For the last few years I’ve been trying to put together a vegan-friendly gift guide, with a focus on local items and charities. Usually, I put out one post, with everything on it, but we’ve gotten so full of options, that yesterday I started with the Vegan Holiday Menus that are available in our dear city, and now on to the gift list.
This is, of course, not all encompassing, since it’s limited by what I’ve found myself, but I’ve tried to poke around as much as time allows. Please feel free to add suggestions in the comments.
I’ve seen a few prepackaged gift baskets around the city from vegan or vegan-friendly vendors. so I’d like to start with those (in alphabetical order)
D-Beatstro has a variety of fun looking gift baskets that are mostly priced under $35. Packages that feature teas (blended by their in-house herbalist) or coffee or hot chocolate packs. There is something for everyone on your list, just pay them a visit.
Forbes Wild Foods
This Gift Basket Includes: Single-source Ontario Maple Syrup, Pure Birch Syrups, Wild Forest Mix, Wild Balsam Fir, Wild Spruce Tips, Wild Mushroom Mustard, Wild Canada Plum, Wild Strawberries, Wild Saskatoon Compote.
If you ever go to any of the Toronto Farmers Markets, you’ve probably met someone from Forbes Wild Foods selling preserves, mushrooms, and other (mostly) foraged plants & fungi from nature.
Live On Chocolate’s – Truffle Gift Boxes
Pre-order one of Live On Chocolate’s Organic fair-trade raw vegan truffle gift boxes for the holidays. Pick up in Toronto’s West end near High Park Subway Dec 21-23rd 6-9pm.
Email orders to email@example.com or call 647-464-2462
Nona Vegan Foods
Through Being Cool Vegan Bakery
TBC has a few prepackaged gift baskets along with a bunch of preserves and in-house made condiments that would be a great food gift for a foodie friend.
Wood and Water Foods
Known for their fantastic vegan cheeses, Wood and Water foods has collaborated with a variety of other local businesses ((like nūd fūd, Stasis Preserves, & Giddy Yoyo) to put together a really great looking gift basket.
You can order directly from them via email, or find them at some of the holiday markets they’ll be at around the city (they’ll also be at the RTR Holiday Market on Saturday)
Another spot – they have gift baskets with in-house made spreads and dressings, as well as locally made or other usually vegan friendly items.
Lovely Little Gifts ($30 and under)
Citchen Candle Co. – $15
Based in Toronto, these folks make heavenly smelling soy based candles in super fun scents – my favourite is the Grapefruit Basil, because what a unique combination! You can buy them online or see them at a few markets around the city.
Do you like adorably cute and often cat related items? I don’t know if Britt, the wonderful creative genius behind this shop is vegan, but we eat in all of the same places and she’s based in Toronto. This store has stickers, buttons, patches, and tote bags, and all of them are so cute it almost hurts to look at them because I’m usually smiling so much. If you haven’t checked out the Sparkle Collective yet… I hope I have encouraged you to change that.
Store is on break for the holidays – hope you check them out in the new year!
Parkdale Butter – $24.99
Their Holiday Gift Set is priced at $24.99 and includes their heavenly Cocoa Nut Body Butter (120ml) as well as their Espresso Face Balm (60ml). (p.s. They also have a “deluxe holiday gift set” which includes both of these items as well as a lip butter, and an exfoliating soap for $54.99, but also includes free shipping anywhere in Canada.)
DIY Vegan – $29.99
Written by Toronto’s own Nicole Axworthy & Lisa Pitman, DIY Vegan is a great guide for the new or seasoned vegan or foodie in your life with over 100 easy (or not-so-easy) recipes to create pantry staples, meal enhancers, treats, and more.
For bonus points, buy it at a local bookstore like Another Story.
Sorauren Farmers Market Calendar – $20
This Sorauren Farmers’ Market calendar at the West End Food Co-op is full of beautiful inviting pictures of vegetables, and does not contain any icky meat or dairy photos, so you can just stare at beautiful plants all year round.
Certain Days 2016 Calendar – $12
This is one of my favourite calendars. You can buy it online, or in Toronto you can find it at Beit Zatoun or Harvest Noon Cafe+ Co-op. It’s usually around $12, and is produced by the Certain Days Collective in Montreal.
Samana Naturals – $13
Made in Toronto this lipbalm trio would make a great stocking stuffer or thoughtful gift for your lips. They also have a bunch of other fairtrade, vegan body care products that are great for this seasons drying effects.
The Sky’s the Limit (over $30)
CAMP – The Little Things Discovery Kit ($60)
CAMP is a Toronto based local luxury body care company, and they have a variety of lovely products that smell great, and have a positive impact on your skin. This Little Things Discovery Kit, is a great way to meet or introduce a friend to CAMP Skincare, and also leave their skin feeling soft and lively.
