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MChase

Christmas Gifts

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I am new to gluten-free (6 weeks).  I definitely know gluten and my body do not agree with each other (among other foods).  My question is, how to do you politely let people know not to get you any gluten containing presents?  My brother and sil always gets us a cute Holiday themed gift package (ie. gingerbread house, snowmen coffee mugs with hot chocolate and cookies, smores kit, bbq set, etc).  I don't want to sound rude or ungrateful, plus I don't want them to waste money on a present that we cannot use.  

 

On a positive note, my mom did ask me to make a list of all the safe candy, treats, etc that we can have.  (even though, she followed up with asking "Are you sure you can't have gluten"?  And I made it clear to her that although, my husband and son do not have to eat gluten free, there is no gluten allowed in my house.

 

Thanks!  

 

 

 

*Gluten Intolerant

*Egg Intolerant

*Lactose (or Casein, not sure which one) Intolerant

*Mushroom, Banana, Onion Intolerant

*Wheat Allergy

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Because it is new and it probably really hasn't had time to sink in with everyone you know, I would definitely throw the word out there to not buy you any food gifts.   I had thanksgiving at my house and while I would have liked for people to bring snacks and stuff for before/after dinner, I had to just throw out a blanket "Do not bring any food to Laura's house" because not everyone can be educated, it is going to take a long time for them to understand what you can/can't have.  So definitely open a conversation with the people who usually give food gifts, if you think they can get you gluten-free stuff, give them that info.   If you don't think they can handle it, just tell them, "I have some newly discovered food allergies, so please don't get me any gifts with food products as I would hate for them to go to waste and for you to waste your money".  Unless you are very close to the person and you think they can handle it, I wouldn't say "please only get me gluten free food products" because that may be perceived by them as though you are asking them to get you gluten-free food, or are being picky.

 

I have a lot of skin allergies and sensitivities to body care products, and people who know me well still get me cheap bath sets and stuff, and I can never use them.  If you get a gift that you can't use, if it is in front of a lot of people, graciously accept it and then tell the person later... "Thank you so much for thinking of me and getting me -xxx-, but I have some newly discovered food allergies, like I cant eat gluten, x, y, z, but if it is okay with you I have -elderly neighbor, friend, etc- who would probably enjoy this so it won't go to waste!"  And throw in "I bet it is so yummy, too, I wish I could eat it!"  so that way they should understand and not get that for you next year.  

 

If it is an acquaintance or a business gift type thing, sometimes it is easier to let all that be unsaid and just give away the goodies.  Find someone with kids or a large family to give it to and they will probably be happy to take it off your hands.  All of my close female friends and relatives know that I will occasionally give them bath and body products I bought, tried, and reacted to.  So 99% full bottles of lotion and stuff.  I don't force it on them but I will pull them out at gatherings, like "okay I spent 100 dollars on all this and it made me itch, dig in!"

 

By the way, I think you are making the right choice by not allowing gluten in your house.  Sometimes, especially with kids, it is just way too hard to police it.  A 14 year old relative visited us and I let him have bread and gluteny snacks, but I helicoptered over him every time I went in the kitchen and I will never do that again.  Haha.

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If it's your brother, you (or your mom) can politely mention what's going on in your life. It may take some time before they get it, but now is a good time to start the conversation. Granted (and boy, do we all know this!), their understanding of gluten-free will be a bit, um, confused. If it's hard for us, imagine how hard it is for those who don't live this every day!

 

Because I get a lot of weird gifts (both hostess and gift-gifts), I do a lot polite smiling. Still trying to figure out what I can do with the off-brand holiday cookies that would scare me if I *did* eat gluten. I generally pass this stuff off to people at the office -- it's sort of scary to watch how foods left out in the community kitchen are scarfed down!

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If I get those holiday gift packs, I simply act delighted. The simple fact is that many of them are a combination of food and non-food items. For instance, the mugs and cocoa sets. With something like the cocoa sets, I would keep the mugs and if my gluten eating husband didn't want the cookies and I couldn't have the cocoa for some reason I would simply donate it to a food bank, shelter, or offer it to a neighbor or friend with kids. The same works with any of those gift packs. Even if it isn't allowed in your house for consumption, that doesn't mean that a sealed package can't be set aside somewhere safe until you can take it off to give it away.

 

It's all very new right now and things have barely had time to set in. While you can mention that you simply don't want food based gifts, it may still happen. Be genuinely happy and grateful for what you can use, "What adorable mugs. Thank you!" and don't mention that you'll be getting rid of the food items. It isn't the time to make someone feel bad because the gift wasn't 100% perfect. They'll have all year to learn more about your dietary restrictions and will hopefully do better next year if they don't get it this year. Or not. Some family members (or friends), no matter how well meaning, never learn. My policy is to try to be gracious, as long as they are trying.

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Addy's right (as usual). Think about it for a minute. How many times have you recieved a sweater that was either your least favoriet color, or some knick-knack you really didn't want? You just say thank you and then either give it away or throw it away. It IS the thought that counts. And besides, how manyChristmas gifts that you really LIKE do you think you'll get this year? Probably quite a few, right? So it should be no big deal at all. By next year all of your gift-giving friends and family will know not to get you food.

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