As the holidays approach, it’s time to start planning what festive activities you and your family can enjoy.
This year, rather than visiting captive reindeer centres or traditional Santa’s Grottos, why not try any – or all! – of these fun activities, which are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit without exploiting any animals.
1. Visit an Animal Sanctuary
Reindeer centres have come under fire recently for mistreating animals. Because of this, these are a big no-no for lovers of Santa’s most trusted animal friends. Animal sanctuaries are the perfect alternative, enabling you to visit well cared-for rescue animals for your animal-cuddling fix. Showing your support for sanctuaries is especially important over winter: cold, rainy weather means staff have to work even harder to keep their animal residents happy and healthy, and public support can go a long way to make this easier.
2. Adopt a Turkey
Keeping these intelligent, social birds off your plate is an amazing way to fight turkey suffering this holiday season. But true turkey lovers may want to go further. Whether you want to physically adopt a rescued turkey into your home and garden or sponsor a turkey, this is an amazing way to save these famously-festive birds. It’s such a good idea that celebs including comedian Kevin Smith and “Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco are urging their fans to adopt everyone’s favourite “gobblers.”
3. Watch a Movie with a Pro-Animal Message
The season of dark winter evenings, warm mince pies, and cozy wool-free blankets, Christmas is the time to get comfortable on the sofa and relax with some classic family movies. Whether you fancy an old-school movie like “Babe” or “Free Willy,” a Netflix Original like “Okja,” or a comedy like “Free Birds,” there’s something suitable for everyone – and they’re all bound to remind you to care for all living beings this festive season.
4. Bake Festive Plant-Based Treats
What is Christmas for if not eating? Whether you’re a dedicated perfectionist or someone who bakes just to lick the bowl clean, baking is a great activity to get you in the festive spirit. From cookies good enough for Santa to classic Christmas cake to gingerbread animals (the only animals we’ll be eating this Christmas) there are plant-based recipes for everyone. You can find some of our favourite Christmas dessert recipes here.
5. Volunteer for a Good Cause
The holiday season is known as the best time for giving and sharing love, so why not support a good cause this year? Depending on your time commitments, there are plenty of things you can do. Consider volunteering for a nonprofit which helps lower-income communities or serves nutritious vegan food to homeless people. If you’ve got money but not time to spare, there are plenty of charities which would benefit from a donation, including Veganuary, Sea Shepherd, and Food Empowerment Project.
6. Visit a Vegan Christmas Market
More and more cities, including the UK cities of Manchester and Gloucester, are hosting vegan Christmas markets. Offering seasonal plant-based food, vegan-friendly gifts, and even Santa’s Grottos where kids can pick up dairy-free chocolates and eco-friendly toys, festive markets are a great place to get jolly.
7. Buy Gifts from a Zero-Waste Market
Christmas shopping may not be everyone’s favourite activity: it can be costly, busy, and tiring. But getting gifts for people doesn’t have to be something you dread. Zero-waste and vegan markets offer a host of eco-friendly gifts, from personal care sets and sustainable fashion to wooden toys for kids. If you don’t have access to a zero-waste market, consider shopping in thrift or charity shops. Often these contain hidden treasures at bargain prices.
Image credit: Chilis on Wheels
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