I have an unusual take on Christmas gift-giving. Put quite simply, I believe it's time for all of us to give the mystery a rest and tell each other what we want for Christmas.
By Sascha Camilli: writer, speaker, activist, and vegan fashion expert.
Let's put an end to “oh you don't have to get me anything”, while you're clearly expecting a shiny something under the Christmas tree. No more proclaiming “surprise me!” when in reality you hate surprises. No, I say let's be honest and make known, with links and everything, the presents we're hoping to receive. This will avoid any disappointment – not to mention save the gift-giver mad dashes around the shops (or, in these socially distant times, hours of hopeless scrolling through websites).
But until my “honesty is the best policy” approach to Christmas will become as socially accepted and celebrated as ugly Christmas jumpers, we'll just have to stick to planning our gift-giving all by ourselves. So here is my dream Santa's list of things I would give my loved ones – from this very website. That's right, I've played it safe. There are things on Immaculate Vegan for everyone, and regardless of whether your loved ones are vegan, you can be sure to find something to suit even the pickiest of tastes. In fact, it may be better to gift non-vegans with gifts from this website, as your present may help broaden their horizons and showcase just how stylish and indulgent vegan living can be.
First of all, there's my husband. Luckily, he's vegan just like me – and this year, I've listened to him complain about ill-fitting shoes and the difficulty in finding a good pair of simple, everyday boots that will last forever. So I'll wrap up a pair of Good Guys Don't Wear Leather Blaze Apple Leather Vegan Ankle Boots – the innovative apple-skin leather they are made from is already soft, so no need to break them in.
If lockdown policy allows, we will be spending the holidays with my friend A – and while I'm happy to host friends at ours, going to A's house for any occasion is a treat. A is a home-decor queen. Her house is like a fairytale oasis. You just can't help but be happy there. And while I wouldn't dream of messing with her style, I'd like to make my own little contribution to the beauty that is her abode in the form of scent: the Arokiyam Nutmeg & Clary Sage Soy Candle, which looks as dreamy as it smells.
Another friend who is bound to show up at my holiday table is S – my trusty shopping companion who loves spending Saturdays browsing charity shops as much as I do. I know she has a penchant for all things scarlet – and no one looks as amazing in red as she does – so I'd present her with the Nina Rein Silky Shine Organic Cotton Dress in a beautiful crimson.
Even if COVID makes it likely that I'll be spending the holidays with friends this year, I do have family, and I would very much like to shower them with gifts. My dad is a lover of the fine things in life, so I'd introduce him to vegan leather with the Solios Watches Gamma Eco Solar Watch with Black Vegan Leather Strap. Simple, trustworthy and evergreen.
My mum, on the other hand, is all about home comforts. Rarely have I felt as relaxed as I do sprawled on her huge, super-soft sofa full of blankets. So I'd like to give some of the comfort back, with Lüks Linen Bohem Organic Cotton Cushion Cover. This will bring that perfect harmony of style and ease to any home.
I desperately miss my sisters every day, and I like to think that if I were to see them, I'd want to come bearing gifts. One of them works at a fancy art gallery, and as such, is often found at show openings and other elegant, arty events. I'd present her with the perfect complement to her usual chic outfits: the Luxtra Apple Skin Vegan Leather Clutch.
My other sister is a huge fan of exercise and a martial arts aficionado (seriously, don't mess with her!) so I'd see her go off to the gym – when it reopens – in Pure by Luce Rene Joburg ECONYL High-Waisted Printed Leggings. The cool thing about these leggings is that ECONYL is truly eco-conscious – it's made from regenerated ocean plastic, often including discarded fishing nets.
One of my best friends, M, whom I'm not likely to see this year, holds a responsible state job – a proper “grown-up” career. I'd present him with something that he can wear to work and feel stylish: the Watson & Wolfe Classic Vegan Leather Belt.
Another friend, J, is a beauty entrepreneur, and for this reason, has lamented that no one ever gives her beauty gifts, thinking she already has everything she needs. Overjoyed when I gift her makeup, she is a sucker for some nice skincare just like the rest of us. I would give her the Magic Organic Apothecary Therapeutic Bath & Body Set, to help her unwind after yet another long day at her demanding business.
As for myself, adding future classics to my wardrobe is what I'm all about – and no brand does effortless wear-it-everywhere fashion quite like vegan leather jacket masters Dauntless. So this Christmas I will be hoping to find the Dauntless Sophie Vegan Suede Biker Jacket under my tree.
So I'd better start dropping hints (or flat-out sending links, if I'm to be true to my own policy) now. Happy gift-giving, and may your holiday be cosy, sparkly, and unforgettable – after the year we've had, we deserve some nice things.
By Sascha Camilli
Sascha Camilli is the founder of the world's first digital vegan fashion magazine, Vilda Magazine and the host of fashion podcast Catwalk Rebel. She was selected as one of Glamour UK's Most Empowering Nu-Gen Activists and is a frequent public speaker on the topic of vegan fashion and material innovation. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books. For more about Sascha, read our interview with her.
For a wealth of ethical & sustainable gift ideas, take a look at our Vegan Gift Edits.
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Cover image by LUXTRA