‘Tis the season for chocolate, nut cheese and Love Actually! Christmas has always been one of my favourite times of year. There’s one part of the holiday season, however, that I don’t look forward to, and that is the stress associated with picking out the perfect gifts for the ones you love. I know you know what I’m talking about!!!
In an effort to relieve that stress, we’re going gift-free this year. If you’re a minimalist (or you’re gifting one), make a mutual agreement to skip the gifts altogether! Minimalism FTW. (Imagine a holiday season without traffic and mall chaos?!).
For those still hunting for the perfect presents (I get you!!), here’s a big (vegan) gift guide that includes some of my favourite things and experiences that will hopefully help relieve some of your stress. Also, scroll down for a list of my favourite shops, kitchen essentials, cruelty-free beauty products and stocking stuffer ideas.
Here are my top picks for quality vegan gifts…
Vegan Holiday Gift Guide
For the friend who has it all (or that person you just have no clue what to buy), make a donation in their name to a charity or non-profit they’re passionate about. This might seem like the easy way out of buying a gift, but I bet it will truly be appreciated. A few of my favourite non-profits: Cici Life Farm Sanctuary (pictured), Animal Justice, Vancouver Humane Society, Mercy for Animals, Sympathy at Slaughter.
I just love Native Shoes. They’re animal-free, stylish and super comfortable…I live in mine year-round! I also love that these guys are a local Vancouver company passionate about connecting the plant-based community. My favourite style of Native Shoes for winter is the AP Rains (they’re the perfect dog-walking boot).
As a minimalist-in-training, I’m embarrassed to say I own four Saje diffusers. I’m quick to remove anything from my home that doesn’t get used, but truly, all four Saje diffusers are used on a regular basis. The essential oils scents can transform a room, especially the new ‘foresty’ blends like Stanley Park and Central Park. Rainforest is another of my favs essential oil diffuser blends and I’m loving this new Aromatree Acacia diffuser. For the holidays, I’ll be diffusing lots of ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ which smells like cinnamon-y desserts. I also just love supporting this local, family-owned company because all their products are 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free.
Animal Lover SWAG
Not Milk! A slogan guaranteed to be loved by all vegans. This amazing sweatshirt is by LA-based blogger Vegetaryn who has more options (like, “Lettuce Eat Plants”) here. I also like the vegan apparel made by Vegan Police Shop (a mom living on BC’s Sunshine Coast!), whose popular slogan is, “I don’t eat my pals,” “Be Nice Go Vegan,” and “Ferocious Vegan”. Shop them here.
Giving a gift as a book sounds totally boring — I agree. But when the book is loaded with meaning, I think it will be appreciated! Here are a few of my favourite books that have changed my life:
- “How Not To Die,” by Michael Greger
- “Project Animal Farm,” by Sonia Faruqi
- “The China Study,” by Colin T. Campbell
- “Ishmael,” by Daniel Quinn
- “The More of Less,” by Joshua Becker
- “Rushing Woman’s Syndrome,” by Dr. Libby Weaver.
If your friend isn’t into paper books, buy the audio book or kindle version.
A few of my cookbooks that don’t collect dust on my shelf:
- Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking by Dana Shultz
- Vegan For Everyone by America’s Test Kitchen
- Rawsome Vegan Baking by Emily Von Euw
- My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season by Sarah Britton
- The Juice Truck: A Guide to Juicing, Smoothies, Cleanse, and Living a Plant Based Lifestyle by Zach Berman, Ryan Slater and Colin Medhurst
- Raw. Vegan. Not Gross by Laura Miller
- The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright
- Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face by Lauren Toyota (currently only available for pre-order)
Almond Mylk Making Kit
Making homemade almond milk can change a life. It is so delicious, this creamy drink is on my ‘top 5’ favourite things to consume list. To make a kit, you’ll need:
- 1-2 nut mylking bags (I use this one from Prana online – love it)
- Raw nuts (Costo online or Persia foods has good deals)
- Vanilla (I’m not loyal to one brand)
- Maple syrup
- Sea salt
- 1-2 nice 1L jars (to store the mylk – Gourmet Warehouse has a huge variety)
BTW: the recipient of this gift will also need a high-powered blender to make the mylk.
Feather Free Winter Jacket
If your family is ready to ditch the animal feather-filled jackets in lieu of a vegan option, consider these brands: Arc’teryx (Darren just got this one and is loving it), Wully Outerwear, HoodLamb and Vaute. I hear MEC and Fjallraven also have options but haven’t tested any of them out besides Arc’teryx.
Janaki Larsen Ceramics
These are my favourite dishes and bowls. Scroll my Instagram feed and it’s hard to find a plate or bowl that isn’t made by the incredible Janaki. Buy them online or at her Mount Pleasant studio, 7e7 Atelier St George (warning: she sells out quickly!).
If you are constantly splurging on expensive micro greens, an Urban Cultivator is a great investment! It’s a climate-controlled, self-watering indoor garden that lets you grow up to forty different types of micro greens. It’s a magical experience to garnish your meals every night with freshly-snipped greens – it doesn’t get fresher than this! At about three-feet-high (the size of a wine fridge), this beautiful appliance is perfect for small spaces, too.
- Cooking class at Nourish (ask for a vegan version of the ‘Ottolenghi Effect’ class)
- Cooking class at The Dirty Apron (they have a vegan class!)
