Check it twice: A list of gifts NOT to buy for the gluten-free folks you love this Christmas

It’s December! Snow is falling, friends are calling, and ’tis the season for every blogging boy and girl to post their personal Christmas wish lists, disguised as suggestions of what totally unrelated people might want to buy for some other person who happens to be extremely similar to them.

Look around, and you’ll see gift suggestions for fitness freaks (compiled by fitness freaks), tech geeks (compiled by tech geeks), book lovers (compiled by book lovers), home cooks (compiled by home cooks), and the one who has everything (compiled by people who wish they had everything).

And, of course, you’ll see them for the gluten-free, by the gluten-free. Here are just a few sites with intriguing lists of these-are-not-hints for gluten-free kids like me:

I thought about doing a wish list myself, but what good is wrapping paper if you already know what’s on the inside? I’d rather be surprised.

Still, I don’t want to leave my loved ones or yours without any guidance at all. So, to supplement all those other lists itemizing stuff I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to buy for me, I’ve made a list of what NOT to buy for that special celiac someone, at least if you mean to avoid an awkward, awkward Christmas. (Never fear; if you already bought one, there’s still time to make an exchange.)

1. Anything that contains gluten. No, not even as a joke.

angry cat in Santa hat

Santa Cat would find that very naughty.
Photo © John | Flickr

2. While you’re at it, you might want to avoid any kind of food at all. To do it right, you’d have to really get gluten-free, do your research, and commit to heart all of the quirky criteria your personal celiac no doubt has (no oats, no dairy, certified by the NFCA is good but certified by GIG is not, low-FODMAP, feeling worried about arsenic in rice, no GMOs, xanthan gum is the devil, etc., etc.). Otherwise, that gift box will probably be going to the recipient’s coworkers in 2014. And then no one will be happy.

3. Restaurant gift cards—unless you know the person has eaten there recently and felt 100 percent safe and satisfied (or that a LOT of other gluten-free people have). Since even those of us in metro areas have approximately two restaurants like that in our lives, this one’s a toughie.

The lamest possible gift...whether gluten-free or not. Photo © 401(K) 2012 | Flickr

The lamest gift of all…gluten-free or not.
Photo © 401(K) 2012 | Flickr

4. Wheat Belly, by William Davis. Yes, your GF pal has heard of it. But he/she almost certainly considers it a load of reindeer manure.

Wheat Belly cover

5. Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter. Ditto.

Grain Brain cover

6. Bread Butt, by…okay, no one has written this yet. But when they inevitably do, let Amazon keep it.

7. Sketchy supplements, like GlutenEase or Glutenzyme. Though enzymes are being developed (!) that may be able to help in cases of accidental minute exposure to gluten (similar to Lactaid), they’re not there yet, and what’s on the market now doesn’t work. If you want to stuff that stocking with a placebo, sugar pills would be cheaper—and tastier too.

placebo effect

Or, you could just suggest they think about their health some more. That’ll make for some friendly dinner conversation.
Photo © Carmen Rodriguez | Flickr

8. I know I already said “no food,” but there’s one thing I’d like to call out to you especially—and it is with great sadness that I do. Lindor truffles, as I learned recently, contain barley malt, and no Lindt chocolate is guaranteed gluten-free. If you give these, you just might get tears.

angry Santa girl with candy cane

Better watch out, if you don’t want to come face to face with this in a dark corner under the mistletoe.
Photo © Nicola Albertini | Flickr

Want to help prevent a blue, blue Christmas for celiac folks like you and me? Then share: what else would you, as a gluten-free person, not want to find under the tree? (And, if you want to make it easy, share a thing or two that would make you merry.)

Want the elves to package up more posts like this for you? Follow me via Twitter, Facebook, or email, and you can have Christmas two or three days a week, every week.

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23 thoughts on “Check it twice: A list of gifts NOT to buy for the gluten-free folks you love this Christmas

  1. denisedaniel says:

    I want, want, want a Vitamix, but I don’t know anyone rich enough to give me one 🙂

  2. peveteaux says:

    I try so hard to be diplomatic when people ask me about Wheat Belly. I try. Awesome list, and I had NO idea about the Lindts!!!!!!

