Asthma Friendly Holiday Decorating: All the Small Things

Asthma Friendly Holiday Decorating: All the Small Things

Ah, the smell of the holidays—a big dinner baking in the oven and all over the stovetop, a few extra dishes making their entrance via crockpots, pies baked in advance… Yum! Unfortunately, during the holidays, some smells that aren’t so asthma friendly can sneak their way into our homes, too!

In my previous article, I wrote about allergens that need to be managed during the holiday season, like trees and wreaths, plants and poinsettias, gathering dust, and food allergies, and how to find allergy safe alternatives for your holiday celebrations. This article will look at managing non-allergic triggers during the holidays.


Oh, candles. They aren’t my jam firstly because I am a forgetful semi-klutz, which means I mostly am interested in not burning down my house. However, I am also interested in keeping my house scent and smoke-free, so that also takes candles off the list of things I worry about!

Of course, candles tend to be a gift that pops up fairly frequently, and are often burned by friends and family. It can be difficult to avoid them—but gentle reminders can help (or, just encourage the kids to keep blowing them out, if you want to be troublesome!).

Asthma friendly alternative: Flameless candles are safe, produce nice flickery effects—but no scents or smoke! Fill your candle holders with battery operated tea-lights (you can buy about a million on Amazon for pretty cheap!).
If you get candles as gifts, pass them along to friends and family who enjoy candles—with the caveat they use them when you’re not around!

By the way, I know this is the wrong holiday, but popping a flashlight or tap-light inside your carved pumpkin also works well, too! (I’ll try to remind you next October!)


I’ve written about soaps before in my post for asthma allies How to Buy a Gift for a Person with Asthma, and have entertained the idea of an entire rant post on soap!

If you, like me, are sensitive to fragrances, stay clear of a) putting those festive soaps out in your own bathroom and kitchen, and b) falling prey to the cute pretty soap at friends and family members! For me, it just ends in headaches and asthma issues!

Asthma friendly alternative: Buy a cute Christmas-y soap dispenser, and fill it up with fragrance-free liquid soap.

And of course, you can easily replace the hand sanitizer in one of those little portable clip-on tubes with your own asthma friendly soap for when you’re on the go.

And of course, donate those pretty looking and smelling soaps to a shelter (along with fragrance-free soaps and other items they are in need of!). They are a much appreciated item by many people—even if those people are not me!


While few things are nicer than a fire crackling in the background, radiating heat, even natural gas fireplaces and appliances can release irritants into the indoor air1, causing irritation to the eyes and respiratory system, even if the irritants aren’t detectable.2 Of course, wood burning stoves and fireplaces produce smoke that is a common asthma trigger.

Asthma-friendly alternative: Pop on that fireplace channel (or use this YouTube video) and if you want to get real fancy, put a small electric heater below your TV to radiate heat. Just like the real thing minus the smoke and irritants! If you just have to have a fire, air out your space by opening doors and windows regularly—or have one outside if temperatures aren’t too frigid!

If friends or family insist on using their fireplaces, consider asking if they’d like you to bring a small space heater, and explain fireplaces affect your asthma. Even if you know it’s about the atmospheric effect of the fire, a subtle reminder feigning belief it’s about the heat generation can get the conversation off to a solid start!

All the small things

These details may seem small but they can make a big difference when it comes to maintaining your indoor environment to be asthma-friendly over the holidays!

How do you manage non-allergic asthma triggers around the holidays?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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