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The Best Gift Ever

By Mariann Sullivan — January 22, 2010

As we all know (except maybe Jasmin, whose family is almost all vegan), some of the hardest activism out there can involve talking to some family members, and old friends, about how you feel about animals. Somehow, when people knew you when you were five, they can tend not to take you seriously, regardless of who you are now.

Buried within this article about an inspiring activist is an idea that could work for a lot of us on this front. When your birthday comes around, or Christmas or Hannukah, why not ask for what you really want — something for the animals? And it doesn’t have to be money for your favorite charity. Though that might be a good starting point with some people, depending on the person, and how open they are, you could go a lot farther. Ask them to volunteer with you for a day, or ask them to watch a movie with you (I’m trying to think of a good one — something not too gruesome — any suggestions?), or read a book that meant a great deal to you. Eating Animals is one that springs to mind. (As anyone who knows me knows, I loooooove Jonathan Safran Foer).

You don’t have to do this in the spirit of trying to change them — that can just put people’s backs up and set everyone up for disappointment. But maybe just ask them to do it to help them understand where you are in your life. Of course, it could end up changing them anyway, but even if it doesn’t, it could open the way to them feeling closer to you and having more respect for your choices. And it could keep you from receiving another wool sweater from your Aunt Ida.

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