If there's a vegan on your holiday shopping list, or if you're a vegan who wants to buy gifts that reflect your values and prove to your friends and family that being plant-based doesn't mean being deprived, here's a list of great gift ideas. These items are available online, but for those of you in Sacramento, I've also listed locally-owned businesses offering these or similar products.
• Chocolates: I haven't tried Sjaak's chocolates before, but I saw them mentioned on Facebook this weekend and immediately ordered a pre-holiday gift for myself! All of their chocolates are organic and vegan. If you're looking for vegan chocolates in Sacramento, Le Grand Confectionary on Fair Oaks Boulevard sells delicious fruit glaces dipped in dark chocolate, as well as two kinds of dark chocolate bark.
• Purses: Check out the gorgeous faux-leather bags at Alternative Outfitters and MooShoes. Clearly, being vegan doesn't mean giving up on style. Both websites also offer faux-leather shoes, wallets, and belts. In Sacramento, the Pink House usually has some vegan handbags in their inventory.
• Cheese: If you haven't had the vegan cheese from Miyoko's Kitchen yet, you're missing a treat! My favorite is the Classic Double Cream Chive, but the other varieties I've tried are great too. You can order a collection online, or if you live in Northern California, you may be able to buy individual cheeses at your local Whole Foods Market.
• Beauty Products: Say no to animal testing when you buy vegan cosmetics or bath and body products from 100% Pure or vegan shaving products from Vegan Essentials. Looking great while using cruelty-free products means everyone wins! The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op also carries a great assortment of cruelty-free beauty products.
• Books: Some great new vegan cookbooks have come out in 2014: Lindsay Nixon's latest book, Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings; Mayim's Vegan Table, by Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler in television's The Big Bang Theory; Bryant Terry's Afro-Vegan; and The China Study All-Star Collection. If these books aren't available at the Avid Reader in Sacramento or Davis, or at Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills, they can probably order them for you.
• Shoes: I love buying shoes from TOMS! They're stylish, comfortable, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that for every pair I purchase, a pair of shoes will be donated to a child in need. TOMS offers vegan shoes for men, women, and children. A portion of the proceeds from some of those shoes even go to help the mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo through TOMS Animal Initiative. If you're looking for TOMS in Sacramento, Krazy Mary's on Folsom Boulevard or Sugar Shack on J Street both carry a nice selection.
If you have other gift ideas for vegans, I'd love to hear about them. Here's to a kinder, gentler holiday season!