Vegan Christmas Gift Guide 2017
If you’re a vegan, buying another vegan a gift in the holiday season is a piece of cake.
If you’re not a vegan, this can be a daunting task. There is so much stuff that’s off the list.
Handbags? Gotta check they’re not made out of leather. Ditto wallets, belts, and shoes.
Clothing? Make sure there’s no animal byproducts, or leather or fur trim snuck in somewhere.
Food? No christmas cake, chocolates, mince pies or butter tarts — unless they’re specifically made without eggs or milk or butter!
Beauty products? Milk, lactic acid, and honey sneak their way into many products. And then there’s the animal testing issue…
So here’s a gift guide to help those poor souls who are a bit confounded by vegan gift buying! We’ve broken it down into interests, to give it some order.
We’ve included gift ideas from Australia, America, and Canada, where most of our readers come from. But if you know of any awesome brands or products that ship worldwide that we haven’t included, feel free to let us know 🙂
These are my personal favourites in footwear. In particular, I love the Melissa’s by Vivienne Westwood range, as pictured to the left. These Lady Dragon Orbs are currently on sale for AUD $109
They range from trendy to classy, they’re super comfortable, and they’re impregnated with a cherry scent – so your feet actually smell good too!
Aside from looking and smelling great, all Melissa plastic shoes are created with a zero waste ethos and particular attention to the life cycle of materials. Melissa recycles 99.9% of factory water and waste, and they recycle overstock styles into next season’s collection.
Melissa also donates monthly to support local homeless children and pregnant women (as well as massive donations of shoes) and also donates part of its monthly income to developing green urban areas.
Founded by Elizabeth Olsen in NYC in 2008, Elizabeth is an advocate against the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation and entertainment.
Olsenhaus’ focus is to provide beautiful pieces that show fashion can be affordable, beautiful, and cruelty free.
For colder climates, check out Bourgeois Boheme’s Emily boots. I would have had my eye on these if we were still in Toronto for the cold weather this year. The Emily boot is described as “the ultimate vegan leather dress boot for when you want to make a smart impression whilst staying warm during the colder months ahead.”
BoBo for short, “BoBo combines original British design and ethical materials and production, creating a collection that doesn’t just look good; it feels darn good, too.”
Their shoes look as polished as any leather pair, but are made without any animal-derived materials such as fur, leather, wool, silk and animal-based glues, or even PVC. They use high-quality, Italian-made cotton-backed microfibre PU (polyurethane), textiles and natural materials.
Active wear is the new casual wear, and what could a vegan want more (aside from a world of no animal cruelty or human caused death, of course) than cute vegan active wear? The Vegan Pho Tank is one of my personal favourites as an avid fan of mushroom and tofu pho, but I have a special place in my heart for the A Happy Pig is a Alive tank. Pair a tank with some cute, green veggies leggings and you’ve got a gorgeous vegan workout outfit 🙂
The Dharma Store says “We are a brand that believes fashion and awareness must be connected. We do it for you, so you can be a seed for change and also have cool graphic tees that align with your convictions.”
Even vegans want to look and feel like rockstars sometimes. Check out Delikate Rayne’s vegan leather offerings. I love their bustier and skirt.
Delikate Rayne describes itself as using “…innovative animal-free textiles, clean lines, and asymmetrical cuts [to] create a harmonious blend of compassion, luxury, and street style. DR’s immaculate craftsmanship and an aesthetic embodying edgy elegance, infused with an understated glamour, result in sleek must have separates for every wardrobe.”
Jill Milan makes some of the most covetable handbags and accessories for vegans that I’ve ever seen. These pieces can take you from the office to high tea to clubbing.
Not only are these handbags made by hand and are completely cruelty free using natural materials, a portion of Jill Milan proceeds are donated to organizations that rescue and retrain former racehorses. Without the aid of these non-profit groups, frequently horses are at risk of being shipped to Canada or to Mexico for slaughter.
And OMG THEY ARE VEGAN AND AMAZING. They’re also gluten free, if you can’t tolerate gluten!
Aside from chocolate biscuits, Leda also produces a range of gluten free, dairy free snack bars.
LEDA Nutrition currently produces 14 gluten free products which are sold throughout Australia and New Zealand, through major Supermarkets & Independents and Health Food stores. And, we’ve found their biscuits, bars, and rum balls in Rimping in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Canadian Vegan Goodies
If you’re in Toronto, Canada and want sweet treats, you can’t go past Bunner’s bakery in Kensington Markets. The bakery opened up mid 2014, and I only got to experience it for a month before we packed up from Toronto and moved on to Thailand.
