Wednesday 9 December 2015

2015 Vegan Holiday Gift Guide

The more time I spend out of the UK the more I am determined to break out of old habits and customs like buying unnecessary things that clutter up my life and don't add any value or support something (or someone) awesome. The holiday season is the hardest time to step away from consumerist tendencies as the shops are filled with shiny baubles, tempting treats and ultimately pointless but fun things like glittery reindeer and plush Christmas trees. 2014 was the year I decided that I would no longer buy things that didn't add value to my life - yes I am occasionally going to buy frivolous things (I'm not a robot!) but no more impulse purchasing and no more crap. This means that my main holiday gift recommendation is to only fill other peoples homes with things that will enrich their lives, amuse or delight them. Things that serve a purpose, things that you know they'll love and things that support businesses or artists who are doing something cool.

I love to support vegan artists especially, no matter the time of year, and My Zoetrope is always one of the artists at the top of my list. Her calendars always bring a smile to my face with each month's seasonally appropriate animal illustration. I bought Michelle's calendar every year without fail (well, right up until the moment that I decided to leave the country) because it's oh so cute.

You can pick up the totes adorable 2016 Calendar from My Zoetrope on Etsy for $25

Another of my very favourite vegan artists is Lisa aka Panda With Cookie. Her fun handmade eco-felt plush ornaments and cat toys have been fave's of mine for some time and because they're made from recycled plastic bottles rather than wool felt they're 100% vegan.
Her custom cat and dog ornaments would make an adorable gift for the animal lover in your life, just send Lisa a picture of the animal in question and she'll be able to render them in plush. How cool is that?! If you're looking for a gift for the coffee fiend or doughnut lover in your life then the Breakfast of Champions magnet set would be a wonderful choice and if you're already the crazy cat lady that I aspire to be you couldn't go wrong with a Catnip Pizza Cat Toy for your whiskered pal.

Grab a custom cat or dog ornament for $20, a Breakfast of Champions magnet set for $15 or a Catnip Pizza Toy for $5 from the Panda With Cookie online store

If the person you're buying for is a traveller at heart they'll need their art to be something they can take with them on the road. This makes these bad ass patches the perfect gift. I've been lusting after Chiaralascura's Vegan Pizza Gang patch for months and the only reason it isn't on my backpack already is because I don't have an address to send it to. If I was gonna join a gang one that features pizza heavily would be top of the list. The second patch is the bad-ass, body posi and feminist as fuck Thick Thighs Save Lives patch which the awesome Lacy from Super Strength Health alerted me to recently.

The Vegan Pizza Gang patch is available here for €12 and the Thick Thighs Save Lives patch is $12 from here

For the chocolate lover in your life there are a million and one great vegan options out there these days, finding something free from dairy is almost as easy as popping into your nearest grocery store but are all of these options truly cruelty free? Sadly not. Thanks to the Food Empowerment Project my eyes have been opened to the realities of child slavery which, to this day, is used in the production of so much of the vegan (and non-vegan of course) chocolate on the market. As I've been vegan for long enough that it doesn't feel like a challenge any more I decided that it was about time that I started paying more attention to where my chocolate is coming from. This hasn't been easy thanks to my transient lifestyle and, honestly, I'm not 100% ontop of it when it comes to eating out but I'm no longer buying chocolate that comes from areas where child slavery is rife. Thankfully the Food Empowerment Project make it easy to find out what's what with their free Chocolate List app and there are a tonne of great options for holiday gifting.

I get myself some Booja Booja as a gift every year and nothing feels cosier than curling up with a book in front of a log fire DVD devouring a box of these truffles. The gorgeous colourful boxes from the new chilled collection would make the perfect gift for anyone hosting you this holiday season and Almond and Sea Salt and Hazelnut Crunch are my two fave' flavours. Booja Booja's Chilled Collection can be found all over the UK in selected Waitrose and Holland and Barrett stores as well as independent retailers. Prices start from £3.99.

