Sure, it’s already the middle of December but do you really have all of your holiday shopping done? Oh, you do? Well dang – cheers to you for being way more on top of it than me and this conversation can just go ahead and end right now. Oh wait, what was that? I misheard you? Phew – I was beginning to think I was the irresponsible one in this friendship!
Are you one of those people who agonizes over where your product was made, the material that was used to make it, the animal products (or lack there of) that went into it, and the foot print it took to have it shipped to you? Well then you are pretty damn picky and exactly like me! You could just do two click shopping on Amazon and hope it all shows up at your doorstep next week or you could make sure that the money you spend is an example of what you believe in and who you think you should support. We have all learned to vote with our money by shopping at the local farmers market and support local farmers but what about everything else we purchase? What about the furniture you decide to fill your home with? Was it made in a sweat shop on the other side of the world? What about the toys you purchase for your niece and nephew? And the shoes you got on sale at a department store last week?
I don’t know where you live (thankfully – that could get creepy!) so I can’t tell you where to shop locally but I do have a few gift ideas that are perfect for any location. Hopefully these products will help you get off that fence you were dangling on with what to get your boyfriend, niece, wife, etc:
Rescue Chocolate – I honestly can’t think of better combination than chocolate and puppies. There are so many occasions that I can think of where I need to get someone a simple gift (friends for Christmas, a neighbor watching our dog for the weekend, celebrating a friend getting a promotion) and this site lets you send chocolate as a gift WHILE having your money go towards animals in need. All of the profits that Rescue Chocolate makes go directly to the animal organization that they are supporting that month. So next time you are planning on buying a little gift for a friend or are looking to treat yourself, why not help out a few animals while in the process?
Pick Me Meal Plan – I recommend trying out a vegetarian meal plan like Pick Me if you want to remove meat from your daily routine but aren’t too crazy about planning out the best way to do that. They make eating vegetarian incredibly easy with weekly emails that show up in your inbox every Sunday and guide you with a grocery list and a full menu for a week full of healthy, cruelty-free meals. Why not give the gift that keeps on giving all 2015 long?
Aromi Beauty Products – I just discovered this Minneapolis brand a few weeks ago and I am hooked. Not only do their products last longer than most all-natural cosmetics but they don’t test on animals and they create their goods in small batches. I snagged this lipstick (which I’ve worn dozens of times since getting it and love love love) but I bet their sample packs would be a perfect stocking stuffer for any guy or girl!
Ellovi Body Butter – I like small brands and businesses that focus on only a few products because I know they are obsessing over those products being the best of the best. I was sent a sample of Ellovi body butter last fall and basically fell in love. As a baker and cook, my hands are constantly chapped from the non-stop dish piles that occur on a daily basis (did I mention that we don’t have a dishwasher?). I try to stay away from commercial lotions as they are usually chocked full of chemicals and irritate my skin more than the dryness does but Ellovi’s all natural butter hydrates without all the chemicals. It leaves my skin rejuvenated and I’ve pushed the product on one too many friends so now I am pushing it on you! To top it all off, the company is run by a vegan couple with really cute pets!
Lush Cosmetics – Not only does this company condemn testing cosmetic products on animals but they host several events a year that protest the concept of using animals for testing. They also have really wonderful gift boxes full of soaps, body butters, shampoos, and conditioners that are perfect for gift giving. Although this company is a bit bigger than the other brands I’m promoting in this gift guide, I do still think they are a great place to shop because of their large impact on helping expose the public to cosmetic animal testing.
A Print or Wall Art – Support an independent artist by buying your friend a piece of art! I’d recommend a calendar or print from Katie Vernon or Diana Sudyka because they are my favorites but I bet there are some great artists in your area as well if you want to keep it local!
An independent Magazine Subscription – Print is not dead and prove it by purchasing a yearly subscription as a gift to your friends and family! I’d recommend Pure Green Magazine for the eco-friendly fan, Chickpea Quarterly for the vegan in your life, Cherry Bombe for the foodie feminist, or Another Escape for the hard-worker who loves to adventure.
Lastly, I hate to sound cheeeeezy but as we all gather our bonus checks and give give give to our families, it’s always wonderful to keep in mind that some of that spending money could go to an organization that exist to make the world a better place. Sure, it’s great to see your friend open the gift that you so accurately picked out for them but there is also a warm and fuzzy feeling that can’t be denied when you help a cause you care about. You should do some research to find a connection with a cause that fits you but I’ve listed a few of my favorite places to give to when I am feeling generous:
https://www.aspca.org/ – American Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This is the one organization that I donate to every December when I get my bonus check. They have their hands in helping to change legislative laws with cruelty at industrial farms, rescuing animals from large dog fighting rings, work to minimize unnecessarily animal testing, and a slew of other important animal issues. They were also the first humane society in the United States and work closely with locations all over the country to get animals out of abusive situations and into the lives compassionate adopters. There is not another organization that I find as beneficial to changing the way many Americans treat animals as much as this one so I highly recommend you check them out.
No Kill Advocacy Center & No Kill Nation– These advocacy groups have established some pretty astounding numbers of animals they’d managed to save within the last ten years of advocating shelters to go ‘no kill’. Not only have they pushed shelters to seek out medical attention for injured and sick animals versus just putting them right down but they have also pushed for shelters to bring in alley cats to neuter them and then put them right back where they find them (the old practice was just to always put them down). Another huge part of their campaign is pushing shelters to highlight older animals and giving them a chance to be adopted. The number that really sticks with me is that, if every shelter in the country switched to ‘no kill’, then we could save 3-4 million shelter animals through adoption education programs and neuter / spay treatment.
The Humane Society – this one is probably the most well known animal organization in the country and for good reason: they are the nation’s largest animal protection society and help to create better laws for the protection of animals, campaign to reform industry, provide animal rescue missions, and investigate animal cruelty cases. I can not express enough how much I hope that you go to the Humane Society to pick out your next pet instead of supporting a puppy mill.
Farm Sanctuary – With three farms throughout the country, they have made it their personal mission to help protect animals from farm cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promotes compassionate vegan living. What sets them apart is that they focus on farm animals and not just the fuzzy warm pets we associate with adopting at the Human Society. They work hard to raise awareness for the abuse that happens at animal farms everyday and have rescued thousands of animals and cared for them at their locations since 1986. You can take a weekend trip to visit the sanctuary and enjoy seeing animals treated the way they were meant to be treated. If you don’t live near either of their locations, look around and you may be surprised to find an animal sanctuary (Farm Sanctuary is just the most famous) closer to you than you thought. I live in the middle of industry farm country in Indiana but we have a sanctuary just 40 minutes from our house!