The holiday season is a time to get together with your friends and family—and eat a lot of yummy vegan food. The smells of evergreen trees, soy peppermint lattes, and Scotch Tape used for wrapping gifts are in the air.
Whether you’re looking for that perfect gift for your best friend, parent, other half, or sibling—or you just want to treat yourself—always make sure you’re giving gifts of peace and happiness that don’t harm animals. Check out this list of some of our favorite cruelty-free holiday gifts as well as what to avoid when shopping for that special someone this year:
When buying hats, scarves, gloves, or slippers for that friend who always seems to be cold (guilty—I’m that friend!), check labels to make sure they’re angora-free and wool-free. In the wool industry, lambs’ ears are hole-punched, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated—all usually without anesthetics or pain relief. Undercover footage has also revealed that on wool farms in the U.S. and Australia, sheep have been punched, stomped on, kicked, and even killed during the shearing process.
On angora farms, rabbits often have their fur violently torn out of their sensitive skin while they’re fully conscious and screaming in pain. They must endure this torture every three months. Rabbits who have their fur cut instead of plucked also suffer. Their limbs are tied up, and their bodies are stretched out. The cutting tools often leave them injured.
No need to fret, though—you can keep your hands, feet, and head toasty without contributing to animal suffering. Tons of stores sell cruelty-free winter accessories:
Bonus points if you’re knitting your own hats, scarves, or gloves for someone this year. Check out this guide to vegan knitting.
2. Bath Products
Let’s face it: We’ve all had those friends who are super-hard to shop for. Suddenly, it’s almost time to exchange gifts, and you still haven’t gotten them anything … body lotion, perfume, cologne, or any bath products are always my go-to gift. After all, who doesn’t love smelling irresistible?!
Unfortunately, Victoria’s Secret has recently started selling its products in China, which means the company is now required to perform cruel and unnecessary tests on animals. The good news is that TONS of other companies refuse to sell in China and remain 100 percent cruelty-free. Check out our list of products that you should buy instead of shopping at Victoria’s Secret, including products from these brands:
- The Body Shop
- Bath & Body Works (Although Bath & Body Works is owned by L Brands, which also owns Victoria’s Secret, it isn’t expanding into China and remains committed to its cruelty-free policies.)
- Lush makes gift-shopping super-easy with its prepackaged holiday box sets.
- You can also find cruelty-free lotion, face masks, and makeup remover at Forever 21 and H&M.
Did you know there are hundreds of thousands of companies that have pledged to be cruelty-free? Check out our extensive list.
3. Weekend Duffle Bag
Know someone who loves to travel? Ya know … friends whose social media are filled with awesome photos of their weekend camping trips and the best vegan food from city to city? Hook him or her up with one of these leather-free weekender bags:
Stick one of these “Fake, Not Leather” pins on your own bag to let everyone know you support only cruelty-free fashion and accessories.
4. PETA Tote and Reusable Cup
Not only do reusable bags and cups make awesome gifts, they also help our planet. When you buy gifts from PETA, you’re also helping animals. It’s a win-win-win situation! Check out these options:
5. Vegan Kicks
When shopping for new shoes, it’s important to check the label to make sure you’re investing in a cruelty-free pair! It’s handy to get to know the different symbols that are used to identify materials so that you can quickly figure out if the shoes you’re eyeing are made of leather or synthetics. Materials such as polyurethane and PVC, are always great animal-friendly options.
We could talk about vegan shoes all day (there are SO many), but let’s start by saying so long to UGGs. Check out these great alternatives that look just like the real thing—minus the gross dead skin:
Most of the leather in the U.S. comes from India, where cows are often marched hundreds of miles in the heat without food or water. Then, in the slaughterhouse, their throats are cut, and they’re often skinned while they’re still alive. Ditch the suede and leather shoes, and instead opt for imitation suede and synthetic materials. The Vans and TOMS sites have entire sections dedicated to vegan kicks. Lots of other popular brands, like Birkenstocks, Macbeth, Adidas, and Converse, make vegan shoes, too.
The holiday season is the perfect time to get someone you love a new wallet that isn’t made of dead cow! Check out The Vegan Collection, Matt & Nat, and Herbivore Clothing for your cash, card, and coin carrying needs. More options, you ask? Check out this exclusive PETA wallet.
Whether that special someone enjoys cooking traditional American foods, cuisine from around the world, or just microwave-friendly dishes, there is a plethora of vegan cookbooks to please all taste buds. Here are a few of our faves:
Print these bookmarks for an extra touch.
8. Synthetic Sports Gear
Know someone who’s asking for sports gear this year? Animals like to run, roll, and play just as much as we do. Make sure that they can get their playtime, too, by opting for sports equipment that doesn’t use sheep intestines, pig skins, cow hides, or other animal materials.
Here are a few great animal-friendly options:
9. Nail Polish
Oh, the wonderful, colorful world of cruelty-free nail polishes. Say, “Bye, Felicia!” to brands that confine animals to cages and rub chemicals in their eyes and on their skin. Many cruelty-free brands—like wet n wild, L.A. girl, and Manic Panic—can be found at drugstores, Target, or Walmart. Check out our complete guide to cruelty-free nail polish for more ideas.
If you ask me, nothing says, “I appreciate your existence,” more than chocolate does. Chocolates make great stocking stuffers, too. Check out this vegan chocoholics survival guide for your dairy-free chocolate wants (and needs).
11. DIY Cookies
Maybe you need help deciding which cookies to leave with soy milk for Santa this year? Or you’re looking for that extra-special final touch to the perfect holiday gift? Show people the magical world of vegan baked goods by baking them their favorite holiday cookies. These easy holiday recipes are just as delicious as their nonvegan versions (if not more so), and they don’t require any animal suffering: