The festive period is usually a joyous time spent with family and friends, it’s just a shame that our happiness normally comes at the expense of animals. It might not be so obvious but animals are massively overlooked when it comes to Christmas: puppies are bought as presents and then often abandoned at shelters, millions of turkeys are killed and roasted for dinner, foxes are hunted on Boxing Day (despite the ban)… The list is endless. If this makes you feel slightly uncomfortable then let’s take advantage of the Christmas spirit to help animals instead of ignoring the suffering that takes place. I have a few ideas…
1. Donate to Charity
This might be the most obvious option but it is a very selfless act! It’s quite hard to blindly give over money when we don’t know how they are using it, whether it be to help the animals directly or to pay someone’s wages. If that is one of your concerns then I would highly recommend you check out Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE). ACE research animal charities and find out which ones save the most lives per dollar donated. Whenever I have spare cash I always use ACE to figure out where to donate.
Recommendation: If you are looking to donate this Christmas then please do check ACE for their charity recommendations unless you have a rescue shelter/animal charity that is close to your heart. Donating to charity also works as a fantastic Christmas present for family and friends if they are passionate about a particular animal.
2. Become Vegan!
The most direct way to save animals (and the planet) is to stop eating them and their by-products. Using the Vegan Calculator, I found that since going vegan I have saved:
- 2,144,409 litres of water
- 1,442 square metres of forest
- 9,322 kilograms of grain
- 4,687 kilograms of carbon dioxide
- 515 ANIMAL LIVES!
By not eating an animal for Christmas day dinner (at least!) you would be saving a life – seems pretty appropriate on such a festive occasion. You can go a day without meat, right?
Several of my friends have even gone veggie/vegan for my birthday in past years. This year, Mega Bestie Andaroo has suggested that he may go vegan for January as my Christmas present – best Christmas present ever!
Recommendation: If you like the idea of cutting animal products out of your diet but you don’t think you can go vegan, why not consider going vegan for one day a week or at least trying some of the amazing vegan alternatives out there. Another idea is to give up one of your favourite foods, for example: give up sausages for a month. You never know, you might realise that you can live without sausages 🙂
3. Donate Your Time
Giving up your free time to help animals is an incredibly valuable way of donating to charity, sometimes even more so than money. Shelters are a very necessary but expensive way of saving lives and sometimes it is far more helpful when you donate your time to your local rescue. Several ways of donating your time at a rescue could be cleaning, fund-raising, fostering animals and if you’re not very hands-on then you could contact some charities about volunteering remotely (this is what I’m currently doing).
Recommendation: There are many ways that rescue shelters and charities would love you to help out. If you’d like to donate your time to a rescue but you are unsure of how to go about it or which one to try then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can find one together.
4. Compassionate Clothing
Some of my favourite clothing has vegan messages, it’s a wonderful way of spreading a compassionate message to a vast range of people and you don’t even have to talk to them! If you, your friend or family member has a particularly strong opinion about animal rights then a great way to express it is through slogan clothing. You can find slogan clothing from independent sellers, charities and even mainstream businesses that donate a portion of their sales to non-profit organisations.
Recommendation: Check out Etsy for an incredible array of independent vegan clothes designers. My particular favourite is Munky Make owned by an incredibly talented clothes designer and activist. I have purchased several of the items featured in his Etsy shop. Another terrific, more mainstream, company is Sand Cloud. Their mission is to save marine life and 10% of their profits are donated to non-profits that support their mission. Otherwise if you’re looking to purchase direct from a charity then I would highly recommend checking out Mercy For Animals.
5. Vegan Food
If you’re looking for something small and inexpensive to send out to your loved ones then food is the way to go. In keeping with the Christmas spirit, it is also important that this gift is not at the expense of an animal and therefore vegan. Lovely Friends Alba and Victor gave me a basket of yummy vegan food for my birthday, it was such a mega, thoughtful present!
Recommendation: I would highly recommend Booja Booja truffles for an inexpensive vegan Christmas present. My favourite are the stem ginger ones which are currently priced at slightly over £10 on Amazon (link here).
You can be assured that I have received NOTHING from ANYONE for writing this blog post and all opinions are genuinely my own. On top of the recommendations above, I have sooo many more ideas for Christmas presents and ways to have a compassionate holiday time (but Wonderful Husband says that a long blog post is a bad blog post) so get in touch if you’d like to find out more. Additionally check out the mega blog Beauty for the Brain for some environmentally-friendly Christmas ideas and tips.