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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.

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 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.

A picture of two snowmen with text that says: Make holiday celebrations at school food free by sharing traditions, giving back to others, and choosing non-food gifts.
Give Back to Others

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.

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


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christmas-with-food-allergies-handout

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  • A picture of two snowmen with text that says: Make holiday celebrations at school food free by sharing traditions, giving back to others, and choosing non-food gifts.: A picture of two snowmen with text that says: Make holiday celebrations at school food free by sharing traditions, giving back to others, and choosing non-food gifts.

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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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