How to Have a Cruelty-Free Christmas

The holidays are a perfect excuse to spend time with loved ones, eat a delicious meal and enjoy fun celebrations. But sadly, so many beloved traditions are tied to animal cruelty.

Americans eat about 22 million turkeys and buy 318 million pounds of ham for Christmas dinner. Meanwhile, some shopping malls host events with live reindeer, and people nostalgically ride in horse-drawn sleighs.

Sometimes, even our own pets suffer as strangers parade through the house, feeding cats and dogs potentially toxic foods.

From the gifts we give to the events we attend, we have a lot of opportunities to make the holidays cruelty free.

Kinder Gifts

Even if you aren’t vegetarian, your presents can be this year.

Care2′s Steve Williams offers a few tips for finding vegan gifts for everyone on your list. In short, consider shopping with the Vegan Society and Etsy.

Thoughtful Eating

Replace the Christmas turkey with something delectable and meatless this year. Care2 has a handful of options to try, including mushroom bourguignon and a vegan field roast.

Keep in mind most desserts can be reimagined to be free of animal products, too. If you expect family and friends to judge your vegan offerings, think about preparing some responses to comments you might hear, as well.

Safer Pets

Make sure your pets can find peace and quiet in a room inaccessible to guests. Keep decorations out of reach — especially mistletoe — and avoid feeding them table scraps.

These are a few things to keep in mind when trying to keep pets safe and happy during the holidays. Don’t forget to coach children how to approach and treat dogs gently and respectfully.

Animal-Friendly Events

Skip the horse-drawn sleigh rides and the lighting ceremonies at zoos. Instead, try a holiday event organized by your local animal shelter or a day of cross-country skiing through a nearby park.

Keep an eye out for events that encourage mistreating animals and speak up.

Take Action!

A Care2 petition that earned more than 90,000 signatures called for Westfield malls to cancel events with live reindeer. Petition author Sharankya K. Prasad happily reported that the petition was a success. 

The corporation emailed Prasad to say they’d cancel all events with reindeer across the country.

“While Westfield has canceled, many other malls are still hosting these cruel events,” Prasad writes. “If you see a live reindeer event in your city, I urge you to start a petition on Care2 – it works!”

And if you want to make a difference on an issue you care about, you too can create a Care2 petitionand use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.


Photo Credit: Paul Rysz/Unsplash


Marie W
Marie W9 months ago

thanks for sharing

Chad A
Chad A11 months ago

Thank you.

Sophie M
Past Member about a year ago

Thank you

Teresa W
Teresa Wabout a year ago

thank you

Rosslyn O
Rosslyn Oabout a year ago

Some very good thoughts here thanks

Danii P
Past Member about a year ago

Thank you for sharing

Elaine W
Elaine Wabout a year ago

Noted. ;)

Mary B
Mary Babout a year ago

Please, do NOT USE YOUR RELIGIOUS books to try to convince any body of anything. We simply do not all buy into religious texts, nor are we atheists. All you're doing is showing us the exact hole where YOUR brain leaked out.

JT Smith
Past Member about a year ago

Sorry to disappoint, but I remain an unabashed carnivore.

Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowmanabout a year ago

In these very troubled country, this is one answer to feeling good about something.