I have a thing for eclectic home decor that leans more toward industrial than anything else. Wooden beams, faux fur blankets, cozy candles, loads of books and movies, sleek and modern lamps, light countertops, but dark cabinets. A blend.
It’s no surprise that I really enjoy my woodland Christmas theme. It’s faux fur blankets, a roaring fire, and plenty of animal ornaments on the tree. Even my wrapping paper has foxes and rabbits on it this year.
This got me thinking about how being a vegan has impacted this holiday season for me, and upon analyzing, there’s been about five ways I’ve incorporated it into Christmas. Let’s see if you can do the same!
1) Gifting small, vegan stocking stuffers.
This year, I went to a local farm called Butler’s Orchard. It’s run by a family, and they use their land to grow fruits and vegetables, and even have a store where they sell work from local artists, so it helps the art community as well. They don’t have animals on the farm, with the exception of 4 goats, which are just pets, and are ethically kept. No chickens, no cows, no dairy selling, or slaughter house connections.
When I went to Butler’s this year, I found this awesome line of organic soap made from herbs and coconut oil. It’s vegan friendly, and smells divine, so I bought two for stocking stuffers.
I think it’s the little things where you can truly make a vegan stamp for Christmas. Gifting something that’s ethically and locally made. And it makes everyone happy, even non-vegans.
2) Celebrate animal friends with your tree!
When we put the tree up, I really wanted it to celebrate the vegan lifestyle, which is all about animal rights. I love animals, and it made me super happy to find ornaments everywhere we went. Target, Walmart, Butler’s Orchard and even Starbucks had ornaments that we ended up getting for the tree. Owls, squirrels, foxes and bears. Raccoons and wolves, whales and even yetis (yes it’s cryptozoology, but it’s still an animal)!
So don’t be afraid to use your tree as a vegan focal point. Even if it’s not animal related, or woodland like mine, you can opt for sparkly fruit, vegan patterned ribbon (think animals, or the vegan “v” logo), or just say no to store bought and use nature’s gifts instead.
One year, I went outside in fall, picked up at least 100 pinecones, and then added glitter to them using Mod Podge (get it at a craft store, it’s a version of glue that dries clear). Those were our ornaments that year, along with white string lights and ribbon from a previous year.
3) Using organic, fruit-based scents.
You can use candles or other air fresheners, but I find that a nice vegan-approved way of making your home smell amazing is to use what nature gives us. Recently, I used oranges and cloves to make it smell nice. Read all about it, and other natural scent ideas in my other post!
4) Cooking a vegan Christmas dinner, duh!
This is a given. There’s vegan bread, vegan meat substitutes, salad, vegan gravy and cocktail recipes. Every meal known to man can be made vegan, I’m sure. There’s nothing we’ve been thrown at that we haven’t turned vegan. Whoot!
So, as such, inviting people over and preparing dinner is a fantastic idea. Our food is delicious, so having non-vegans over isn’t a big deal. And if you’re OK with it, and they don’t feel weird about it, you can always have them bring their meat if they want.
5) Recycle your tree!
Plenty of people use fake trees that they put away after Christmas is over. And while I dislike the idea of cutting down trees for temporary aesthetic purposes, I do also enjoy a real tree. The way I see it, people will be growing and selling and cutting down these trees regardless of whether I want them to or not. They grow at about an inch per year, so these trees are grown expressly for Christmas. They’re destined to be cut down.
I find that having a real tree serves a dual purpose though. For instance, what we like to do is cut it up and use it for firewood once Christmas is over. We always make a fire to keep warm and get cozy in our living room, so instead of getting more kindling or firewood, we just take the axe to this tree and use it for several months afterward. In essence, it’s grown not just for a month out of the year, it’s grown to be our holiday tree, and then to be our firewood for about 6 months (the entire fall and winter season). It suddenly gives the tree more use, and makes it feel less of a mean thing to do.
In other parts of the country, and I’m sure the world at large, these trees can actually be helpful too. In Galveston, TX, an island along the Gulf of Mexico, people drag their trees to the beach and bury them in the sand. This creates a natural erosion barrier, which in turn helps the island and its inhabitants. So those people may be cutting down a tree, but they’re eventually giving it back to nature in a different way.
And there’s always the fact that for every tree you take, you can grow another. Our Christmas tree this year brought two seeds. I took one, and gave my dad the other, and the plan is to use them to grow new trees to make up for the ones we took this year.
I hope you’ve all found awesome ways to incorporate compassion into your holiday season! If you have other ideas, or did something cool this year, let me know in the comments!