Vegan Christmas

Holidays usually are a time of joy and cheer; however, the holidays can have challenges whether you are a new vegan or experienced one. Let’s explore.

Published: December 2019
Last Update: December 2022

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Enjoy Christmas, vegan-style

Christmas is an incredibly festive time filled with traditions, festivities, and families.

This guide has everything you need to plan, create, and enjoy the perfect vegan Christmas.

First, it covers frequently asked questions. Then you'll learn how to make food colorings at home, perfect for creating colorful treats. Next is the holiday shopping guide, followed by various vegan recipes to plan any kind of meal. There's also an entire section on vegan spirits so that you can imbibe without worry.

Lastly, I'll share a few vegan gift guides to help you find just the right gift for a vegan you love.

Let's have some holiday fun.


1. Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to the most commonly asked questions about Christmas and veganism.

The top vegan questions about Christmas

It's a big topic, but a few questions arise more than others.

Our world is primarily non-vegan, and navigating it is one of the biggest challenges vegans face. The holidays are no different. You may find yourself smack dab in the middle of a situation where you are the only vegan, surrounded by curious friends or family members who may or may not agree with veganism. While some situations are easy to avoid, others are not, so there are no blanket answers when dealing with people.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate social activities.

1. Bring a vegan dish to share
While some people or organizations will go out of their way to ensure vegan food is available at functions, some, and a lot, won’t. One easy way to solve the problem is to bring a dish to share. Not only will you have something to eat, but you’ll also have the opportunity to introduce vegan food to others. Be sure to check with the host or hostess of the event to ensure bringing food is appropriate.

2. Offer to help cook
Bring some common substitutes (think vegan butter, plant milk, etc.) and jump into the kitchen to help.

3. Get ready for the questions
People will be naturally curious about your vegan life. Resist the urge to go into a presentation about how we use animals or make remarks about the non-vegan [insert food/drink here]. Instead, keep a few impactful facts handy for any questions people ask you and direct them to gather more information on their own time outside the holiday. Offer to follow up with additional resources. Doing so will help keep conversations light, perfect for those festive and merry occasions.

Getting a non-vegan gift as a vegan can create tricky situations, mainly depending on who the gifter is. They are expressions of love, so the last thing you want to do is hurt someone’s feelings. You have two options: Accept the gift or gently refuse it, and there are pros and cons to each. But what if you do accept the non-vegan gift? What do you do with it? Donate it? Regift it?

Since the answers can be deeply personal, I decided to turn to the vegan community to see what they had to say.

One of the best articles I found that explores all the nuances of vegan gift-getting is from my friend Cadry of Cadry’s Vegan Kitchen. Her approach is not only doable but also filled with wise advice for new vegans and experienced ones.

“In the same way that becoming vegan is a learning process, it’s also a learning process for the people in our lives. Over time, people understand when we gently guide with love and compassion.” – Cadry

Her approach embodies the same compassion and spirit that make gifts so unique. Click to read the full article, Vegan at Christmas: How to Handle Non-Vegan Gifts.

A variety of bowls and jars with various homemade food dyes in them (red, green, yellow, blue, purple).

A selection of homemade food colors / Source

2. Homemade food coloring

Because artificial colors are everywhere.

How to make homemade food coloring

I am not a fan of artificial food colors.

These toxic chemicals masquerading as food are only possible through the wonder of chemistry and the oil drilling industry. Studies have shown various adverse health effects from ingesting them. And did you know that artificial food colors undergo animal testing to ensure their safety as a food additive?

It’s true.

Every time a holiday approaches, artificial colors go on sale. Magazines, blogs, and videos feature impossibly cute and creative treats made with various unnatural colors achieved through the magic of artificial colors.

There’s a better way; to make bright, vivid colors at home.

Look at those colors! Yellow, red, purple, green, blue, and even black. These colors are easy to make from everyday ingredients in your fridge or pantry.

Trust me; it’s not complicated or expensive.

Click here for the full step-by-step homemade food coloring tutorial.


Shopping buggys / Source

3. Shopping guide

A guide to all the plant-based and vegan options for holiday tables everywhere.

Vegan holiday roasts

We live in the golden age of vegan products; no matter which foods are part of your family traditions, they can be recreated using plant-based alternatives.

Look for these vegan options in refrigerated sections of natural foods markets, well-stocked grocers, and in big box stores like Target and Walmart. If you don't spot them in the cold sections, check the freezer section; sometimes, the roasts come to the stores frozen.

Vegan Turkey

Dairy-free egg nog

You’ll spot vegan eggnog brands in two places: alongside their dairy-based counterparts in the refrigerated section of grocery stores and aseptic packaging with other shelf-stable milk.

  • Almond Breeze
    Nog (Almond Milk)
  • Silk
    Nog (Soy Milk)

Vegan whipped cream

If you're like me and love whipped cream, I've got good news for you. There are plenty of delicious dairy-free options perfect for topping pies, cakes, and mugs of hot chocolate.

Here are fully prepared vegan whipped cream options.

