I don’t know about you guys but every year I find it increasingly difficult to know what to buy my loved ones for Christmas.
Everyone just has so much of everything already! So if you add an ethical vegan lifestyle to the equation then it becomes even harder to find gift inspiration. I imagine a few people have gone round in circles this year trying to figure out what to put in my Christmas stocking!
Most chocolates are out – obviously they usually contain milk. Perfume is a no go because of animal testing. A leather purse? Forget it!
But does it really have to be so difficult?
Luckily it does not. Read on for the do’s and don’ts of vegan gift giving.
Things to watch out for when buying gifts for someone who is vegan:
As I’ve already mentioned, chocolates can be tricky. Many varieties contain milk, butterfat, whey or other non vegan friendly ingredients. Likewise cookies and candies should be avoided unless you are very sure of the vegan credentials of the ingredients list.
Make-up, perfume, bubble bath; the usual go-to for us ladies are also a minefield. Not only are the majority of them tested on animals but many also contain cruelly derived animal ingredients. And who wants to slather slaughter house remains on their face?!
Clothes – surely we’re on safer ground here? Sadly, we’re not. Look out for silk scarves, woollen items, fur trims or anything made of leather. None of these are suitable for vegans.
What about jewellery? Pearls are out and many vegans won’t wear diamonds due to concerns over human exploitation in the mining process.
Ok, let’s just play it safe and get a bottle of wine then. But wait, many wines are refined using animal products!
Now I can understand that you might be ready to give up right here and just buy a vegan gift voucher or stick some cash into your vegan friend’s holiday card. This is where we get to the good news though– there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of exciting cruelty-free vegan Christmas gift ideas.
Here are some of my favourites:
Vegan Christmas gift ideas for men and women:
Yes, I know I’ve already thrown cold water on that idea but it just so happens that there are several brands of vegan chocolate available and if you can’t find any in your local store then you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to online shopping. Also many regular brands like Hotel Chocolate now carry a vegan selection as well.
Or try thinking outside the (chocolate) box and make a gift package, including some exotic dried fruits, dates and nuts. Just be sure that the nuts are not coated in honey and the dried fruit doesn’t contain palm oil and you’re good to go.
As long as you know what you’re looking for, there is actually a good selection of vegan friendly cosmetics on the market. Brands to look out for include Beauty without Cruelty and Barry M.
Clothes and shoes and bags and…
I’ll admit to being a bit of a girly girl and that my Christmas wish list is dominated by clothes and shoes! This year I’m particularly coveting anything from Iron Fist. Their shoes actually specify 100% vegan! Happy days. Another good find is Frank and Faith. They do have some wool products to avoid but they don’t use leather or silk. And if you’re looking for a new handbag or necklace then why not have a look at our very own, recently launched fashion collection here at The Vegan Woman?
I’m a total bookworm so I’m always happy to receive some new works of fiction to get my teeth into. Even better is a stocking packed full of new vegan recipe books! Most vegans cook from scratch and I’ve spoken to many whose veganism has awoken in them a new love of the kitchen – you can’t go wrong with any of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s publications. Isa Chandra Moskowitz is also a name to look out for when you’re browsing the bookstore shelves.
I don’t think I know any vegans who would turn their noses up at a more altruistic present. Consider sponsoring space for a rescued animal at a farm sanctuary or a donation made in your friend’s name to one of the vegan charities they support. Remember that it’s not all about the money and in the current financial climate we’re all feeling the pinch. Personally I would be beyond touched if a non-vegan cooked me a vegan meal or took me on a day trip to an animal sanctuary.
Adopt a companion friend
Now, before you all lynch me for saying it, I’m definitely not advocating going out and adopting an animal on a whim or as a Christmas surprise! It should also go without saying that I’m not advocating that anyone BUY an animal from a breeder or pet shop. If you’re considering adopting an animal, you should be sure that you’ve done your research and that you have the finances, room and time to look after them properly.
Now, with the disclaimer out of the way, let me say that Christmas is a horrible time for animal shelters as older pets are abandoned to make room for a new puppy or kitten; how wonderful to be able to give someone a forever home for Christmas! My own bunnies were adopted as gifts for my 30th birthday and the following Valentine’s Day and mean more to me than any material gift ever could.
Want to know what gift that would really make my Christmas? If some of my friends and family members decided to give up animal products – that would keep me smiling all the way until next December and beyond!
One thing is for sure – we know that vegans can be hard to buy for so we will really appreciate the effort you’ve gone to in finding our cruelty free gifts!
I’d like to turn it over to you now. What is the best vegan friendly gift you have ever received? And what are you buying for the vegan in your life this holiday season?
Cover image: Shutterstock