If there's a raw foodie on your list this year then Pana Chocolate is the way to go. In fact, raw or not, these bars are deliciously dark, decadent and delish'. My very favourite bar is the Sour Cherry & Vanilla bar which they've included in both holiday themed boxes. You can choose between the Happy Holidays box that contains Cinnamon, Mint, Fig & Orange and Sour Cherry & Vanilla or the Merry Christmas box which includes Coconut & Goji, Mint, Raw Cacao and Sour Cherry & Vanilla. These Pana Chocolate boxes are priced at AUS $29.90 and can be purchased here. Pana Chocolate also have UK site where boxes are priced at £13.90.

If you're based in the US or Canada then you're in luck when it comes to truly cruelty free chocolate options. I was lucky enough to try Chocolate Hollow for the first time when I was in Austin earlier this year (Thanks VVC!) and you really can't go wrong. The Chocolate Hollow range is wonderfully diverse but the Hazelnut Gianduja Log is the stand out for me so grab a bar for yourself as well as one for every stocking you're thinking of stuffing. The Gianduja Log is priced at US $4.49 and can be bought online from here.

Last but by no means least is Lagusta's Luscious. Their decadent offerings are indeed luscious, hovering at the high end of the vegan chocolate spectrum, their chocolates will astound you with their depth of flavour and blow your mind with the sheer inventiveness of it all. Seasonal specials include such delights as the Hazelnut Sugarplum Caramel Bar, Orange Cranberry BonBons and Drinking Chocolate Spheres. Prices start at US $6 for a simple semisweet bar and go up to US $150 for The Caramel Collection. The US $65 Winter Wonderland Box would be my choice and you can't go wrong with a decadent S'Mores Bar priced at $8.

If cookbooks are your friend, father or lovers jam then you can't do better than some of this year's most exciting vegan releases. I haven't been able to cook from any of these yet but I've been hearing nothing but great things and, having met everyone behind these books, I can guarantee that your money is going to great people.

Teff Love by Kittee Berns is an ode to her favourite cuisine on earth, Ethiopian. Jam packed with recipes for everything you need to start creating your own Ethiopian feasts, from berbere spice blends to injera and beyond, this would make a great gift for the more adventurous cook in your life.

Eat Like You Give a Damn is by the duo behind Portland store Herbivore, Michelle Schwegman and Josh Hooten. It is the cookbook of the year for new vegans and would make the perfect gift for anyone who makes you food whether they're knowledgeable about nooch or not!

The Taco Cleanse cookbook is the brainchild of four Austin-based, self-proclaimed, taco scientists and it is literally the only cleanse I will ever get behind. This grade A silliness is right up my street; eat tacos all day, every day for a month to reach fuego level or just dip in a toe with a mild, mood-improving one day cleanse. Like all good diet books (barf) this book features an exercise section (taco yoga with Amey) as well as a chapter on (boozy) supplements and they've even thrown some inspirational quotes in there for good measure. 

All of the above books can be bought from great independent retailers like Herbivore or Rabbit Food Grocery as well as awful online retailers that will ship everywhere for free. Customers in the UK can shop for Teff Love or Eat Like You Give a Damn at Hive which is a great alternative to the well known book giants.

I hope that this gift guide has given you some awesome ideas for the people you care about, yourself included, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season if you're into that kinda thing. I'm currently in Cambodia and I have no idea where I'll be spending Christmas (the holiday I usually celebrate) or if even if I'm actually going to miss it. Time will tell!


  1. I want that thighs patch! I want it so bad!

    1. Me too!! As soon as I have spare cash and a postal address it's mine!

  2. Replies
    1. Of course! I wish I'd been able to order some of your stuff this year!

  3. Thanks JoJo!!
    I need that vegan pizza gang patch...

  4. Ahh, you're the best! Thank you for including me! 😊

  5. I don't know about it's better to give than to receive - I might end up giving myself one of those calendars and a box of Booja Booja and call it a good Christmas!

  6. Such cute gift ideas, love the calendar. :-)

  7. I just have to say, this was definitely the best gift guide that I saw anywhere on the interwebz this year. I didn't even bother making one this year, because this guide already existed. So right on!


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