Since deciding to follow a vegan lifestyle, I've found that gift-giving occasions such as birthdays and Christmas can be challenging. This is doubly true for situations where gifts are given from strangers or even completely anonymously, such as an office "Secret Santa" or draw/door prizes at events.
Even when people are aware of my vegan ideals and try their best to respect that, it's still common to receive non-vegan gifts because the gift-giver is not familiar with the variety of ways that animal products are incorporated into food and other goods, and they either fail to read the label or lack practice with label-reading.
I do not want to receive goods or services that are the product of animal suffering, but sometimes it happens anyway. What is the best way to react when this happens, and what might I do to avoid getting into these situations?