Food allergies: holidays can be hard! These ideas will help you celebrate the holidays (Easter, Halloween, and Christmas) a little easier this year!
If you or someone in your family has food allergies, you know how many things in life revolve around food. Sure, every family gathering or school function might have you scrambling for safe snacks to bring, there are many holiday traditions that may have you feeling excluded.
With food allergies, holidays are just another obstacle to tackle in your life. So much of food allergy life is making adjustments and finding replacements, and it’s normal to have to miss out on a lot of activities or experiences in order to stay safe.
Most people probably don’t think about things like Easter egg hunts, trick-or-treating, or holiday baking in the same way food allergy families do. I know I certainly didn’t think about them before it became part of my life.
I’ve been a #foodallergymom for a few years now, and while I’m certainly no expert, I have learned a few things that have helped my child experience some holiday traditions in a way that is safe for him, but also pretty much give you the same results!
Whether you’re dealing with a new food allergy diagnosis, or have been at this for years, I hope some of these ideas help you and your family experience all the fun of the holidays in a safe way!
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Food Allergies: Holidays Made Easier!
It’s a rite of passage for all kids to decorate gingerbread houses these days. At least, according to my Instagram.
Dining room tables are lined with store-bought (usually) gingerbread kits, bowls of candy, and cute kids in matching Christmas pajamas. (No one shows the tantrums or bowls of overturned candy, right?)
Even though I made it through childhood without having ever decorated a gingerbread house, this became one of those things I obsessed over. My kid can’t safely do this unless I find the perfect t recipe for a safe gingerbread house.
Yes, you can order allergy-friendly options online, or, I found an even better alternative that requires zero baking, and is so easy to assemble. A PLASTIC GINGERBREAD HOUSE!
Why Plastic Gingerbread Houses are a Perfect Allergy-Friendly Idea
Not only is this genius (and safe!!), but it’s also superior to traditional gingerbread houses in many ways:
- One purchase, a lifetime of use. No more spending money on kits for a house you’ll toss in a few days. This one can be used again and again!
- It’s sturdier than a “real” gingerbread house. It snaps together so you don’t have to worry about it falling over while you’re decorating.
- You decorate it JUST LIKE you normally would. Spread on your icing and then add your safe candies.
- Easy to disassemble. When we’re ready to pack away Christmas, I just take the house apart, soak it for a bit to soften the candy/icing, and then wash off. I pack it with my Christmas decorations to use for next year!
Ah, another holiday based completely around food. Or in this case, candy. :)
Yes, you can skip trick-or-treating altogether, OR, you can make it work for your family. My son is only five so he’s only had a couple of Halloweens where he got the concept of dressing up and gathering candy.
It’s still been fairly easy to just let him trick-or-treat like normal and then remove any unsafe candy for him once we get home. Last year we actually made up little bags of safe candy for him and as we trick or treated at the homes of friends, he collected the safe candy we brought ahead of time. He didn’t feel excluded or think he wasn’t getting the “real” stuff either.
The same at Trunk or Treat we had at church. A friend offered to take safe candy to each car for him so when he came around he got his special treats and everyone was happy.
Ideas for Allergy-Friendly Candy
If you’re thinking about providing your own safe treats (yay!) here are some good ideas:
- non-candy items – bouncy balls, pencils, stickers, small toys, etc.
- Dum Dum suckers
- Sweedish Fish
- Enjoy Life Chocolate
- Ring Pops
Every allergy parent will have their own knowledge of what is safe for their child but this website is a good place to start!
Another Halloween activity we’ve had to skip? Carving pumpkins.
One of my son’s allergens is pumpkin so it wouldn’t be safe for him to handle the real thing.
Fortunately, many stores sell foam and plastic pumpkins that can be carved and painted.
Foam or Plastic Pumpkins are Great for those with Allergies
If pumpkin carving, or painting, is important to you, plastic or foam pumpkins are perfect.
- Less mess! There are no slimy seeds to remove and dispose of.
- No smell. Maybe some people like that smell, but I for one did not.
- They last! My boys painted some sweet little pumpkins for the porch a couple of years ago and I was able to just pack them away with my other fall decor to be used again next year. Love this!
Here are a couple of options to check out (I’ll try to remember to add more links as we get closer to fall!):
I may not have come from a gingerbread house decorating family, but you better believe we took egg dying seriously.
Plastic Dyable Easter Eggs
Easter egg dying was definitely one of the things I was looking forward to experiencing with my own kids one day, and, plot twist, my oldest son is allergic to eggs. Wah, wah, waaaah.
Not to worry though, we’ve never missed a year of egg dying thanks to another truly great invention, the plastic, dyable egg!
Here’s the thing, should my son one day be able to safely touch and consume eggs, I’m still going to buy these fake eggs each year.
They dye just as well (in my opinion), they require zero prep, and they don’t smell. Plus, you can continue to play with them and hide them for days (Weeks! Months! Years!) without worrying about when they’re going to start rotting.
These are popping up all over the place, including:
With the price of eggs this year, I imagine these will be more popular than ever!!
With food allergies, holidays shouldn’t have to be something to dread! Three major holidays with major traditions, and ways to safely enjoy them all. What are some other ways your food allergy family celebrates holidays in a slightly different (but just as awesome) way? Share!