Christmas is coming up and as a vegan it’s not just the food you need to plan and think about or worry about the family and friends who ask “why can’t you just eat meat/fish today and put aside your veganism for the day” or the family who joke that “all you can eat is salad” or “vegans are drinking the fishes home or eating the cows food” type of jokes. I am lucky that no one in my family says things like that to me or asks me to “just eat meat today”, but i know others are not as lucky!
As a vegan you also need to think about gifts a little extra, such as …. what happens if i receive a gift that isn’t vegan? For example make up, hair products, skin products even clothes or candles can be non vegan. It can be hard enough knowing what to buy yourself but then trying to tell others all the things that aren’t vegan can feel like too much or complicated.
I don’t know how it is in other people’s families but in mine we usually just give one special gift to each other or we receive gifts that we really need but don’t buy for ourselves or can’t afford. Also i am lucky that my family really take into consideration my veganism and last year i received vegan and cruelty free make up, a subscription to a vegan cooking magazine and even vegan chocolate as well as money to buy what i really needed/wanted. I was so thankful that the make up i recieved was vegan because it is always a little embarrassing to have to ask the person giving you the gift if they kept the receipt or have to sell or give away the gift.
For the younger generation it might be easier to tell them that if they are buying you gifts to maybe stay away from certain things such as anything with leather or wool, maybe buy present cards in stores instead of actual products or suggestion items where there is very little risk it could be non vegan. For elderly people it may not be so easy to know what is vegan or not vegan and tring to explain may take too much time and energy or you may feel like you are ungrateful if you are trying to explain, but then just suggest no gift or something that there is little risk it won’t be vegan!
So… what do you do if you recieve a gift that isn’t vegan. It can be considered very ungrateful to ask if they kept the receipt so maybe that isn’t the first thing you want to do, however if it is a close family member or friend then maybe they will understand if you explain why you would like to exchange the gift. Otherwise you can always try to sell or give away the gift. Or depending on what it is you could keep it and then explain to the person giving you the gift that it isn’t vegan and maybe avoid buying that product again and explain which products or brands in the same category are vegan for next time or if they buy a similar gift to someone else.
If i receive non vegan food i give it away and if it is make up or example beauty products then i see if i can swap the products for another one at the store or online company it was bought, however if it is example a lipstick which is almost vegan but contains beeswax or honey then i might still use it but just explain to the person that for next time they might keep that in mind.
All of this can sound very ungrateful and many don’t have the confidence to talk to their friends or family about it and i understand that. It is also up to you what you want to do if you receive a non vegan gift, it will happen sometime in your life and it is your choice to make. Even if you may not have bought the product the problem if you use it is that you then “condone” the usage of it and even promote the usage of it. For example, if i receive non vegan make up or beauty products and use it and then my friends ask what brand it is and i tell them and then they go buy the same brand, then i have basically promoted and encouraged my friends buying non vegan products. But instead if i use vegan products and my friends go and buy the same products then i have promoted the use of that brand or product…. so that is one of the reasons why using non vegan products isn’t a good idea even if you personally haven’t bought it. It’s a bit like saying “Oh, i didn’t buy the dairy ice cream but i will try it anyway because it is not ME who is promoting or adding to animal cruelty. “… I mean if that’s how it worked then all vegans could just go take free dairy and meat products because “they aren’t contributing with their own money”…. but it still creates a demand even if *you* didn’t spend the money.
However this is just my thoughts. And when it comes to receiving gifts my best suggestion is to remind friends and family that you want vegan products if that is what they are buying or to ask for present cards or money so you can buy the products/items instead and not have to worry about receving non vegan items.
And what about buying present for others? Does it need to be vegan?
My answer to this is yes…. because even if YOU won’t be using the product and it is not for you, if you buy a product that isn’t vegan you are increasing the demand for that product even if it isn’t specifically for you. Also the problem is if you example buy shampoo that isn’t vegan for a friend and they love that brand and keep buying the same brand then you have promoted and encouraged the use of a non vegan product. So my suggestion is to buy vegan products for others as well… i mean why buy dairy chocolate for others when you could buy non dairy chocolate? Or why buy non vegan make up when you could buy cruelty free and vegan make up? etc etc
This is my opinion on it anyway. What are your opinions? Do you buy vegan gifts for others? And what do you do if you receive a gift that isn’t vegan?