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Celebrations, Traditions and Allergies

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

Do you uphold family traditions from generations ago? My family does to some extent.

Halloween is tomorrow, a Saturday. When it falls on a Saturday, it can be a lot of fun, but with the extenuating circumstances this year, it may create more anxiety for some.

I know it can bring terrible anxiety for parents of children with allergies. Check out this site to help calm your nerves and help you to have a safe Halloween for children with allergies. I know that is difficult enough, and with the added issue of COVID, panic can become a real problem.

Our tradition in my family and here on Long Island is to take the kids trick or treating right after school. Teachers never gave homework on Halloween. About a half hour after the kids got home, the streets are filled with parents and kids going through the neighborhood.

  • When I had my own kids, I always took them back to the neighborhood I grew up in to trick or treat. I would work half a day so I could be home when they got home from school.

  • All my friends who grew up in the neighborhood, also came back here to their parents' homes with their own kids. We all trusted it. We knew all the neighbors for years. It became a neighborhood reunion every Halloween!

  • I never heard of going out in the dark. I never did it as a kid, and no one around here does it. To me, it sounds dangerous.

  • I couldn't imagine dragging little kids around after dark. We always were in the house, eating dinner, by 5:30 p.m.

  • Someone asked, "how do you know what homes to go to?" Simple. The kids run up to the front door and ring the bell while the parents chat curbside. If no one answers, we walk to the next house. No biggie.

Luckily, growing up, I didn't have allergies. My children didn't either and still don't. I can understand the fear parents have with this day for children with allergies. My suggestion, make all your own treats. Don't trust others. Accidental contamination and mistakes can easily happen.

Wine. In my family, a bottle of wine on the table is as normal as a bottle of water or soda. When my dad, who just turned 80 this month, was a child, his family made homemade wine.

  • Children were part of the wine-making process in Italian households.

  • On holidays, especially, and every Sunday, kids were given a little wine with dinner. I too was given it, and I gave it to my own kids. That's four generations that I know of, and no, none of us, has a drinking problem. In fact, it's the total opposite. We learned to respect it and drink properly.

  • As a kid, my dad's grandparents used to give him a glass of wine with a raw egg in it. He made it to 80, and did very well in life, it didn't hurt him.

  • Most European countries will give kids some wine. My brother-in-law is from Portugal. He too makes his own wine and puts it in old wine bottles. My nephew makes it also.

  • When my brother-in-law's nephew came from Portugal one year, he was sixteen years old and completely shocked that he wasn't allowed to have a beer or wine with dinner. Of course, at our house he was, as we all are.

  • My son and nephew have a friend whose father is from Italy. Whenever he went to Italy with his family, it was normal for kids to be given some wine. They don't have the hang-ups in those countries that many Americans have. Its not taboo.

What country has the youngest drinking age?

Italy Italy has set a minimum legal drinking age at 16 years, one of the lowest MLDA in the world. Jan 7, 2019

Due to my allergies, I can no longer drink wine. It causes a reaction. I miss it. But, there's worse things in the world. The tradition lives on around me and it's fun and enjoyable.

Thanksgiving growing up was always my maternal grandmother's holiday. She made the entire meal from soup to nuts and it was delicious. Back then, the family was smaller and we ate in the dining room on china and used stemware. That tradition has since changed.

  • Now we eat on fancy paper plates. We are so many people, it makes life easier. We do enough work cooking and cleaning that the last thing we need is to fuss with dinner dishes and fragile glasses.

  • The menu has changed a bit. Many of us no longer eat meat. There is still a turkey for those that do, but we now have vegetarians and vegans in the family, so foods are made differently.

  • I also have a lot of allergies, so I make foods that I can eat. I make enough for others as well. But - I separate my food into my own containers. I don't take food from a serving bowl. That can be dangerous. It can easily get contaminated.

  • There's a lot more vegetables on the table these days and soups are made with vegetable broth rather than chicken broth.

  • There are also gluten free options and some soup is separated so gluten free pasta can be put into it.

  • The family still gets together, we still have amazing foods, but we need to be aware of allergies, sensitivities, and life choices. Hence, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan are taken into account.

  • My son and I are gluten free (I am also corn, nut, soy and egg free) My youngest nice, my daughter and I are vegetarians. My oldest niece is a vegan.

Christmas Eve in a family of Italian descent means SEAFOOD! I LOVE seafood. It was my favorite night of the year dinner wise. Since I developed allergies, I can't enjoy the food I've always loved. Not the way it's made traditionally. Yes, I can alter it with my "new tricks" and yes, it's good, but it's not my Grandmother's dinner.

Yes, food is the heart of all we do, but it's not the ONLY thing we do. I've always loved being with the family; of course my parents, siblings, children, nieces and nephews, but also, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends that became family. Our house is full on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Thirty people is a small gathering.

  • On Christmas night, after dinner, we love to play card games, board games, and years ago, we used to play Charades.

  • Sometimes we just sit around and chat and laugh.

  • There could be singing, dancing or any combination of fun.

  • We open presents, hand out presents, giggle at the gag gifts, laugh at the fun gifts and ooh and aww at the gift that's special to someone's heart.

  • Most of all, we are a group of people filled with love who love to have fun. Fun is the best tradition of all.

Keep some of the old traditions, if you can. Add new traditions. Learn new tricks if you aren't given a choice. But always, always, remember that it's people that are the most important. Appreciate and love the people, have fun, laugh, joke, tease and please, don't be offended. Life is too short. Take it light and smile!

How do you celebrate? What are some of your traditions? How do you cope with allergies, special diets or lifestyle choices for yourself and/or family members? Leave comments on this post.

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