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Tips for holiday parties with food allergy

December 20, 2019

It’s that time of year. Potlucks, parties, and holiday presents are fresh on everyone’s mind. I recently got home from a lovely wedding a fair distance away, but all that driving gave me a moment to pause and think about the delicacy of handling food allergies at parties. In this blog post, I will highlight how I do this as a guest and separately, as a host.

Close up photo of young adults around a table for a holiday party

As a guest

  • I usually offer to bring my own food, because my list of food allergies is extensive and finding allergen-friendly recipes is a real challenge. I have a few knowledgeable friends and family members who occasionally cook for me, and when they do, it’s always so special!
  • While not a food allergy, I try and remember to ask about scented products and pets, but sometimes I forget until I find holiday candles keeping me awkwardly looking for another bathroom. In those times, I find it’s better to be honest and clear as soon as I realize there might be an issue, so that I can be safe and avoid misunderstandings.
  • I always try to bring along some kind of thank you gift for my hosts, extra safe food or snacks for myself, and my epinephrine auto-injector just in case.

This year is my first year with my own apartment, and while I’m still settling in, it’s been such a pleasure getting to host a friend or two.

As a host

  • I always ask about my guests’ food requirements and try to find ways to accommodate them if possible. At potlucks, everyone is asked to label ingredients, and people with food restrictions get to go first to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
  • I love showing my guests how I cook and sharing my food with them, but sometimes that’s too expensive, so I always make sure to be clear about what I’m going to be providing and what can be brought.
  • I love hosting non-food parties too: sewing, crafting, puzzling, and games nights are getting to be a fantastic regular occurrence at my place.

Do you have any other tips for hosting or being a guest at a party? Please share!

– Janice H.

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