Sick on Sin
You cannot go wrong with any of their great t-shirts, stickers, and underwear. The designs are all so cute and fun, and they make great stocking stuffers. Sick on Sin is based in Ontario (between Cambridge and Hamilton) and if you’ve gone to any VegFests in the province, you’ve probably seen them there.
Chocosol Holiday Chocolate Boxes
Find these at the West End Food Co-op or get them directly from Chocosol’s retail location.
They range in price, but one of the bigger boxes was $75
A purse from Pixie Mood
Pixie Mood is a company based in Toronto that makes vegan bags and wallets. My favourite is the Mini Steph, but there are so many more to choose from, including smaller items like card holders (which are incredibly useful!) and larger items like cork based tote bags.
If I knew a beard enthusiast, I’d probably put together a little pack with the shampoo bar, beard butter, and beard oil (a combo which is around $68.) While some of their products contain beeswax (and are thus not vegan) they have a great variety of products that are vegan for the bearded person in your life.
Also, I’m fond of using beard oil on my (beardless) face because they usually smell really nice.
I’m probably going to suggest Coffeecology every year – coffee beans, delivered right to your door. Coffeecology is a coffee delivery service that has fair trade organic and/or bird friendly coffees. Again, if your friend is a coffee lover like me, they might appreciate the above gift box trio of assorted coffees, or just a few weeks of coffee deliveries. Lots of options to choose from.
Charities & Do Gooder Stuff
The City of Toronto Charities Wishlist
For people looking for ways to help people who are homeless and vulnerable this holiday season, there are some suggestions provided from the community agencies that serve them. You can click points on a map or see the list below for what items each agency needs, volunteer opportunities and events.
If that’s something you’d like to help out with, click the above image, or visit the 2105 Holiday Wishlist here.
Wishing Well Farm Sanctuary
Wishing Well is just outside of Toronto and they DESPERATELY need support for their deep well fundraiser (like, they literally need help with water, that’s serious.)
You can find their fundraising campaign here on Indiegogo.
Donating food to a local food bank
If you’re planning on donating food to a food bank or food drive, think about the community that lives there. What do they need? Are there cultural food stuffs that you could donate to make their lives just a little bit brighter. You can see a list above of what different agencies need, or check out this list from the Food Empowerment Project to get you thinking about it.
Cedar-Row Farm Sanctuary
Cedar-Row Farm Sanctuary in Ontario does some amazing work to rescue farm animals and gives them a forever home. You can learn more about them or sponsor chickens or pigs or goats and more by visiting their sponsorship page
We were just there at their Hope for the Holiday’s Open House, and it was lovely as always.
Red Door Shelter
Red Door Shelter is an organization that assists families, refugees, and women fleeing violence.
One great idea they have on their site is for folks that want to help, to put together a “Holiday Spirit Gift Box” and they list of several potential categories on their website:
- Winter Wear – jackets, boots, hats, mitts & scarves, snow pants
- Toiletries – body wash, lufas, lotion, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, women’s hygiene etc.
- Kitchen – department store gift cards, cutlery, kitchen knife sets, plates, kettles, small appliances (toaster, microwave, blender, coffee maker, etc.)
- Bed and Bath – department store gift cards, sheets, towels, kids bedding
- Baby – clothing, formula, diapers & supplies
- Teen – gift cards (itunes, mall gift cards, etc.), age appropriate toys, books, toiletries/make-up, hair accessories
- Food – grocery store gift cards, non-perishable food
Read more about this at Red Door Shelter. (p.s. it appears we’ve missed the deadline for gift drop offs, which was Monday December 15th, 2015, but it’s worth considering for next year, or potentially for other agencies)
FoodShareTO – They do a lot of everything, and work towards Toronto food security, encouraging youth engagement in the process, and access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables. They also do the Mobile Good Food Market, which brings fresh produce to underserved areas in the city.
CoopCred program at PARC
A Well Fed World
A Well-Fed World is not based in Toronto, but has financially supported local initiatives like the Burrito Project Toronto (which full disclosure: I’m involved in.) Their support has been invaluable towards making the burrito project happen, and get tasty vegan food into the hands of hungry people.
Generally: Check out this list of Vegan alternatives to donating to the Heifer Project or animal based projects like it. Why skip donating to things like the Heifer Project? I’m glad you asked. You can read more about it from this great article by Free from Harm.
Events and Markets
More events and markets!
- Thursday, December 17th,2015 – Vegan Flea at D-Beatstro
- Sunday, December 20th,2015 – Holiday Pop Up at Raise the Root
- From now until December 20th,2015 – Christmas Market at the Distillery.
- From now until December 20th, 2015 – Union Station Holiday Market.
- Monday, December 21st 2015 – Workshop: DIY Holiday Gifts at the Depanneur.
Hopefully this list was helpful, and hope you have a happy holiday season. I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time away from the city with JC, relaxing in NYC, and eating lots of great new food. <3