Many schools celebrate the winter holidays in ways that might include food. But celebrating without food can be just as fun – not to mention more inclusive and safer for students and staff with food allergies.
If your school chooses to celebrate the winter holidays, partner with staff and families at your child’s school to plan food-free holiday festivities. Share our Teal Classroom™: Food Allergy Awareness Kit with your child's teacher, school administrators, and the school nurse. This kit has resources to help to raise food allergy awareness in the classroom.
The holidays are often centered around food, but there are many other traditions that can become the focus.
- Read about the different holiday 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.
The holidays are also the perfect time of year to reach out to people 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 for many people 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 and families. This handout has ideas that can be used as gifts 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 ask that students only give non-food items. This information should be clearly communicated to both students and parents.
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