* Omnivores may feel vegetarians are judging them for their eating habits or attire. It’s not uncommon for a non-veggie to “apologize” to a veggie for the chicken taco they ate for lunch or the leather coat they are wearing. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks suggests (via podcast) that veggies use a little humor in this situation. “Don’t apologize to me, apologize to the chicken/cow!” (or turkey!)
* When faced with an argumentative fellow diner, it's your decision whether you really want to get into the "top of the food chain" debate or if you will seek a peaceful way out, but remember that you don't have to be the spokesperson for all veggie-kind. Patrick-Goudreu reminds veggies to be confident and willing to leave it at a simple statement: " I do know that I feel really good about eating this way."
on the other hand...
Meals with omnivores can be a really great way to break the ice and literally put animal advocacy on the table. If those around you inquire why you are abstaining from the poultry or ask why you're veg, you have the perfect opportunity to be a voice for the animals. You don't have to get down to the dirty details of factory farming while forks are flying, but let the inquirer know you're veg for the animals and offer to talk about it after dinner, advises Matt Rice of Farm Sanctuary's education department.
A few last things:
*Don't forget to R.S.V(egetarian).P.! Don't be shy about vocalizing your dietary selectivity to your host or hostess and of course bring a scrumptious vegan treat to share.
*If you feel like splurging financially instead of slaving culinarily, check out your local vegan or natural foods grocer/co-op, Whole Foods, or veggie restaurants to see if they offer a catered meal for T-giving. With work and school and a mountain of laundry, I know I'm thankful this year for Green Vegetarian Cuisine's pre-prepared vegan feast.
If you're a traditionalist and have the time to do it all, vegan yum*yum's got you covered: Thank Seitan.
*If your city has a food-not-bombs program, soup kitchen, or holiday event to feed the less fortunate, show you are thankful for your community and all the creatures therein by donating a dish or pitching in and helping out.