Wednesday, December 18, 2013

5 Worst Last Minute Gifts to Someone with Food Allergies

       I can't believe we are in the final stretch of holiday shopping?  If you are a last minute shopper like me, I'm sure you are now also scrambling to find that perfect gift for family and friends. To add more insult to the injury, last minute invites are all coming at the same time. Sounds familiar?

          While you are driving yourself crazy for not shopping early, take note of  my worst gifts to give to someone with food allergies.  With the growing rate of people with allergies, chances are you have at least one in your list.  Keep this handy and I know your friend will be thankful for paying more attention.  

A MillionThanks Gift Basket

                                           Photo courtesy of Fiammasgourmettreats at Etsy

1. Food Baskets

     Though these beautiful arrangements are readily available, comes in different price ranges and themes, I find them a food allergy person's nightmare.  Most of the time, the specialty products included in these baskets which I confess are quite delectable, aren't meant to the people with food restrictions.
       Since the focus of this type of gift is more on the looks,  the last thing the basket arranger have in his or her mind is the ingredient list of each item.  Please, save your friend from some label reading trouble and even heartache when only one or two items from the huge basket comply with his or her food requirements. 

Photo by Lynn Manangan

2. Fresh Fruits or Flowers
          Another convenient and sweet gift especially for a party host.   Though this maybe a really nice gesture, I think it is still not a great gift idea.  Why? If the recipient has food allergies, chances are, he or she also has seasonal allergies including pollen and spores.  Asthma suffers will thank you too if you don't contaminate their air. Oh! before I forget, there are some people who are actually allergic to certain fruits and fruit family. Yup! I'm not joking.   

All Natural Hoilday Gift Basket
Photo by LivingTree Soaps 

3. Candles and Soaps

          Here's another common gift.  Unless you are totally familiar with the recipient's favorite brands, I suggest skip it.  Yes, even if you plan to buy the pricier organic ones. The cheaper brands usually contain chemicals that in general, are not really healthy for everyone.  As for the organic ones which use natural food grade ingredients may contain nut oils, soy and even milk which are among the top 8 common allergens.  

4. Homemade Treats

         I know, you spent a lot of time planning and creating these made with love treats.  Maybe you even went ahead and researched on gluten free, nut free versions.  Yours truly is in fact, a big food gift giver.  If I'm aware beforehand, that the receiver has food allergies, I choose to give something something else.  

5. Restaurant Gift Cards

         Unless you really know what your friend's favorite restaurant is, ditch this one.  Eating out is one of the most challenging activity someone with food allergies has to deal with.  Though there are some restaurants which are trying to accommodate this growing market, most are not trained to handle specific or multiple allergies.  
         Can you imagine how frustrating it is to expect free dinner and when you get to the restaurant, you'll realize that the menu has nothing for you?  Until this day, I still struggle to find decent places to eat that will give my children something more than streamed veggies and grilled chicken without seasonings.  Pathetic right? 

          There you go, my list of the worst gifts for someone with food allergies.  By avoiding the above mentioned, you are not just being considerate.  In fact, you are doing your friend a favor.  Who knows you might even have saved his or her life.

          Happy Shopping!

- Roz

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