The Celiac Mom’s Guide to A Gluten Free Holiday| Part I

The last two months of my life have been a complete blur. I’m sure the same can be said of everyone at holiday time. With Christmas being right on the heels of Thanksgiving, none of us really has time to come up for air. The cleaning and prepping for guests, keeping track of the multitude of school commitments and activities, and the shopping (oh, lawd, the shopping) is enough to make anyone’s head spin. Now add to that the meal planning and cooking and baking. For a family with no food restrictions, the food part of holidays takes some organization, planning and time, but it is doable. Pulling off the holidays gluten free is a whole other story.

We hosted 18 people on Thanksgiving and 21 on Christmas Eve. I have hosted this kind of crowd many times before because I have a big family, and I have always loved hosting these big get-togethers. When my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease almost two years ago, I decided that celiac wasn’t going to stop us from hosting these holidays. I was committed to figuring out how to make delicious, gluten free holiday meals, where no one would miss the gluten. And according to my guests, which included cooks and caterers, I pulled it off . When so many recipes are requested that you spend most of dessert hour at your copier, you know you’ve succeeded.

The hardest part of hosting a gluten free holiday is having to cook and bake everything myself. Our house is gluten free, and I don’t take ANY cross contamination risks, so I can’t have anyone make anything to contribute to the meal. When I have prepared every dish, I can be confident that my daughter is 100% safe. In the past, I would have everyone bring a dish to pass and I’d order my pies and rolls. Just doing those two simple things made hosting large holiday gatherings easy. But those days are over. Doing it all is totally possible with careful planning, making a timeline and keeping a sense of humor.

This three part series will include my meal plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, with one post dedicated to my holiday baking. I will also share lots of product recommendations and tips and tricks for a delicious gluten free holiday. You see things all the time about hosting holidays, with shiny chefs smiling from their fancy kitchens, telling you you can do it, too! Anyone can do it if you are a chef with a staff chopping and measuring and prepping and planning. I am not a chef. I am not a baker. I am a regular mom with a fierce dedication to her celiac daughter.

Stay tuned for my first installment in “A Gluten Free Holiday” where I will talk about our Thanksgiving meal. Until then….happy eating!

Photo credit: UNHCR (cover) BigProUSA (inside photo)

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