The holiday season can bring some of the best memories. From time with family, to making memories and celebrating each family’s unique cultural heritage, there are many reasons the holidays are special. For many it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be an incredibly challenging time. Those with a loved one in prison, the holiday season can be an extremely difficult time.
For the over 2 million families affected by incarceration, the holidays look very different. From navigating visits, planning family get-togethers and honoring family traditions, it will require creativity and intentionality. From visiting rooms to video calls, there are many ways to celebrate with your loved one. If you or someone you know is incarcerated, here are a few ways to make this holiday special.
Plan a visit – Nothing can compare to being with your loved one in person. There are many ways that you can choose to celebrate the holidays in a visiting room. Although your ability to interact or what you can bring to a visit is limited, you can still celebrate the season together. Planning a meal together and catching up in person can be one of the best ways to show your loved one you care for them. If this is your first visit, be sure to fill out the proper paperwork or get on the approved visiting list. Also, be mindful of what you wear and what you bring. For more questions about what you can or cannot bring or what you can wear, see this resource. Don’t be intimidated by the limitations, plan a visit with your loved one. Also, if you are planning a visit around the holidays, plan on arriving early as it is the busiest time of the year.
Write a holiday card – Although it may seem out-of-date, writing letters is one of the best ways to stay in touch. Not only is it a great way to express your thoughts, letters can be saved and cherished for the future. Be sure to include family and loved ones and shower them with kind thoughts this holiday season. For more tips on writing letters, read this article.
Give a thoughtful gift – Although you may be limited by what to give your loved one, you might be surprised at what they can receive. Note that all packages will the thoroughly vetted, and there are many things you cannot send. However, there are companies that have approved things you can order your loved one. These companies are typically able to send directly to them. A few examples are stamps, snacks, acceptable clothes or prison-compatible tablets. Reach out to your loved one and see how you can help them celebrate the holiday season.
Holiday call – Take time and share the season. From family get-togethers to cultural traditions, be sure to include your loved one who is incarcerated. If you are able, plan a video call. Get your family to dress up in their most festive attire and call your loved one. Be intentional to spend the call celebrating with them, keep the serious conversations for another call.
Your loved one needs you now more than ever this holiday season. By intentionally considering how you can celebrate the season with them, you will grow more connected. From holiday greeting cards, to phone or video calls and visits, there are many ways to keep your family together. Don’t forget to send some thoughtful gifts and offer to buy gifts for your family on their behalf.
In reality, you may not be able to celebrate the holidays as you have in the past. There will be things you will need to adapt in order to celebrate as a family. Don’t let your present circumstances hinder your family from celebrating the season together.
We are so glad you found this blog. We hope to be a resource and tool on you and your family’s re-entry journey. To learn more about TYRO or what we do, visit our website, tyro365.com.