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What to do with non vegan gifts

How do you handle the situation when someone gives you a non-vegan gift. This past Christmas, I received gifts of meat, cheese, non-vegan wines, chocolates and soaps.

I accepted graciously and said a kind thank you. I felt it would have been rude to say "Sorry I am vegan and cannot have these". Some of the gifts came from unknowing customers, but some came from family and friends that know I am vegan, but may have been unaware that the wine, chocolate and soap contained animal products.

What do you do in this situation? I passed these along to my omni family members, so they did not go to waste.

Mt. Juliet TN

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Great question!
by: Jorge

It just happened to me tonight, my neighbor just stopped by with a plate full of BBQ chicken, -he doesn't know I am a vegan... The chicken looks well prepared and that lots of time was spent preparing it... And as you mentioned; I said a kind thank you, I live alone and I really don't know what to do with it. I hate for food to go to waste specially nowadays that we live in such economic difficulties for many... I could save it and pass it along to someone else, but that would not be until probably Monday... Or would it be wrong to wash it off and give it to my dogs??? :-s Any suggestions would be appreciated...


PS: Thanks for all the info you provide us on your site!

non-vegan gifts
by: Diane

I did a favor for my new neighbor and in return gave me a platter of her special oriental chicken. She did not know we were vegetarians. I told her thank you. Even though my dogs are vegetarian I felt I did not want to throw the food away and gave it to them.(I really don't like to call dead chickens food)My neighbor felt good about the gift and I did not want to hurt her feelings. She fell ill in the summer and I gave her a basket filled with organic vegetables and fruits hoping a message could be sent with the healthy food.

I'd tell them the truth
by: Elena

I understand that you don't want to hurt people's feelings by not accepting their gift, but if you don't tell them that you're vegan they probably will give you non-vegan stuff again and again... When someone gives me some food that isn't vegan, I usually tell people that I thank them very much but that the food will go to my omnivore boyfriend as I'm vegan. No one ever seemed hurt, they were rather interested in my reasons to live vegan. Of course, I have the advantage to have someone here who will eat it so I can still accept non-vegan gifts but won't have to eat them myself.

by: Jake

This is a question that popped up during my first vegan Christmas this year.

For something substantial like food, meat/cheeses etc.. I would either give to someone else, or accept and tell someone to drop that I was vegan into a conversation so it wouldn't happen again. Like the others here, I feel it rude to deny their present point blank!

Other gifts like cosmetics, shower stuff etc.. I find a new home for by either giving or selling.

Subtlety letting them know that you're veggie and not to do it again is important though!

A genuine mistake
by: Donna

My mother-in-law has known that we (me, her son, and our kids) have been strictly vegan since we made the decision four years ago. She has been incredible in her support for us. She is omni. She always has food for us in her house, and almost always serves vegan-only meals at her table when we visit, which is often. If there is more family there, there tends to be both vegan and non-vegan, but we are never excluded. Today she gave me a tea cup for my birthday. It is fine bone china. This as you know is made using ground up cow bones. I know she didn't do this intentionally. However, I feel I must tell her, but picking the right moment will be important and with the utmost sensitivity. She is likely to feel frustrated at how hard it is to cater for her vegan family members. Anyway, perhaps we can decide what to do with the cup together, but I would love it to be returned to the store and exchanged for something porcelain. Wish me luck.

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