The Holiday Season with Food Allergies

My husband’s Buche de Noël attempt, 2011 (it was delicious).

Now with Halloween finished, we’re heading toward the holiday season. No Thanksgiving here in Switzerland, so Christmas (Noël) is the next big event. Stores have already begun stocking their shelves with Christmas decorations, presents and sweet treats.

Last year at this time, our little guy was about 6 months old. I never imagined he could have food allergies. He was barely eating solid food at the time. We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas in the typical American way—lots of milk, butter and nut-filled dishes. We gave little thought to what ingredients were used. Our focus was just on what tasted good, including a dairy and egg-heavy Buche de Noël that my husband made (we’re actually contemplating an allergy-friendly version this year—to be determined).

This year, we have a totally different perspective. It will be our first holiday season since our son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. At nearly 17 months, while he’s not aware of his allergies, it can also make it harder. If someone at a party offers him a cookie, he doesn’t understand it could potentially cause a severe allergic reaction.

Over the weekend, I attended a child’s birthday party with my oldest son. I ended up leaving my food-allergic son at home—in part, because it would allow me to enjoy a conversation without having to chase him around. Honestly, I was also concerned about keeping him away from all the delicious Swiss foods and desserts I knew would be there. It’s strange that something as benign and satisfying as birthday cake has turned into something to fear now that we have food allergies to constantly think about.

Free Online Meeting about Holidays and Food Allergies

Tomorrow night (or in the afternoon, if you’re connecting from the United States), I’ll be attending a free online meeting sponsored by the Kids with Food Allergies Foundation: Navigating the Holidays with Food Allergies. The meeting will feature Dr. Michael Pistiner (AllergyHome.org) and Dr. Sarah Boudreau-Romano (TheAllergistMom.com). This one-hour session will allow participants to ask questions about how to manage food allergies during the holiday season, a particularly food-centered time of year. Here are the details:

Navigating the Holidays with Food Allergies:
Live Q&A Session with Leading Experts

Tuesday, November 6 at 2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST) or 8:00 PM in Switzerland
Register to save a spot in for the webinar; the number of participants is limited.

I’ll be sure to share any advice or insight I gain from this event, as well as any other resources mentioned. If you have any recommendations or lessons learned about food allergies and the holidays, please leave a comment below or send an email to dairyfreeswitzerland@gmail.com. We can learn a lot from each other.

The countdown continues… 10 days until National Bundt Day!

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