Get your holly jolly and make this season more inclusive and delightful with our guide on how to veganize your Holidays.
The holidays are a joyous time. Unless you are worried about the overwhelming fare of meat, dairy, and cheese, the unnecessary glitter and the monumental amount of waste that each festivity generates. Then, you might be wondering: “How on earth will I survive the holidays?” Or even more puzzlingly: “How can Earth survive the holidays?”.
Trust us when we say that you are not alone. More people than ever are opting for a compassionate, sensible way to celebrate the most indulgent time of the year!
Vegan Claus is coming to town
If you’re hosting a holiday feast this year, you’ll probably have at least one vegan friend or family member at the table. Or you might be that person yourself. Thankfully, there couldn’t be a better time for happy, cruelty-free holidays for everyone, as the plant-based food market has exploded with an abundance of delicious recipes and ingredients to get creative.
Do they know it’s V-mas time at all?
If you are vegan, hosting the festive eating marathon certainly gives you an advantage. You can decide on the menu, buy your favourite ingredients and cook a proper feast. But even if you are a guest at someone else’s table, you can contribute to a more plant-friendly menu. Nobody will notice if you add vegan butter to the mashed potatoes. Cashew cream is ten times more delicious than any dairy-based cream and makes for a wonderful addition to any decadent dish. That gravy? Substitute chicken for vegetable broth and add mushrooms for some extra umami flavour.
Joy to the world and to the table
Humans are tactile beings who love a combination of creamy, crunchy, salty, sweet, savoury, acidic, tender, and dense textures. Spruce those Brussels sprouts up with caramelised onions and crunchy toasted nuts, or add a dressing with miso, soy sauce and maple syrup to wow the other guests with a well-executed vegetable dish that can be way more satisfying than anything else on the table.
‘Tis a season to be veggie
Don’t be afraid that a vegan holiday table would be boring. Switch the traditional side broccoli or potatoes for a tray of roasted root vegetables like beets, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes packed with flavour. Lentils can transform into a delectable loaf, roast beets folded into a veg Wellington. Chickpeas and other beans make incredible patties. We all enjoy indulging in festive foods, and choosing a cruelty-free menu opens up a world of scrumptious opportunities to enjoy.
Simply havin’ a wonderful Christmastime without food waste
Most of us tend to over-buy, fearing there won’t be enough food for everyone. When shopping, keep in mind how many people are coming and their dietary habits. Stick to your list, buy loose vegetables, check expiring dates, and remember that you’ll need to store everything you buy in your fridge, freezer, or cupboard. Campaigns such as Love Food Hate Waste have loads of tips to prevent you from piling up on the many seasonal offers and discounts.
Still plenty of leftovers? Many local charities can collect surplus food and redistribute it to those in need.
Have yourself a merry little DIY
Celebrate the beauty of winter without the clutter! Ditch the shiny plastic decorations and embrace natural decorations, vegan wax candles, and waste-free crackers for a minimal — but no less magical, festive feel. A winter walk makes an excellent opportunity to forage for firs, pinecones, and holly leaves to make garlands. Evergreen branches and berries add colour, and dried seed and flower heads can give height and structure to a handmade centrepiece.
If you buy new crockery or decorations for your house, make sure you invest in pieces built to last. For example, choose serviettes and tablecloths made from organic cotton, ornaments from recycled materials, or throws and cosy blankets that do not contain harmful substances.
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
It’s the annual dilemma. Do you buy an artificial tree that will give years of service, or do you stick with a real one that will be discarded on 6 January? According to the Carbon Trust, a standard artificial tree is responsible for about 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions — which means you need to reuse it for about 10 Christmases to keep its environmental impact in check. If you are still keen on buying one, look out for one made out of recycled materials or a pre-owned one.
Pining for the real thing? The obvious downfall for traditional trees is their disposal, so look up ways to get rid of them without leaving too much of a carbon footprint. For one, you can compost them yourself. Or get in touch with your local council about their recycling scheme: real trees can be easily reused for a number of projects, including soil erosion barriers, fish and bird feeders, mulch and paths for hiking trails.
No matter which side you are on, choose LED Christmas lights around your tree, wreaths, and garlands: they are more efficient, durable, and longer-lasting and don’t get hot to the touch.
Let it shop! Let it shop! Let it shop!
So, you want to be more environmentally friendly but cannot give up the ritual of shopping for gifts. A simple rule of thumb is to buy less. Or choose sustainable gifts which can benefit the environment in at least one way. Buy local to minimise the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of the products and support small shops and makers — Fairtrade may not be locally sourced but still benefit craftspeople in other areas of the world. Spoil the vegan in your life by purchasing only from brands that have been vetted as cruelty-free.
I saw Mommy buying second-hand
Buying pre-loved instead of brand new gives things a second life, saves resources and helps reduce waste. Second-hand shopping is popular among younger generations, and vintage gifts, once considered cheap or twee, are now cool and unique. Browse online marketplaces, charity shops and flea markets near you for books, music, fashion and even homeware and vintage crockery.
And if you don’t like what Santa brought you, you can donate unwanted gifts, and your old items bring happiness to someone else.
Happy Xmas (Shopping Is Over)!
A nice homemade gift will be cherished much more and longer than anything from a store. Crafty ornaments, picture frames, homemade soaps and even digital options like a photobook, music playlist, or video compilation are still more personal and meaningful than yet another sweater! Presents don’t always have to take the form of physical gifts; sharing an experience, visiting a museum or watching a play in a theatre with a friend or relative can become a memory to cherish. Alternatively, offering your time or donating to a charity in someone’s name is a gift that keeps on giving.
Jingle bell wrap
Stop wasting millions of rolls of wrapping paper! A lot of this type of paper cannot even be recycled as it contains plastic such as glitter or laminates. Instead, do like the Japanese and make a stylish, planet-friendly choice. Furoshiki is a traditional square cloth tied and neatly knotted to transport gifts, books and food. It’s a thoughtful way to present your gifts and leave a lasting impression. Choose durable materials such as cotton or other organic fabrics for an unusual and beautiful wrap that can be reused for birthdays and other celebrations throughout the year.
It’s beginning to look a lot like it’s time to donate to a Vegan Charity
All you want for Christmas is a beautifully crafted vegan wine!
So, the table is tastefully set, the food is ready, and there are plenty of gifts under the tree. The only thing left to do is to choose the perfect wine for you and your guests will enjoy. Querciabella stands for top-notch quality and minimal ecological impact, ensuring that no harm is caused to animals throughout the production process. This ensures any occasion is truly inclusive for everyone.
Our finest wines, Batàr, Camartina and Palafreno are superb for the holiday table when you want to impress your guests. The holiday season is the best time to indulge in some big formats to share. Magnums (1,5 L) and Double Magnums (3 L) are ideal for cellaring as they age more gracefully and make for impressive centrepieces during special gatherings.
Wine makes a great gift, too. Give Turpino, our top bottling from Maremma, to show someone how much you care (about them and the environment). Our Riserva is perfect for those interested in ageing wines, as it will only improve with time. Every self-proclaimed “foodie” and Sangiovese-lover will love Querciabella Chianti Classico by itself or served alongside almost any dish. And don’t forget to bring something cheerful to an informal get-together to be enjoyed in good company.