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Celebrate Thanksgiving in Prison

thanksgiving in prison

Thanksgiving in prison can be a challenging and emotional experience. From the limitations of family visits, to the barriers that come with having a loved one incarcerated.  As families celebrate this special holiday season every year, there are some that find it difficult to do so. One of the most challenging places to celebrate thanksgiving is in prison, but some individuals find ways to make the best of the situation and find moments of gratitude. Here are some suggestions for celebrating Thanksgiving while incarcerated:

Community Gathering: Many prisons organize special events or communal gatherings for holidays like Thanksgiving. Attend these gatherings to share the spirit of the holiday with fellow inmates.

Potluck or Shared Meals: In some facilities, inmates may be allowed to bring or purchase special food items for a potluck-style meal. Sharing dishes with others can create a sense of community.

Express Gratitude: Take some time to reflect on aspects of your life for which you are grateful. Even in challenging circumstances, there may be moments or relationships that bring a sense of thankfulness.


Write Letters or Make Calls: If allowed, reach out to family and friends through letters or phone calls. Sharing thoughts of gratitude and love, even from a distance, can help strengthen connections.

prison phone calls



Volunteer or Contribute: Some prisons allow inmates to participate in volunteer activities or contribute to community service projects. Giving back, even in a limited capacity, can provide a sense of purpose.

Creative Expression: Engage in creative activities to express yourself. Whether it’s drawing, writing, or participating in a talent show, creative expression can be a positive outlet.

Spiritual or Religious Activities: If you have religious or spiritual beliefs, consider participating in related prison activities or services within the prison community.

Reflect and Set Goals: Use the time for personal reflection. Set goals for self-improvement or education, and take steps towards positive changes in your life.

Support Systems: Lean on support systems within the prison community. Building positive relationships with fellow inmates can provide emotional support during challenging times.

Educational Programs: If available, take advantage of educational programs or workshops offered in the prison. Learning new skills or gaining knowledge can be empowering.

It’s important to acknowledge that celebrating holidays in a confined environment can be difficult. However, finding moments of gratitude, connecting with others, and engaging in positive activities can contribute to a more meaningful and hopeful experience, even in challenging circumstances.