By Emily

Well, it’s that time of year again: the holiday season has begun! There are office parties and neighborly open houses, holiday dinners and all-day shopping extravaganzas, all of which require a little bit of extra planning if you plan to do them gluten-free. Today, though, let’s just focus on one special part of the holidays: the gift basket.

The standard holiday gift basket is generally a field of land mines for a gluten-free person. Even if there are a few items that seem safe — at least, according to the ingredients list — there is rarely a way to tell how true this is. Often items aren’t branded, so gaining access to information on shared equipment and cross-contamination is nearly impossible.

Whether you’re sending a basket to your niece with Celiac Disease who is stuck out on the opposite coast and can’t get home for the holidays, or to colleagues or clients who you know to be gluten-free, happily there are safe options.

A growing number of traditional companies that send out gift baskets are learning that a gluten-free option can be a big hit. Accordingly, you can choose from several different sized baskets at Gourmet Gift Baskets, with pre-selected snacks like Lucy’s Cookies and Orchard Bars. Gluten-Free Palace also has a number of allergen-aware and gluten-free tins with baked goods and other yummy snacks as does Saratoga Gift Baskets. I Can Have That even specializes in allergen-friendly gift baskets.

Or, if you’re more of a DIY fan (and/or you have someone with additional dietary requirements), you might want to choose a basket from It’s Only Natural: you can choose the size basket and then select each and every treat you’d like to include from a list with clear allergen labeling. They’ll make everything look all pretty and ship it out to your lucky someone (and they’ll also do the tough job of choosing items, if you’d prefer).

You can also go with a themed gift basket that just so happens to be gluten-free, for example fruit or tea (Note! Not all tea is gluten-free, sometimes barley is added.). Within the fruit category, perhaps the most well-known provider is Harry & David, who have a number of fruit-only options. You can also visit Golden State Fruit, Cherry Moon Farms, or The Fruit Company to see if something else tickles your fancy.

For tea gift baskets, Republic of Tea carries GFCO-certification for most of their teas, and have a number of inexpensive options. Just take care not to order something that comes with cookies or other baked goods, as they will not be gluten-free.

Have you ever received a particularly memorable gluten-free gift basket, or given one to a friend, relative, or colleague? If so, where did it come from?