  3. Jess says:

    Hi Molly, I received a beautiful Crabtree and Evelyn gift set last Christmas and almost used the lotion. I am thankful I didn’t because it had hydrolyzed wheat protein as an ingredient! So lotions, hand soaps, etc. might be another gift to avoid giving to a GF person unless they are clearly marked as being GF.
    As for Applebee’s, I cannot understand why anyone eats there, even those who are not GF!
    I love receiving handmade gifts like socks and sweaters, jewelry and scarves, kitchen gadgets and running gear. My kids are buying me new cookie sheets this year and last year they gave me a flashlight, socks, and a crossword puzzle book from the Twinkle Shop.
    Merry Christmas!
    Jess

    • Molly says:

      Oh no! Didn’t even think of lotion. Great addition. And too true about Applebee’s! Seems like your kids have mastered the element of surprise… 🙂

    • Val says:

      There’s no need to use specifically gluten or wheat free toiletries. It can’t get to the intestine through the skin.

      • Molly says:

        I personally still don’t like using them because I know I have the tendency to touch my mouth/my food as I’m preparing it, and even if the risk is small that I’d actually contaminate myself that way, it’s a risk I prefer not to take.

  4. Vik says:

    I agree about the food thing, people mean well, but I usually end up passing it on. Right after I was diagnosed, though, a coworker stopped off briefly at the house during her carpool, and handed me a couple of boxes of King Arthur products. She had circled the words “dedicated GF facility” in red ink. I was so touched. HAHA I also learned that their brownie mix doesn’t like egg substitutes…. Brownie lava! Today I received one of my favorite gifts. A friend is a good photographer and crafty too. Every year she makes me a photo calendar, documenting events in our many years of friendship and I love it so much.

    • Molly says:

      Smart coworker! Bummer about the egg substitutes. Though to be honest, “brownie lava” doesn’t sound too bad to me at ALL. 🙂

      That’s such a good present idea! I’m going to have to steal that sometime (once I start remembering to capture the moments in the first place…must…use…camera).

  5. As usual, you had me laughing out loud with this post! I love your sense of humor.
    I have chewed my lips raw the past few weeks, as so many people have referenced the “Wheat Belly” and “Grain Brain” books around me and I have to refrain from any insults.

    I was asking for canisters of Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix for Christmas, but had to take it off my list when they changed manufacturing and now it may contain wheat. I’ve been so bummed! It is hard to find a good cup of hot cocoa that doesn’t contain oil, malt, or the risk of wheat.

    I’ve got the new Gluten-free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread cookbook on my wish list. It came out today. That is something I WOULD like to find under my tree!

  6. P.S. Thanks for linking to me too! I wish I had my other post up that I’m working on, “Gifts for the Gluten-free Baker!” I’ll let you know when I do get it up!

    • Molly says:

      You’re very welcome! Thanks for sharing the deals, though as usual I never made time to take advantage of any of them…every year, Cyber Monday just passes me by. When you add your new post I’ll pop it on the list. 🙂

      That is SUCH a bummer about the hot cocoa mix! Not cool! And a good reminder that some manufacturers actually do change their production so that their products possibly contain wheat (I always assume that with GF being so big now, they’d be afraid to, but that’s clearly not true).

      I preordered my copy of the GFSBB cookbook, hoping to win her giveaway (I didn’t, but the book itself is a pretty great consolation prize)

  7. I know this falls under food in general but please please please don’t give the celiac in your life any of those ‘theme’ gift boxes of food. You know the ones they have in the Christmas section of every store this time of year. For the baker it’ll have some kind of bowl or dish with cake mix or pancake mix or something. Or tea cups and some cookies or crackers. Although some of the mugs / dishes are cute…those boxes are a recipe for disaster.

    • Molly says:

      Yes, yes, yes! Even if everything were individually wrapped, I’d be so nervous about using that stuff. Also, it’s just no fun to open something up and realize you can’t use one component of it (and that the person who bought it KNOWS you can’t).

  8. Great post Molly! However, I just want you to know I’m working on the early draft of “Bread Butts” and I do hope you’ll give it a chance 🙂

  9. […] of the funniest stuff I’ve read on the internet but all of it super helpful. Case in point, this fantastic list of gifts to NOT buy your gluten free friend. I can’t wait until Molly writes a […]

  10. Reblogged this on Adventures of an Allergic Foodie and commented:
    What NOT to get an Allergic Foodie for Christmas! Love Molly’s funny and truthful list.
    If you want some gift ideas for the allergic foodie in your life–hint, hint–check out my GIFTS FOR AN ALLERGIC FOODIE Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/aetracy/gifts-for-an-allergic-foodie
    Five shopping days left!

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