How To Find Compassionate Vegan Gifts They’ll Love
Do you have a vegan family member or friend that needs a gift? As a vegan, I can testify that people often don’t understand veganism. It might be because people choose veganism for widely differing reasons. All this makes finding a vegan gift more complicated.
I’m here to help.
In a nutshell, the best vegan gifts help vegans eat well, live well, and nurture the environment. So your vegan friends and family would love products that do not contain meat, dairy, eggs, leather, down, fur, wool, and silk. And that the products are produced sustainably.
If you want to know more about why people choose to be vegan so you can better understand their gift wishes, read the next section. Or skip straight to Best Vegan Gifts.
Reasons People Become Vegan
Vegans vary in their reasons for changing to a plant-based lifestyle. So knowing a little bit about why your vegan chose their lifestyle will help you give them the best gifts.
Most vegans choose the lifestyle for health reasons. And it works! Vegans have better physical and mental health.
For people who choose to be vegan for their health, prioritize vegan food-related items.
Preventing Animal Cruelty
The widespread practice of factory farming of animals causes indescribable animal suffering. Factory farming of eggs and dairy is also rife with torture and death. To prevent animal cruelty, vegans choose a cruelty-free diet.
For animal lovers, focus on lifestyle-related items that are not made of animal products (vegan) or tested on animals (cruelty-free).
Saving The Planet
The single best way to help save the planet from global warming is to eat less meat. In addition to being cruel, factory farming of animals is terrible for the environment. And it is dreadful for vulnerable people. Undocumented workers often work in a slaughterhouse because the owners know that employees will be afraid to challenge the horrible practices. People who work in factory farms and slaughterhouses suffer PTSD at higher rates than in other industries.
Vegans with a focus on the environment want a sustainable lifestyle. Prioritize sustainable gifts for them.
Best Vegan Gifts
My suggestions include a variety of price points. I checked in with my local vegan communities for their suggestions and got some great ideas.
In the following sections, you’ll find options for
- sustainable gifts
- food-related items, and
- lifestyle-related items.
A beautiful way to provide sustainable gifts is to offer experiences. For example, help your activist cross an item off their bucket list!
Pack up some goodies and take them on a picnic.
Take them along to a yoga or meditation class to support their self-care.
If your family is open to new ideas, limit gifts to homemade, recycled, or upcycled items and see how creative everyone can be.
If you are skilled at sewing or crafting, make them something. A handcrafted item will be more appreciated than a store-bought one. An example of a practical, homemade gift is a reusable grocery bag made from cruelty-free fibers.
Bring the outdoors in. Provide a sapling to plant. Or seeds for their garden. (If giving seeds sounds silly, read How To Change The World By Saving Seeds.)
EarthHero is an online store that focuses on sustainability. You can search based on cruelty-free products and plastic-free packaging.
EarthHero is committed to environmental and social responsibility in all aspects of our operations, from our product selection to the way we handle office trash. We’re proud to say that we’re a Certified B Corp, a member of 1% For The Planet, carbon-neutral through CarbonFund, and Carbon Neutral Certified.
Earth Hero offers a Zero Waste Starter Kit for those who want to change how their household impacts the environment.
One member of our local community recommends the Stasher Bag to replace plastic bags.
Another loves Bee’s Wrap to replace cling wrap.
Sponsoring an animal adoption fee or an animal at a farm sanctuary is a welcome gift. If you don’t know where to donate in their honor, Animal Charity Evaluators can help. Their recommended charities are:
Subscriptions to Online Publications
VegNews is a magazine targeted at vegans.
Finding vegan food isn’t always straightforward because there is no standard vegan label in the United States. Sometimes there is a voluntary label that is likely to have a green capital V. But otherwise, you are stuck with reading labels.
So you may want to follow the suggestions below for curated vegan food options.
My vegan friends have these food items on their wish list:
Darë Vegan Cheese is based in North Carolina. Their products are starting to appear in stores, and they offer online shopping.
Charcuterie refers to meat-related products. For vegans, that means meat substitutes that mimic what you could find at a butcher or deli.
Several years ago, I visited Minneapolis and tried The Herbivorous Butcher, an all-vegan meat and cheese store. When I arrived, I was surprised to find it set up like a regular deli with glass cases where you choose which ‘meats’ you want to be sliced. They package the slices in butcher paper! Perfect for someone who wants the whole deli experience. The Herbivorous Butcher offers home delivery, too.
The Be-Hive is located in Nashville but offers online shopping. In my area, Whole Foods offers these products.
VegNews recommends a vegan charcuterie tray from Cheeseboarder.
Vegan dark chocolate is relatively easy to find, mainly because really dark chocolate rarely contains milk products. I like the brand Endangered Species.
Vegan milk chocolate is more challenging to find. Although I have not tried it, Hershey’s has an Oat Milk-based candy bar. Vegan.com recommends the milk chocolate at Charm School Chocolate, Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates, and Raaka Chocolate
I was surprised that my local Kroger store carries the Unreal brand, specifically peanut butter cups, caramel nougat bars, and chocolate-covered peanuts. So yummy and cheaper than many other brands.
Store Gift Certificates
If you are not sure what your vegan likes, surprise them with gift certificates to vegan stores so they can order their favorites.
Everyone loves Cinnaholic Bakery, even non-vegans. In fact, they are quietly vegan, not advertising this as a feature of their products. So that makes it a great place to meet up with friends of all lifestyles. Cinnaholic won the 2020 Best Bakery Award from VegNews.
