Gluten-Free Holiday Survival Guide

I love this time of year. I love entertaining. I love cooking. I love spending time with family and friends — last night, we had an impromptu gathering that made me so happy, I just want to do it every weekend! But this time of year also comes with many stresses. By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, I’ll have attended three to four Christmas celebrations in two states, three cities.

Add to that the many meals out, office parties, social gatherings, and, heck, just sitting down for a quick bite while shopping (hint: carry something like Lara bars in your bag!), and this season takes on new challenges for those of us who must eat gluten free. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are at this game, a gluten-free life adds complexity. My husband is booking Christmas dinner right now, and he has me checking menus to make sure I’ll be able to eat something.

(And if he goes with the restaurant he just showed me, I’ll be in heaven!)

I’ve put together this Gluten-Free Holiday Survival Guide to help everyone from the newly gluten free to the seasoned pro survive. It’s the time of year to find the joy in life…and keep the stress at a minimum! Read on for suggestions for surviving your holiday.

Surviving Family

I love my family. I do. But by the time the holiday season is over, I am relieved to be back to my boring, family-light existence. The compressed time we spend together means everything that happens is intensified. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, but it can be challenging. I generally have at least three Christmas celebrations: one at my mother’s, one at the in-laws, and one at home with my husband. There is a lot of travel involved with these three events, including a couple of plane flights.

Oh, and sometimes, there’s a fourth celebration with old friends who are family in every way but blood.

So, okay, if you’re gluten-free, take all that and multiply by a factor unique to your own family. Or families, as the case may be. My sister is also gluten-free, so I get lots of support there. I am pretty sure my brothers will cheerfully eat anything they’re fed. My mom doesn’t eat red meat or fish or chicken with bones or, sigh, vegetables. We work it out. Continue reading “Surviving Family”