Crafty Ways to Enjoy the Holidays With An Incarcerated Partner

Crafty Ways to Enjoy the Holidays With An Incarcerated Partner

Holidays are about traditions, rituals that are followed year to year. With your partner’s absence, you can’t experience the rituals as you knew them or believe they should be, making you susceptible to feelings of sadness and anger. You spend your time trying to make the holidays ‘normal’ instead of realizing your normal requires establishing traditions specific to your family and circumstances.

With a little planning and a shift in attitude, you don’t have to dread the holiday season nor do you have to walk around stealing joy from others. Create the spirit of the holidays by crafting the season in fun and imaginative ways.

  • Keep candles burning in honor of your partner all season (all year)
  • Ask friends and family to put your partner on their holiday card list (mailing the card is required)
  • Send a ‘holiday’ in an envelope.
    • Make a drawing/coloring of a Hanukkah menorah with the candles to be ‘lit’
    • Make a drawing/coloring of a Christmas tree and send the ‘decorations’ one day at a time. Create paper presents that have a ‘gift’ written inside.
    • Make a drawing/coloring of a Kwanzaa kinara with the candles. Celebrate the individual principles
  • Write a letter to Santa (yes, it’s okay to ask for his release)
  • Take pictures of holiday decorations at home and around town. Send to your partner.
  • Give your children gifts marked from the parent who is away
  • Send pictures of [actually] gifts bought for your partner with a message on the envelope: DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS. Give partner a time he/she should open. Your partner can be a part of the unwrapping of gifts (Since their mail is more than likely opened when received, this will add to the fun)
  • Have your partner call during family time and take pictures of everyone speaking to them. Send your partner the photos. They will enjoy seeing themselves as part of the festivities.
  • Create a holiday word search or crossword puzzle as your partner’s gift. Have the clues reveal the date of your next visit
  • Make a countdown to the New Year. Send one number at a time. Shout Happy New Year in a phone call (Slow countdown required).
  • Make resolutions together

Whether it’s the first or twentieth holiday away from your partner, the feeling of missing them never goes away. Remember to have fun and with each holiday that passes you are one step closer to being together.

How do you share the holidays with your partner?



  1. DulceyDulcey12-13-2011

    I send him several Christmas cards, starting at the beginning of December. Some are pretty, some are silly and the last one is always a photo card. He likes to hang them up in his room as his decorations. I have even sent counted cross stitch cards a couple of times. Just depends on the mail room at the facility. They’ve always gotten through so far. I also let him help me decide what gifts to get for extended family.

  2. GingerGinger12-14-2011

    Those are great ideas, every since his first christmas in me and our daughters make him a christmas tree with ornaments from construction paper, then put them up on the same day.

  3. Annette RuizAnnette Ruiz12-15-2011

    I made him a timeline of our life together.. <3 I put pictures and captions to point out the most relevant times in OUR life.. I hope he enjoys it!!

  4. ReesyReesy12-15-2011

    Great ideas guys. Annette, I’m sure he will love it!

  5. Leann SowellLeann Sowell12-16-2011

    Creativity heavily sprinkled with LOVE and as much visual imagery in photos that depict both our shared lives together and those of our immediate families is something my Husband deeply appreciates.
    I also print of Holiday stories of hope and promise of events that take place all over the world.
    He says that it makes him feel connected to the world outside of the confines of incarceration, a form of emotional liberation in there.

    Reesy, you are an Amazing example of a Wife walking alongside a Husband> “For better or worse”
    Your “About Reesy” Bio basically hit the nail on the head whereas you pinpoint pretty much the whole of the initial shock of having a Husband ripped away from you, the somewhat isolation that can envelop a Wife/Girl Friend/Partner, and the adjustments necessary to both endure and continue to move forward together in marriage under [these] circumstances.

    The way I see it> We are ALL doing Time with our incarcerated spouses, partners…etc.
    I print my husband off things that Inspire him to continue to grow right where he is at Spiritually, Emotionally, Mentally. I am also passionate about photography as I am in working with Ex-Offenders as well as those currently incarcerated in prisons around the country, so I go out on weekends and capture moments in photography of Life on the Outside of the Barb-wire… Ducks swimming on ponds, the elderly holding hands at a park, the faces of children in laughter, our dog running and playing.
    Basically I work at bringing Life into my Husband in there in every way I can.

    My Husband is what is called a “Technical Violator for a years old probation for a DWI he had years ago. He was about to finish the probation inside of a year when suddenly his about to have a baby probation officer was replaced with an overly [aggressive] officer who just so happened to be a former sex-offender officer. She brought her hardened mentality to her new caseload that were only men or women with DWI convictions. She decided to conduct a random polygraph to look for ANY probation infractions on her new caseload. My Husband was part of this sweep. We had not only just bought a house, recently married in June, and his job position and security was just great! My husband didn’t fail the polygraph. Instead he owned up to have driven without his occupational license to go to and from work 2 years ago. My husband’s original probation officer DID actually know of my husband’s driving for 2 months without his occupational license-and, she basically said, “If you get caught it is on you.” She was a great officer to him. And when this polygraph issue came about, my Husband was NOT about to say that his original officer knew he was driving; it could have cost her job. That was not something my husband or I felt would be right. And so, he simply OWNED his probation stipulations infraction-offense and threw himself to the mercy of the court. We had hoped his direct ownership and honesty would HELP the outcome.
    Those who failed were sent down to prison for 7 years.

    We had hoped for a reprimand considering his steady progress in every area of his personal life since his original DWI offense: Sobriety, Career Advancement, Spiritual Development and recovery, Marriage, etc…

    Needless to say, my Husband received a year and was knocked all the way down in his probation level.
    I am grateful to add that my Husband Curtis will be home next Summer. Regardless of whatever amount of time someone is sentenced to, the wives, girlfriends and partners who love them and are walking with them, are directly impacted in so many ways. We on the outside must carry on and carry whatever weight there is to carry. I am grateful that we have managed to keep everything we have built together secured
    while he is away-including his job!

    I have been working with ex-offenders and those currently incarcerated for years now. But when it becomes [your own] spouse, partner, or loved one… the dynamics of working within the criminal justice realm changes a person dramatically.

    A Devoted Wife and Best Friend to my Husband Curtis of almost 6 months.

    R.I.F.T. Reaching Behind Bars
    Founder Exec. Director

    Find us on Facebook>
    Time Travelers: Hope For Prisoners:!/pages/Time-Travelers-Hope-For-Prisoners/240288822681010

    Candles In The Dark:!/CandlesInTheDarkUnforgottenPrisoners

    R.I.F.T. Reaching Behind Bars:!/Hope4ExOffenders

  6. Over the span of a couple of months, we re-watched god of that Rings trilogy, the Godfather trilogy, and about twenty alternative movies that him and i loved and also hadn¡¯t watched in any while.

  7. MaryMary01-03-2014

    All so encouraging to me, my boyfriend has a really hard time emotionall every christmas time



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Living your life when your partner is locked up means knowing what you can and can not control and making the most of it.

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