Each one of us has the power to change old habits and leave animals off the table each holiday season. Whether you’re looking to improve  your health, care about our environment, or just oppose animal cruelty, the holidays are the perfect time to celebrate life together over a delicious, plant-based meal. We hope you’ll find something at Compassionate Holidays to help create new lifelong traditions for your friends and family to cherish.

Turkey Facts

  • Turkeys are highly social and intelligent animals who form deep friendships and emotional bonds and even like to listen to music.
  • Turkeys love to cuddle and have their feathers stroked.
  • In nature, turkeys can fly 55 miles an hour and run 18 miles an hour.
  • In nature, turkeys live more than 10 years, but on factory farms they’re slaughtered at just 4-5 months old.
  • According to USDA, 242 million turkeys were killed in the U.S. in 2017.
  • Turkeys on factory farms are denied the simplest pleasures, such as raising their young, building nests, running and flying.
  •  Turkeys, like chickens, are bred to grow so large very quickly that their legs often break underneath them.
  • Due to overcrowding, turkeys become unnaturally aggressive, so poults (baby turkeys) have their beaks and toes cut off without anesthesia, which leads to life long pain.
  • Turkeys on factory farms will only see the sunshine or breathe fresh air when they are being loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter.
  • Many turkeys don’t survive the trip to the slaughterhouse, as they are denied food and water, often in extreme weather, resulting in death.
  • Once at the slaughterhouse, turkeys have their throats slit, sometimes while fully conscious before being dunked into the scalding tanks that remove feathers. Sometimes, turkeys are fully conscious while this is happening.

Warning: This Video Contains Graphic Content

A Little History

“You know that Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation, but did you know he also penned a special order of reprieve to save the life of a turkey named Jack? The story begins on Oct. 3, 1863, when Lincoln signed an official proclamation setting aside the last Thursday in November as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” That November, a citizen sent a live turkey to the White House to be part of a holiday feast. Lincoln’s son, Tad, who was 10, bonded with the bird. In addition to naming him Jack, Tad treated the turkey like a pet and taught it to follow him around the White House grounds. When Tad learned that Jack was to be killed and prepared for a big meal, he interrupted his father at a cabinet meeting, crying and pleading that his new friend be spared. Lincoln had a soft spot for his rambunctious youngest son and delayed the meeting long enough to pen “an order of reprieve” for the turkey. Tad rushed the order with him to the kitchen and proudly presented it to the ‘executioner.’ Jack then became a part of the Lincoln pets collection, which also included a pig, a rabbit, ponies, goats, cats and dogs.” –presidentialpetmuseum

Family Tips


Sharing your vegan diet at holiday parties can be challenging but, with a little planning, holiday mealtimes can be a great experience as well as provide learning opportunities for the whole family.

If you’re not into extensive food preparation, here are four commercial animal-free roasts available in many supermarkets:

A complete animal-free roasts shopping guide can be found here.

And here is a 5-minute general introduction to Thanksgiving meal preparation by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau:

Then, there are the much more extensive and detailed food preparation videos:

Finally, we are pleased to present our own selection of written holiday meal recipes here:

And, if even that’s not enough, there’s more:

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes:

Vegan Wine and Beer:

  • Wine and beer are not necessarily vegan, you can use Barnivore for a guide to vegan wines, beers and liquors.

Additional Helpful Tips:

Gear up for the holidays (or gift them to friends!) with these unique fashions:

What to Cook In

What to Shop With


Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to share a compassionate meal with friends and family, but also with other vegans looking for a cruelty-free celebration.

Here are some ways that you can make this happen:

  • Host and promote a pot-luck vegan Thanksgiving meal in your home or a local church basement, with optional decorations and musical  entertainment
  • Ask one of your favorite vegan-friendly restaurants to host a vegan Thanksgiving dinner and help them with promotion, decorations, and musical entertainment
  • Create a Facebook Event and invite your friends and family, you can also email us and we can help promote
  • Or, if you’re not up for organizing, use Meetup or Facebook to find vegan events in your community