Tis the season for gift-giving and what better way to show the vegetarians in your life (ahem!) that you put a little thought into their gift this year by giving them something that supports their animal friendly lifestyle! And PS, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to appreciate a good cruelty-free gift. These gifts are fantastic for vegans and omnis alike!
1. Restaurant Gift Cards
A gift certificate to a vegan/vegetarian restaurant, or to a restaurant that is vegetarian friendly, is always a safe bet. (Be aware, though, that while many restaurants offer vegetarian items, they may not cater well to vegans, so know what type of diet your gift-recipient follows!) To find a vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurant nearby, use Happy Cow’s compassionate eating guide and simply enter your zip code.
2. Vegan Clothes and Accessories
It can be difficult to find vegan shoes (especially cute ones), but believe it or not, they do exist. Give the gift of compassionate fashion with non-leather shoes, belts, and bags. Don’t know how to choose the right look for your gift recipient? A gift card to a vegan outfitter works just as well. For high-end vegan fashion, check out Olsen Haus where some of the collection is even made from interesting recyclables, like recycled TV screen! Some more affordable options include: Vegan Chic, Alternative Outfitters, The Ethical Man, and Vegan Pimp. And to make a more direct fashion statement, there are tons of vegan and vegetarian graphic tees. Try Vegetarian Good and Zazzle to start. (I’m getting a real kick out of this Vegetarian Zombies shirt!)
3. Soy Candles
Turns out many candles aren’t vegan. Often, candles are made with beeswax or animal-derived stearic acid. (Read why beeswax and honey aren’t vegan.) One alternative to beeswax candles is paraffin wax candles, but paraffin wax is a petrochemical – it is made from the same stuff as gasoline. The good news is that thanks to some creative environmentalists, we now have vegan-friendly, environmentally-friendly soy candles! Soy candles are made from a renewable resource (instead of bee exploitation or petroleum), they do not release CO2 into the atmosphere (like paraffin), and they also burn slower than regular candles which means they last longer. Plus, scented soy candles distribute more aroma. The incorporation of soybean oil lowers the melting point of the candle, which translates into cooler burning candles and faster scent dispersion. More than you ever wanted to know about candles?! Just know that they make excellent gifts. Kenny Co-Op has a great set of soy candles in tins and Etsy has a whole slew of soy candles.
4. Vegan Lotions, Soaps, Lip Balms, Cosmetics, or Fragrances
Fragrances, lotions, makeup, and lip balms all make great gifts for the ladies. But make sure that the cosmetics you choose are not made with animal products and are not tested on our furry friends. Some of my favorite vegan-friendly cosmetic brands include: Crazy Rumors Lip Balm where the candy cane 4-pack is my personal favorite; Urban Decay has an extensive line of vegan cosmetics including everything from lip gloss to makeup brushes to nail polish; Vibrant Naturals makes all natural, vegan lotions, soaps, lip balms, and bath salts, they also have gift baskets and even have some dog shampoos!; and The Perfumed Court has this helpful list of vegan fragrances. And if you just can’t decide, a gift card to a vegan-friendly cosmetics store would be perfect.
5. Vegan Sweets and Treats
Load up a gift basket with sweet and tasty vegan treats like vegan chocolates, vegan cupcakes, vegan gummy candies, or vegan marshmallows. Some of my favorite savory vegan selections include: Allison’s Gourmet, an all vegan bakery where you can order fudge, cookies, brownies, coffees & teas, and more (they also have gift sets); Sweet & Sara who carries vegan marshmallow treats like reindeer-shaped marshmallows, strawberry-flavored marshmallows, rice-crispy treats, and s’mores; Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe which has vegan gummy bears and lots of vegan chocolate; and Good Baker offers vegan baking mixes for brownies, cookies, cakes, and muffins. And don’t forget that most cupcake shops make vegan cupcakes!
6. Animal Adoption Certificate
Any animal lover would appreciate the gift of animal adoption. Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Farm-Animal Project gives you the opportunity to sponsor a rescued farm animal. By adopting a farm animal, you’ll help provide their food, shelter, and veterinary costs, and you’ll show your opposition to farm animal cruelty. Adoptions can be made in a gift-recipient’s name and the recipient will receive information about their adopted “pet” including a picture, his/her story, and even details about visiting their animal (should you happen to be in NY or CA). The World Wildlife Fund also has a similar program for adopting endangered species.
7. Animal Volunteer Vacations ($)
This one earned a ‘$’ because it is a pricey gift, but what an amazing gift it is. Instead of taking a ‘typical’ vacation of beach lounging or tourist site-seeing, make your next vacation one that benefits animals! There are hundreds of animal rehabilitation centers all around the world, working with all types of animals. Travel to Africa to rehabilitate rescued lions, or to Indonesia to work with endangered monkeys, or The Bahamas to track & monitor bottlenose dolphins, or Greece to save the Loggerhead turtles, or stay closer to home and camp at the Grand Canyon while supporting Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. There are so many possibilities and the durations and price ranges vary. GVI and Charity Guide both provide great lists of international opportunities. Green Earth Travel specializes in “vegetarian vacations” ranging from animal volunteer vacations to vegetarian spas.
8. Food Gadgets
If your veggie-lover loves to cook, food gadgets are the way to go. Some great items for cooking great veggies include: a vegetable steamer, a rice cooker, (or just go for the combo), a food processor, a cooking utensil set, a lemon press, a garlic press, or my personal favorite, a tofu press.
9. Vegan/Vegetarian Cookbooks or Magazines
For anyone who enjoys cooking or for anyone who wants more ideas for meatless meals, vegetarian cookbooks and magazines are an excellent source of inspiration! Some favorites are: Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian,Tal Ronnen’s The Conscious Cook, and Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet. I am a subscriber to Vegetarian Times and I think it is excellent! Some other vegetarian magazines include: VegNews and Vegan Magazine. (The Amazon links to these books/magazines are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase one of these books through my Amazon link I will receive a few cents. Anything earned through affiliate links is put towards the cost of hosting this blog. If you decide to purchase one of these items, I hope that you will choose to do it through here.)
10. Leave The Dark Side
Becoming a vegetarian or vegan, even if just for a few days, would be the best gift for your veggie friend or family member.
Breakfast: Cereal with almond milk
Lunch: Chipotle burrito bowl (no cheese, no sour cream, and free guac because it’s meatless!)
Dinner: Soy chorizo tacos