From homemade crackers to second-hand toys – how two families are enjoying a ‘vegan Christmas’
- Credit: Picture: TINA NEWMAN
For two Ipswich mums, being a vegan at Christmas is not just about the food on their plates – but also how their choices are “helping the planet and not harming it”.
Tina Newman and Eva Andrews are two friends who met through the Ipswich 'V-Gang Mummas' group - where like-minded women have joined forces to support those embarking on a change of lifestyle.
Both women say that as well as changing their diets they have both become more "eco-conscious" - especially at Christmas - after noticing how many unnecessary gifts they bought.
Tina Newman is a mother to Ada, aged three, and Layla, who is aged five - and this year will be her family's third vegan Christmas.
She says her children "don't miss out on anything" and for whatever they ate before they went vegan, there is a plant-based alternative.
Tina said: "We simply just leave animals off of our plates and choose to eat plant based foods instead. They taste even better and no animal has had to be unnecessarily killed."
This year Tina will be making a "delicious Christmas dinner" from the BOSH cookbook, making a Wellington and serving it with Yorkshire puddings, shroomdog sausages and all the trimmings followed by all the usual desserts.
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But not only are the Newman family opting for vegan foods, but they have also tried to make eco-friendly choices when preparing for the big day.
"We have used brown paper to wrap our presents up and all had fun decorating and personalising them," said Tina, who has also written a vegan children's book.
She continued: "This year we have made homemade crackers and found little presents to go inside which the children are going to keep and aren't just made out of plastic which go straight in to the bin after the meal."
Tina says that being aware of these kind of issues isn't isolated to veganism. However, she says her family has become more conscious of their carbon footprint since turning vegan - opting for second-hand toys, present swaps and homemade items.
"Being vegan isn't about perfection," added Tina. "However, it is about having the intention to lead a lifestyle that causes the least amount of harm to animals and the planet."
Meanwhile, Eva Andrews - who owns a vegan bakery - says she and her husband have chosen not to buy each other anything this Christmas.
She said: "I have grown to realise none of that stuff is important, spending time with the people I love is and it's much more joyful nowadays.
"I've just asked for donations to the World Land Trust from others and got us a bottle of vegan Baileys at the ready!"
This Christmas she has also bought second hand presents for her youngest child and her niece and nephews.
She has also made her own cards and decorated craft paper with Christmas trees using potato printing, which she says her kids have "thoroughly enjoyed doing".
Eva added: "There are plenty of Christmas treats out there for us now with more than ever before - with Hanks Deli in Ipswich full of treats and the major supermarkets stocking up with more options, so none of us feel like we miss out on anything."
Eva's family will be spending Christmas Day with her parents - her mum has chosen some vegan dishes and desserts from Iceland which are also palm oil free.