What does the Hippie Gypsy get for Christmas? What do you give a vegan for a gift?

Shopping 101 for Vegan Recipients

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I am probably the easiest person to shop for in my mind and the hardest person to shop for according to my husband. My parents are awesome and generally get me the same few items but in a fresh way each year with a few surprises seasoned in. My brother asks my mom what to get me so that always works. I am super close with my aunt so she knows me and gets me something practical in most cases (however this year she got me something fun instead and my kids something practical (started their college funds)). My husband though, every year he is baffled. I think this is most husbands. They over think the holiday. Do I get her jewelry? Is that to obvious and if it isn’t what does cruelty free mean? What if I get her something practical like a cooking dish or pot or appliance instead? Will she be offended ? Maybe just soap? And then you can start to hear the crackle and fizzle of brain cells as their insides meltdown. When my husband and all husbands stop thinking you end up with no gifts, guilty looks, and a small dog in charge of the holidays. Then all that happens is the dog sniffs all items under the tree and chooses one to eat the ribbon off of… not a good Christmas. So let’s talk about what you should do next year through this year’s experience at my house.

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My aunt nailed it this year so I will start with her gift. I LOVE surfing. However, I haven’t been able to surf in the past few years because of surgery and a messed up ankle injury. When my grandmother died I listened to “Santa Monica” by Everclear over and over because all I wanted to do was paddle out to the quiet of the ocean on my board and sit there while the sun rose. I needed the noise in my brain to stop. There is no better calm in the world than that moment. My aunt knows this. She has been mourning my grandmother’s passing at the same rate I have. Slowly and in complete devastation. We will randomly melt down and then be totally calm later that hour or afternoon. So for a gift, she gave me a gift certificate to the surf shop at the end of my street that just opened up this spring. She lives a few blocks from there as well. She gave me the gift of peace and healing. How wonderful is that?

Ocean House Surf Shop and Cafe: http://www.paddleboardnewengland.com/

(my first board is currently mounted on the wall in our home)

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My parents were similar in nailing it this year. They gave us money to help pay bills, cookware for my blogging, gift cards to high end cookware stores, and a trip back to Ananda Ashram on them. Another gift of calm and peace and healing. What else could a vegan hippie girl ask for?

Ananda Ashram: http://anandaashram.org/

My brother piggybacked on my parents and got me a dutch oven which I have wanted but just couldn’t stomach affording the beautiful La Creuset enameled pieces. So I have survived without it … until now! So now I can make more Christmas Dinners like this one I had this year at my parents!

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Last my husband, he gave me the gift of yoga. I love yoga. Hot yoga at lunch at work and morning yoga at the Ashram are my favorites. I hear the surf shop down the street does paddleboard yoga too! He got me a gift card to Athleta which is the Gap’s newest addition to its clothing brand. The prices are more reasonable than Lululemon but the quality seems identical. So I will be heading over there for some cold weather yoga pants, yoga grip socks, grip gloves, and maybe a yoga bag. Again, calm, peace, and healing.

 

So when you are thinking about us vegans remember what we stand for. All we want is happiness and compassion in the world. Find out ways to show that in your gift. Give your fellow hippie vegans something that will bring them joy and calm and peacefulness in this crazy season. Whether it is organic bamboo sheets for a more restful sleep or teas from a high end brand to calm their souls or gift cards to their favorite peace-finding activities. It is really about finding zen. We are easy to shop for. Just omit animal products and think holiday peace and compassion. Merry Christmas to One and All (animals included)!

 

P.S. Don’t forget the stocking stuffers (my husband is notorious for this last minute panic and I end up with nuts and random things from around the house). Go to your local Whole Foods and ask where the vegan candy is, vegan lip balm, vegan face cream, etc. They will most likely direct you to Go Max Go Foods items for candy. The Jokerz bar is just like a Snickers. The lip balm is all labeled and so are most other beauty products. Glass water bottles are also a no brainer and some organic cotton gloves, scarves, or socks. Enjoy!

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Food is Love. 

The Hippie Gypsy

Thanksgiving and Holiday Decorating Vegan Style

I think there is always a lot of interest in decorating for the holidays. Thanksgiving is usually a more mellow version of the Halloween and Christmas Decor that can appear. On the Exterior of one’s house you usually see very little but the dining table is where most people focus. Cornucopias, pumpkins, decorative china, and candles. Teh good news about thanksgiving is that as much as it is focused around the inevitable turkey it is a very vegan friendly and focused holiday. We decorate with pumpkins, gourds, corn, stalks, husks, candles, and raw materials. These are all things that favor our compassionate and healthy lifestyle so I definitely want to help you embrace these ideas.

Exterior Decoration

Focus on the obvious seasonal waste products. That sounds bad but it isn’t. Corn has ripened and cornstalks and husks are readily available as are the corn cobs that didn’t quite make it this year. Use them all as Thanksgiving decor. Wrap your posts in them. Make wreaths from dried husks and hang dried out corn from bows of dried out fabric and burlap and garnish with fallen leaves. It will look beautiful. When the holiday is over move on to the garlands of evergreen trimmings from your Christmas tree and yard. Take the burlap trimmings from wrapping any bushes and plants up and use them to make bows. You can even garnish them with fallen acorns and some ribbon. The icicles will be a glittering finishing touch that only Mother Nature can do!

Interior Decorations

Start with will your house with natural decor. I use cottons and burlap this time of year. It is warm and generally ecofriendly. I then garnish with root vegetables, pumpkins, and gourds. I plant cabbage in containers and that way everything is usable on the holiday. You can place dips in hollowed cabbages, pumpkins, gourds, and even fresh baked bread bowls. Try for minimal waste and more compost. It will be great when the spring comes. I keep my composter in the back yard just for this purpose. Starting now will get your ready for the spring and with the cold you will not have the odor you would in the summer.

Right before it gets too cold, go to a nearby park and dig up some moss and gather stones and shells. Make a terrarium. I did this last year and it kept all winter. Fill the bottom with stones for drainage and top with lumps of moss. This is a great centerpiece and will stay green with a little misting and water all winter long. If you live near the ocean make a terrarium of seashells and sand. My stepdaughters add to our with every visit. We even wash out the large clam shells and use them to hold soap in our bathrooms. If you can gather enough shells you can make garlands, wreaths, and even small Christmas tree stacks. Take a look at my pinterest for some ideas!

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As for Christmas time. I wash off pine cones and take tree trimmings and fill glass jars, bowls. and vases with them. I even make ornaments out of seashells and sea stars that wash up. I did a project with my stepdaughters where we glittered pine cones with some glue and sparkles and bedazzled starfish leftover from the summer to hand on the tree. All very simple but very beautiful. Make it fun and easy and people will be awed. You don’t need a fake blowup snowman on your lawn to show you are in the spirit!

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy