I meant to publish this post around the holidays, but instead I got busy with studying for my qualifying exams. Most of the items in this list aren't too specific to December 2008, so I thought it might still be useful for people who regularly puzzle over what to get for their favorite vegans. This list mostly reflects things I've thought about giving to vegan friends or neat gifts that I have received.
Lola's Guide To Vegan Holiday Gifts
1) Adopt an animal from Farm Sanctuary.
Pros: Your contribution covers the cost of caring for the adopted animal for one year, which your vegan friend can visit at any time. He/she will receive a photo of the adopted animal along with a biography detailing how it ended up at Farm Sanctuary. Your friend will feel good knowing that your gift is enabling a farm animal to live a better life.
Cons: Kind of pricey (chickens start at $120/year, and cows are as high as $600)
2) Buy a Vegan Cookbook.
Pros: Vegans end up cooking for themselves more often than non-vegans, so cookbooks are always useful. Some of my old favorites include: The Candle Cafe Cookbook, The Voluptuous Vegan, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. There are also a couple of exciting new cookbooks that came out in the past 6 months that your vegan friend may not have gotten around to buying for themselves yet: Vegan Lunch Box, Vegan A Go-Go! and Great Chefs Cook Vegan.
Vegan Lunch Box is especially great for parents who are trying to raise their children vegan. It contains tons of great meal ideas that can be packed in a lunch box.
Vegan A Go-Go! is a wonderful pocket-sized cookbook for the frequent traveler. It contains lots of recipes that use minimal ingredients and travel tips and a guide on how to say "I'm vegan" in a couple of different languages.
Great Chefs Cook Vegan is a compilation of vegan recipes from some of the most famous chefs in the US. The pictures are mouthwateringly beautiful but the recipes themselves are very time-intensive and often require special equipment/ingredients. I like to keep this one on my coffee table to show people who visit my house that even haute cuisine can be vegan.
Cons: There aren't THAT many vegan cookbooks out there, so there's a chance that your friend might already have the one that you end up buying.
3) Send a Gift Basket of Vegan Goodies
Pros: These are available on a number of websites (I usually order them from Pangea) and will be sent right to your vegan friend's house or workplace.
Cons: Less personal. Also, sometimes the products contained therein can be a little strange.
4) Cruelty-Free Fashion
Pros: There are a huge number of non-leather belts, wallets, purses and shoes on the market these days. Buy your female vegan friend a cute purse from Matt & Nat or a pair of vegetarian shoes from Endless.com. Buy your male vegan friend a belt or wallet from MooShoes. These presents all wrap well and provide instant gratification.
Cons: Unless you know your friend's tastes in fashion very well, this gift could end up in the back of his or her closet.
5) Gift Certificate
Pros: These days, you can get gift certificates to vegan cooking classes, restaurants, online grocery stores, Bed and Breakfasts... There are nice gift options in every price range.
Cons: Again, fairly impersonal.
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