Food Allergy Advice: Guests
December 22, 2013

Holiday Food Allergy Advice: Guests

Recently I wrote about some advice CNN gave about food allergies and holiday gatherings. So, what about advice for guests with and without food allergies?

Advice for guests without food allergies

1) Consider All

If you do not have a food allergy, but are concerned others at the party might, then put a little thought into what you will bring for the party and the host or hostess. Flowers or wine are just as thoughtful as baked goods. Maybe be a little creative and bring a holiday decoration. Of course, none should be put out, but at least a moment’s thought for those with food allergies could make a difference in everybody’s holiday party experience.

2) Don’t Feel Bad

This is actually advice from me not from CNN. The worst part of my food allergies is having to put others out or hurt their feelings because I can’t eat their contributions. I try very hard to be honest and respectful when I am invited to a party; however, I also don’t want to make others uncomfortable. If you attend a party and bring a dish but someone with food allergies (like me) doesn’t try it, please know that I would if I could but I simply can’t risk the damage to my body. Know I’m trying your dish in theory and that I don’t mean any offense. I’m sure others with food allergies may feel very similarly to me.

And CNN’s advice for guests with food allergies?

1) Ship Ahead or Bring a Safe Dish

If you plan to travel to another place for a holiday celebration, think about shipping dishes you can eat to that location. Providing options may help the host or hostess more than you know as it will ensure you are comfortable plus help the host or hostess prepare food. It’s a win-win. Of course, be sure that the host or hostess doesn’t mind.

If you are not traveling afar, offer to bring a dish safe for you. Again, this shows the host and hostess you realize just how difficult planning and prepping for a party is.

2) Allergy-free Host Gift

Help the host or hostess out by bringing your own allergy-free host or hostess gift. Whether that is a dish you can eat, flowers, wine, or something else, it will show the host or hostess and other guests that you thought ahead and of others as well.

3) Check In

Ultimately, those of us with food allergies must be responsible for ourselves and our own issues. It is crucial that we check in with the host or hostess or the restaurant (in the event the party takes place out and about) to be sure that we can eat something, bring something, or help out in whatever way. Just assuming that the host, hostess, or restaurant is just going to magically have allergy-free options is not fair. After all, we live with our food allergies; others do not.

CNN provides some great advice for all of us to remember during the holidays as well as the year around. It’s helpful to all. Hosts and hostesses need help to ensure all have a good time, and guests need guidance in how to be the best guests possible. We all want to enjoy the holidays and holiday parties. Being honest, aware, and responsible are three moves in the right direction.

Image Credit: jreika / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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