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The holidays are the time when it is most difficult to have a chronic illness, especially one that contains food sensitivities.

Starting with Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and practically all through December with holiday parties galore, it is very difficult to avoid the temptations of baked goods and alcoholic beverages. Trying to avoid these simply scrumptious things can certainly cause one to become a grumpy humbug over the holidays…which is why I thought I’d share some of my secrets to enjoying the holiday cheer even with a chronic condition.

1) Try baking some holiday goodies of your own and bringing a few to the party to enjoy. You can even bring a whole platter of gluten-free goodies to share since most people won’t even know the difference. Here are some places to find festive gluten-free recipes:

2) Eat your own meal before going to a party in order to avoid the tempting sweets and dips that would make you sick for days. That way your tummy is not grumbling at you, looking at all those goodies.

3) Bring your own alcohol to the party so you can enjoy a few sips while others might be enjoying the spiked eggnog.  A bottle to share or even using your own personal flask will work just fine.

4) If you’re not the host of a holiday dinner party, don’t be afraid to ask what the menu is due to your food allergies. If it’s something you can’t eat, bring your own little tupperware full of an allergy-friendly dinner just in case. If you can request the main dish be gluten-free, then suggest bringing a side dish that you can make gluten-free to share (like one of these side dishes).

5) Don’t forget to focus on the people surrounding you over the holidays. It’s easy to get grumpy about missing out on sweets and getting spoiled with delicious foods, but try to remember that the holidays are mostly about friends and family. Suggest holiday parties that include gift exchanges and holiday games so the whole party can focus on the people rather than the food.

I’m already making my shopping list for some gluten-free holiday snacks and a new pumpkin pie recipe. Happy holidays!