Gifts for Vegetarians That Won’t Break the Bank

December 18, 2008 By: Megabeth Category: Article Print This Post Print This Post

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We’ve all had to face the news about the failing economy and have had to tighten our money belts during the holiday shopping season.  So, to shake off some of the “Bah Humbug!”, I’ve come up with the following list of holiday gift ideas that will keep on giving year round, don’t cost and arm and a leg, and are perfect for vegetarians.

Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) –  My weekly delivery of CSA vegetables have challenged me to try new recipes, create new dishes and experience the best fruits and vegetables fresh off the vine. Best of all, each week I had a “gift box” of treats to open and enjoy.

A CSA gift not only benefits the recipients but also keeps money in the local economy. I also found that I wanted to eat at home rather than eating more expensive food at restaurants. And, because I received an e-mail telling me what I would be getting in each week’s delivery, I was able to plan my meals and shop accordingly.

CSA’s vary as to delivery methods. Some deliver to your house, some have a local pick-up location, while others only have local farm pick-up.  Some CSA’s also offer eggs, meats, and other items. Other CSA have special “U-pick” days and bonus produce if you visit their farm. It does take a little research to determine which CSA to go with. The research is worth it, though. The fact that there are so many options means that there is a CSA out there to fit anyone’s needs.

The United States Department of Agriculture and Local Harvest are great resources in which to start your research.

Vegetarian Cookbooks – There are thousands of vegetarian cookbooks so finding one won’t be a challenge. (Check out your local library book sale, and you can probably pick up a lot of vegetarian cookbooks there at much lower prices.) Kick your gift up a notch by pre-planning a meal using the cookbook. Before wrapping the book, copy down a few of the recipes, purchase all the ingredients involved, and then surprise your vegetarian with a home cooked meal after the gift is opened.

Some of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks are:

Magazine subscriptions – In the same vein as a vegetarian cookbook, a magazine subscription will encourage you to prepare your own dinners at home. I look forward to new issues coming in the mail and challenge myself to make at least two recipes out of each issue. There are a lot of options out there, but I subscribe to the following publications:

  • Vegetarian Times – Vegetarian Times went through a recent editorial makeover. I’m not to sure if I like it but maybe just need some time to get used to it.  The magazine seems to feature more articles and resources about food, products, travel and famous vegetarians or vegans. Which is fine in and of itself, but the expanded content seems to have reduced the number of recipes in each issue. That said, this is still a great magazine and I’ve never had a recipe fail that’s been featured in it.
  • Vegetarian Journal – I just recently started receiving this journal from the Vegetarian Resource Group.  This quarterly publication provides longer, more in-depth articles regarding vegetarian issues and nutrition. It may be perhaps a bit academic for some and it’s not really full of pictures. But, the publication is pretty content rich. I have yet to try any recipes out of it, yet. The Vegetarian Journal is included in the membership in the VRG. Bonus: When I joined VRG, I also received a copy of the book Meatless Meals for Working People.

The Aerogarden – I always have trouble using up all the fresh herbs that I purchase at the grocery store. They usually end up going bad before I finish them up. I’ve discovered that with the Aerogarden, herbs just keep growing and thriving even if you aren’t using them.

Even though I have a small kitchen, I feel that the counter space the Aerogarden takes up is worth it. (There are now multiple sizes available that will fit any kitchen.) You can grow fresh herbs, salad greens, strawberries or tomatoes in it year round with just some water and nutrient pellets. My Aerogarden is unfortunately on a hiatus right now.  But, when it’s in full bloom, I can declare it the best.thing.ever.

Give Something Back – I hope that folks remember that there are many people in need during these tough economic times.  Consider giving to your local food bank or shelter rather than going crazy with gifts. Non-profits are in urgent need of donations as the number of people looking for assistance has increased. Check out this article from MSN Money, “10 Donations Food Banks Need the Most“, for more details on what exactly is needed.  Finally, please remember, the need for donations goes beyond just the holiday season so keep these organizations in mind all year round.

Happy Holidays!

2 Comments to “Gifts for Vegetarians That Won’t Break the Bank”


  1. I’ve been eyeballing the Aerogarden too. I worried about the cat getting into it, but find that I don’t finish all the herbs I get from the store either. Did you not have luck with herbs in little pots on the window sill?

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  2. I don’t have a cat so I’m not sure how “attractive” the Aerogarden would be. (I’m sure the cats I used to have would have loved to get into it, now that I think about it…)

    I haven’t had too much luck with little pots because, honestly, I forget to water them. I also don’t have a lot of good sill space. The Aerogarden works for me because it flashes a little light when you need to add water and nutrients. It’s pretty foolproof.

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