Living with food allergies may change your holidays, but you can still have enjoyable and meaningful celebrations. Although dietary restrictions and avoiding your or your child's food allergens may make some holiday traditions challenging, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy connecting with friends and family during the holiday season. By communicating your limitations due to food allergies, being flexible, and adjusting your expectations, you can help make sure the holidays are happy and memorable.
Communicate Your Needs
Let your loved ones know that connecting with them over the holidays is as important as ever to you, but the danger of a life-threatening food allergy means you need to make different plans. You need to put your or your child's health first to avoid anaphylaxis or other dangerous allergic reactions.
Instead of saying "no," say "yes" to something else. If a family tradition no longer works for you since you or your child developed food allergies, it may be time to suggest an update.
If it's just not possible to get together in one place this year, consider using a video chat service such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime to have a special holiday call on a smartphone or laptop. During a video chat, you can:
Adjust Your Expectations
Even without food allergies, holidays often come with high expectations that lead to disappointment and stress. Letting go of the illusion of a "perfect" holiday can help you keep expectations realistic and focus on what's most important about the holidays. For many people, that means connecting with loved ones, being thankful for what you have, and finding hope for the new year.
Here are some mindful tips from Johns Hopkins Medicine for adjusting holiday expectations:
During the holidays and year-round, the members of MyFoodAllergyTeam are here for each other. Joining MyFoodAllergyTeam means gaining a support group of thousands of others living with or caring for a child with food allergies who understand exactly what you're going through.
Here are some conversations from MyFoodAllergyTeam members about navigating the holiday season with food allergies:
Have you found ways to celebrate the holidays despite food allergies? Share in the comments below or post on MyFoodAllergyTeam.