I was going to do some epic Christmas gift-guides this year. I really was. I was even excited about doing them. Not really sure what happened but, with the influx of various gift guides already doing the rounds on my social media feeds, I lost my festive mojo a little. Long story short, I've compromised. This post, whilst being packed with last-minute festive treat ideas and stocking fillers for your vegan or dairy-intolerant loved ones (we're really not that difficult to buy for if you know where to look), is also dedicated to anyone who wants to indulge themselves with plant-based goodness over the festive season.
Vegan Life Magazine - December '15
If you're planning a cruelty-free Christmas there's no better place to start than with the December issue of Vegan Life Magazine*. This issue has you covered with recipes, gifts and vegan news and stories. Their subscription packages also make for amazing gifts for anyone looking to explore plant-based living in the new year. Doing Veganuary in 2016? This is your perfect companion! You can read via your tablet or pick up a print copy at Sainsburys, Tesco, WHSmith and other stockists.
Artisan Grains Cashew & Cranberry Roast
I'm a huge fan of the Artisan Grains nut roasts. I've usually got one in the cupboard ready for my next roast dinner. They're also a hassle-free, last-minute Christmas dinner option. Just add water and bake in the oven. I'll be having this cashew and cranberry one on Boxing Day though, as part of a buffet. You can grab these roasts in Holland & Barratt, Tesco and Ocado. There are several varieties to choose from and all come with the TLC stamp of approval.
The Vegan Kind Monthly Subscription Box
Let's talk about The Vegan Kind for a second: Their lifestyle boxes are the highlight of my month, every month. This month I've got two boxes to delight my palette. Their regular December box (I'll be unboxing TVK26 over the weekend, so stay tuned for that) and a one-off Christmas chocolate selection box, which is staying firmly sealed shut until Christmas day. TVK subscriptions are a real treat for anyone, not just for vegans. They always find the perfect combo of sweet and savoury snacks, eco-friendly and cruelty-free toiletries and household items, as well as interesting ingredients you may have never thought to try before. Perfect Christmas gift!
Moo Free Chocolate
Moo-Free have saved my chocolate cravings many a time over the last 2 years. Last year was my first Christmas as a vegan and I was scared to death that I wouldn't have any chocolate to line my stocking. Then I came across the Moo-Free selection boxes (available in Holland & Barrett, Sainsburys and other supermarkets) and advent calendars. As it turns out, this year I am practically overflowing with chocolate, but I still couldn't resist adding this mini chocolate santa bar to my festive stash.
Booja Booja Fine De Champagne Truffles
If you want to go all-out posh with your choc this year, you've got to go for Booja Booja. There are loads of different varieties and flavours of these rich, naughty, truffles (including this box of 12 champagne truffles I received as a gift from my gorgeous boss) and they're widely available from Holland & Barrett, Waitrose, Ocado and other stockists. Don't be put off by the price - this box comes in at £9.49 - I can assure you the quality is more than worth it as a Christmas indulgence. As an added bonus, these chocs are also gluten and soy free and are made with coconut oil.
Choc Shot Spiced Orange Liquid Chocolate
I'm still bummed about being unable to indulge in many of the festive seasonal selections at the likes of Costa and Starbucks, due to the presence of milk powder. Terry's chocolate orange is also off-limits. I'm seriously looking forward to mixing this extra special edition Choc Shot with some hot oat milk and smothering it in soy whip and marshmallows (see Freedom Mallows in the above pic - available from Holland & Barrett). This will be my Christmas Eve treat I think. You can pick up Choc Shot in most supermarkets. It's also perfect drizzled over desserts and porridge.
Harper's Bizarre Handmade Soy Wax Candles
Couldn't not mention Harper's Bizarre, could I? These candles are one of my favourite things at the moment and Victoria has, once again, come up with some gorgeous Christmas fragrances this year. My favourites include Jingle Bells, Holy Moley and Figgy Pudding. There is still some availability on the Harper's website for these Christmas candles, but be quick! I can also recommend their entire range. For a few of my other favourite Harper's winter smells, see this post.
More Top Festive Tips
- Stalk supermarket free-from aisles for dairy and egg free treats such as dark chocolate pennies, chocolate santas and other nibbles.
- Loads of supermarket own-brand mince pies are accidentally vegan. Aldi's mince pies have no dairy or egg ingredients at all and are an absolute bargain!
- Holland & Barrett is your best friend for DIY vegan/gluten-free Christmas hamper fillers, as well as veggie party nibbles, non-dairy cheeses and roasts.
- If you want to be super-lazy, there's still time to order yourself (or a loved one) a luxury, vegan-friendly Christmas hamper. There are loads of options now. Planet Organic, Archie Browns and Hotel Chocolat all have amazing vegan and vegetarian selections and can still ship in time for Christmas.
- Of course, you could always give a gift to the animals on behalf of a vegan/vegetarian loved one. Many animal sanctuaries, shelters and charities offer sponsorship gifts. Why not adopt a turkey? Or donate food and hay to rescued animals?
I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year. Last year was the trial run and this time around I'm 100% on the ball and ready. I'm catering all of the veggie options at my family's annual Boxing Day gathering and have enough treats in my hoard to keep myself, my gluten-free sister in law and my dairy-free niece extremely happy over Christmas.