Thanksgiving “survival” tips

There is much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I could list the litany, but really I am thankful for three beings more than anything life has presented to me.  (And I will be forever thankful if it would stop raining, but that’s not going to happen.)

Thanksgiving is one of those quiet, reflective and gratitude holidays for me.  As is Christmas.  I’ve been lucky in my life.  Not wealthy, not a world traveler, not… well, a lot of things.  But I have always had a place to sleep that is warm and cozy; food on the table and in the fridge/cupboards, people who love me and who I adore (despite conflicts or whatever, they are always there as am I for them), clothing that befit the season, etc.

It’s our wedding anniversary on Turkey Day too.  😀 What a great way to be thankful but to celebrate the love that carries me in and out of everyday.  No one is perfect.  But at least we are imperfectly perfect for each other.  And for my Love, I am thankful.  And without him, there would be no Chicklet and no Peanut.  And those little imps are my world.

And you know what?  I can’t WAIT for Friday.   LOL!  I am looking forward to relaxing with those three.  We have some plans to spend time together.  We are in that kind of place right now in our lives when we really just need each other – our little band of four.  It is time to buckle down, cocoon and eschew social invites.  We have some priorities to take care of.  Now is the time to do it.

As far as Thanksgiving goes, Thursday will be good too.  I know it’s hard to begin this gluten free path around holiday season (I did), but it’s doable.  Trust me.

This year for Thanksgiving, we are joining our girls’ daycare provider and her family.  They are hosting a celebration for the day care kids because one family is having a tough year.  We are delighted to be going.  I’m even bringing the stuffing (corn bread + sausage stuffing – YUM!) and a dessert or two.

I’m even not worried about the rest of the meal.  I know the turkey will be gluten free.  (They get one from a local farm – so no worries about the “brining”, etc)  And beyond that?  I am really not hung up on the food anymore.  I know better.  I am armed with experience about parties/holidays with family/friends when I had excellent hosts who were careful in making sure there was something there for me too.  And even when I’ve found a time when something was in question, I’ve learned to handle the curveball better.

Here are a few of my “survival tips” for Thanksgiving if you are not eating at home:

  • BEFORE THANKSGIVING, talk to your hostess/host.  NO ONE likes to spend time making “extra” food – and you should NOT expect them to – but giving them some tips will help them feel like a successful host for you as well.  (For example, mashed potatoes with regular butter, etc are fine.  Let them know that!  Veggies with just salt/pepper, with “whole” spices/herbs is okay – but not with “Johnny’s seasoning salts” etc which are popular here for some reason.)
  • BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE:  Eat a little nosh before you leave your house
  • Bring something to share – and serve yourself first from it (or have a separate container for yourself)
  • Pack a snack in your bag (I pack pretzels and cheese sticks/cheese).  Make sure what you bring/share/pack will make you feel satisfied.  (Gone are my days of packing a tiny piece of granola… that did not help me be satisfied for the length of time we were out.)
  • Whatever you are worried about, stop worrying.  You can’t change it anyway.  And if you can change it?  Then change it!
  • AT THE FESTIVITIES:  When you arrive, dig in!  No, not to the food – to the workload.  HELP in the kitchen etc and while you are there, inquire about recipes and preparation.  NOT the Grill-Your-Hostess kind of questions, but the “Ooooh-aaah.. that smells great, what’s in that one?” kind of questions.
  • If the guests ask, tell them about cross-contact.  But really?  No ONE wants to know the details of your digestional illnesses.  (Especially while they are eating, mind you.)  Someone may ask you sincerely (out of interest or concern for someone they know/are curious about), feel free to invite them to call you or talk to you about it further at a later time. Don’t be the granny complaining about your bowel movements.  Ay, ay, ay!
  • Ask the hostess quietly if you can serve yourself before others move spoons, etc between bowls to avoid cross-contact of gluten containing ingredients.
  • WHEN YOU GET HOME:  Have  a treat for yourself when you get home.  Some of us are dessert addicts.  If that is you, prepare yourself that dessert may not fit your need.  (I admit that I love fresh fruit, but sometimes it does not satisfy the “I want pie! or Apple Crisp!, etc)  And while my body doesn’t need dessert, sometimes *I* do.  😀

Happy Thanksgiving – 
May you and yours have a happy, safe and peace holiday as well.
~Kate and family


  1. Good, sound advice Kate, as always. I just wish I could always remember to be more prepared at holiday times then probably I wouldnt have to deal with the aftermath of those regular people that can eat anything and forget about the people who unfortunately cant!

  2. I love your tone of thankfulness in all things. After 16 years of celiac-ness, I feel blessed by family and friends who care about me and want me healthy.

  3. I never go anywhere without bringing a dish – something I like and everyone can enjoy. My family always prepare main dishes gluten free & I tackle the harder things like desserts. So we’re all happy. I’m thankful for those thoughtful people in my life, for my wonderful family and my beautiful gluten free son!
    Good tip about serving yourself first – if you don’t someone always winds up using the wrong utensil in your gluten free dish. I was always last on the buffet line, now I’m one of the first!

  4. rhubygirl says:

    hey darlin! :)
    i so thought about your wedding, all thanksgiving….and was THANKFUL to have been there. 10 freaking years. i am glad we’ve been friends for even longer!

    (sorry for the “us-time” detour, regular readers…..she really is THAT DELIGHTFUL in real life, and i so miss not being close, i want ~everyone~ to know how great this lady is, so i say it LOUD AND IN PUBLIC!!!)

    any-who!! so what is the problem/potential problems inherent in brine? please let us non-gluten-problem-but-gluten-free-friendly-people know? it seems harmless enough….it’s just water/salt/or sugar/or spices and herbs and fruits…..right? or do people sneak in nasties?

  5. Not sure where to leave this comment..
    Husband was told by nutritionist he is allergic to wheat, corn, soy, and dairy. I was told I am allergic to corn, peanuts, and dairy.
    This “gobsmacked” us for sure. I have always preferred the whole grain breads, etc but my husband always wanted the doughy, gummy white flour breads, yuck. Now he is stuck in my world – more or less. Found some brown rice pasta which he “approved” of, and right now we are on a low carb diet to get our health back and hopefully, soon, we will be able to start eating oatmeal. I look forward to the baked oatmeal.
    Just wanted to say this site is a God-send…..thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I would hate to have to start from scratch at my age.
    Look forward to trying some of these recipes and will keep coming back and checking for more.

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