Q: Why was Santa’s little helper depressed?
A: Because he had low elf esteem.
Q: Whats the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet?
A: The Christmas alphabet has Noel.
Q: Why doesn’t Santa have any kids?
A: He only comes once a year.
Ah…the holidays are upon us. As a kid, I loved Christmas. And I mean I LOVED Christmas. Loved seeing the lights in the neighborhood. Loved the fact that my Dad had some time off from work. Loved coming downstairs and seeing the presents under the tree. Loved the day with family. And yeah…I loved the food. It was always a nice feast.
Fast forward to the present. I still like Christmas. I detest the commercialization of it all, but it’s still a day with the family and I’ll take that any day of the week.
But here’s a question for my fellow celiacs. What do you do when someone gives you food as a holiday gift? Check out this email.
Do you have any advice for how to graciously handle the situation when someone gives you homemade food gifts during the holidays? I know everyone probably has their own way of doing this, and I could use some more ideas. It’s my first Christmas since my diagnosis and I’ve already had some awkward situations. I put zero pressure on myself to actually eat the food that is given to me, but I’d like to figure out what to say to the generous person who just gave me something I can’t eat (or maybe I could eat it, but not without asking a zillion questions first).
Most recently a friend who knows I have celiac gave me a present and wanted me to open it right away (awkward at the best of times…for me, anyway) and I realized it was a dessert sauce that had been made in either a blender or food processor. I thanked her and politely asked if she ever prepares dough/cookies, etc. in her processor, and that’s when things got really strained.
She said she takes cleanliness very seriously and always washes her equipment. At that point my heart sank. She felt defensive, as though I’d accused her of not cleaning her kitchen, when I was just trying to see if she EVER used wheat flour in her processor. It’s not like you can tell if there’s still gluten in there after you wash it. Anyhow, we got through it, I thanked her for answering my questions, but I stopped short of asking whether one of the ingredients was from a bulk bin, so I won’t be eating the sauce anyway.
I felt all bewildered about how it went. Super awkward. We talked about it a bit later and things are smoothed over but the point is…I STILL don’t know if the sauce is safe.
Now I’m wondering how to handle things in the future–is asking about how something was made worth it? I didn’t think it was rude, especially with a friend, but now I’m not sure. I LOVE food. I WANT to eat ALL THE FOOD. But I can’t just open a present, see cookies, and eat them. That was last Christmas, and that’s done. People are frustrated with ME? I’m the one who can’t eat the food!!!
Do you (or any readers) have go-to phrases or ways of handling food gifts that have worked well for you? When a neighbour brings by fresh-baked muffins, and your house is totally gluten-free, what do you do? When your acquaintance who has NCGS but tolerates mild exposures and uses ingredients from bulk bins bakes you a plate of cookies, and you are not going to eat them but you don’t know what to say…what DO you say?
If you could share strategies or ask others what their strategies are, I would be very grateful.
Thanks so much,
This is such an awesome question and I’m sure everyone would handle it in their own unique way. First…let me tackle the specific situations in this email:
When a neighbour brings by fresh-baked muffins, and your house is totally gluten-free, what do you do? I know this sux and it can be awkward, but I’d say I have celiac disease and our house is completely gluten-free but thank you so much for the wonderful gesture.
When your acquaintance who has NCGS but tolerates mild exposures and uses ingredients from bulk bins bakes you a plate of cookies, and you are not going to eat them but you don’t know what to say…what DO you say? I’d say thanks, take the cookies and leave it be. Would I eat them? No.
Now…let me expand a bit and hit on a few varying situations.
Situation 1: It’s an office party and everyone has a secret santa. The person who has you does not know you have celiac disease and he gives you a box of chocolates or cookies. I would say thank you, bring them home and give them to someone who can enjoy them.
Situation 2: It’s an office party and everyone has a secret santa. The person who has you KNOWS you have celiac disease and he gives you homemade “gluten-free” cookies AND tells you to try one right there and then. This is where it can get a bit awkward. The options are:
- Ask a thousand questions about ingredients, cross-contamination, etc.
- Give in to the pressure of the situation and eat one cause you don’t want HIM to feel bad.
- Explain what having celiac disease really means and you cannot risk it but thank you so much.
- Say you don’t want to eat anything now and change the topic. Bring the cookies home and then do whatever you wish.
Options 1 is out. Even if he says they are totally safe…are they really? Option 2 is a big fat no.
So it’s between Option 3 and Option 4. Option 3 feels like the right answer but it can be taken a thousand different ways and ya never know how the other person is going to react. But it’s also an opportunity to educate. But do you really want to be doing this at a holiday party!? Yeah…lots of things to consider.
So in this specific situation, I THINK I’d go with Option 4.
Ok…now my head hurts thinking about this. What would You do??
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!!