Food: Making Christmas Easier for the Guest with Special Needs
Welcome to Day 2 of the five-day series “5 Ways to Make Christmas Easier for the Guest with Special Needs”! If you missed Day 1, you can find it here.
Food plays an important role in Christmas in our society. Often, family gatherings revolve entirely around food, and all activities are planned around menus and treats galore. For people with food allergies and intolerances and other dietary restrictions, the abundance of food during Christmas events is problematic. In addition, the long history behind many families’ celebrations makes it uncomfortable for them to alter or change their plans in ways that accommodate the affected family members. This can cause a lot of drama, hurt feelings, and unnecessary heartache.
Food allergies and intolerances and dietary restrictions due to health issues are very real, and they are not something that someone asks for or pretends to have because it’s “in.” They are, in fact, very serious and possibly life-threatening and should not be taken lightly. This can be difficult for people to understand who have seen people eating gluten-free to try to lose weight or following a fad diet that resembles restrictions people may have for medical reasons. I understand that, but I also understand the frustration people experience when someone puts them in a life-threatening situation because they don’t think their food requirements are a real issue.
This is an area where communication, understanding, and compassion are in order. It’s not the time for questioning diagnoses or for explaining what Aunt Susie’s friend’s doctor told her to do. It’s time to figure out what needs to happen for everyone to have something good to eat and to be safe and comfortable. Maybe that means modifying favorite family recipes so that everyone can have some. Maybe that means changing family traditions to include a few dishes that are food allergy friendly. Maybe that means keeping everything the same while the family member who needs accommodations provides all his own food for the weekend. A good conversation can help all parties involved determined what the best way is to keep the affected individual safe and well-fed.
What other moms say about food:
“Please do not attempt to make my child eat everything on his plate or to try something new. Do not be offended if we bring stuff for him to eat and drink incase he won’t eat what you are serving.” – Samantha Pavia
“Please tell me what you are serving ahead of time so I can make hers “match”. Please don’t serve nuts.” – Mom on Facebook
Up tomorrow: The schedule / planned activities.
Want to read more Christmas series about a variety of topics? Check out the iHomeschool Network Christmas Hopscotch!