Allergy-Friendly Planning for the Holidays

Allergy-Friendly Planning for the Holidays

Is it too early to say, Happy Holidays?  Now that Thanksgiving is less than a week away, we don’t think so!

Many of us will be hosting guests at some point this season and the first step in having a great time is to make sure that everyone is comfortable.  Whether you’re concerned about your guests with asthma or food or environmental allergies, our guide to allergy-friendly holiday planning will help ensure your Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas party is a big success!

Inquire about food allergiesJust as you’d ask about other dietary restrictions like vegetarian or Kosher, don’t hesitate to contact your guests about food allergies and ask questions if you have them.  It’s a good idea to discuss this with close friends and family members as well, since food sensitivities can appear and disappear over time.

Share the work.  Many people with food allergies are glad to help out by bringing along a dish that is safe for them to eat.  Be gracious as a host by accepting contributions from your guests and taking some of the responsibility off yourself.

Consider the venue.  Some allergies are more readily accommodated than others.  If a guest is allergic to your pet, for example, it’s probably best to celebrate the occasion at another person’s home or a restaurant or banquet facility.  If you decide on the latter, be sure to visit ahead of time and let the staff know about your allergy concerns.

Spruce up your home.  There are ways you can make your guests with environmental allergies comfortable.  We have plenty of advice to help make your home more asthma and allergy-friendly, including replacing your air-filters and maintaining adequate humidity levels.  It’s best to start this work early so you have enough time for it to take effect.

Avoid strong scents.  It may be tempting to add ambiance with festive holiday candles or aromatizers but keep in mind that these can be irritating for people with asthma, allergies or chemical sensitivities.  Wood-burning fires and strong cleaning products can also trigger many people’s symptoms.  Rely on natural aromas from the kitchen, evergreen branches, flowers or other organic material.

Stock your medicine cabinet.  It’s a good idea to check your supply of over-the-counter antihistamines and pain relievers in the event a guest needs them.  Verify that these medications haven’t expired and that you have enough of them.

Kevin Arnold

Kevin Arnold writes about allergies and asthma, travel and healthy living.  For more tips and information, check out all of his posts at