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Food-Free Ways to Celebrate the Holidays at School


Many schools are moving away from celebrating holidays with food in the classroom. If your school chooses to celebrate the winter holidays, partner with key school staff and families to plan holiday festivities that are safer and more inclusive for everyone, including kids with food allergies. Share our Teal Classroomβ„’ Kit Download PDF with your child's teacher. This kit has resources to help to raise food allergy awareness in the classroom.

Share Traditions

The holidays are often centered around food, but there are many other traditions that can become the focus.

  • Read about the different holiday-themed traditions from around the world. Compare and contrast their traditions to your own.
  • Solve holiday-themed crossword puzzles and word searches.
  • Play games that come from other holiday traditions.
  • Learn how to say "Happy Holidays," "Merry Christmas" or other holiday greetings in different languages.
  • Have children write a story about their favorite holiday memory. Have each child share it with the class.
  • Have children read a holiday or winter-themed book and act out their favorite part of the story.
  • Partner with another class to have older students read holiday books to younger students.

Give Back to Others

The holidays are also the perfect time of year to reach out to others in need. Suggest the class work on a project to help people in your community.

  • Collect clothing, used books or canned food items to donate.
  • Create crafts that can be used to decorate local shelters, food pantries, nursing homes or community centers.
  • Make ornaments, cards, stockings or other crafts together. For example, decorate gingerbread people or houses made out of foam, paper or cardboard; make snowmen out of white socks and stuff with batting. Be sure to check craft ingredients for allergens.
  • Make puppets of the characters in a holiday or winter-themed story. Use them to put on a puppet show for another class.

Choose Non-Food Gifts

It's tradition to give gifts at the holidays. This can be a token from the teacher to the students or a class gift exchange. Encourage non-food gifts.

  • Share KFA's Non-Food Rewards at School handout with teachers. This handout has ideas that can be used as a "gift" to the class, as well as ideas for small non-food gifts that could be given individually to each student.
  • If there will be a class gift exchange, encourage the teacher to specify that only non-food items should be given. This information should be clearly communicated to both students and parents.

Share these ideas or download and share our holiday tips handout with teachers and others who are planning activities.

Download PDF


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Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) is a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). AAFA is the largest and oldest nonprofit patient organization dedicated to asthma and allergies. KFA educates families and communities with practical food allergy management strategies to save lives and improve the quality of life for children and their families. Our online community includes public blogs. To post a comment, you will need to register or sign in. Registered members have access to additional specialized support forums for food allergies. Registration is free!

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Kids With Food Allergies
A Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
1235 South Clark Street Suite 305, Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 1-800-7-ASTHMA (1.800.727.8462)
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