5 Tips to Celebrating Holidays

The holidays can be oh so magical, and also oh so stressful, am I right?! The holidays should be a time of joy, excitement, cheer, fun parties, magical events, and a time to make wonderful memories. No matter which holiday you celebrate, they all are a time of celebration and thankfulness. We have the opportunity to share moments with those we love. Simple traditions mean so much like making cookies and taking them to the neighbors. There are extravagant traditions for some like getting all dressed up and going to parties or out on the town. No matter how you choose to celebrate, we hope you enjoy this season with your loved ones.

Can we be real though? Life doesn’t always bring all the joy and happiness we desire this time of year. Whether it's stress, dealing with food restrictions, financial burdens, grief and loss, sickness, discouragement, family strife, or just simply not having loved ones close by, life sometimes deals us some tough situations. If you find yourself this holiday season struggling in any way, we see you and want to extend some love to you. Know that this season will pass, no matter how challenging it may be.

We have been living this free from life for over 18 years and we’ve learned a few things. If you are struggling with food restrictions or events that are centered around food, we would love to offer you some encouragement. Through the years we have encountered loved ones that are supportive, neutral, and combative about our food restrictions. We have experienced it all and have had to wade through some very difficult situations. With that, we would love to help anyone out that may need it. Here are several things we have learned over the years.

Rustic Scoop™ Holiday Meal

  1. If anyone is combative, negative, or unsupportive of your food restrictions for any reason, you do not need to spend time with them. It doesn’t matter who this person is or how close they are. Having clear boundaries is very important for your own safety and well being. It will likely require an awkward and hard conversation, but worth it in the end. No one can stand up for you (or your kids), other than you. We have had this difficult conversation and while it was hard, it put in place very necessary boundaries. Eventually, there was more respect.

  2. Holidays can be celebrated anytime. If your extended family celebrates on a specific day, you can celebrate the holiday any other day you want to on your own. So many of us get fixated on a specific day to celebrate. This can cause a lot of stress when there are plenty of days this time of year to bring that holiday cheer and celebrate with a grateful heart. That’s what this season is really all about, right?! If you are set on celebrating on a specific day, then request to celebrate with your extended family another day. This has been a big and important change for us. Flexibility brings peace

  3. Many of the holidays are centered around food, which is fun and memorable. When we have food restrictions this can cause stress if we are wanting to celebrate with others. This either means we have to make and bring everything ourselves or eat only a few simple foods that are safe. This requires a decision to be made: 
  • Eat before you go and eat a few simple items if there are any safe ones. Go with the attitude that you are there to enjoy being with your loved ones, not there for the food. It’s an important mind shift to have, it will come in handy all year long.
  • Bring all of your own safe food. This requires a lot of work, but ensures you have all the safe foods you would like to have without the stress of someone else preparing food.
  • Host the holiday yourself to ensure all the food is safe. This gives you the control over what food is served, how to safely prepare it, and gives your guests the knowledge how to bring safe food. This is very important so you can educate others on food safety and will bring you less stress as you come to know they can prepare or bring safe food.

    4. If you must, don’t celebrate the holidays with your loved ones. We choose to not celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones very often. It’s the one meal that is the most difficult for us to eat safely being gluten-free, dairy free, garlic free, and sugar free (among others). The vast majority of Thanksgiving food includes one or more of these items. All of our family is out of town so it requires a lot of prep and cooking while we are there or we just have meat and a salad. We have done this several times and we make it work, but often it’s more fun for us to be home and make ALL the Thanksgiving food we want like rolls, pies, green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. Since Thanksgiving is the kickoff of the holiday season, there just isn’t time for us to celebrate it on another day. We have made our own traditions and have fun spending the day in the kitchen as a family. Each of us choose 2-3 items to make for the meal so we all pitch in.

    5. Spread your holiday baking out. There is no need to make ALL the things on one day or the day before your celebration. The beauty of our recipes is that almost all of them can be made ahead and frozen. You can make all of your dessert, breakfasts, and sides weeks ahead of time. That means the day-of is rather simple and stress free, not to mention delicious. ;) When there is stress, there isn’t joy and being present in the moment. We want you to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, even with food restrictions. It can be done! Planning and prepping ahead will always be our best pieces of advice for those with food restrictions. They allow you to eat the foods you want while not feeling the stress of doing it all at once.

We hope you have an amazing holiday season no matter how you choose to celebrate. May it be full of good food, laughter, and joy. The simple things in life are often the most memorable. Be sure to be present in the moment and enjoy in a way that makes sense for you. You are your best advocate! We wish you the best this holiday season!

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