As an animal lover in a world that doesn’t see animals as individuals, the holidays can be a stressful time. From conversations about why you brought your own dinner or that one uncle who always… well, you know. It isn’t easy, and when it comes to gift giving – with the prospect of fur items from well-meaning family members – it doesn’t get any easier.
But these awkward and uncomfortable conversations can also be an opportunity to share fact and show why it’s important that we #MakeFurHistory. Here’s a few tips that can help:
- Talk about fur beforehand. Bring it up in group chats or around the dinner table, share some social media posts from The Fur-Bearers and make it clear that real or fake fur simply isn’t something you’re interested in as a gift.
- Use facts and have resources available if they want to check them out. The treatment of animals is an emotional subject, and that shouldn’t be discouraged. But some people will respond better when you have facts and resources to back them up, particularly living in an era of fake news accusations. Check out articles on our website if you need help!
- Be thankful but firm. It’s hard to not be annoyed when someone gives you a tone-deaf gift, but they have made an effort. In the right moment (perhaps not around the tree or in the middle of a game of Trivial Pursuit) thank them directly for the gift and let them know where you stand on fur or other animal products.
- Give yourself a break. Your mental health and well-being are more important than gifts and if you need a break from the intensity of the moment or the difficulty in expressing your feelings and needs. Go for a walk, talk with other folks at the gathering, or head home if needed. You matter.
The holidays can be tough, and they’re even tougher if you’re around folks who may not understand why issues like fur matter to you. But time with loved ones can also be an opportunity for compassionate communication and change, and that makes it a wonderful time of year.