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Food allergies are tough to manage on your average day, let alone on holidays or during social events. And while this year holidays look a bit safer for those not having guests coming to celebrate (see the incident with my mother's lip gloss for all you need to know on this subject), even those who are celebrating with immediate family should still be concerned about things like season treats(which may be manufactured differently than the usual products), and potential for allergens in nonfood gifts (like lotions or cosmetics).
Whatever your holidays look like this year, here are some tips to help keep your family safe!
Read the labels, every time!
Even if you have used a product for years, manufacturing practices can change at any time. This is especially true for seasonal specialty products (think those Christmas versions of favorite candies). If you are concerned about cross contact or an allergen not in the top 8, be sure to contact the company directly! There is no legal obligation to list for these in ingredients. Furthermore, cosmetics and lotions may be held to a different standard than food.
If you are getting together with guests outside your household, volunteer to do the cooking, or host.
Even with clear communication, mistakes can happen. Ensure foods are safe by doing the cooking, bringing your own food to a celebration, or (best yet, if you are insistent on getting together with others), hosting. Hosting ensures that you are in control of procedures to limit cross contact (CC) in prep areas. You can also bring your own plates, utensils, or plan to use disposable products to further limit issues with CC.
Clearly communicate your comfort level with anyone you are gathering with; never assume others understand cross contact concerns!
Not comfortable with shared lines or facilities? Communicate this in clear language. Make sure to express concerns with cosmetics or body products that could transfer and cause a reaction as well.
Make sure anyone involved with caretaking has a clear understanding of the patient's allergy action plan.
Better yet, bring a copy as a reference as well as having clear discussions with all appropriate parties! Never leave your child in the care of anyone who does not fully understand the steps to follow in the event of a reaction.
Make sure cosmetics/body products are safe, not just food!
Food isn't the only thing that contains allergens. Many cosmetics and lotions contain nut and seed oils. Never assume a product is safe because you can't eat it!
Finally, always carry 2 epipens, and when in doubt, it is always better to epi than leave the reaction to chance*!
Always follow your individual action plan and listen to your doctor's recommendations first and foremost! Guides like this are great, but your practitioner will know the best steps to keep you or your child safe.
Looking for tips on Top 9 free holiday candy? We love YumEarth!!! Their products (other than candy corn, which is only available around Halloween) are free from Top 9, and their manufacturing facilities are free of Top 9 as well. Best yet? They are delicious!
Be sure to share this to help keep other food allergy patients safe this holiday season!
And be sure to check out Food Allergy Research and Education's webpage to learn more about food allergies. Or check out my food allergy portal for even more about managing food allergies, including recipes, other blog posts, great lists, product recommendations, and more!
I don’t need to tell you that 2020 has been a difficult year. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are just as ready to end the unpredictable chaos and monotony of social distancing as I am. I also won’t pretend we are all in the same boat in this storm. While my boat has been turbulent, we aren’t taking on water. I know many have not been so lucky.
So this holiday, I've made the decision to recenter, and focus on the gratitude and joy, instead of self pity.
I should offer the disclaimer that I wrote this piece from where I have existed during this challenging year, and I acknowledge that is a place of privilege. I know it is not everyone's story, and while I hope this will not happen, some may even feel I am out of touch. I also live in a community of immense privilege, and for those of us for whom the year has been shaky but not catastrophic, I think a healthy dose of reality and gratitude is exactly what we need this holiday season. That is why I wrote this piece. If your year has been like mine, one of discomfort and inconvenience, but not tragedy, I hope you will join me in being grateful this holiday season.
You can read my entire post for Westchester County Mom here.
You can also find inspiration for new holiday traditions to help make this challenging holiday more special here.
Or, check out my entire Christmas Guide for great crafts, activities, printables, gift guides, and more!
If this spoke to you, be sure to share the mindfulness!
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If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love DIY decor projects! So this Christmas, I had lots of fun putting together several projects that are perfect for the entire winter season. If there were any year where cheery decor were necessary all year, it would be this one, right? Check out these gorgeous farmhouse designs, plus tips for recreating the looks!
Dining Room Table Centerpiece
Using the same off white recycled jars from this project (see the Thanksgiving jars), I was able to create a beautiful centerpiece! I traded out the autumn foliage for faux pine branches, pinecones, and berries, and used a gold metal tray as a base. I then wrapped twinkle lights (with leaves attached) around the vases, and placed the battery pack in the center vase (beneath the greenery). The finishing touch was the addition of a few pinecones on the tray. I paired the centerpiece with a table runner, plus white and gold candles.
Farmhouse Style Wreaths
These wreaths are super basic and easy to make; just purchase a faux pine wreath and use a hot glue gun to add a few pinecones and a burlap ribbon (the ribbons I used had gold thread intertwined). Because there is no red, no ornaments, and no other holiday related additions, I'll be able to keep these wreaths up all winter!
Birdcage 'Potpourri' Light
I loved the birdcage decor I used for the fall so much that I repurposed the item for winter! I wrapped evergreen garland (which had bells attached) and twinkle lights around the cage, and then filled it with some scented pinecones. This farmhouse style DIY piece is a huge upgrade from your grandmother's potpourri dish, and made for a festive addition to my foyer.
Products You'll Love
Want to try one of these great projects? Here are some products you may love!
Love this? Be sure to share!
May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
Find more recipes, product recommendations, activities, and more!
View my author page for Westchester County Mom here.
Disclaimer: Content on this website is meant for informational and educational purposes. Nothing found on The Mindfully Scientific Mama constitutes medical or psychological advice. Always consult a profession in the respect field for advice specific to your situation. Read more about this site's terms and conditions here.