Christmas is a time for turkey, roaring fires, family, and snow - unless you live in Australia, where it’s a time for BBQs, flies, sunburn, and beer. For Aussies, there’s nothing quite like cold prawns, potato salad, and ham by the pool on a scorching day. Except if you’re trying to plan a vegan Christmas.
Planning a vegan Christmas in Australia can seem complicated and overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this post, to make it easier and simpler, so you can just sit back and enjoy the day with some amazing food in hand.
Vegan Christmas Presents
You might not think about gifts when it comes to planning your vegan Christmas, but you should. Gift giving and getting can be hard when you’re vegan. Once you start looking, you’ll find animal products in lots of unexpected places, including the boxes that gifts come in!
So, prepare early if you want to ensure you get and give vegan Christmas presents. There’s nothing worse than trying to act happy and grateful when you’re given a gift you can’t use because it contains animal products.
For starters, send people you know well a vegan Christmas gift guide once the shopping season starts up. This is especially good for friends and family who aren’t really sure what vegan means and don’t know how to get you something appropriate.
For people you don’t know well, like for a Secret Santa at work, make sure you tell people you’re vegan. If they have questions about vegan gifts, have some suggestions ready such as gift cards, or give them a guide to vegan gifts.
We've made vegan Christmas gift-giving easy with our vegan hampers. He's some of our top vegan gift hampers to get you started!
Dealing with Non-Vegan Gifts
Here’s the sticky problem. What do you do with non-vegan gifts? This will depend on you and on the person giving you the gift. There’s not really a right or wrong way as long as you’re polite and kind about the situation. You don’t want to mess up your good vegan Christmas vibes by being unkind, after all!
If you get a non-vegan gift, here are some of your options:
- If they’re a friend or family member you see regularly, accept the gift and talk to them later in private
- Return it
- Give it to charity
- Just accept the gift in the loving spirit it was given and remember that veganism is about kindness, not perfection.
Whatever you choose to do, be kind and respectful of the other person. Remember that they probably meant well, even if they don’t fully understand your way of life, and treat them accordingly.
Vegan Christmas Food & Drink
Admit it - one of the best things about Christmas is the food. At Christmas, you eat so much that you need to undo your belt afterwards. It’s the one time of year that makes almost everyone indulge in things they wouldn’t eat any other time.
That's why this vegan Christmas guide starts in the kitchen. Because it won’t be Christmas if you can’t find some delicious vegan Christmas recipes that the whole family will love. You’re in luck, because there’s a lot online about veganism these days. You’ll even find pages and pages about vegan Christmas cakes and other sweet treats. So, take the chance to do some experimenting in the kitchen.
If you’re ready for the adventure of a vegan Christmas, here’s where to start:
Vegan Christmas Roast
Turkey is off the table when you’re a vegan, and that's not a great loss. Face it; not many people actually enjoy turkey. It's often dry and tasteless. But your vegan Christmas roast can be different with these awesome recipes:
- Stuffed vegan meatloaf roast
- Lentil meatloaf
- Vegan stuffing
- Lentil, mushroom and walnut roulade
- 4 ingredient vegan gravy
- Vegan Christmas nut loaf
You can also find vegan roasts at your local supermarket if you don’t want to cook. Just make sure you check the labels and perhaps experiment ahead of time to find one your whole family enjoys.
Christmas in Australia is about seafood - it’s about prawns on the BBQ near the pool. You won’t be able to replicate this scene perfectly if you have a vegan Christmas, but you will be able to get close. If you love your seafood, here are some substitutes for a few of your favourite holiday dishes:
- Oyster mushrooms for calamari
- King oyster mushroom fettuccine instead of scallops
- Mushroom scallops with mash
- Vegan smoked salmon
- Or try this vegan carrot salad instead of salmon
You can also make soups or Asian food using an algae-based stock that tastes amazingly like fish stock.
It sounds a little strange to have vegetable recipes separate from roast recipes, seeing as they’re technically all vegetables, but you still need sides, and here they are:
- Christmas spiced stuffed pumpkin
- Sticky garlic eggplant
- Green bean casserole
- Simple herb roast potatoes
- Perfect roasted potatoes
- Baked sweet potato
- Creamy vegan potato gratin
We love a good salad when organising Christmas in Australia, because you don’t have to cook and heat up the house even more. If you’re looking for some new salad ideas for your vegan Christmas dinner, here are some delicious offerings:
- Vegan potato salad
- Pesto pearl couscous salad
- Kale Caesar salad
- Mediterranean potato salad
- Mango nut salad
- Grilled peach and rocket salad
- Vegan coleslaw
Vegan Christmas Desserts
Pudding and cakes are staples at Christmas. Don’t miss out on these tasty treats just because you’re worried about the ingredients. Instead, make your own vegan Christmas pudding or cake:
- Vegan Christmas pudding
- Vegan whipped cream
- Summer pudding
- Vegan cheesecake
- Vegan trifle
- Vegan pavlova
- No-bake vegan chocolate mousse
- Fruit mince pies
- Vegan rum balls
Vegan Christmas Cookies
You can’t have Christmas without cookies, and you won’t be able to tell the difference between these vegan cookies and regular ones:
- Vegan chocolate chip cookies
- GF Vegan ginger teff men
- Vegan gingerbread
- Vegan sugar cookies
- Easy vegan sugar cookies
The Australian Christmas BBQ
This idea deserves its own section because Australians love to barbeque at Christmas. It lets you stay outside, near the pool, and not spend days cleaning up the house after the party. What’s not to love? But cooking on the BBQ isn’t the same as cooking in the oven. You’ll need a whole different batch of recipes.
