Large meals, family gatherings, and spending time with loved ones. The holidays bring so many heartwarming memories and traditions that might be a struggle for those who are gluten-free or have celiac disease to keep up with.

Traditions are nice because they allow us to get in the holiday spirit and bring us closer together. However, when traditions revolve around food, sometimes they can be tough for people with restrictions to take part in.

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Bake and Decorate Christmas Cookies

Baking and decorating cookies as a family is an incredibly heartwarming and bonding experience. Don’t be intimidated by this spectacle. It doesn’t have to be hard or involve dirtying up to many dishes!

In fact, my simple 6-ingredient easy gluten-free sugar cookie recipe would be perfect for this ordeal. It involves using minimal ingredients without compromising flavor. Not to mention it only requires the use of one bowl.

You can choose to make your own icing but if you’re looking for an easier route I’d recommend buying icing for decorating. If buying, I recommend Simple Mills frosting as it’s gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, and vegan. It’s pretty much perfect for families with multiple food sensitivities. However, note that this icing is different from royal icing which is typically used to decorate cookies. If you want the traditional royal icing, you’ll want to look into making your own.

A note on making your own icing, a lot of icing recipes call for powdered sugar, powdered sugar is notorious for being processed on the same equipment as wheat and can sometimes have fillers that aren’t gluten-free. Make sure when buying powdered sugar to watch for allergen warnings.

Pro-tip: Put down a plastic tablecloth or table runner for easy clean up afterward.


Clementine and Clove Pomanders

Staying true to my Scandinavian roots, a holiday tradition I have always loved doing with my family is decorating oranges. I have fond memories of shoving cloves into oranges in intricate patterns. It was an activity that involved the smell of Christmas which always brought me warm excited feelings. Not to mention seeing my artwork hanging around the tree and house felt so great.

These decorations are festive and they smell good. Perfect for spicing up your home both scent and style wise. Not only that but as opposed to decorating cookies, these require little to no preparation and clean up.

To make these decorations it’s as simple as taking whole cloves and shoving them into oranges. Here’s my DIY guide to making these amazing decorations!

When setting this up for the family you will definitely want to place the string in the oranges for hanging (if you will be hanging these decorated oranges for the holidays) before inviting the kids to decorate the oranges with cloves.


Christmas Brunch

Invite friends and family over for a morning brunch on the weekend or for Christmas to kick off the holiday! You can use this time to host a fun white elephant exchange (gluten-free gifts only of course) and or just to gift each other with your presences.

Hosting can seem like a lot of work, finding recipes, grocery shopping, and preparing all of the food. I get it, it is a lot. However, I encourage you to host because it allows you to stay in control of the food. If you prepared the food you know it’s all safe. If guests ask what they can bring, only dole out requests to people who you trust to respect you gluten-free desires.

Looking for some brunch inspiration? Sign-up for my newsletter and you’ll get a free Warming Winter Brunch guide complete with recipes, pictures, and a shopping list!


Go on a Family Outing

This might seem odd but picking something to do on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day every year can be a fun and amazing tradition.

I’ve heard some people go bowling, go to the zoo (if the zoo is open), and even go the movies.

My family tradition the past few years has been to watch the newest Star Wars movie on Christmas Day. We all get gluten-free snacks and goodies we can bring into the theater to munch on (it’s okay because if the movie theater wanted us to buy from their overpriced kiosk, they’d offer gluten-free friendly food/snacks other than popcorn). It’s a nice tradition that we all look forward too.


Hot Chocolate Bar

If serving hot chocolate on Christmas morning, consider setting out coffee alongside the hot cocoa for people to make mochas and lattes with as well.

Check out my post on 5 Ways to Spice Up Your Hot Chocolate for some inspiration!

Do you have any fun Christmas or holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments below!