Adapting Holidays for our Family

kitchen table set for Easter dinner

The egg hunts are completed. The baskets have been picked through. The leftovers have not quite been put away yet, but the first load of the dishwasher has been started. The kids are downstairs watching a new movie the Easter Bunny brought, and the parents are taking a short break on the couch before the bedtime routine begins. 

It was a glorious day! I love holidays with my family. illuminated egg in a basket for EasterI love being able to continue fun traditions together that I hope my children will continue one day when they have their own families. I enjoy being able to establish new traditions. This year we tried a twilight egg hunt. I put LED battery powered candles into some pastel-colored plastic eggs and hid them around the house, then turned out all the lights and let the kids find them. They had a blast, it was super easy, food-free, and they continued to play with the glowing eggs, in the dark, for about 30 minutes after. I would say a new tradition has been made!

Earlier I asked my kids what their favorite thing about our Easter celebration was. Two said the twilight egg hunt, one said the regular plastic egg hunt, and one said the Ninjago Spinners that he got in his basket. None of them really care that we don't dye hard-boiled eggs like other families, or attend the city-sponsored egg hunts, or enjoy chocolate bunnies in our Easter baskets. We keep things simple, enjoy lots of Starburst jelly beans, Skittles, and Swedish fish. Although my oldest with braces might have to exchange some of her candy for some better options that won't rip her brackets off! The kids do not care about what they may miss out on, but what memories they can make with family. I never feel like my kids are missing out because of their allergies because we have learned to replace it with so much more! More family time, new traditions, more play time and more giggles!

While this year we did just our immediate family for Easter, oftentimes we are with extended family members or friends for holidays. While we love getting together with others, it is hard with severe food allergies. It becomes harder to retain control of food preparation, hand washing, where food goes and messes the more people that are involved. We establish strict rules in our own home before festivities begin to keep our boys safe and try our hardest to remind family and friends at other venues of safety rules. The truth of the matter is, when you do not live the food allergy lifestyle 24/7, you forget. We created our Do Not Feed stickers, buttons, and patches just for these instances. Do Not Feed ButtonAs a reminder for those around your child to stop and think. Did I wash my hands after I ate? Have I checked with their parents if what I brought is safe for them? Did they bring alternative foods with them that are safe? It also serves as a great way for kids to learn to share about their allergies with cousins, friends, and classmates. Use it for a family get together, school, holiday parties, field trips, vacations, and so much more! 

Our extended family knows that when they celebrate at our home that we usually post our "Food Rules" on the wall to remind everyone that food does not leave the kitchen area, everyone must wash hands as soon as they leave the table and no one is allowed to serve our boys food without letting us check it first. Even though everyone may struggle with some rules that do not follow their normal practice at home, they are more than happy to oblige when they know our sons safety is at risk.

However you choose to celebrate the holidays, I hope you figure out what works best for your family that creates a safe, low stress, and happy environment. Keep making memories and creating fun, new ways to celebrate when the traditional parts of holidays don't work with your families food allergies! 

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