What To Do With Non-Vegan Gifts: 3 Options


It happens to almost every vegan at some point.

You get a gift that isn’t vegan.

It’s typically an accident, but it still sucks.

There’s not much you can do, but here are the 3 main options that you’ll have, in order of preference.

Tell Them That The Gift Isn’t Vegan


If it’s a gift from someone that doesn’t know you’re vegan, tell them that your vegan.

It’s tempting to try and not be “that vegan” in this case and just accept it and move on to the next option. But if you don’t tell them you’re vegan, you may get more non-vegan gifts from them in the future, and those are gifts you could have prevented.

But if the gift giver does know that you’re vegan already, mistakes still happen. As vegans know, there are animal products hidden everywhere, not to mention controversial ingredients among vegans like palm oil.

What then?

For store-bought gifts, try to return them.

For other gifts, explain that you appreciate the thought, but it’s not something you’re comfortable accepting, and that you’d rather that they gave it to someone else.

If you can’t do either of those, move on to the other options on this page.

Donate The Gift to Non-Vegans (or Give to Friends)

Okay, so you’re stuck with a leather wallet, cake, or whatever the gift is.

The best thing you can do at this point is to give it to someone who will actually use it. It will stop them from buying something similar for themselves at some point, which means the gift essentially had 0 impact overall (the ideal situation).

For example, you get a leather coat, and you give it to a friend who likes leather coats, which will hopefully prevent them from buying one in the future.

Use/Eat It Yourself or Throw It Out

While it’s not common, I can think of a few situations where there’s no way you can donate or give the present away.

This will mostly involve homemade food items.

As long as you let the gift giver know that you’re vegan, you’ve done all you can to prevent future gifts of that kind.

In that case, the damage is done no matter what you do with it.

So if you want to eat it, you can. I know most vegans don’t like being wasteful, but keep in mind that animal products can make you ill if you’re not used to them.

And I think you can also throw it in the garbage at this point without feeling bad about it. You’ve done everything you can, and there’s just not much you can do if someone forces a non-vegan gift on you sometimes.

If you come up with any other creative solutions to this problem, please share them with others by leaving a comment below.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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