Accommodating Migraine During the Holidays

Patient Expert & Health Professional
Medically Reviewed

Migraine affects one in four households, so there’s a good chance your holiday plans will include at least one person with migraine. Holidays are wonderful occasions to spend time with those you love. Migraine can put a damper on the fun by forcing us into dark, quite rooms far from the party. You can help us enjoy the day with a little planning.

“It’s the thought that counts,” is a popular holiday sentiment. As a thoughtful holiday party host, your guest list may include people living with migraine disease. Like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, migraine requires medical treatment and some significant lifestyle changes. We all make accommodations for loved ones with special needs. This year, I’d like to invite you to do the same for those with migraine.

Gift-giving no-nos

  • Anything perfumed
  • Most boxes or tins of non-perishable snacks
  • Anything with flashing lights

Risky decorations

  • Flashing lights
  • Repetitive noises
  • Scented pine cones
  • Floral bouquets
  • Potpourri
  • Scented candles

Food triggers

Food can be a migraine minefield. Each of us has problems with different combinations. Serve your favorites. Just include some migraine-friendly options, too. Here are some possible “trigger foods”:

  • Red wine
  • Flavored popcorn tins
  • Meat & cheese boxes
  • Gourmet food gift baskets
  • Soups or sauces containing MSG (most canned soups have it)
  • Most Chinese food
  • Smoked sausages
  • Flavored dips
  • Cheese balls

Extra tips for the migraine-aware host

  • Offer alcohol-free, caffeine-free beverages. Ice water is great!
  • Offer the use of a quiet bedroom where guests with migraine can retreat if needed.
  • Offer use of your freezer for their ice packs or have some on hand for their use.
  • Don’t let your guests drive with a migraine attack. Let them sleep it off, call them a cab, or offer to drive them home.

Helping your loved ones stay migraine-free for the holidays is a beautiful gift. Your thoughtful efforts will be greatly appreciated.

See more helpful articles:

Setting Priorities for a Migraine-Free Holiday

10 Dos and Don'ts of Gifts for Those with Migraines