so sent out a nice letter to everyone on both sides of the family with guidelines on how many gifts to buy, etc. (They also included a polite note that if more gifts than the quota were gotten, they would be donated to good will.)

At first people were a little put out, but we understood the reason why the wanted the kids to not expect the bank and quickly learned to follow the rules. Long winded way of saying, you have the right to raise your children the way you want to without interference from well meaning relatives. The only way people will know what your guidelines are is telling them what is acceptable and what is not. (I am expecting my yearly letter for Christmas gifts in about 1 month.)
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No human can call themselves liberal or radical or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if they contribute in any way to the pain and suffering of other beings.

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#11 Postby compassionategirl » Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:56 pm

I agree with Crash veganmadre.

If somebody is trying to teach their kids compassion, empathy and awareness, relatives need to be informed and then they need to respect that.

If the letter is polite, and explains your thoughts, then I dont think there is anything wrong with sending such a letter.


editted to correct pronoun use.
Last edited by compassionategirl on Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#12 Postby willpeavy » Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:23 pm

I don't think it's rude to say you only want certain things because of your beliefs. If a Jewish person said they don't want Christmas tree ornaments, then I wouldn't think they are being rude. Same thing with someone who is into human rights or environmentalism, if you don't want sweatshop produced junk then I don't see anything wrong with telling people that.


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