So you've probably read my suggestions for what NOT to buy your allergic friends, relatives and acquaintances.
Now for 10 PLUS Dos that will be much more appreciated! Make sure to give them a gift receipt for easy returns:
1. Apparel alternatives. If you are a clothing gift giver, then consider a fun watch, a fashion watch or an inexpensive, kicky accessory. It would satisfy your need for fashion and your allergic recipient's need not to sneeze. Stick with one with plastic bands like Swatch. Many people have metal sensitivities as well as latex allergies.
2. Beauty products. If you feel compelled to get your allergic recipient something beauty related then look into the newer organic, green, low- or un-scented, low-allergenic products out there. Almay is sold in drug stores; Clinique is sold in department stores: easy. But there are tons of new ones on the market. Do some research on organic websites or ask your dermatologist what he or she recommends. When in doubt, go for a department store gift certificate. Your friend can purchase exactly the right allergen-friendly make-up or clothing.
3. Food. Really, please stay away from food gifts altogether. But if your allergic buddy loves to cook and eat, try cooking utensils or new beautiful plates or serving platters or stemware. Fun kitchen gadgets are always cool. Williams-Sonoma, Bridge Kitchenware, Broadway Panhandler, Pottery Barn and even Amazon.com have great sales and a lot of merchandise.
4. Allergen-Free Goodies. There are a few companies out there that make vegan chocolate i.e. diary free and nut-free chocolates and allergen-friendly treats. If you must send candy or sweets have a look at these companies: Vermont Nut-Free, Meraby Family Foods, Divvies, Deans' Sweets, or Yummy Earth. There are more out there, just do some research.
5. Media gifts. iTunes for downloadable books or music or movies is a great allergen-free option. An iPod shuffle is a bargain at only $49 and a bargain. Fill it with music from your library.
6. Movie passes. Movies are so expensive, buy tickets in bulk and give them out as gifts. Movie passes and coupons are always well received.
7. Allergy-free bedding. Another new frontier in the market is allergen-free bedding from some very reputable makers. Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco, Walmart and Target carry the certified asthma & allergy friendly products.
8. Games. Yes, you read correctly, games. Board games like scrabble, backgammon, chess are always nice gifts. Does your friend's family have an Xbox or a Wii? You can get golf, tennis any number of adult-focused computer games. If they like games or have talked about getting into them, go for it!
9. A meal. Treating them to a meal at their favorite, local allergy-friendly restaurant. Go together; it makes it merrier! If they don't have a restaurant they love, support them by helping them find one.
10. Magazine subscriptions. Literary, crafty, knitty, foodie, allergic: there's a mag for every taste and every industry, and every region. Support a magazine by buying a subscription. Your friend will think of you every time they receive it.