Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

Santa is forecasted to haul his substantial rump into his sleigh in only a few short weeks. With the spectre of vegetarianism and veganism spreading throughout the populace with only a shade less vigour than the seasonal flu, one would hope that you would choose to gift the veggie on your list appropriately. I suggest large sums of money, preferably in cash.

Ah, but you’re thinking of something more meaningful, perhaps? Something that screams lifestyle validation, something tactile that will signify that you, the gift giver, has indeed taken the requisite time to come up with something keenly apropos. Fear not and read on.

The following are a range of gift ideas for any budget, gender or taste.  These pickings go a bit beyond the bargain-bin vegetarian cookbook most of us receive year after year. Believe it or not, vegetarians and vegans have lives outside of their food choices, though there are a few common threads that bind us together that, with a little thought, make us easy to please as the holiday season dawns upon us. 

For the fun-loving office vegan:

Every office has one. The fresh-faced vegan who fills the communal fridge with seitan sandwiches and soymilk. Everybody loves a calendar for their workspace, and Sarah Kramer, Canada’s darling of vegan fare, delivers a great one, filled with recipes, tips and jaunty vintage-inspired artwork. 2010 Go Vegan Calendar, by Sarah Kramer. $25. 

For the hard-walking vegetarian:

Reusable coffee mug? Check. Esoteric indie-rock collection? Check. Can quote Naomi Klein? Check. The Unswoosher clodhoppers by the fancy-pants leftoid pub, Adbusters, are perfect for walking the walk. Designed by the dapper Canadian shoe magnate, John Fluevog, and made from organically sourced hemp and repurposed tires, your lucky giftee will the belle of any benefit. The Blackspot Unswoosher boot. $95. 

For your animal loving lover (adults only): 

Some could argue that ingesting animal products is one thing, but I maintain using them during your… quiet time is quite another, even if that is steak on your plate. Hathor’s Aphrodesia creates product for the active lover that are organic, glycerin-free and made in Canada. Hathor Aphrodesia personal lubricant at Womyns’ Ware. $25 (4 oz.).

For woman who makes veganism look good

Canadian handbag designers Matt & Nat consistently churn out deadly, compassionate designs that focus not only on the fashion-forward, but the accompanying carbon footprint. Using vegan “leather” and recycled suede liner, this heavenly bag will fill her with guilt-free girly glee. “Stellar” handbag, Matt & Nat. $220. 

For the do-gooder veggie: 

George Costanza and his Human Fund aside, holiday charity donations are always a good idea. Farm Sanctuary is a non-profit that shelters farm animals, and who work to promote kinder, compassionate lives for our winged and hoofed friends. Farm Sanctuary Holiday Sponsorships (varies in price).

For the budding gourmet vegetarian:

An animal-free foodie without a good kitchen knife can be tragic. Us veggies are hard on our blades, and a cheapo knife won’t take us far for long. Truly ethical kitchen knives are hard to procure, but the best bet is one that won’t need throwing away anytime soon. Many chefs swear by the beloved J.A. Henckels. (Note: Be careful to whom and why you gift a sharp item). J.A. Henckels kitchen series. House of Knives. $60-$150. 

Finally, truth be told, many of us, be it vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, adore a new cookbook for the holidays. For my favourite vegan cookbooks, see here