3 Tips To Stay Safe At Holiday Gatherings

by Selena De Vries

The holidays can be a challenging time to stay gluten-free. But, with a few strategies in your back pocket, the holidays can be confidently enjoyed gluten-free! Here are three tips to try for your next holiday social.


1. Bring your own delicious GF dish to share.

This is a tried and true strategy that will ensure you have something safe to eat. Afraid the host may not approve? Communicate your concern by saying “I have celiac disease and even a tiny bit of gluten can cause me to feel extremely unwell. I have (an event, a presentation, a family outing etc) and it would be very unfortunate if I have to miss it because I’m ill. So, I brought my own dish just in case!” Something along those lines is always well received.

2. Be involved with the food preparation as much as possible.

Whether the event is close to home or far away, technology can be your friend! If someone else is taking the lead in preparing the food, make sure your voice is heard.

In a Kitchen: Physically help prepare the meal by showing up in advance of the event so you can have eyes on potential sources of cross-contamination and ensure all ingredients being used are gluten-free.

Away from the Kitchen: Talk to them on the phone ahead of time to help plan the meal, get family/friends to text you pictures of ingredient lists, Facetime with them in the grocery store, and let them know brand names of your favourite GF foods.

3. Be armed with confident communication skills.

Being able to politely decline food that has had so much love and effort put into it, is one of the hardest things to do as a celiac. Here are some example responses that you may want to try:

Comment: “What do you mean you can’t have these cookies, I made them special just for you!”

Response: Thank you so much for thinking of me. I really appreciate it. But, I have to be so careful as even something as little crumb can make me very ill for days. And, with the holidays, I just can’t risk it. Maybe next time we get together, we can bake cookies at my house!

Comment: Come on, a little gluten won’t hurt!”

Response: I wish that was the case, but unfortunately, even a little would cause my digestive system to be damaged. Just imagine one smartie split into 4 pieces. Just one of those quarters still contains 25x too much gluten for me to safely ingest! It really is such a small amount. So, I do have to be very careful about the choices I make and really appreciate your understanding

Christmas 2016 Potluck Photo Gallery

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Twenty Kelowna Celiac Chapter members enjoyed a lovely potluck on Sunday, December 4th at the Lake Country Seniors’ Centre.  Members brought ham, turkey, and all the trimmings.  There were also wonderful desserts for all to enjoy.

Says Chapter President Irene Wiseman, “This was, in my opinion, one of the best potlucks…  It was so nice to see everyone and enjoy their company we didn’t have a meeting so had time to visit.”

Thanks to Irene for providing the photos and to everyone who attended.  If you have photos to share, please email them to [email protected]

We’ll post the dates of our 2017 chapter potlucks and wellness group meetings soon!

Gluten-Free Christmas Potluck – Sunday December 6th, 2015

Please join us:

2010 Celiac Xmas (8)Christmas Potluck
Sunday December 6th, 2015

at the Lake Country  Seniors Activity Centre
 9832 Bottom Lake Road

The doors open at 12:00 noon,
and lunch is served about 12:30  pm.

Please bring your gluten-free potluck dishes, with recipes and/or sources.

We ask adults for a toonie
to help defray the hall rental costs.

We are trying to be ‘green’ so please bring your own dishes mugs and cutlery!

Please note that this is a CHANGE from previous years.  To keep the cost down for everyone, rather than charge for a fundraising dinner made by a small group of volunteers, we changed the format to a potluck where everyone brings a dish (with a Christmas theme if possible) and there is the usual $2 donation.  This makes it less expensive for everyone and distributes the work.

Photos from our 2013 Christmas Dinner

On December 1st,  Kelowna Chapter Executive cooked a delicious gluten-free Christmas dinner for chapter members at the Lake Country Seniors Centre.

The kids enjoyed some gifts while members took part in a gift basket draw.  Thanks to Irene and Clarence for the photos.

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In previous years all cooking was done by members of the executive, this year we asked for help from the attending members at the November meeting. So the executive was assisted by the following members, Julia Brown, Marilyn Hurst, Susan Morrison and Mary Hicks. They all did a wonderful job of the items they were asked to prepare.

The dinner was delicious. It included turkey, ham, two kinds of mashed potatoes, grilled cubed sweet potatoes/yams, two kinds of gravy, the second was a ”milk” gravy (apparently an English touch- from the three generations of the McCormick family), two kinds of stuffing, cranberries, peas and buns. For dessert we had a great variety of yummy brownies, ice cream and chocolate sundae sauce.

Besides our members donating their services as well as the item they prepared, we had donations from Save on Foods (turkey), 2 hams by Askew’s in Salmon Arm, Bill and Norma Titheridge donated $50 to purchase the gifts for the ‘children presents and the two baskets- one from Nutter’s and a basket from National with the newly approved GF items.

After an enjoyable dinner we had the gifts given to the children and the following winners. 50/50 was won by Evan McCormick ($21), the Nutter’s basket by Julia Brown and the national basket by Hannah Petrie.

Although we had fewer attendees, we had a wonderful meal and very enjoyable fellowship and still made money, for a successful fund raiser!

Gluten-Free Christmas Dinner 2013


December 2 iPad 019Sunday December 1st at the Winfield Seniors Activity Centre

Doors open at 12:00 noon with Christmas dinner about 1 pm

Children 5 and under – free
Children 6 to 16 years – $7.00
Adults – $25.00
Non members – $30.00

Limited to 60 people!  Sign-up right away!

Ann will take payment at November 4th meeting  or send a cheque to our mailing address.

Kelowna Chapter of C.C.A.
PO Box 21031, Orchard Park
Kelowna, B.C.
V1Y 9N8

Christmas Party 2012 Photos

Click any photo below for a full screen slide show.

Approximately 40 people who attended our annual gluten-free Christmas dinner fundraiser held Sunday December 2nd.  Unlike our regular potluck affairs, at this event you buy a ticket and bring no food. All proceeds go back to the Canadian Celiac Association.

Fun was had by all for our yummy meal. Thanks to the executive who made the meal and brought in goodies. A special thanks to Angela, Rachael and Shae who donated food supplies.

Thanks to Save on Foods for the donation of $124 worth of groceries to our event and to Choices for six $25 gift certificates.

Our next potluck meeting is Sunday March 3rd in 2013!