It’s holiday season, which means it’s that time of the year when you’re encouraged (forced) to go to office parties that may or may not be the most awkward event of the year.

While attitudes about office parties may vary, office parties for vegans can feel all too similar. Vegans are often left to worry about their options at parties that will likely be stacked full of food that they can’t eat.

Never fear vegan partygoers. Below is a quick guide to help you survive any holiday office party. These tips will not only help you survive but will also help you thrive. These parties don’t have to be all bad, after all.

The 7 Step Guide to Surviving Office Parties, As a Vegan, During the Holiday Season

First off, don’t panic

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It’s going to be ok. You’re not the first vegan to have to survive an office party. You’re going to get through this and it’s even possible that you’ll have a great time.

Talk to your employer in advance

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You’ll definitely want to make some time to talk to your employer about your dietary restrictions. Most workplaces will work to accommodate different lifestyles, whether it’s vegan, gluten-free, or kosher. It’s important that you talk to someone because, as they say, closed mouths don’t get fed.

Do your research

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Start Googling recipes. You may need them if your workplace’s idea of vegan accommodations is a salad.

Prepare food/plans in advance

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After you’ve found your delicious recipes, it’s time to get cooking. Prep your food in advance and pack it up in an easy to carry container. You can make just enough for yourself or enough to share, depending on the size of your team.

If you’re not the cooking type, just make plans to grab food somewhere before or after. Some might even prefer ducking out a little early to grab a cool, late-night meal somewhere else.

Check your options

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Once you get to the party, check out your options. You might be pleasantly surprised — or you might not be. You won’t know until you look. Keep your phone handy in case you come across something that you’re not sure is vegan.

Be open

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People may ask why you’re not eating and/or offer you food. You don’t have to preach to anyone but it’s okay to tell people that you’re vegan. It can be uncomfortable to come out as a vegan, but you have to when you’re surrounded by non-vegan food you might need to.

Enjoy yourself

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Have a good time, no matter how the food situation pans out. Most liquor is vegan, so there’s always that.

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