10 Things to Give a Food Allergic Child for the Holidays

This is my idea list, inspired by our young kids (preschool-Kindergarten). If you have other suggestions, or links to gifts you'd endorse, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

1. A Cool Lunchbox, like this one from Goodbyn
We have to bring our food everywhere, sometimes the container adds excitement to the contents.

2. A Variety of Play food.
I play "kitchen" and "restaurant" with my kids WITH FOODS THEY CAN'T HAVE. For us, it's important to talk about the things they can't have in a normal conversation, and act out making choices between safe food and unsafe foods. We divide foods into safe and unsafe shopping bags, talk about cross contamination in the kitchen, and bake dangerous cupcakes. My son loves saying, "EEEEEEW!!!!!", when presented with the fake cookie we made with fake peanuts.

3. Safe Art Materials from Crayola
Please avoid discount art supplies and "dollar bin" crayons. Did you know Crayola Art Materials do not contain: Peanuts & Legumes, Tree Nuts, Eggs, Egg Shell, Milk, Casein, Nut, Nut Oil or D&C Red Dye #40. Note: Playdoh does contain wheat. Building creativity and acts of self expression are valuable for any child, food allergies or not. Stock up on paints, paper, crayons & markers.

4. A cool Food Allergy book like The Bugabees.
A great book for PreK-2nd graders ~ this rhyming story of bug friends with common food allergies includes fun activities at the end.

5. Allergy awareness clothing, like Allergy Apparel
Stylish and educational, wearing a message of food allergies throughout the year can help remind friends, family, teachers and strangers that food allergies are always present.

6. A family subscription to Allergic Living Magazine
We don't get this magazine, yet. But, it's on my wish-list for the holidays. I've heard many good things about it, and it's the only printed publication focused (in part) on food allergies.

7. Sew-on Patches, like these from Blue Bear Aware
Durable and reusable, I can see these being useful for backpacks, coats or jean pockets. Ask parents for specific allergens.

8. Music about Food Allergies, like this from Kyle Dine.
Warning: Kyle's song, "Food Allergies Rock!" will get stuck in your head f.o.r.e.v.e.r. ~ and your kids will insist on playing it over and over and over. FIVE stars.

9. A Family Membership to Food Allergy Anaphalaxis Network (FAAN)
FAAN works to build public awareness of food allergy through the media and through education, advocacy, and research efforts. Every food allergic family should be familiar with their resources.

Every gift should not revolve around food allergies. While it's a GREAT idea to be supportive, remember that kids with food allergies are really normal kids ~ they want soccer balls, video games, matchbox cars, dolls, Legos, pillow pets (whatever those are), and all the normal stuff other kids want. Don't let food allergies take over your holidays.

While you're thinking about food and holidays, consider giving to the Central Virginia Food Bank (CVFB). Information from their website:

CVFB was founded in 1980 to procure and distribute food efficiently and effectively to feeding programs. Since then, the Central Virginia Food Bank service area has grown to include 31 counties and five cities in the Central Virginia region. Presently, [they] distribute food through a network of more than 500 network partner agencies, which includes more than 130 child care providers serving needy children. In addition, we serve as many as 4,000 daily meals in the summer and 2,000 daily meals during the school year to needy children through our 42 Kids Café and 13 Café for Kids programs.