Monday, February 10, 2020

Valentine's Day Gifts - For Vegans

Valentine's day is just a couple days from now and maybe you're someone who plans far in advance and you are really just looking for some final tips, or maybe you've only just begun thinking about it! 

With how commercial this holiday has become there certainly always seems to be pressure to get it just right. This can be difficult whether you have been dating someone for only a couple weeks or if you have been dating for many, many years - after all, it is still Valentine's Day so there is bound to be some expectation.

To add an extra bit of spice, maybe the person you have to shop for is Vegan and you have no idea what to get them. This will mostly be guided towards those who are non-vegan who need ideas for their vegan date, but even if you are vegan planning for another vegan maybe there is something here to spark an out-of-the-ordinary idea for you as well.

Regardless, let's start out with what not to get a vegan for Valentine's Day: 

Do Not Get Valentine's Day Chocolates

If you have ever walked into - really any store - you've seen the red-colored, heart-shaped boxes filled with different chocolate assortments. Cue Forrest Gump's quote "Life's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get."  - Which actually can pertain to this situation. A vegan does not consume any animal by-product including dairy. Since more often than not the chocolate is "milk-chocolate" due to it being sweeter and more popular, that would be the first strike. But even if it wasn't only that, the chocolates are often filled with caramel (usually made with butter and milk or heavy cream) and other fillings made with artificial ingredients which could have some traces of dairy behind it. 

Unless you can verify the treat is vegan-friendly, you are safer choosing a different gift.

A Steakhouse Dinner Is Probably Not The Best Idea

I feel like this goes without saying, but since most people default to a dinner date as a Valentine's Day plan I'll put it here for good measure. As I mentioned before, vegans do not eat meat or anything that came from an animal like milk, butter or cheese. So taking a vegan to a steakhouse where every option on the menu has meat as the main attraction, or sides smothered in cheese or butter, this will surely make your date feel uncomfortable. 

It is not that it cannot be done, I've been to steakhouses as a vegan and just ordered a bunch of sides to create my meal but I had to be very meticulous with the waiter. I had to explain that I was a vegan - which already felt uncomfortable because it's like well if you're vegan, why are you sitting in a steakhouse - and then I had to ask about creating a special meal out of sides and making sure no sides came with any butter or had any cheese on them. 

When it comes down to it, there are not many fully-vegan restaurants around especially depending on your location. If you're more rural, there may not be any fully-vegan restaurants around period. With that being said, vegans are generally on top of their game and can usually make something work on a menu, even if that means settling for a house salad. For Valentine's Day though, if you are trying to impress, steer clear of the steakhouses. 

Clothing or Accessories 

I'm not sure if people even gift things like this for Valentine's Day, but if this is a type of gift you are used to giving/receiving you may want to re-think it. For most vegans, their veganism is carried much further than just what they choose to eat. For many, they will also choose not to use any clothing, accessories or cosmetics that have been created using animal products. Keep your distance from products using fur, leather, wool, silk or feathers and if you feel you must get something of this category stick with plant materials such as cotton or something man-made like polyester, nylon, etc. 

All of the vegans I have ever met are very nice and compassionate people. Though I'm sure they would be grateful for receiving a gift, it may be best to keep their morals and feelings in mind so they do not have to try to be polite and reject it. 

If a vegan IS on your list take a look at some options below which I'm sure would please them, maybe even surprise them! 

Take Them To Their Favorite Vegan Spot  

Now I mentioned no steakhouses earlier but if you are interested enough in this person to be planning Valentine's Day with them, then I'm guessing you have been out to eat with them hopefully at least once and hopefully you have been introduced to their favorite spot! Vegans just know where to go, it must be like a sixth sense we get when we convert so if you are dating a vegan, just ask them their favorite vegan spot - there's no doubt they'll tell you and may even be surprised that you would be interested in giving their food a try. 

Plan A Vegan Dinner At Home

I don't think you could surprise a vegan more than by personally cooking them a vegan meal at home (this goes especially to those who are non-vegans). They will be so appreciative of the thought and effort that went in to researching a recipe and executing it. Also, with this idea there are no reservations to deal with, no reason for your vegan date to ponder over the menu to find something it is in your full control. Which may sound intimidating, I know, but it really is the thought that counts here. 

Eco-Friendly Products

If your date is vegan because of environmental reasons, then getting something that is an eco-friendly product would be right up their ally! Not only would they be surprised by the different type of gift, but they'll know it's thoughtful as well. There are so many trendy eco-friendly products on the market right now such as reusable bamboo utensil sets, silicone reusable zip-lock bags, even cute reusable shopping bags. Doing some good for your date, while also doing some good for the Earth .. I mean sounds like a win-win to me!

Flowers, Yes Flowers 

When it is all said and done, Valentine's Day is just a day to celebrate the love you have for one another. It doesn't have to be fancy, it can be anything that you and your date feel is right for each other. Flowers are a safe thing to go with, they are always beautiful and will always be appreciated - unless you get someone who just hates flowers or something. 

I hope this is helpful and gives you some idea of what to gift your loved one this weekend. The most important thing - in my book - is sharing time together and doing things to make each other happy. Sure, people would say "We should love each other every day, not just on Valentine's Day" which I agree with, but some days are tougher than others and sometimes egos get in the way. So, if we need one day to reel ourselves in and put someone else before our own self then I'm happy that Valentine's Day exists to serve that purpose.  

With much love, XOXO

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