A Thanksgiving Tradition

by on October 8, 2009
FavoriteLoadingAdd to Recipe Box

E and friend

My daughter E had her first turkey when she was in preschool. Her class was learning about Thanksgiving, coloring pictures of turkeys and folding paper into pilgrims’ hats, and her father and I decided to start a family tradition so that when it was time for her to stand up and tell the class about her Thanksgiving dinner, she would have something to share. So we got our first turkey. Her name was Serendipity, and we adopted her from Farm Sanctuary.

Serendipity* arrived a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving in the form of an adoption certificate and a photo. E was somewhat disappointed not to receive an actual live turkey in the mail, but she was glad to have Serendipity’s photo and proudly carried it with her to school to show all the other kids her Thanksgiving turkey, which, still having feathers and a head, looked much nicer than theirs. On Thanksgiving day, Serendipity’s photo had a place of honor at the dinner table, somewhere between the sweet potato casserole and the mushroom dressing.

We’ve been loyal supporters of Farm Sanctuary ever since. Though we don’t always adopt a turkey, each year we are happy to donate whatever we can to support the animals it rescues as well as its educational programs. If I don’t watch her carefully, E has even been known to stick a $5 bill into an envelope with no return address and send it off to F.S. with instructions to buy a treat for a certain animal. (My dire warnings about cash sent through the mail have no effect.)

Cows ask for your support!

This year my family and I are asking you to help, too. The annual Walk for Farm Animals helps fund Farm Sanctuary’s education and advocacy efforts, so that more children like E can learn about the realities of factory farming and have the opportunity to support more compassionate treatment of animals. Please make a pledge of support for farm animals in need by making a donation. Every little bit helps.

Walk for Farm Animals

We’d like to reach–or exceed–our goal of $2000, so please give what you can. Otherwise, I’m afraid that E will be breaking into her piggy bank to make up the difference!

Thank you!

(*E has informed me that Serendipity was not the first turkey we adopted but a more recent one. I’m sure she’s right–her memory is better than mine–but I continue to think of that turkey as Serendipity; I guess I just like the name.)

Leave a Comment

Thanks for visiting my site! All comments are read and appreciated, and if you have a question, I will try to respond within a couple days. Note: If you are leaving a comment for the first time, it will be held for moderation. Be patient and it will appear as soon as I have a chance to approve it.

Want to have your photo alongside your comment? Sign up for a Gravatar!

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jen M October 8, 2009 at 10:24 am

That is so sweet of your daughter. And it's a wonderful cause. I hope you exceed your goal!


2 KathyF October 8, 2009 at 10:41 am

Ha! I was going to blog about this today! Great minds, eh?


3 Tatiana October 8, 2009 at 10:44 am

What an amazing and compassionate girl. Kids have the biggest hearts and they never cease to amaze me.. I don't doubt that you have inspired many, many people by this one post. Thank you posting this and being an inspiration!

Awesome Vegan Girl Blog


4 Staci October 8, 2009 at 11:16 am

Oh my gosh! I sponsored Serendipity last Thanksgiving! 🙂


5 Glo October 8, 2009 at 11:51 am

Hi Susan, I've been reading your blog for over a year and have made dozens of your amazing recipes but never commented before. I think this is a beautiful idea and can't wait to donate. Every year for Thanksgiving I make a vegan substitute for turkey for myself, but my family still likes to enjoy their bird. You've inspired me to really try and get them to adopt a turkey this year instead! I'll have to bribe them with pumpkin cheesecake and sweet potato casserole 😉


6 moonwatcher October 8, 2009 at 11:56 am

Beautiful, all around! Thanks. .



7 Mary October 8, 2009 at 11:59 am

This is a beautiful story. You should be so proud of your daughter.


8 dreaminitvegan October 8, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I love it! What a great story and one we can all follow.

My son and I have already did a walk and it was such a great time knowing it was for such a wonderful cause.


9 Elessar October 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm

I have no children, so I cannot be proud of their choices, as you can, Susan. Nevertheless, I added to E's drive to raise funds to keep animals free of butchery and torture.I wish, by my intervention, that I could do the same for mal-treated human women and men.

I have to keep my eye of the food, mostly. With that in mind, a hard-core meat -eater friend of mine asked me for a pumpkin tureen recipe to make for his young children, and his wife, last card-playing session. I am pleased to say that, although the the man will most certainly eat meat on this occasion, his vegetarian wife & their children my love the pumpkin so much that, when they have a choice, they will easily become vegetarian.
That's all you can ever really hope for.


10 Catherine Lacey October 8, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I know you have no control over this, but right underneath your lovely post about compassion for animals, a mom is feeding her child frozen fish sticks.


11 Tracy Warner October 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm

So sweet! In spite of the creepy fish stick video ad under your post.


12 SusanV October 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Sorry about the reappearance of the fish stick ad! It asked to have it removed a month ago, but apparently it's back. Here we go again….


13 Christine October 8, 2009 at 4:09 pm

What a beautiful girl you have. I'm sure you must be proud. Thanks for your contribution, I just recently became vegetarian and I have a one year old, its tough to find recipes for all of us to eat but I'm hoping to find some on your blog. Thanks so much for your contribution!


14 KTBuns October 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm

I went vegan in June of 2008 and adopted a turkey through F.S. that year. I intend on "adopting" again this year… and every year to come! 🙂 I find this is a lovely tradition.


15 Anarchy in the Garden October 8, 2009 at 6:04 pm

I shy away from holiday traditions. I have disdain for the mass consumerism that is attached to this time on the year.

However your tradition is lovely and one I can wrap my head around. E's gesture is so sweet!