Though, it was a little too tempting it seems, as I managed to lose a few kilos promptly on our relocation to Chiang Mai! Bunners is also gluten free as well as dairy free. If you visit, please make sure you have a butter tart. They are things of beauty!
Urban Herbivore, Sweets from The Earth, and a range of other brands we featured in What Do Vegans Eat For Dessert are also delicious and would make any vegan in Toronto happy!
There are a range of fantastic vegan cookbooks we’d recommend, no matter where you are in the world. Our personal favourites are: Thug Kitchen, Fuss Free Vegan, and Fresh Cookbooks. Each of these books is really different, so even one of each would be a great gift.
Not only do vegans like dessert, but they like alcohol too!
Many wines and beers are made with egg whites, fish bladders, milk, pig and cow tissues (gelatin), and crab and lobster shells (chitin) as part of the refining and colouring process.
Some great vegan friendly wines and sparkling drops are Korbel Natural Champagne, Yalumba – An Australian wine, vegan as of its 2011 vintages (except for their sparkling wines), Pfeiffner Wines in Rutherglen, James Erskine of Jauma Wines in the Adelaide Hills, and Moet (NB: Moet also owns companies which are not veggie or vegan friendly).
The same products can be found in beer refining. We learnt at Steam Whistle that due to purity laws, German beers are always vegan friendly.
Corona, Asahi, Saporro (NB: when in Asia stick to Asahi and Saporro – Tiger and Leo are not vegan on my last check), Budweiser, and Heinekin are also vegan friendly. Australian vegan friendly beers include James Boags, Coopers, and Little Creatures (NB: Little Creatures’ beers are vegan, their ciders aren’t).
I’m a fan of Australian ciders, and love Hillbilly Blue Mountains Apple & Pear Cider. It’s made 100% from apples and pears, with no added flavours or sugars, and it’s naturally fermented in Bilpin. In the 2014 Australian cider awards in October, Hillbilly Pear cider won ‘best in class’ and the Hillbilly apple won a silver medal.
My latest favourite Ausssie beer is Burleigh Brewing Co’s Bighead. When questioned if their processes involved any animal products or by-products, these local Queensland brewers are quoted on Barnivore as saying “No way! We don’t use any of that stuff!! Just real beer. The way it was meant to be.” At 88 calories a bottle, Bighead is a low cal, no-carb beer that really hits the spot on a hot Aussie summer day around Christmas time.
The Beauty Girl/Boy
One of THE best skincare products on the market is also vegan, cruelty free, and paraben free. It’s also formulated by one of the most respected dermatologists in the industry. I’ve been using Dr. Dennis Gross products for years now and it’s one of the best things I’ve done for my skin. If you swim in chlorine water, the moisturisers are fantastic!
You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to know about Lush skincare. They’re probably the most well-known animal friendly, anti-cruelty skincare store in the world. Whilst not all of their products are vegan, 83% of their products are vegan. The instore workers are all very knowledgeable and can tell you which products are vegan and which aren’t, and you can filter your online searches easilty for vegan products. There are a stack of cute Christmas themed bath products out at the moment which make great stocking stuffers.
I am a huge fan of buying from small business. After traveling extensively through the United States, shopping at Walmart, and learning about the effect of Walmart’s negotiating tactics on suppliers down chain, and on small business, I’ve decided to actively support as many small businesses as I can.
Dirty Hippie cosmetics is an all natural, indie Australian cosmetics company run from Canberra. Some of the products are vegetarian rather than vegan (the honey and wax comes from the owner’s best friend’s own bee hives), so just be mindful of your purchases for vegans.
We’d be remiss not to include something from our temporary home of Chiang Mai in Thailand.
Using traditional methods, Sabu Sabu creates a vast range including castile soaps, shampoos, facial care products, household cleaning solutions, and children’s products. Their vegan friendly products are clearly labelled. I’m currently using their lemongrass and charcoal soap. I’m loving it on my skin, face, and even my hair!
The Outdoors Type
Many of WW’s products include animal products, but they also have some fantastic natural and synthetic products which are vegan friendly. Its bamboo socks are soft, comfortable, anti bacterial, moisture wicking, insulating, and eco-friendly. And they’re made of cruelty free 90% Bamboo 10% Spandex. There’s also a Polypropylene range of thermals, made of thermoplastic polymer.
