Holidays are a time when people gather together, socialize and celebrate. But many traditional holiday celebrations involve the suffering, torture and death of animals. Choose not to participate in any food, gift, or activity that causes an animal to suffer, feel pain, or die, in order to celebrate the holiday. You can consciously choose non-violence and causing no harm to animals, by choosing cruelty-free food, clothing, gifts, and activities. Here is our guide to enjoying your holidays, completely cruelty-free!
Celebrate Without a Turkey
Turkeys raised for Thanksgiving are raised on cruel industrial factory farms. They live in extreme over-crowding causing them stress; in spaces full of disease with sick, injured and dying birds around them; they are genetically modified to grow enormously large in a short period of time causing them extreme pain and suffering; making them unable to walk or stand up under their own weight; their beaks and toes are cut off and their snoods are removed with no pain relief; they are crammed together into small wire cages as babies when it’s time to be transported to slaughter causing more injury and death; and finally they are slaughtered in a brutal, painful assembly line style where they are not even rendered unconscious, but are still fully conscious as they are bled and scalded alive. This, all at 10 weeks of age. The same happens for every chicken in the U.S. today. Turkeys raised on so-called “humane farms” also suffer and experience this extreme cruelty—they are not spared. Having a turkey as your centerpiece on the dining table puts misery, suffering, violence and death right at the center of the table. Instead, commit to saving the life of a turkey, and try one of these plant-based, vegan, non-violent options that are delicious, healthy and cruelty-free.
What You Can Do:
Instead of a turkey, serve one of these delicious vegan, plant-based roasts for your holiday dinner. They are readily available at most major grocers including Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Publix, Target, Krogers and more.
- Field Roast Celebration Roast With Traditional Bread Stuffing and Porcini Mushroom Gravy
- Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute
- Field Roast Classic 1 Pound Celebration Roast
- Vegetarian Plus Vegan Whole Turkey
- Vegetarian Plus Vegan Ham Substitute
- Quorn Meatless Turkey Roast
- Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast With Gravy
- Gardein’s Holiday Roast
- Gardein’s Savory Stuffed Turk’y
- Tofurky Holiday Vegetarian Roast and Gravy
- Homemade Vegetarian Tofu Turkey With Stuffing
For a complete vegan dinner, check out these vegan and vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes.
Give Kind, Compassionate Gifts
Christmas is the season of giving, and the best, kindest, most compassionate gifts are always cruelty-free. Avoid buying products or gifts that causes an animal to suffer. Avoid any gift that is made using any part of an animal or comes from an animal. No leather, fur, wool, silk, cashmere, shearling, suede, exotic skin, down, or body parts. No animal should have to suffer for your gift. And that goes for the Christmas tree – avoid buying ornaments made from bird’s feathers or other animal parts.
Shop for cruelty-free, vegan gifts not made from any part of an animal:
- LUSH launched – 100 New Vegan, Cruelty-Free Products
- ETSY – Cruelty-free gifts, vegan gifts and specially selected from the Veganetsy Team!
- AMAZON – gifts for the vegan
- UNCOMMON GOODS – vegan gifts
- CRUELTY-FREE KITTY – makeup brands, skincare brands, drugstore brands, at Sephora, and ULTA and vegan beauty
- PEACE FUR PAWS – Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide
- NUTRICIOUSLY – 60+ Amazing Vegan Gift Ideas for the cruelty-free gourmet
- PETA – Gift Guide to the Best (and Kindest) Vegan Gifts Under $100
- VEGNEWS – Holiday Shopping Guide
- 100% PURE – Holiday Gift Guide
Ways to Help Animals at Christmas
- Donate supplies such as bedding, blankets, towels, toys, kongs (for dogs), cat and dog food to your local animal shelter; personally deliver the items they are asking for. Call the shelter in advance to see what specific items they need, most have a list.
- Make a financial donation to an animal rescue group, animal sanctuary, animal shelter, or non-profit organization that helps animals instead of giving a material gift.
