What do you buy a Vegan for Christmas? This question had my family stumped for years. I didn’t want to add to stress of Christmas with my ‘preferences’ but when asked if leather is okay, or if it really matters that a lip balm contains sebum (sheep fat), I had to smile and softly say, “Yeah, it does sorry.” Sorry because it’s inconvenient to seek out cruelty-free gifts, not sorry because I act according to my beliefs.
I suspect that other people who choose to live a cruelty -free life, would like to receive peaceful gifts as well. I have made a few suggestions to help or inspire you.
Body Care Products /Cosmetics
Vegan cosmetics and care products do not contain ingredients derived from an animal, including animal by-products. Some common animal (not vegan) ingredients include;
*Carmine or cochineal – a red/brown colour derived from ground beatles. Found in strawberry flavored milk too.
*Lanolin – Moisturizing agent obtained from sheep fat.
* Lard/ Tallow – Animal fat.
*Milk / Whey products – Comes from cows milk.
* Silk derivatives taken from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm.
* Propolis-A resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds and sap flows.
*Elastin -A protein found in animal connective tissue.
*Hyaluronic acid or Hyaluronate- Animal connective tissue and neutral tissue.
*Lactose or lactalbumin – Derived from milk and therefore a lactating mother cow.
*Beeswax / pollen – From rearing bees. Some people will argue that bee products are vegan and others will not.
Make-up brushes are usually made from animal fur so they are not vegan unless labeled as such. You can usually find vegan, non animal-tested products in your chemist or health food store.
Look for either of these labels to prove that the product was not tested on animals, but remember that this alone does not make a product vegan.
Aveeno is one of my favourite body wash and lotion. You can buy anything from Lush which makes some divine soaps and face masks too other brands include BWC (Beauty without cruelty), Ecco Bella, Zia, Urban Decay, Gabriel Cosmetics and Vegan Vibrance Brushes.
I recommend Body Shops new line Earth Lovers which offer a range of bio-deragable, soap free body gels which smell amazing.
Sukin is an Australian brand producing moisturizers, lip balms and cleansers 100% vegan.
And here in South Korea the popular beauty store Innisfree produce a range of eco-safety sunscreens and moisturizers.
Gift Cards and Donations
There are many worthy causes vying for your Christmas penny. Some offer great perks such as discounts, a cuddly soft toy or sentimental E-cards so that you still have something tangible to offer as a gift. I give these gifts a day or two before christmas so that my (very) young siblings appreciate the gift and are not caught up in the ‘stuff’ aspect of Christmas. I have listed these as I have had an affiliation with them for sometime, and have always been happy with how they spend donations.
MercyCorps - A US charity devoted to Alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities in countries around the world.
Offer a range of gifts from $25-300 with several options in between (tax deductible). Give food, teach women to read or help train a farmer. These gifts are heartfelt and meaningful. Their website has a search toolbar which allows you to search for the perfect gift based on the receivers interests.
World Vision-We all know about the 24 hour famine, and that World Vision sponsor children. But did you know that they offer a ton of Christmas giftees.
For $25 you can give clean water to a family and for $100 you’ll help build a well. Gifts start at US$10. There’s lots of jewelry, handmade bags or education packages.
You can donate medicines, food or bed nets or even toys to brighten kids day. They offer a number of categories from ‘Education’ to ‘Hunger’, you can easily find something for your loved one.
WWF- is one of my favourite charities to donate to on behalf of my siblings who love animals. They adore the beautiful photographs or cards they receive and are very happy to know that they are saving an animal. WWF work hard to conserve the natural environment and protect endangered animals. For Christmas they sell beautiful calendars, cards, mugs and bags and (my favourite) soft toy when you adopt an animal. Prices start at $US25.
PETA is the next obvious choice for someone who loves animals and care’s about their well-being. They work towards the protection and ethical treatment of all animals, from pets to those keep to test beauty products. PETA’s gift options vary depending on what part of the world you live in, but usually range from t.shirts and necklaces, to dog houses and toys for lonely dogs. The price too ranges from as little as US$10 upwards.
Other popular favourites include Vegan Chocolates and plants. I always love receiving plants as gifts. Flowers are always better still alive.
~ Don’t buy fur. The reasons should be obvious.
~Check the back of wine to be sure it wasn’t filtered through an animal’s stomach
~Don’t buy products with excessive packaging or polystyrene (it doesn’t decompose!)
Happy shopping and Merry Christmas.