The holiday season can be difficult when you have to eat gluten free. To prepare for gatherings with family and friends, I suggest planning ahead. Schedule your events in ahead of time, and be sure to work in some down time, too. This will be the key to creating a successful gluten-free holiday season. Below I am going to share some of my top tips for attending gatherings and how I choose to carry on family traditions.
Attending a gathering
If I will be attending a gathering, I’ll take the time to talk with the host ahead of time. Often, I am blown away by their understanding and generosity. I used to get nervous that I would be imposing, but now I have grown confident in advocating for my family’s needs. Have you ever had a moment when someone gives you their special homemade treat they made just for you and you have to refuse it because it has gluten? So sad! It feels so much better to talk to the host ahead of time!
There are so many options for how you approach gatherings in a way that can be fun and gluten-free friendly:
- Offer to bring a gluten-free dish
- Eat before your arrive
- Pack your own safe meal
And if you are traveling out of town for the holidays, be sure to download the Find Me Gluten Free app! In the app, you can see ratings for celiac-friend and dedicated gluten-free restaurants. If someone suggests eating out or you want to grab a bite before heading to a gluten-filled party, you can be prepared with a restaurant recommendation that you know has safe options so you can focus on having a great time instead of worrying about what to eat.
Nearly every year, I still get bummed about a family tradition that revolved around gluten food (like cookie baking day). However, these traditions don’t have to end. You can revamp the old traditions and have fun experimenting as you try out new recipes. You can laugh over the flops and delight in new favorites.
And, it’s never too late to start a new family tradition that will create lasting memories, too! Movie nights, running or walking a Turkey Trot, seeing Christmas lights, participating in a white elephant gift exchange, hosting an ugly sweater party…all these celebrations focus on memories with loved ones instead of the food. Traditions can be such a fun and important part of the holidays.
The most important thing that helps me stay energized for social events is to focus on the people, not the food. I go to events to have great conversations, to laugh, to connect with loved ones, to make new friends — I come for the company, not the cake. So this holiday season, I challenge you to focus on what matters most: family, friends, and memories! Your focus can make or break your holiday experiences, so don’t be afraid to let your best gluten-free self shine!
Learn more about having happy gluten-free holidays in “4 Tips to Reinvent Your Holidays, Gluten-Free Style” and “Gluten-Free Holiday Gift Ideas.”