ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gluten-Free Goodies: Surviving the Holidays on a Gluten-Free Diet

Updated on December 10, 2018

From “No, no, no!” to “Ho, ho, ho!”

Whether dieting to lose weight or working to improve my overall health, I have learned that focusing on “yes” is easier than listing all the “nos.” When a gluten intolerance was added to the bushel of food allergies in my family, the same rule applied.

This is our first Christmas as gluten-free dieters, and my first inclination was to simply adapt all the family cookie and cake recipes to fit our new lifestyle. I began wringing my hands over how gluten-free flour mix would work in my heirloom sugar cookies. I worried over whether or not to bake the traditional pound cake, and whether my budget could bear the costs of gluten-free alternatives. But then an idea came to me from the back of a cereal box.

It turns out that both corn and rice Chex® cereals have always been gluten-free. Newer flavors such as chocolate and cinnamon Chex® are also gluten-free. As I pondered how my family’s new dietary needs would shape our annual holiday treat-making, I absentmindedly scanned the list of recipes on a Chex® box sitting in front of me. Gluten-free delights like Chex® Lemon Buddies and Mayan Chocolate Chex® Mix caught my eye. A single shopping trip later, my whole family was happily mixing toothsome goodies together in the kitchen--goodies that required no substitutions or omissions for everyone to enjoy them.

As we began to count down the days to Christmas and plan New Year’s Eve celebrations, I found more and more gluten-free options peeking at me from supermarket shelves, waving at me from displays in shop windows, or even whispering to me from the corners of my memories from some Christmas past.

Candy canes and gluten-free cordial cherries are some of the ready-to-eat goodies my family enjoys.
Candy canes and gluten-free cordial cherries are some of the ready-to-eat goodies my family enjoys.

Store-bought goodies such as gluten-free candy can help reduce the stress of gluten-free holiday baking. Some favorites include:

* Candy canes

* Cordial cherries

* Gluten-free chocolate

Straight from the Grocer’s Shelves

Some of the nicest forms of “yes” when you are on a diet of any variety are those that come ready to eat. The gluten-sensitive individuals in my family do not have celiac disease, so we are able to consume wheat-free products that may have been prepared in the same factory as items containing wheat.* M&M’s® are extremely popular in my household, and the holiday varieties of mint, plain and peanut M&M’s are no exception. Candy canes that grace our tree (for a little while) every December can still be pilfered, nibbled, licked, and dipped into steaming cups of hot cocoa. Even our traditional box of Queen Anne® cordial cherries can be enjoyed without fear.

The Homemade Tradition

I am a homemaker at heart. Despite the wonderful prepackaged options available to us, I still searched for gluten-free holiday goodies that I prepare myself. The first idea came as a recommendation from my spouse and my sister on the same day: “Aren’t no-bake cookies gluten-free?” It depends on the type of cookie, but the peanut-butter-and-chocolate variety we traditionally enjoy certainly can be, if we are careful to use certified gluten-free oats. (Again, since my family only suffers from a gluten intolerance rather than celiac disease, we have more flexibility on the use of oats than some GF households.)

Here is the family recipe:

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

2 c. sugar

¹/₃ c. cocoa

½ c. milk

½ c. butter

½ c. peanut butter

1 teas. vanilla

3 c. certified gluten-free rolled oats

Mix sugar, cocoa and milk in a sauce pan. Add butter. Place over low heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a full boil. Boil for exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Fold in oats. Drop mixture by the spoonful onto wax paper. Leave until dry; then store in an air-tight container.

As the days of December wore on, I became increasingly comfortable that we had plenty of goodies to share with family and friends during our celebrations. Then a personal loss came calling. My 84-year-old grandmother passed away.

As extended family gathered to grieve and reminisce, another gluten-free goody came to mind--monster cookies! These were a staple at Grandma's house every holiday season. When someone first asked if they were gluten-free, I didn't know. Fortunately, the recipe was easy to locate, and I quickly discovered that as long as the oats are certified gluten-free, the monster cookies will be as well.

Grandma’s Monster Cookies

3 eggs

1 ½ c. brown sugar, packed

1 c. white sugar

1 teas. vanilla

1 teas. light corn syrup

2 teas. baking powder

½ c. butter

1 ½ c. peanut butter

4 ½ c. certified gluten-free rolled oats

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1 c. plain M&M’s ® or other gluten-free candy-coated chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a large bowl beat the eggs.

3. Add remaining ingredients in order, mixing well.

4. Using a large soup spoon or ice cream scoop, plop 2-inch balls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

These are MONSTER cookies. The recipe makes them BIG and makes a LOT of them. Enjoy!

A Cup of Cheer

It may seem obvious that most non-alcoholic holiday beverages are gluten-free, but since the focus here is on saying “yes” to delectable goodies, I’ll mention a of family favorites:

Many varieties of hot cocoa are safe to the gluten-intolerant crowd. As always, be sure to check labels just in case. Eggnog is generally safe as well, but be sure to check the label on it also.

Our family tradition of wassail is delightfully free from anything remotely representing gluten, a fact that makes me sing even more loudly when our choir practices “Joy to the World.” We were initially introduced to this hot punch by our pastor’s wife when I was still in junior high, and it has been a family favorite ever since. Here is her non-alcoholic version of my all-time favorite Christmas treat:

Wassail (as made by Thelma Sunberg)

2 quarts apple juice

2 c. cranberry juice cocktail

1 large orange

1 ½ teas. whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 Tbls. whole all-spice

1 c. sugar

In a large crock pot, add apple juice, cranberry juice cocktail, and sugar. Stud the orange with cloves and add to the crock pot. Add the rest of the spices. Set on low heat for at least 8 hours. Enjoy.

For Auld Lang Syne

Some holiday food traditions are more easily dropped than adapted to fit the gluten-free diet. Others can be easily adapted, as other writers here on HubPages have aptly described. But for me, the merriest treats of the season are those that can be enjoyed as they are. Whatever your traditions, may this holiday season find you healthy, happy, and ready to enjoy all the adventures the New Year will bring your way.

© 2011 Marie Gail Stratford


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)