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"Allergen-Free" Gifts

It seems everyone gives one another food as gifts. Sometimes people who have food allergies may even be tempted to give food as a gift, which can send the wrong message that we, in turn, want to (and can) receive food gifts.

Aside from the food issue, though, people more and more are feeling bothered by clutter. Giving someone a gift that doesn't add to clutter and is useful is a real challenge!

Following are some ideas for gifts that may work for you for various circumstances--such as thank yous, birthdays, and get well wishes. Just be sure to carefully tailor the gifts to the specific people who you are giving them to. For example, if your best friend is bedridden, the last thing you'd want to give her is a gift certificate to go shopping at her favorite local store! Instead, small gifts that would pamper her, your help, and activities to do at home would probably be more appreciated.

One last note before we start: If you are someone without food allergies, the best thing to do is play it safe and never try to give someone with food allergies a food gift. Labels are horribly confusing and potentially unreliable, so it is not as easy as you might think to find something that will be safe for your friend.

Gift Certificates

  • certificate with YOU offering to do something
  • clothing store (one that does not have a perfume department
  • craft store
  • department store
  • hardware store
  • house cleaning
  • mail order catalog (include a copy of the catalog and make sure that it is not a food company)
  • major bookstore that sells both books and CDs
  • office supply store
  • shoe store
  • stationery store
  • yard cleaning service
  • Individual Gifts

    afghan
    bookmark
    brooch
    business card holder
    calendar
    charm
    Christmas tree ornament
    coffee cup
    coin purse
    cooler lunch bag
    credit card, prepaid
    fridge magnet
    craft supplies
    desk supplies
    eraser
    gloves
    greeting cards (mixed)
    greeting card organizer
    hand-held electronic video game
    handkerchiefs (embroidered, lace-edged, etc.)
    hat
    ink stamp
    jigsaw puzzle
    lap quilt
    magazine subscription
    notebook paper
    online service subscription
    outdoor bird feeder
    outdoor birdhouse
    outdoor squirrel feeder
    paper clips
    pens
    pencils
    pet toy
    picture frame
    pill box
    postage stamps, self-adhesive
    puzzle book
    scarf
    seasonal window clings
    slippers
    socks (with a cute design)
    stationery
    stickers
    travel mug (insulated)
    water cup
  • windchime
  • Themed Gift Baskets

    Boredom Busters

    If someone is bedridden, sick, or recovering from surgery, a basket filled with the following can help pass the hours:
  • Activity books
  • Books
  • Hand-held video game
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Cleaning Basket

    Pack a basket with a handle with cleaning supplies, such as:
  • Baking soda
  • Duster
  • Paper towels
  • Sponge
  • Vinegar
  • Fruit Basket

    If the individual is not allergic to fruits (which tend to be some of the less common allergens--be sure to ask first!), pack a basket with:
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Oranges

  • Choose different types of fruits (such as the more "fancy" apples). It will make the basket even more fun!

    Picnic Basket

    Pack a picnic basket with:
  • Cups
  • Paper plates
  • A picnic blanket
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Storage containers
  • Sport Fan Basket

    Pack a basket with:
  • Bench cushion
  • Blanket
  • Themed souvenir
  • Thermos
  • Stationery Basket

    Find a flat reusable basket that is large enough to set stationery in (flat). Inside, why not put in:
  • Envelopes
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Self-adhesive stamps
  • Stationery
  • Stickers
  • Gifts to Avoid

    Here are some tips on common gifts to generally avoid:
  • Art supplies such as glue, crayons, and clay can contain common allergens. Many crayons, for example, are soy-based, and many children's clays contain wheat.
  • Beauty products. Something as simple as a bar of fancy soap can cause an allergic reaction. I still remember, as a little girl, bathing with a bubble bath set from a friend and getting covered in itchy rashes! Not fun! All beauty products should be avoided.
  • Candles.
  • Candles can be made of soy, one of the most common allergens. Additionally, however, people with allergies may be allergic to perfumes. Decorative candles, therefore, have two things against them--odor and ingredients.
  • Certificates to services where someone might inhale or touch or otherwise come into contact with allergens. This would include certificates to beauty salons, massage parlors, and grocery stores.
  • Items with ingredient lists, no matter how safe they may look. This not only eliminates foods, but also things such as makeup, skincare, shampoo, and other beauty products.

  • Gift ideas contributed by: "A.," Tina Marion, and Melissa Taylor. Remember that people can be allergic to virtually anything, so these gifts are not guaranteed to be ones that won't cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.

    This website is for personal support information only. Nothing should be construed as medical advice.