- A farm sanctuary visit to The Happy Herd (40-min drive from Vancouver) or Cici Life Farm Sanctuary (near Nelson, BC)
- A surprise visit to the SPCA or another dog rescue group to search for a furry friend
Plant Art by Greenstems
Heather March is the floral artist behind Greenstems who’s made a name for herself designing the most beautiful ‘living walls’ in Vancouver. She’s behind the large 6′ x 4′ piece we have in our home that you’d never guess is preserved. She uses green dyes on dead moss and leaves to create vibrant scenes that add nature vibes to your home. Since Christmas is almost here, this gift would have to be delivered as a promise and made in the new year.
Any of these would make an amazing gift for the cook or aspiring cook in your life:
- High-powered blender (I use a Vitamix Ascent Series 3500 but swear my old Pro Series 300 did just as good a job)
- Food processor (I use an Omega Food Pro and love it mainly because it’s not too loud)
- Glass jars for storing dry goods (I got mine at Gourmet Warehouse, IKEA, Welk’s and Delish General Store)
- Massive frying pan / casserole dish (this is the white one I always use for stir-fries in my IG stories)
- Cast iron pan (mine was about $50 from Ming Wo)
- Stylish toaster (love my SMEG)
- Glass carafe for 1L smoothie drinking (the delicate spouted one I always use is from CB2)
- Spiralizer (for zucchini noodles etc – I use an inexpensive GEFU from Gourmet Warehouse – it does the trick)
- Microplane (for zesting lemon, grating garlic)
- Mandolin (essential for thinly slicing cabbage, cucumbers etc – I use a $40 Benriner from Gourmet Warehouse)
- Quality, stylish cutting board (I love mine from Vancouver-based Pacific Design Lab)
- Lissu linen tea towels
- Japanese knife (amazing steel, so sharp – I use this one for everything)
Vegan Leather Purse
Mat and Nat’s purses are so beautiful – they’re better than leather! As for styles, there is TONS of variety (backpacks, shoulder bags, big purses etc – I even use one as a camera bag) and they’re sold at a lot of stores around Vancouver (use the store locator on their site). One of my favourite places to shop them is Front & Company on Main Street.
Cruelty Free Beauty Products
I’m no connoisseur of makeup or beauty products, but I recently found a few seriously amazing items that I’ll share because they have been a game-changer for my skin and make-up routine. Of course, they’re vegan and cruelty-free.
- Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation – the skin tones are amazing and the texture of this makeup is simply perfect (bought mine at India Rose Cosmeticary)
- Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer – I put this on after my moisturizer, before my concealer to help with the smooth/easy application of concealer and to add a glow to the skin
- Too Faced Bronzer – the colour is great and it smells like chocolate
- K’pure Naturals – ‘Time Out’ facial mist (patchouli, orange, bergamot, almond etc) is my favourite
A few of my favourite places to shop for vegan, cruelty free beauty products in Vancouver:
I never pictured myself loving something like Google Home but it came as a surprise gift in the mail, and I have to say, it’s pretty sweet. Sometimes I forget what day it is, and I just ask Google instead of having to hunt for my phone. When I’m cooking with messy hands, I ask it to set a timer for me. If I want to add an item to my grocery shopping list, I add it verbally. My favourite part, however, is the music. Google Home connects to your Spotify account and you can ask it to play any song or any genre of music.
Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Opening the stocking was always my favourite Christmas part on Christmas morning. It always contained a lifesavers booklet, a toothbrush, flavoured toothpaste and lots of other small goodies. Here are a few ideas for vegan stocking stuffers.
- Blume latte mixes (turmeric chili is my fav)
- Activated charcoal (from The Soap Dispensary)
- Jar of turmeric / a whole bunch of spices! (I get mine from Eternal Abundance who now has an online shop)
- ZIMT Chocolate bars (maple smoked salt + rosemary and coconut are my fav)
- B12 vitamins (I get mine at Body Energy Club)
- The tiny, info-packed book, “Stuff Every Vegetarian Should Know,” by Katherine McGuire
- Saje essential oil diffuser blends (my favs: Rainforest, Stanley Park, Central Park)
- Pack of Vanilla Beans (found at most grocery stores)
- The Almost Chocolate Bar by Beta 5 and The Juice Truck
- Nut Parm Cheese by JUSU
- This glass / cork portable coffee Mug by keep cup (I bought mine at Elysian)
- Nut mylking bag (I use this one from Prana online – love it)
- Gift cards from plant-based restaurants (The Juice Truck, The Juicery Co., Roots + Fruits, Kokomo, Lucha Verde, The Acorn, Eternal Abundance, or view my full list of favourite veg restaurants here)
- To Die For Breakfast Cookies and Coconut Peanut Butter Power Balls! (shameless self-promotion)
Note: if you’re looking for neutral-coloured stocking, the ones I bought last year were made by Justine of Tuk + Milo. She’s amazing but just had a baby so if you’re interested perhaps put in an order for next year.
My Favourite Shops
If you’re looking for some cute Vancouver shops to browse in, here are a few of my favs:
- Charlie & Lee, 223 Union St
- 7e7 Atelier St George, 7 E 7th Ave
- Nineteen Ten, 4366 Main St
- Harlow, 655 E 15th Ave
- LYNNsteven, 225 Carrall St
- Old Faithful Shop, 320 W Cordova St
- The Juicery Co. Main St location (tons of cool swag above and beyond their edible offerings), 4236 Main St
- The Soap Dispensary, 3718 Main St
- Nouvelle Nouvelle, 302 W Cordova + 208 E 12th Ave
- Turf, 2041 W 4th Ave
I’m sure I’ve forgotten so many things! Feel free to send me a message if you think there’s something I should add…I’ll be updating this list! Merry Christmas!!