- Make a donation as a gift in someone else’s name, to their favorite animal charity instead of a material gift. Then follow-up and send the person a card with the non-profit charity name and donation amount.
- Volunteer over the holidays at your local animal shelter or animal sanctuary.
- Walk the dog(s) of a neighbor(s) who is an invalid, elderly, home-bound, injured, sick or unable to walk their dog over the holiday vacation.
- Buy Christmas cards that support an animal charity or nonprofit that helps animals.
- Support a rescue organization’s thrift shop or store that funds needed medical care, spays and neuters, well pet care, for that nonprofit.
- Give documentary films/DVDs as gifts that raise awareness about the exploitation of animals and promote animal rights and welfare.
- Build some DIY shelters for feral and homeless cats this year, here are some ideas.
Don’t Give Pets As Presents
Remember, never buy a pet to give as a Christmas gift. Pets are a major life-long commitment of 15-20+ years, and are a big responsibility that includes a lifetime of medical care, emergency visits, food and supplies, needed prescription drugs, feeding twice daily, and they are a commitment of time, love and support every single day. And unlike material gifts, they cannot be forgotten about or neglected. They should never be bought or adopted on a whim or impulse, but must be considered and planned for thoughtfully, carefully, and responsibly. Animal shelters are full of animals that were given as “gifts,” then later were discarded when their novelty wore off, or new pet parents came to realize the daily responsibility was not for them. Also, never buy a pet or animal from a commercial breeder, backyard breeder, puppy mill, online dealer—many are totally unethical in raising animals, and are irresponsible, neglectful, and even cruel. These breeders are in it for the money and don’t care about the animal. When you buy a pet, it means one less home for a shelter or rescue pet.
Protect Your Pets, Keep Them Safe During the Holidays
- Keep Candles and Decorations out of Reach – Use battery operated candles as an alternative. If you do use lit candles, keep them completely out of reach of animals.
- Toxic Poinsettias, Lilies and Seasonal Poisonous Plants – Keep live plants out of reach of animals, many are highly toxic and poisonous including poinsettias and lilies. Lilies can kill in 35 hours after ingestion. Don’t accept live plants if you have pets. Or put the live plant in a room where your pet is not allowed to go. It’s always safer to buy faux or artificial plants instead.
- Cover Electrical Cords – Be sure to cover all electrical cords for the Christmas tree and house lights. Keep them unplugged when you’re not at home.
- Keep Tree Ornaments Out of Reach – Pet-proof your tree by keeping dogs and cats away from it as tempting as it is for them. Put your tree in a room they have no access to, and keep ornaments higher up where they cannot reach them. Ingesting and eating ornaments can be deadly and they can be an expensive trip to the vet.
- No Holiday Treats – It’s best to totally avoid holiday treats for your pets. Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs; avoid feeding dinner scraps that can cause fatty liver disease, indigestion, inflammation and an expensive vet bill; put food completely away after preparing it, and after eating your meal – don’t leave food scraps or leftovers on counters or dining tables that pets can clean up when you’re not looking.
- Clean Up Ribbon, String, Plastic Ties, Paper, Wrapping – These can all be swallowed causing intestinal blockages, and much worse. Keep them put away after wrapping gifts, and cleaned up after unwrapping gifts. Never leave string, ribbon, ties, or bags with handles on the ground for pets to find and potentially swallow or get caught in.
Honor and emulate Christ’s compassion for people and animals by showing mercy to animals. Leave them out of your meals and Easter celebration. Try to live the biblical philosophy, “God’s mercy is over all His creatures,” by having mercy on animals and the cruelty done to them for food. Easter is not a celebration for the baby lambs, baby chicks, baby rabbits, pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys—or any animal that suffers and dies for or because of your meal. Before they become your Sunday meal, try to commit to causing no harm, violence, cruelty, or suffering to animals for Easter. Easter is a time of atonement, renewal, rebirth and redemption—and is an excellent time to commit to causing no harm and having compassion for animals each and every day from Easter forward. Celebrate religious traditions without causing harm and death to innocent, helpless animals.
