Alternative Valentine’s Day: Ethical Vegan Gift Guide

February 8, 2017

I’ve always seen Valentine’s Day as a day to express appreciation for those you love – friends, family, anyone. Originally the day had no connection with romantic love and instead represented the start of Spring. I know people hate the “pressure” of having to do nice things for their loved ones. Personally I see it as a day to celebrate my favourite relationships. It’s only in the last 50 years that giving Valentine’s gifts became a thing. For many years, the tradition was sending a handwritten note, aka, a “valentine”.

In general, everything I buy is vegan, ethically-sourced, locally made and either secondhand, or from an independent trader. This goes double for gifts! I try and avoid buying frivolous crap in lieu of stuff people will love. I enjoy finding meaningful presents for people I love, and celebrating them on Valentine’s Day. What I do dislike about V-Day is the overly gendered, heteronormative version we’re presented with, where quantity of presents shows your love. Excessive plastic crap from Tiger, bears with hearts and tacky lingerie is not my idea of a dreamy gift. Here’s a rundown of alternative V-Day gifts instead – all vegan, ethically sourced, non-binary and largely independent traders. Dig in!

Melting Hearts Ginger and Chocolate Doughnuts Image Map


Slogan heartsBooja Booja trufflesGold heartsDark heartsUnicornHipo TrufflesKey Lime ChocolatesEnrobed GingerDoughnut Box

All of these listings are vegan, and mostly made in the UK. Traditional choices include these dark chocolate melting hearts, the foil-wrapped (recyclable packaging!) milk hearts and the slogan chocolate hearts. Truffles are always a winner, so I’ve picked hazelnut truffles and these hipo hyfryd truffles (including maple and rose flavour!).

For something more interesting then how about a box of doughnuts? Slabs of key lime chocolate? Or, a VEGAN CHOCOLATE UNICORN. IT’S A UNICORN MADE OF VEGAN CHOCOLATE.

Stranger Things cardSuffragette CardYou’re One In A Melon – You’ll Do – Totally Jawsome – Favourite Vegan – Foxy Vegan – Ironic


Finding cards devoid of the words “love”, “husband/wife” and/or a specific year number is surprisingly hard. Where are the cards for people you simply fancy?  Most mainstream card manufacturers are yet to catch on to the myriad versions of love that exist. I particularly like the “You’ll Do” card. For those of you less icy, nothing says love like an animal based pun! Shout out to the fox card for being totally biodegradable including post-packaging! Lastly, how great is that suffragette card? A chance to celebrate voting rights and support Amnesty International is a chance not to be missed.


Tobias patch  – I Lava You print Stay Nasty heart – Knicker Set –shark dish –Tyne Chease – Hyacinth jug — feminist brooch –Moomin Coffee – ukulele shirt – copper Dinosaur plant holder

Beer, vinyl and wooden objects for him. Shower bombs, plant pots and cuddly toys for her. I’m sure there’s not a soul alive who genuinely wants to read a gendered gift guide. Obviously, ANYONE can be interested in anything and gift guides seem to be the last, wheezing bastion of gendered publications.

I personally would be grateful to receive anything from the above pile, but I’d also be happy giving any of these presents to Ryan (with the exception of pants). The Stay Nasty heart and Tobias patch are made with vegan felt and the pants are eco-friendly! Ryan will probably end up with the “Feminist” brooch from this list as it suits his style perfectly. I also love the shark dish and Lava print. Homeware is perfect as everyone benefits from a nicer house, right?


My pick of events is naturally London-centric so I’ll keep it short for all your international readers. Top vegan dinners are the V-Day menus at Amico Bio (here), Manna (here) and Vanilla Black (here). I also strongly recommend the Prince Charles Cinema. This years films include Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Hot Fuzz and Before Sunrise. If you fancy the best dating event in the capital then head to Vix’s inaugral event in Balham. Or, for the best event ever created, head to Battersea for Feline Lonely. Like speed-dating, but with rescue cats. There’s cats, poetry and a quiz!!!

So there you go. What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

5 comments so far.

5 responses to “Alternative Valentine’s Day: Ethical Vegan Gift Guide”

  1. Denise says:

    Loved the post as usual and the suggestions of presents! I never really celebrated Valentine’s Day, cause it’s sweet, yes, but super commercial these days. I would prefer getting a nice card and maybe some chocolate, or a necklace, but not necessarily. I loved your card’s suggestions and the chocolates as well! It’s such a pressure these days to get something big! Besides, I am in a transition moment… celebrating the day, instead of grieving, cause it was the last day my dad and I talked to each other. That hurts, but it had to be on such a day – so for me, Valentine’s day changed the meaning. Hope you have a very nice weekend, Laila!

    • Laila says:

      Oh Denise, I’m so sorry to read that. I can totally empathise on how that would change the impact of the day for you and how it would be difficult to observe the holiday from a neutral perspective after having a memory of that nature attached to it. Sending love x

  2. Natasha says:

    This is such a neat gift guide Laila, love the vegan chocolate list and the I Lava You print is absolutely adorable! – Tasha

  3. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I’m always up for chocolate! The presents and cards have so much personality 😀 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  4. jessthetics says:

    This is brilliant Laila, so much better than the traditional flowers and a cuddly toy crap that’s plastered everywhere this time of year! I swear if I get another PR email about losing weight “in time” for valentines day…

    James and I don’t celebrate valentines day particularly, in the past we’ve ordered in a takeaway and a bottle of wine which is my favourite way to celebrate pretty much anything. Last year I got him a “I love you more than vego bars” card haha. I did used to do galentines day with my closest friends so that’s something I need to re-instate! I would love anything off this list, you have impeccable taste 😉 xx

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