Ask Peaceful Dumpling: Christmas Gift Etiquette

November 20, 2014

Ask Peaceful Dumpling: Christmas Gift Etiquette
Every Thursday, Peaceful Dumpling will answer your question about veganism, healthy eating, lifestyle, fitness, wellness, relationships, and more! Send us your questions to contact [at] or using the Contact form below.


Dear PD: Is there a “rule” against vegans buying non-vegan gifts for others, who are ostensibly non-vegan? There are several people on my holiday shopping list specifically requesting leather goods, for example; I’d feel upset buying those gifts, but I know a vegan alternative wouldn’t be appreciated as much.

Only Vegan in Family

Dear OViF,

That sounds like quite a quandary. Here at PD we always believe in being in harmony with others whether they are omnivores or vegans, or any shade in between. Having said that, you should never have to do anything that makes you feel morally compromised and emotionally “upset,” as you say, in order to please your non-vegan family and friends. The whole point of giving gifts is showing how much you care and love them, right? But buying things that directly counter your beliefs for others’ benefit is being unkind and unloving to yourself. And to paraphrase Guatama Buddha, you yourself, as much as anyone else in the universe, deserve your compassion, respect, and love.

I would suggest being open with your giftee about your position. “Taylor, I know you asked for a wallet from Coach, but I feel awkward about getting leather goods now that I am vegan. But I’d love to get you something just as nice, like this sweater that would look so good on you! I thought of it immediately when I saw it.” Try to have a few other options ready so you show them that you’ve put some thought into it. This way, they are likely to either accept your thoughtful alternative, or come up with another, vegan-friendly gift option.


Dear Peaceful Dumpling,

First of all I want to say I love reading PD! My favorite is the newsletter which often feels like what I’m going through at that given point. So thank you 🙂

My question is about my love life. I’m 26 years old and I’ve never had a real boyfriend. In college I was focused on studying (I was pre-med) and so it didn’t really bother me as much. But since graduating I’ve become more social and open to meeting people, and it still hasn’t happened. I don’t know what’s wrong with me–my friends tell me I’m pretty, and I feel I’m smart and have good personality. I’m a little shy and find it hard to talk to strangers but get better once I get to know them. I’ve met a guy at a bar once and we went out on some dates but that fizzled out too. At this point I’m really feeling frustrated and discouraged. What am I doing wrong? Is there something I should try?


Dear H,

Thanks for your sweet words about PD! 😀 Now let’s get straight to the point. First off, get rid of the thought that you’re “doing something wrong” to be having this difficulty. This isn’t because you’re not “loving yourself first” or have to let go of your issues, like some self-help books will tell you. Your love doesn’t start the moment you’ve fixed all your problems–that’s misleading because you’re ready for it now, as you are. You’ve already told me that you’ve been social and open to meeting new people, so you’re gold! And I’m positive that you are certainly attractive, kind, and intelligent–and more importantly, that you have a heart that is open and wanting to give love.
Sometimes though, even when you are deserving and willing, love doesn’t always happen to us when we want it to. It might be frustrating but that’s part of its magic!
Just because you feel like you’ve been waiting forever doesn’t mean that it can’t happen at any moment, or that it won’t be any less intense or deep. The thing is, one doesn’t need lots of little loves (unless that’s what you really want! :0) –all you really want is one great love, and it’s better that you meet this person when you have grown and learned more about yourself, than when you were still trying to figure yourself out. For the record, while I started dating young, some of my friends started dating in their twenties–and because of that maturity, their first relationships were more giving and caring. And yes, without expending energy with many romantic misadventures, some of them went on to become happily married. All it took was just that one person.

My one piece of advice would be to keep doing what you’re doing and just stay confident and warm. Have an open and engaging attitude. You mentioned you are shy in front of strangers. Do you smile and make eye contact a lot while conversing? Often shyness gets registered as coldness or disinterest, so be a little bit warmer. Don’t be afraid of showing interest, or even saying that you like someone. Laugh more. Get in tune with your body, whether that’s through yoga, or taking relaxing baths, or dancing in your room. And most of all, just relax. Hugs!

More reader questions: I need help finding an engagement ring for my vegan GF

Photo: docmoreau via Flickr

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Peaceful Dumpling is used for articles written by staff writers and freelance contributors who wish to remain unidentified.


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