How to Buy Gifts for a Vegan

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Buying gifts for vegans can definitely be a challenge. Even if you steer clear of foods, can you be sure that the gift you pick doesn't contain some secret animal ingredient? Considerate vegans are aware of the challenge that this puzzle presents to non-vegans, but everyone would be happier if their gift were something usable. So, if you have vegans on your shopping list, consider the following points.

Presents for Vegans

  • Give vegan snacks. This may seem like the scariest possibility of all, but it can be worth it. Food is an extremely popular gift, especially among people who don't know each other well, and vegans should be no exception. Vegans may be even happier to receive appropriate foods than others, because they rarely encounter gifts they can eat. To be safe, pick a food that is labeled as vegan, and something that most people would enjoy. For example, don't assume that your coworker would like a sprouted lentil burger for her birthday just because she's vegan but some vegan candy is a fairly safe gift for a vegan.

  • Choose clothes that are made out of plant-based materials such as cotton, linen, tencel, hemp, or rayon. Vegans avoid wool, because it comes from sheep, and silk, because it comes from silk worms. There are very good substitutes available, though, if you really want to use these materials.

  • Choose soy wax candles. Vegans avoid beeswax because it is made by bees, but soy wax is safe because it comes from a plant. Standard wax candles, which are made from petroleum products, are technically vegan, but since many vegans are also health-conscious and ecologically concerned, many may prefer not to burn these types of wax.

  • Shop for personal care products at a health food store. If you would like to give a gift involving bath products or cosmetics your best bet is to pick a natural product that contains only ingredients you recognize, and make sure none of them are derived from animals. Common culprits here include beeswax and lanolin (from sheep). Another benefit to making this selection at a natural store is that the employees may be able to help you figure out if a product would make an appropriate gift for a vegan.

  • Choose bags, belts and other accessories that are made out of cloth or other materials, rather than leather. Since it comes from dead animals, leather is never an appropriate gift for a vegan.

Tips & Warnings

  • This guide applies to strict vegans who never use any products from animals. Some people may identify as vegan although they use one or more products that technically come from animals (a common exception is honey and beeswax), so when in doubt, check with your individual vegan.

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