6 Christmas ‘Gifts’ You Should Never, Ever Give

It’s that time of year again: cheesy songs, Christmas lights, tinsel, mince pies, and shops crowded with people frantically searching for the perfect gift for their loved ones.

As Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the general Christmas shopping frenzy approach, we’re sharing our guide to “gifts” you need to avoid if you don’t want to contribute to animal suffering – after all, ’tis the season of goodwill, so don’t make it cruel for animals.

Animal Companions Aren’t Just for Christmas

Unlike most other gifts, which are easy enough to return, re-gift, or forget about, animals such as puppies and kittens require a 10- to 20-year commitment and should never be adopted on a whim.

If you’re sure your loved one wants a companion for life, not just for Christmas, and has the time and money needed to care for one, why not take him or her to an animal shelter after the holidays?

Remember: no matter the time of year, never buy from a breeder. Breeders selling puppies, kittens, or other animals sentence many of those in shelters – whose hearts are filled with the hope of finding a loving family – to death by decreasing their chances of being adopted.

Celebrate a Wool-Free Winter

PETA and our international affiliates have exposed the rampant cruelty in shearing sheds around the world. In PETA Asia’s recent investigation of UK shearing sheds, workers were seen beating, stamping on, throwing, and mutilating sheep.

The wool industry is responsible for the extreme suffering and terrifying deaths of millions of sheep and lambs. Luckily, there’s no need to buy wool or any other material for which animals were beaten, slaughtered, or skinned – give your loved ones something they can be proud to wear instead:

Ho, Ho, No: Foie Gras

In order to produce foie gras, workers shove long metal tubes down the throats of ducks and geese to pump large quantities of grain into their stomachs several times a day.

The birds are often left to languish inside tiny cages or pens, coated in dirt or vomit and covered with sores. Once their livers have swollen to up to 10 times their normal size, the animals are slaughtered, and their fatty, diseased organs are sold as foie gras and spread on toast.

Instead of buying into cruelty, make your loved one a thoughtful, tasty, and compassionate gift – win, win, win!

Steer Clear of Dairy Chocolate

Cows are gentle, intelligent animals, who, when given the chance, will nurture their young and form lifelong friendships with one another. But on dairy farms, they are intensively confined and lead desperately unhappy lives.

Like human mothers, cows are devoted to their babies. Don’t contribute to their misery – delicious, affordable vegan chocolate is easy to come by. For some inspiration, check out our favourite vegan chocolate fixes:

Cruelty Is Not Entertaining

Around the world, animals are exploited in the entertainment industry. Whether they’re forced to perform crude tricks, kept in tiny enclosures, abused in wild-animal circuses, or stabbed to death in front of a crowd, these animals are condemned to a lifetime of misery because of humans.

Instead of buying tickets which support industries that profit from cruelty to animals, get your loved ones an experience that they can enjoy knowing no animal suffered in the process.

Take them to visit a circus that doesn’t use animals, explore a history museum, or cuddle up with homeless cats and dogs at a local animal shelter.

Forget Mohair

A recent PETA Asia investigation revealed that goats cried out in fear and desperation as they were roughly handled and shorn for mohair. Shearers – who are paid by volume, not by the hour – left the animals cut up and bleeding, and workers roughly stitched them up without giving them any pain relief.

Some goats were hauled to an abattoir, where they were electrically shocked, hung upside down, and slashed across the throat.



Check out PETA Fashion Award winners to find your loved ones a look that no one was killed for:

Leather ‘Products’

The leather used for the bags, shoes, and gloves you see in department stores and high-street shops comes from animals who have endured all the horrors of factory farming – including intensive confinement inside filthy cages or pens, castration without pain relief, chronic infections and disease caused by extreme crowding, and a terrifying trip to the abattoir.

More than 1 billion animals are killed worldwide for the leather trade every single year, from cows and calves to horses, lambs, goats, cats, pigs, and dogs.

Always choose vegan options made with synthetic PU leather, cork, or even “apple leather”, which are kinder to animals and to the environment, too. Our “PETA-Approved Vegan” list has plenty of options and serves as a great guide to cruelty-free fashion for gifts this Christmas:


Always think of animals as the individuals they are – they’re not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way. Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful animal-friendly options out there to get for your loved ones this holiday season, so you don’t need to worry about finding something they’ll love.

If you’re ever unsure whether or not a product is cruelty-free, simply check the labels and use our issues page as a reference.

Don’t want to receive one of these horrible gifts? Share this information with your loved ones. Happy shopping!