Vaute Couture make fantastic swimwear that is beautiful, and functional, vegan friendly, sweatshop free, and eco-friendly. The perfect combination for an ethical living sun, sand and saltwater lover <3
The company is based on Brookyln. The team is comprised entirely of women, and aims to have models of all body types when it passes the pre-production stage.
I’d be a bad Australian, and a bad swimmer, if I didn’t include Speedos here. For the serious atheltes, there’s the high range Fastskins. For the more casual female swimmers, there’s the beautiful Sculpture range. Originally made of silk, speedos are now combinations of spandex and nylon.
Brace yourself for the price. This is not cheap yoga and pilates wear (particularly if you’re in Australia where it costs more than the US or Canada). But these leggings and bras are worth it. If you’re larger in the bust area, like I am, the Ta Ta Tamers are the best sports bras I’ve used.
And the high rise long leggings got me through cold Canadian winters, while the ¾ leggings are wicking away the sweat on long walks and hard pilates sessions in Thailand. Lululemon uses its own blend of fabric called “Luon”, which is preshrunk, stretchy, and wicks away moisture from your body when you sweat. The lycra ensures that the fabric will never “stretch or bag out,” while the nylon provides coverage.
If you actually spend the winter outdoors in the snow (rather than tucked away inside in your houses and SUVs like most Torontonians I know), you need some hefty gear.
Whilst my motley assortment of synthetic ski gear from Australia with layers of leggings and shirts seemed to miraculously hold up in walks for hours in -30ish degrees, I really wanted fancy materials that the US military used that were structurally superior to bird down. North Face uses Primaloft, which is vegan friendly, light, and doesn’t lose its waterproofness. This is its Elevation jacket for women, which I really like.
Vegan Wares is a a sustainable vegan store in Melbourne, Australia, that has a range of hiking boots for men and women. The Ranger Boot for women looks particularly sturdy and I like the brown ankle boots.
The Health Guru
If you know a raw vegan (what’s a raw vegan? Head over here and have a look at raw food), they’ll probably appreciate a course of juices for after the party season. Now, juice cleanses are a controversial thing as to whether they are good or bad for you. I do them a few times a year and feel great for them.
Most vegans I know have healthy diets, so a day, 3 days, or even a week of juice is not going to harm them or even make them feel a bit off. But if you have a vegan in your life who lives on fries and Oreos, this will be a rude shock to their system. It’s not a good idea for someone to jump straight into them when they have a diet high in processed foods or too much protein.
In Australia, I’m a huge fan of the Lucky You Cleanse. The founder, Heidy, is originally from California, where raw, fresh, unpasteurised juice cleanses are really popular. It’s the only company in Australia to offer this type of juice.
In America I tried the Blue Print Cleanse, which is easy to have delivered no matter where you are in the States, and you can even purchase individual juices in Whole Foods Market.
Vega protein bars have got me through many “hanger” situations when travelling. In airports, hotels that don’t do vegan breakfasts (or substantial ones for that matter), and on planes and buses, I take vega protein bars with me. Sadly, I couldn’t stuff a suitcase with a six month supply to take to Thailand with us, so I managed to run out in my first week here! Vega also does the best (in my humble opinion ;)) protein powder available for vegans who work out, and comes in a range of tasty flavours.
Most pilates and yoga studios allow you to pre-purchase classes. In many parts of the western world, these aren’t cheap, so it’s a really considerate present for someone who loves their pilates and yoga practice. In Australia, I did Ki Yoga with Janie Lamour at The Centre of Yoga in Darlinghurst and Penrith, and with Lisa Telford at Yoga For The Seasons. In Toronto, I did yoga and pilates classes at Core Studio on Queen Street West (disclosure – I used to work at this studio on Saturdays and received free classes).
These are our top picks for vegan gifts this Christmas. What sort of presents are you buying loved ones for Christmas?
NB: Some of these companies listed are entirely vegan, ie: vegan products, vegan owned, and no affiliation with any other companies who are not vegan (e.g. The Vegan Box & Vegan Cuts). Others are partially vegan, partially vegetarian (like Dirty Hippie Cosmetics and Lush). Some are owned by parent companies who own other companies that produce animal products (like Moet). It’s up to each individual to do their research and come to an informed conclusion about what is ethically acceptable to them. Personally, I will buy vegan products from companies that are owned by companies who are not vegan – if their vegan companies and products do well, it encourages growth in vegan products becoming more available and widespread. And as the ladies at The Power Plant put it, would you stop buying vegan products at Coles because they also sell meat?”