If for one reason or another that cannot be done it would be prudent to visit them after they have eaten their "Xmas Dinner". If one is invited to partake courtiously and politely, but firmly decline. I experienced it one year about 25 years ago, where I thought it would be nice to all sit together, me with my vegetarian prasadam and them with their Turkey and what have you. That was the last time I ever did. It was disgusting to say the least watching everyone ripping animal parts to pieces with their teeth....... need I say more?
You might even like to explain that you'd think better of them, and they you, by coming around afterwards.
"Regarding the Christmas Day meal with your family, I do not think you should partake of the food prepared by non-devotees. Better you should prepare your own foodstuffs and offer to Krishna and then, if you like, you may offer these remnants to Lord Jesus. I think that Lord Jesus will also appreciate this. Of course you may sit down with your family and take fruits and milk which they offer but rather than taking the foods which they have prepared, you may prepare and offer your own prasadam for Lord Krishna, and then offer the same to Lord Jesus." (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Letter to Hrishikesh dasa. 26th November 1968. Los Angeles.)As far as possible negativity may go, always remember you don't have to tolerate smart remarks that may belittle you either as a person, a vegetarian, a non-drinker or a devotee by relatives who are feeling defensive or have an inferiority complex and feel the need to try to make themselves look good among their similarly intoxicated throng.
It would be very easy to get into a huge argument about life styles, and even philosophically rip them to pieces, and smash them beyond repair. It may even be tempting to do so - BUT I humbly suggest that some self discipline be in order, and one look to the benefits they will all receive with the book and or prasadam you gave them for Xmas being thankfully accepted and partaken of. Look for the goal we want to achieve and keep in mind that these souls are getting the opportunity to associate with devotees, to take Krishna prasadam and to think kindly toward the same.
You may even get a wonderful opportunity to explain what you are doing in a positive way to some of them. But don't take the bait to fight, with old Uncle Albie or Antie Kit, whose got a skin full of "Christmas cheer", even you smash him/her it's neither a great victory, nor good preaching. The damage that would be done, and the way the family will see you as a religious fanatic et al, will last for years (...don't ask me how I know!!! please don't ask me......!)
There are so many things that we could say........!
It's nice that one's parents and relatives gave so much to us and helped us to grow into adults with free intelligent choice. For that we are grateful, and we understand the many hardships they would have undergone to help us through life in that way. For that we are very grateful. Srila Prabhupad often glorified devotees parents for conceiving and bringing up such a nice sone or daugther......!
There's no harm in giving and receiving presents and well wishes, in fact these are some of the six interactions that Srila Rupa Goswami recommends in developing good relationships, and practically speaking anything we are given can be used in the Lord's service.
Every year we send cards to business associates, friends, neighbours and relatives, and frankly they think the better of us for it.
So have a Merry Krishnas and a Hari New Year
VegeXmas and a Happy Karma FREE New Year:
Thanksgiving and Xmas recipes:
A few good recipes to share with Family and friends at Xmas
the facts of the nature of modern day Xmas:
Vegetarian Society @ Xmas -
More recipes from the Vegie Soc' - old ones
- Alas not all are Purely Vegetarian (Eggs, onions and garlic are in some)
Vegetarian Holiday Cooking:
Vegetarian Christmas page:
Happy Vegetarian Christmas - nice bits of philosophy
Vegetarian Xmas - many recipes - (watch
out for onion and garlic)
Top 10 Survival Tips for a Vegetarian Christmas (we
do not support all of the ideals suggested in this page)
Thanksgiving Preparing oneself - calendar organizer:
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Central:
Vege Stuffing and Stuffed Veges - many many:
A Delicious Vegetarian Feast - Good News For Vegetarians
& Turkeys . . .
Thanksgiving with the family - Tofurkey to the rescue:
Find Out More About Xmas - Have a Good One
More precious links to practical, revealing and inspiring Xmas related