Alternatives to Hen’s Eggs at Easter
Dying Easter eggs? This is the history behind using hen’s eggs at Easter or any time. Those brightly colored eggs you dye that come from hens to fill Easter baskets are born from the worst cruelty imaginable done to animals. Egg-laying hens experience horrific suffering and misery from the day they are born: Baby new-born male chicks a day old are immediately macerated in a grinder, ground up alive and fully sensible to pain, and millions are violently killed just because they are not female egg-laying hens, that means almost 10 billion male chicks are crushed at birth; female chicks have their beaks painfully seared off so they cannot peck each other to death, then are crammed into tiny wire “battery” cages that crush each other and cause suffering the rest of their terrible lives; hens cannot walk, move, turn-around, spread their wings, run—like they were meant to; they are deprived of every single natural physical and emotional behavior inherent to them; they are intentionally starved to force their molting; they endure sickness, pain and injuries with no medical or veterinary care; they are continually forcibly impregnated, and forced to painfully over-produce eggs, until their bodies are depleted and exhausted from unnatural egg-laying that nearly 100% suffer from painful reproductive cancers, tumors, and their reproductive organs actually come outside, then they are slaughtered. See a hen’s life: https://youtu.be/vBlpZWWlq5c.
What You Can Do:
- Never Give Baby Chicks, Rabbits or Ducks at Easter – Ever. Giving helpless, innocent baby chicks, bunnies or animals for Easter is a terrible idea—for them. Making a child happy for a day, is not the way to teach respect for animals. The consideration to give an animal at Easter is usually selfish whim, and teaches children that animals are disposable, and easy to discard. Not to mention it is cruel to the animal itself, and causes them to suffer and end up homless. Children tire of their newness and when the novelty of this baby animal wears off, you have a lifetime of commitment ahead of you. Who will care for it? Can you commit to the animal for it’s entire lifetime? It’s always a bad idea giving an animal as a gift to anyone. Pets are a lifetime commitment, and should be carefully considered, prepared for, and chosen with the entire family present. It’s a commitment made for the animal’s entire natural life that includes veterinary bills, emergencies, routine care and dentals, plus food and affection every single day. Here’s why Easter is a bad idea for bunnies and rabbits, and the dangers and misconceptions of giving baby birds as gifts.
- Easter Egg Hunts – Use alternatives to eggs produced by battery-caged hens and the cruel egg industry. Fill colorful plastic Eco-Eggs with vegan treats, candies and non-dairy chocolates. Or buy or make one of the many options available that are cruelty-free.
- Dying Easter Eggs – Instead of dying hen’s eggs, buy and paint wooden eggs, dyable ceramic eggs called EggNots, or plastic eggs. Or make fun and beautiful papier-mâché eggs with balloons. Here are some instructions for making them and for making tissue-paper eggs. Create your own beautiful eggs that do not cause harm.
- Replace Milk Chocolate with Vegan Chocolate – Look for dark chocolate that does not contain dairy milk, or these delicious options for vegan Easter candy, best vegan chocolate Easter eggs, and more vegan chocolate ideas. Want to make your own vegan Easter eggs, see Jaime Oliver’s easy recipe and fill your Easter baskets with these cruelty-free Easter eggs.
- Choose Meat Alternatives for Meals – Instead of serving Easter meals with a farmed animal at the center, choose a plant-based, vegan roast for the holidays that is delicious, healthy and cruelty-free. See our turkey alternatives listed above under Thanksgiving.
- Raise Awareness About Why Cruelty-Free – Let Easter be an opportunity to raise awareness and teach kids why you don’t want to use hens’ eggs for Easter and why they are cruel. Use the holiday to teach young and old alike, why it’s so important to you to celebrate the holiday without hurting, exploiting, using or eating animals. If you’re not vegan already, consider carrying the cruelty-free theme for the entire holiday by not using any products that come from animals.