Vegan Essentials won the 2020 Best Grocery Store award from VegNews.
Clean Food Dirty Girl
For someone who loves to cook from scratch, treat them to a subscription to the recipes from Clean Food Dirty Girl. These weekly themed recipes are designed for one-day of batching and minimal preparation throughout the week. The food is restaurant quality, with only oil from whole sources such as nuts and avocados. Subscriptions are $25 per month.
Do It Yourself
Gifts from your kitchen are always welcome, and your vegan will be impressed that you chose to create a vegan dish. And perhaps you’ll find some recipes that you can incorporate into your life.
Vegans who love to drink have vegan options. Barnivore is a database for vegan wines, beers, and hard liquors.
Vegan.com has a list of wines to look for (and an explanation of why most wines are not vegan):
Popular Brands of Vegan Wine
- Charles Shaw from Trader Joe’s (red wines only)
- Frey Vineyards
- Lumos Wine
- Red Truck Wines
- The Vegan Vine
VegNews recommends the Vegan Wine Club.
- Budweiser and Bud Light (USA)
- Coors and Coors Light (USA)
- Miller Lite, High Life, and Genuine Draft (USA)
- Heineken (Netherlands)
- Beck’s (Germany)
- Corona (Mexico)
- Pacifico (Mexico)
- Skol (Brazil)
- Tsingtao (China)
- Snow (China)
- Harbin (China)
Most of them are okay, except those that are creamy, such as Kahlua.
Food Preparation Tools
There are few vegan-specific food preparation tools, so anything a foodie would like will likely be welcome. The Minimalist Vegan has food preparation ideas and excellent recipes.
My vegan community recommends:
My local vegan community cookbook expert recommends anything from Vegan Richa.
The vegan community is buzzing about The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma’s Kitchen by Joanne Lee Molinaro.
One of my favorites is The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples by Miyoko Schinner.
Digging into what ingredients are in beauty care products is enlightening and often disturbing. Fully vegan products contain no animal parts. Cruelty-free products are not tested on animals but may not be vegan. And many products include chemicals people should avoid.
Vegan Beauty Review lists brands that are both vegan and cruelty-free.
My vegan community suggestions:
Ecco Bella lipsticks.
Kinder Beauty monthly subscription box. Each box has 5 cruelty-free, vegan, and eco-friendly beauty products in it. A great way to try new products.
Good quality locally made vegan soap. In my area (East Tennessee), try Dandy Soap. They also have an online store.
Small House Farm is run by Bevin Cohen, seed enthusiast and author of Saving Our Seeds — The Practice & Philosophy. In addition to selling seeds, they offer personal care products and pressed oils straight from their garden. I love the idea of supporting someone who is working hard to protect the diversity of our foods.
Many vegans like to wear T-shirts with vegan advocacy slogans. My favorite T-shirt is my Vegan For Everything because it represents all reasons for going vegan.
I also like to support Dr. Michael Greger’s work at Nutrition Facts. Mostly I donate to the site, but I just purchased a “Plants are the best medicine” t-shirt.
To browse a list of vegan shoe brands, Vegan.com has a shoe roundup.
Tom’s offers some vegan shoes and a solid corporate social responsibility philosophy.
One of my community members has better sports shoe options on his wish list, including running and hiking boots. All running shoes at Newton are vegan. (Not a recommendation: If you are a fashionista runner and hugely wealthy, Gucci created a new material called Demetra, which you can buy in $950 running shoes.)
World of Vegan features vegan hiking boots.
Animal Outlook highlights vegan sports equipment.
When I went on my first vegan tour, my fellow travelers made me realize that I needed to up my vegan button game. Buttons are great conversation starters and a great way to advocate for veganism.
You can give them the flair they need by ordering from The Herbivore Clothing Company. These are great stocking stuffers at $1 each.
When I asked my vegan community for gift suggestions, one person suggested a vegan Lamborghini. I like how he dreams big! I don’t think there is a 100% vegan car because animal products are often used in materials production. Still, there are ways you can minimize your car’s impact on animals. (And I checked. No vegan Lamborghinis, but they do offer a leather-free model.)
At my city’s VegFest a few years ago. I came upon something I didn’t know existed — a vegan travel agency. Kim Giovacco launched Veg Jaunts and Journeys to offer vegans a chance to travel together and eat fantastic vegan food. I’ve been on two vegan tours (Italy and New Mexico) and loved every minute. Highly recommended for those with a big gift budget.
I recently learned about Air BnBs for vegans. Consider scheduling a getaway.
The Nomadic Vegan, Wendy Werneth, is a traveler, author, and tour guide. She led us through the Italy tour, and I have such a vivid memory of the two of us sitting in a square in San Gimignano eating vegan gelato and chatting. All by itself, that was wonderful, but then a flash mob broke out!
Wendy’s website highlights vegan options in cities around the world. And you can purchase her book, Veggie Planet: Uncover the Vegan Treasures Hiding in Your Favorite World Cuisines at Amazon.
Want to Make Sure You Have The Perfect Gift?
Since you are reading this post, it is clear that you want your gift to be special. The easiest way to make that happen is to check in with your vegan and ask:
- whether they have a wish list,
- what brands and stores match their values, or
- would they like an alternative to a gift, such as an experience or donation to a favorite charity.
My go-to place for vegan information is the wonderful website Vegan.com. Erik Marcus supports the website with Amazon affiliate links. If you link to Amazon from his site, you support his vegan advocacy work at no cost to you.