The first idea for your Christmas BBQ is meat substitutes. Whether you used to enjoy steaks, chicken, or seafood, you will find vegan options at your local supermarket in Australia. Look for brands like:
- Vegie Delights
- Beyond Meat
- The Alternative Meat Co
You can also make some of your own meatless recipes for your vegan Christmas barbeque. Try slapping some of the following on the grill:
- Chickpea mushroom burgers
- Teriyaki tofu kebabs
- Vegan ribs
- Peanut and cilantro grilled veggies
- Teriyaki Tofu
BBQs are so common in Australia around Christmas time that you might find yourself invited to one with friends, neighbours, or even workmates. Don’t take the risk of arriving only to find there’s nothing you can eat. Put one of these together, take it along with you, and see if you can convert any of the devoted meat-lovers at the party.
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Vegan Alcohol Guide
Don't forget about the alcohol when you're planning your vegan Christmas! Lots of alcoholic drinks contain animal products, so be careful when you're choosing what you serve or give as gifts. You'll also need to be cautious with alcohol that's given to you or brought to your Christmas celebration.
It can be more difficult than you’d think to be vegan when it comes to alcohol. Here’s what you need to know:
Many of the ingredients in beer are vegan, but some varieties contain honey or milk products. You can still have a few vegan beers by the pool, just choose one of the following:
- Pure Blonde
- Any beer from Toohey's
- Victoria Bitter (VB)
- Carlton draught or dry
- Carlsberg pilsner
- Bud Light
- Little Creatures cider, pilsner, pale ale, or IPA
- Moon Dog Old Mate
- Any beer from Coopers Brewery
- Any beers from Last Drop Brewery
Don't like any of these vegan beers? You can always check the Barnivore website to see if your favourite beer is vegan.
Grapes are vegan, so you know they’re safe, but wine has to be filtered before it’s sold to get rid of the cloudy appearance. Often, these filtering agents are made from egg white, milk protein, or fish bladder protein. Ew.
Are you rethinking your Christmas glass of wine yet? That's understandable. And it isn't easy to find a completely vegan wine. After all, it doesn't usually say what the wine is filtered through on the bottle. Be careful, too when you find a wine that is vegan because the rest of the range might not be.
Here are some great places to find wine for your vegan Christmas:
- Cullen wines
- Amelia Park
- Ashbrook Estate
- Fraser Gallop Estate except the Estate Chardonnay and Estate SSB
- Lamont’s Smith Beach reds
- White wine from Settlers Ridge Organic Wines
Sometimes the bottle will say the wine is vegan, sometimes not. BWS have started putting labels on the shelves in front of certain vegan wines to help you quickly identify them. Thanks BWS!
If you drink spirits and you’re a vegan, then you’re in luck. Most spirits are vegan, and the ones that aren’t are fairly obvious, such as Bailey’s Irish Cream or American Honey. Just avoid the flavoured spirits if you aren't sure, as these will sometimes contain animal products.
So, feel free to partake of your favourite spirits this vegan Christmas, such as:
- Patron XO Cafe
Vegan Cocktail Recipes
If you want to drink some vegan cocktails this Christmas, you’ll probably need to make them yourself. Many premix packs contain animal products or just don’t disclose whether they’re vegan or not. But never fear, because vegan cocktails are easy to make and totally delicious!
Vegan White Russian
This classic drink is delicious, and now you can make it for your vegan Christmas.
- Fill a glass with ice
- Add 60ml of vodka
- Add 30ml of VOK coffee liqueur
- Top with a splash of coconut milk
- Stir and serve
Vegan Whiskey Sour
Usually, a whiskey sour has egg white in it. But it doesn’t have to!
- Shake one tbsp aquafaba in a cocktail shaker until frothy
- Add 90ml whiskey and 60ml lemon juice
- Add 60ml simple syrup
- Mix well in the shaker with some ice
- Garnish with fresh cherries
Give this classic a vegan twist and get a dose of Vitamin C along with your vodka.
- Combine 30ml V8 juice, 2ml chilli sauce, 2ml tobacco sauce, and 7.5ml vegan Worcestershire sauce in a jug
- Add 5ml celery salt and 7.5ml black pepper
- Mix well
- Put 30ml vodka in a tall glass and pour over the mix
- Stir well and drink
Candy Cane Martini
Just because it’s Christmas!
- Crush one vegan peppermint candy cane to dust using a food processor or mortar and pestle
- Dip the rim of a martini glass into water and then into the dust
- Mix 45ml of almond milk with 1tbsp of chocolate syrup and 20ml peppermint schnapps in a martini shaker
- Shake for 10-15 seconds
- Pour into the martini class
- Garnish with a sprinkle of candy cane dust and drink
You can even make yourself up a vegan eggnog and really get into the Christmas spirit this year.
Vegan Crackers & Advent Calendars
Did you know you need to be careful when buying Advent calendars and crackers when you’re planning a vegan Christmas? They can both contain chocolate and candy, which definitely aren’t vegan. And that’s not even counting the mounds of plastic used to wrap them. The plastic might technically be vegan, but it’s definitely not good for the planet.
Part of being vegan is respecting the planet and not adding to the mountains of waste that society produces every day, and it’s not that hard to find better options.
Here are a few vegan advent calendars and crackers that you could try:
These brands also sell vegan chocolate that can be used to make your own advent calendars, as well as goodies like vegan Christmas cookies.
Have a Merry Vegan Christmas
You don’t have to give up on your values or beliefs for Christmas. Instead, make some changes and share your values with the family. It’s a great way to enjoy the spirit of giving and togetherness without hurting the planet or anything that lives on it.