If you have a hand mixer, it takes minutes to prepare fluffy whipped cream using these vegan products.

Vegan gelatin

Gelatin is gross.

Here are some vegan options.

  • Bakol Jel Dessert
  • Lieber’s Unflavored Jel

4. Vegan Christmas recipes

Get ready to get cooking and baking! Here are vegan Christmas recipes for inspiration.

Savory recipes to try

  1. Green Bean Almondine
    Veggie Desserts
  1. Vegan Strata
    Sweet Simple Vegan
  1. Vegan Wellington
    Vegan Huggs
  1. Maple-Glazed Vegan Ham
    Sunnyside Hanne
  1. Shepherd's Pie
    My Pure Plants
  1. Vegan Holiday Roast
    Seven Roses
  1. Herbed Scalloped Potatoes
    Vegan in the Freezer

Sweet recipes to try

  1. Christmas Fruitcake
    Strength & Sunshine
  1. Salted Chocolate Honeycomb
    Veggie Desserts
  1. Ginger & Pear Sticky Toffee Pudding
    The Vegan Larder
  1. Christmas Pudding
    A Virtual Vegan
  1. Candy Cane Chocolate Cake
    Woman In Real Life
  1. Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Muffins
    Delightful Adventures
  1. Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies
    Vegan Guide to the Galaxy
  1. Mini Wreath Cakes
    Vegan Dollhouse
  1. Chocolate Gingerbread Cake
    Vegan Richa
  1. Snowball Cookies
    Where Do You Get Your Protein?
  1. Christmas Tiramisu
    Quite Good Food
  1. Christmas Fruit Cake w/Frosting
    Rhian's Recipes
  1. Peppermint Bark
    Pink Fortitude

Savory recipes to try

Perfect for festive breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

Sweet recipes to try

Something sweet to satisfy every person on your list.

Festive-looking holiday cocktails

Holiday drinks / Source

5. Vegan wine & spirits

Find something fresh and festive to drink.

Some beer and wine go through a clarifying process that uses animal products such as isinglass (fish bladders), egg whites, or gelatin. And because alcohol is commonly exempt from labeling requirements other food products have, these ingredients are rarely listed on the packaging.

Luckily, there’s an easy-to-use website for that. Without a doubt, Barnivore is the go-to website to check the vegan status of most beer and wines.

Thankfully, you can find vegan-friendly beer, wine, and liquor at almost any store.

Here are a few popular brands that are suitable for vegan imbibers.

Vegan beer

  • Blue Moon
  • Budweiser (except the Clamato Chelada)
  • Coors & Coors Light
  • Corona
  • Heineken
  • Miller Lite, High-Life & Genuine Draft
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon
  • Sam Adams Ale (except Cherry Wheat, Honey Porter, or Latitude 48)
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Stella Artois
  • Yuengling

A lot of craft beers are also vegan. Just ask your bartender or check Barnivore before ordering.

Vegan wine

  • Frey Vineyards (all varieties)
  • Orleans Hill (all varieties)
  • Sutter Home (Riesling, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, and Chenin Blanc)
  • Yellowtail (red wines only; not the white or the rosé)

It isn’t always apparent which wines are vegan or vegan-friendly by the label. Unless its vegan status is listed on the label, I strongly recommend checking Barnivore before purchasing.

Vegan spirits

Hard liquors like tequila, bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum are vegan, as are nearly all distilled spirits except those with a cream base or honey.

Here are a few familiar brands:

  • Absolut Vodka
  • Grey Goose Vodka
  • Skyy Vodka
  • Appleton Estate Rum
  • Bacardi Rum
  • Malibu Rum
  • Tanqueray Gin
  • Beefeater Gin
  • Cazadores Tequila
  • Hornitos Tequila
  • Patron Tequila
  • Black Velvet Whiskey
  • Jim Beam Whiskey
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey

Make merry cocktails

These vegan cocktails have a fun, festive vibe perfect for the holidays.

Vegan Christmas Cocktails

Festive holiday gifts being wrapped / Source

6. Vegan gift guides

Because sometimes you need a little inspiration.

The art of vegan gift giving

Let’s face it, shopping for vegan products can be a little confusing and a whole lot frustrating.

Whether you’re just starting on your vegan journey or a seasoned vegan looking for something unique, these gift guides will provide you with valuable information to help you choose products that people will love and that fit your ethics.

Find lots of great vegan products by selecting the guide below.

Expertly curated vegan gift guides

Books on every topic

Books also make great gifts; head to Vegan Books to check out hundreds of titles. There's something for everyone, from cookbooks to non-fiction titles to children's books. Inspiration is just a click away.

A collage of holiday images used for Pinterest

Truth in advertising

I am committed to providing accurate information to the vegan community. Meticulously researched, the topic explored in this guide contains the information available at the time of publishing.

I don’t just say it; I source it too.

Please contact me if you find incorrect data.

Photo credits

Article photos / Adobe Stock
Recipes photos via Recipe Creators and used with written permission