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What Not to do for Your First Gluten Free Christmas

Posted by: Marissa on Dec. 8, 2009

The Holiday Season is in full swing. Last minute shoppers are preparing for the final sprint and the planners are wrapping up their well thought out purchases. Carols ring through the frosty air and colorful lights are everywhere. Tis the season for caring, sharing and giving. In this season of joy and good cheer it is hard to believe that anything could go wrong.

Indeed, go wrong things did! I really messed up in a few areas last Christmas. I wish I could say that all of this article comes from last year's experience and that I have grown wiser since then, but alas, that is not the case! I have grown and changed, but, as I have not achieved perfection yet, I have lessons from this season as well. In an effort to keep you from making the same silly mistakes, I now bring you another chapter from Marissa's book of what not to do.

Don't Forget to Graciously Receive

Last Christmas was an interesting experiment in self control, or lack thereof. I hate to admit it, but I was rude! On more than one occasion I made myself look foolish and hurt the feelings of people who were offering me their love. Shame on me, you say, and I agree. Truth is, I was so clouded by my situation that I couldn't focus on things that should have been important.

The one main instance of this that sticks out in my head was when I unwrapped my very sweet and generous gift from a distant cousin. She was in town for Christmas and had been thoughtful enough to remember everyone in the family on her shopping spree. I was flattered by receiving her gift, until I opened it and realized that it was food.

I immediately lost all focus on the whole idea of giving and receiving. My mouth dropped open, my eyes teared up and I forgot myself. I flipped the packages of handmade candy over one by one and read the ingredients. Then, based on what I read, sorted the bags into two piles. My husband saved me from myself by gently touching my hand and saying, “Honey, look later.” Those three words brought me back to myself a bit and I remembered to say thank you. That wasn't the last of it, though, more on that later.

For now, let's focus on the lesson. Gifts of any kind are given out of love. If someone gives you a gift, it shouldn't matter what the ingredients are! Focus on the moment and remember that it really is the thought that counts. Don't rob yourself or the giver of the joy of the moment. Say a gracious Thank You and just look at the ingredients later.

Don't Obsess

The holiday season is very busy for most people. There are places to go, people to see and things to do. It is very easy to get hung up on being gluten free and miss the subtle joys of the season.

A perfect example of this immediately followed my silliness over the gift from my cousin. Although my husband had saved me from making a complete idiot of myself, my mind was spinning. I now knew that the pile of candy had some bags that contained gluten. Problem was, I hadn't checked them all yet. I was also stuck on trying to figure out what to do with the ones I couldn't eat. Should I leave them at my mom's house? Should I re-gift them? So many questions!

Here's the rub, while I was stuck in my head trying to figure out my gluten/candy dilemma, Christmas morning was happening all around me. Presents were being opened, songs were being sung and I was missing it. I had let that one little snag distract me from what should have been important to me.

The lesson? Don't obsess! Don't let yourself get so caught up in food that you forget what the season is for. Allow yourself to relax in the knowledge that there will be plenty of time later for questions and answers. Life only happens once, I can never get those moments back. Don't lose yours!

Don't Neglect Your Planning

Though it's true that obsession never helped anyone, it is equally true that negligence isn't helpful either. Careful planning for certain situations will keep you from falling into the previous two traps and make your celebrations run much smoother.

This personal tidbit is from this year, a few nights ago actually. We were headed to a family night at my daughter's school. It was a celebration of reading where each grade level planned a special activity for the families. The idea was to go to each room and do all the activities. It would have been fantastic fun, except that I failed to prepare.

Three of the eight rooms offering activities had food based fun. Decorating graham crackers, making popcorn snowmen and munching healthy snacks were some of the options. We entered and left these rooms quickly. There was no fun to be had for my child who couldn't join the activities. She had no interest in making things she couldn't eat. My daughter grew increasingly moody as the evening went on, and I remained oblivious.

It wasn't until it was almost time to go that I finally caught on. It hit like a slap in the face- no wonder she was upset! Most adults I know have problems being the odd man out, why wouldn't my child?! I have never claimed to be a psychic, but I should have seen this coming. The flyer from the school had clearly listed snacks as part of the fun!

I wish it hadn't taken my daughter's teary eyes to bring this lesson to you, but for me it has been well learned- Always be prepared! Due to the fact that I had already started the holiday baking, we had plenty of treats at the house. It would have taken me five minutes to fix a “just in case goodie bag” to take along. It may not have solved every problem that night, but it would have softened the blow for my darling one to be able to chow down with her friends.

There you have it. Three new what not to do rules to get you through the holidays unscathed. It is a little sad to consider all I had to do wrong to be able to bring them to you :) Hopefully, keeping my mess ups in mind will help you to stay focused (on the right stuff) and remember that a little planning goes a long way.

Comments on This Post:

  • BeccM
    Dec. 13, 2009

    Thanks for all the great info. I will definatly be on the look out for accidental mixes this christmas

    Reply to This Post

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