• hillarycarter

Merry Everything and Happy New Year!

Updated: May 26


Wow! The holidays were a real whirlwind this year! I didn’t get to post in the midst of the season, but I wanted to share some fun new traditions we started this year, in case it’s helpful for your family.


Our First Gingerbread Houses

Due to my boys’ long list of food allergies, we had not created Gingerbread Houses before this year. Enter Izzi B’s Bakery who produces an Allergen Free Gingerbread House Kit!

The kits were super easy to assemble, and my boys and I had the BEST time! The bakery includes information both online and in the package with detailed ingredient information for the house, icing and accompanying candy. All of it was safe for us. My only tip would be to have some extra safe icing on hand so you can really go wild with the candy to attach to the houses. Our houses stayed intact for weeks and were a festive holiday decoration in our kitchen!


A Holiday Concert

For the first time, we took our boys to an early evening Holiday Concert in town. A men’s a cappella group sang holiday songs plus we all participated in caroling. Ben and I were able to have a glass of wine and relax together and the boys really enjoyed the performance. And the best part? IT WAS FOOD-FREE! I love holiday events with NO food! LOL! Watching our boys get older is bittersweet, since they were just the yummiest babies and toddlers, but it is really fun to expand our options for events we can do with them as they get older. I would recommend looking out for something like this in your community!


Letters to Santa

I know you may have mixed feelings about the Elf on the Shelf…I do, too! This year was an especially rough start because we couldn’t even find Johnny (our Elf) and had to order a new

one. Then my sweet BFF also picked one up for me at our local toy store, and then I found our original. So now we have three Johnny’s…so help me.


But I digress.


This year my boys said they didn’t really need to go see Santa. “That’s not the REAL Santa after all, just a guy who works for him.” (!!!) But they did want to write him a letter. Now, I am pretty sure my Santa days are fleeting with my boys, and I wanted to make this year extra special, so I found an Elf on the Shelf Letters to Santa kit. Don’t get me wrong – it’s too much and it’s ridiculous. But I went all in just like a Griswold and I’m glad I did.

The kit comes with a book explaining how your Elf can help deliver your letter to Santa and special paper to write your note on. You literally bake the note in the oven, and it shrinks down to the size of an ornament (my boys called it Christmas magic!). This small letter, of course, is the perfect size for your Elf to carry safely to Santa. You leave it with him (or her!) and once Santa has read it, your Elf will return it to your house and hang it safely on your tree. Now you have a new, hand-made keepsake ornament.


The boys had so much fun with this project and I look forward to doing it again next year. I hope we get at least one more Santa Christmas!


New Year’s Eve Party

I usually cook all the meals during family visits around the holidays. Three meals a day for up to 10 people for up to 12 days. It’s no joke. But I always want to ensure my boys are safe and

included.


However, as they get older, we also want them to be able to have new experiences, practice social skills and have more opportunities to practice advocating for themselves. So, this year,

we took a step and attended a New Year’s Eve Party instead of staying in. Do not get me wrong – I packed both of their own meals – I wasn’t THAT brave! (Please see my Thanksgiving post about no new foods on holidays!) Regardless, they were still able to join our whole family for a meal OUT. We talked about avoiding the buffet and not touching anyone else’s food. The whole extended family (who is not used to allergy living day-to-day) also practiced watching out for allergens and washing hands after eating. We even got to enjoy a live band and some dancing! (OK, I danced – my boys were NOT into that!) It was a nice step for us and hopefully a new tradition for years to come.


I hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday season. Merry Everything and Happy New Year!


About Me

Hi, I’m Hillary!  I’m a former corporate communications professional turned Food Allergy Mama and Advocate.

 

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