16 VoluntarySimplicity October 8, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing. I will donate and forward this along to my family and friends. I've never commented on your blog before, but it is one of my favorite daily reads. Thanks for all you do to support veganism and help make it both simple and wonderful.


17 Tiffany C. October 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm

What a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition 🙂


18 Alice October 8, 2009 at 11:56 pm

What a wonderful idea! Something I hope to do with my future children!


19 Dipped Fruit October 9, 2009 at 12:28 am
20 Jessica October 9, 2009 at 3:28 am

I tried to make a tofu turkey last year and totally failed. It turns out that in the Netherlands you can't really get different types of tofu (soft, hard, silken, etc) so I was stuck with super hard tofu. My blender just couldn't handle it so I had to add double the liquid..you can guess how that ended. What a nightmare!

I have no idea what to do this year. Thanksgiving is super important for me since I live so far away from my family and in a different country now. If you have any suggestions for a good recipe, I'd appreciate it. P.s. I can't afford a food processor right now either, so I'm stuck with just a blender!

Also, I think giving to Farm Sanctuary is a super wonderful tradition! And the fact E. got to let other children see that there IS an alternative, is great!!


21 Desdemona October 9, 2009 at 7:12 am

What a wonderful post; I'm inspired to adopt a turkey with my kids! Last year, on the day before Thanksgiving, I was driving my son to a friend's house when we saw a group of seven turkeys crossing the road in a calm, orderly fashion. We stopped to let them pass, as did the car coming in the opposite direction, and the other driver and I just sat there grinning at each other. After the turkeys were safely into the woods, I drove off thinking how glad I am to be vegan, and hoping that when that woman sat down to dinner next day, she would think carefully about what she put on her plate.


22 sayhealth October 9, 2009 at 8:00 am

This truly warmed my heart; thank you for posting it! FS is such an amazing organization. I can't wait to adopt my turkey this year!


23 Laurie October 9, 2009 at 8:40 am

What a great idea Susan! I have a 7year old son and I am definitely going to do this with him. I appreciate the idea and love your blog and recipes!

Thanks so much!
Laurie & Graham


24 Sara October 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Oh my goodness, that is so wonderful of you! Being a vegetarian/vegan is school during the holidays can definitely be strange, and it's so nice to hear that you've done this for your daughter! Happy thanksgiving!


25 Rachel@oneprettything.com October 10, 2009 at 10:52 am

What a wonderful, wonderful cause. Thanks so much for this post. =)


26 donandjenn October 11, 2009 at 7:11 am

Hi Susan,

I had planned on adopting a Turkey this year for TG but your post really inspired me. We adopted 2 and also send in an additional amount. Hopefully we can all help out to exceed your goal. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog and all the amazing things you do.


27 Anonymous October 11, 2009 at 10:25 pm

What a great idea! This Thanksgiving, while my whole family eats a turkey, I can have my own turkey tradition and save one instead.


28 Hily October 12, 2009 at 7:47 am

So lovely! You have inspired me to look up an equivelant here in the UK – and I have found one!


I will be adopting an animals this Canadian Thanksgiving – as I am originally from Vancouver and miss the usual celebrations dearly. 🙂


29 Dana October 14, 2009 at 9:20 am

Before becoming vegan, Farm Sanctuary was just a place we went on elementary school field trips. I'm glad to see it sponsored here on your blog Susan. My DH actually worked for FS in the year before we were married and he always remembers a few certain animals fondly.
I'd already decided to adopt a turkey this year and let my kids name it, so this was a timely reminder. Thank you.


30 Jain October 14, 2009 at 7:05 pm

I'm finally a mom! (albeit an adoptive mom of a turkey). This is a wonderful post, very inspiring! Thank you for all you do for the critters.


31 Jessica October 16, 2009 at 10:20 pm

OMG – I now have a new Thanksgiving tradition! Thank you for the amazing idea!! I've been a vegetarian for 18 years but just took the vegan plunge in March. I am so adopting a turkey this year!


32 Allyson October 19, 2009 at 12:20 pm

How wonderful! I just talked to my husband about sponsoring our first turkey this year. I have a soft spot for "Olive". Your link appeared in the search and I am so glad.. what a touching story! Happiest holidays to come.


33 emiglia October 21, 2009 at 8:38 am

That's such a sweet story… and a great Thanksgiving tradition! I'm sure your daughter loves it.


34 Jess of Veg Out! October 23, 2009 at 9:18 am

What a wonderful tradition! I adopt a turkey (or three) every year around Thanksgiving, and support FS as much as I can throughout the rest of the year.

E is so sweet.


35 Teresa November 25, 2009 at 12:47 am

I just found your blog on a link from the Vegan Dad blog. It looks great. Thank you for your Farm Sanctuary story. One of my favorite places on earth as I am lucky to live close to the California Shelter. Thanksgiving there has become a tradition for me.


36 sarah September 13, 2010 at 6:37 pm

This is a very cute story, about being kind to farm animals.
We have a similar tradition, each month we give money to a childrens fund, that feeds, clothes and teaches a young girl in a third world country.
The original idea was to teach our children to be thankful for what they have and always reach out to others.
You may find this a nice thing for your family to do too, you may already be doing some thing similar.
Have a happy thanksgiving, I know its a couple months away but I’m already looking for yummy food to cook!
And thinking of a great way to help my children understand how much they have to appreciate about living here in the US.


37 Jonas Lewis February 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

Wow, what a fantastic organization. You have a very lovely and caring daughter there and I’m sure she will go far in life. Caring from a young age is always a great sign.


Previous post:

Next post: