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How to have a Great Christmas Visit with an Inmate

Christmas was the most difficult season for my family while Ron was in prison.

On the outside, we missed him every day—but during Christmas we missed him even more.  For those on the inside, the days are longer and harder than any other time of the year.  Spending time together during visits to the prison becomes even more important during the holiday season. But, your visits can quickly turn into a mess since you are all feeling more emotional and stressed by the season.  To avoid the holiday blues, you will need to be prepared to create a great Christmas visit for your family.

Prison Visits

Like it or not, prison visits are now a part of your family bonding- making memories-spending quality time together moments.  These moments will become a permanent part of your family’s recollections in the coming years.  It is your job to make them as good as they can possibly be.  Especially during the Christmas.  You are adding building blocks to your children’s perception of Christmas that will be manifest later in their lives as they seek to create – or disregard—their own family traditions.  You should always look at every situation as an opportunity to create a wonderful memory that will supersede the pain of the moment.

DIY christmas presents in prison

Plan a special Christmas visit

In order to create the best possible Christmas memories, you need to include Daddy in them as much as you can.  A perfect way to do this is to plan a special Christmas visit.  There are several things you must do to make this visit different – things that will set it apart from the normal visits your children have every other month.  They deserve a special time with their Daddy during Christmas as much as every other child.

 The pressure of trying to find the elusive “perfect gift” creates so much stress.  If only that gift wasn’t so expensive, or I had more money, things would be so much easier. I used to go crazy trying to save money for Christmas presents – and put myself in a financial bind for several months.

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prison mom blog christmas gift


Here is how to make your Christmas visit a great visit:

  1. Visit in December. This is important because December is the month most of their friends aer getting to spend time with family members. Kids associate Christmas with December.  November is Thanksgiving, and January is when Christmas is over for them.
  2. Dress up. Either dress in dressy clothes, or wear all red and green. Getting in the Holiday spirit before you even arrive will help set the tone as festive, new, and different from other visits.
  3. Take extra money. You will be making a feast from the vending machine food available.  Even if you do not normally eat during visits, today you must.  Sharing a meal is such an incredible bonding experience.
  4. Splurge on food. This is a wonderful Christmas present for your husband as well! Buy things you normally do not buy, and buy more than you normally buy.  Be sure to include several options for dessert.  Lots of food = Celebration.
  5. Share everything. Cut the food up into snack size portions so everyone gets a bite or two of everything.  Sharing the food makes it even more special because you are all sharing a common experience.
  6. Buy “gifts” and exchange them. So, these are not typical gifts, but only things available in the prison visiting room. The gifts could be an extra picture if the prison provides pictures during visits, or it could be a favorite candy bar or pack of gum.  Each of you can draw a name,  go up to the vending machine to “shop” and wrap your gift in a napkin.  Dad gets to choose someone to go up and buy the gifts for him.
  7. Play at least one game. I Spy, 20 Questions, The 5 Second Game, or any game of your choice.  But playing together is a wonderful Christmas tradition.
  8. Every person shares one thing that they are grateful for today. Dad should start, and mom can go last for this one.
  9. Link pinkies around the table together and remind your kids that even though your time together is small like their pinky finger, it is important. It binds your family together forever.  You are a family, and you will not let anything break the bond you have.
  10. Sing a Christmas Carole together
  11. Hold each other a little tighter before you leave

These simple things will turn an ordinary visit into an extraordinary Christmas memory!

I am rooting for you-