I love the holidays – spending quality time with family and friends, buying and giving gifts, eating, drinking...and being merry! But the holiday season can be tough to navigate when you have Crohn’s or colitis. Your routine may be knocked off, there can be an increase in stress, and there tends to be more temptation around food and alcohol that could derail even the most dedicated person. I have to be even more vigilant with both my diet and lifestyle choices to keep inflammation low. Holiday Party Rules I rarely drink alcohol anymore but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy parties! 1. Drink a healthy MOCKtail: Parties are an opportunity to explore a fun mocktail you’ve been curious about. Or for a more simple fix, enjoy sparkling water with cranberry juice and a twist of lime. 2. Have a bite before: If I can, I make sure to eat ahead of parties so I’m not reliant on finger foods there. 3. Bring your own: If it’s at a friend or relative’s house, I’ll bring some canapés and drinks that are suitable for my diet so I know that there’ll definitely be something I can eat and drink. Dinner Party Rules For the most part, hosts are good about adapting to guests' dietary needs. However they may not be as knowledgeable as you on what counts as ‘gluten free’ or ‘dairy free’ never mind ‘nightshade free’, ‘nut free’, ‘egg free’ or whatever your particular intolerance is. 4. Make a List for the Host: Draw up a list of foods you can and can’t have and post it where people can access it (e.g. Facebook), or email the list to the host well ahead of time. 5. Bring your own: If communicating your needs to the host is awkward and you're worried about what will be served, offer to bring a dish that can be shared and is suitable to your needs. 6. Don’t be afraid: While you may not want to offend the host, it’s more important to take care of your health, besides, it’s the company that matters most. Just because I can’t eat, drink and party quite the same way I used to, doesn’t mean that the holiday season has to suck. I think about the things that truly bring me joy at this time of year, and try to do more of those things during the holiday period. Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.