Handling non-vegan gifts from family

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My aunt gave me a few non-vegan xmas presents. She lives far away and I don't see her often. She's very nice and we get along, but because we haven't spent much time together, we aren't close. She comes from another country from me where vegans aren't very common. I was vegetarian for years before I went vegan and even then, she had trouble grasping that I didn't eat fish.

The thing is, though, that my aunt does regularly give me gifts, and they often aren't vegan. If I don't address this now, she will likely continue to bestow me with non-vegan gifts. I can't explain this in person, nor does it feel right to e-mail her or have this conversation over the phone (especially with the language barrier). I was thinking of sending her a hand written note along the lines of, "thank you so much, I appreciate the thought, but I'm actually vegan now...here's some info about what that means." And then including a typed out guide to veganism - why people go vegan, how they do it, what it means, etc. I originally thought of just including the definition of veganism (vegan society), but thinking about the sort of person my aunt is, I feel like I'll have to spell it out for her. On the other hand, it might come across as really preachy - maybe even judgemental - if I include a whole 2 pg. document about my lifestyle.

My bottom line: I don't want people to support animal cruelty for my sake. If it came down to it (i.e., the person understood what veganism was, that I was vegan, and that I didn't want non-vegan gifts - and gave them anyway), I would probably give the gift back or turn it down point blank. However, I'd want to give a person every opportunity of understanding before it came to that. I know that, at this point, my aunt doesn't know I'm vegan and may not even know what it means to be vegan, so I want to enlighten her in the kindest, most gracious way possible whilst still being clear. Any advice on how to handle this situation?
 
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Reactions: Emma JC

Nibbles

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Hi! Happy almost-new-year :) .. I agree that it's best to tell your aunt about you being vegan. A small letter is a good idea - but a phone conversation would work too. I don't think the letter or the phone conversation should be all about being vegan though. You could just call to wish her a happy new year, talk about things to catch up - and then bring this up. I think it would be enough to keep it brief (no need for a 2 page document on being vegan).

I have been vegetarian all my life, and I turned vegan about a year ago. I live in California- but My family is from India where it is not common to be vegan either. I do tell my family to not buy me silk or leather things as presents - and I think they are understanding about it. Sometimes they forget - at which point I explain again.

Hope it works out!