Other holidays can also be challenging. Finding non-food items for a Christmas stocking or Easter basket can be a challenge, as can figuring out how to incorporate your child into holiday dinners. Many times, family and friends make it even more difficult by asking tough questions or making rude comments. While the section below addresses handling holiday celebrations, you might also find our page on Answering Tough Questions, as well as our page for Family and Friends useful in planning your holidays.
Incorporate your child how you think is best
Some children who cannot eat are uncomfortable sitting at a table watching others eat, while others are perfectly fine. If your child feels comfortable, have him join the holiday feast. You can give a tube feeding during the dinner, or simply let him sit and play with small toys while the rest of you eat. Maybe even spice up the tube feeding with a special blenderized meal or a holiday design on the feeding bag, as shown on our Feeding Tube Fun page.
If your child is not comfortable sitting at the table, designate a sibling or relative to play with him during the meal. Some families have children and adults eat at separate times or tables, which may make this process much easier. Young children may even want to take a nap during the meal.
Its fine to skip holiday dinners
Sometimes the best choice is simply not to participate in a holiday meal. Visit with family or friends before or after the meal. If this is not possible, feel free to take a walk during the meal or simply go in another room. After all, what is most important is being with family and friends. Food is just one of many possible ways to celebrate. It is not the only way to make treasured memories. Of course, it is especially helpful if you have compassionate friends and family who are understanding. The information on our Family and Friends page may help them out.
Notify family and friends in advance
If you are visiting in someone else’s home, let your hosts know in advance that your child may need some accommodations. Try as much as possible to be accommodating yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask a relative to make sure snacks are kept out of reach, a quiet place is available for sensory meltdowns, or not to expect your child to eat dinner. It’s less stressful for everyone if plans can be made in advance to make a holiday go as smoothly as possible.