Finding the Perfect Christmas Gift for Someone in Recovery

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Your shopping list this year includes a friend who is six months sober. And for your family gift exchange, you drew your cousin’s name – he’s been in AA for three years. You’ve made a list, now you’re checking your list twice…but you’re still coming up with two big question marks by their names.

If this scenario sounds all too familiar, read on! With just a little bit of planning, you’ll be able to come up with some great gift ideas for loved ones who are in recovery.

For years, you gave your friends alcohol-related gifts – a nice bottle of wine, wine bottle charms, stemware, souvenir shot glasses from trips you took, margarita mixes. Now that you know your friend had been
struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s obviously time to do things differently.

The good news is that your friend is now in recovery. But, where do you shop? What would she like? What’s a good gift for a recovering addict, anyway?

Getting on the “Nice” List, Avoiding the “Naughty” List

One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to advertise anyone’s new-found sobriety. You are proud of her, that’s for sure. But, her addiction might not be something she’s comfortable sharing with everyone. Try to be sensitive to a sensitive issue.

So, you can start off by nixing the idea of showing up to the Christmas gift exchange with a hand-stitched “Sober and Loving It” wall hanging or a “Celebrate Recovery” t-shirt. Let her decide if she wants to make those proclamations and buy those things for herself.

Also, keep in mind she is so much more than her recovery. Yes, it’s a big part of her life, but she’s still a human with other potential interests and delights. In other words, don’t feel like her gifts have to be centered around the 12-Steps of Christmas. There are plenty of sober gifts you can give her this year.

Here are ten Christmas gift ideas that pretty much everyone – including someone in recovery – will enjoy:

  • Candles – Who doesn’t like nice smells and candle-lit ambiance?
  • Fudge – Homemade or from one of those touristy shops, you can’t go wrong with fudge!
  • Books – A nice hardback thriller or a cheesy romance novel is a good choice (Remember; it doesn’t need to be the AA Big Book)
  • Soaps – Why not go for handmade bars of organic soap or cute miniatures tucked in an elegant soap dish?
  • Fancy olive oil – If your friend is a kitchen pro, go for a bottle of fancy flavored oil for cooking or bread dipping.
  • Christmas ornament – This can be personalized with her name and the date to make it special.
  • Journal – Not everyone is a writer, but it’s a pretty safe bet that most of us throw down some thoughts once in a while!
  • Travel pack – Go for road trip snacks, travel-sized games, travel mug…all tucked in a neat travel bag.
  • Jewelry – Fun earrings, a nice necklace, or a watch are all great options. Most people love these kind of gifts.
  • Glass bowl – Why not go for a fancy glass centerpiece that’s filled with stones or shells for decorating? You want it to be fun for the holiday, but useful enough if she just wants to fill it with fresh fruit year-round

Last Minute Tips

When planning to buy her the perfect gift, get creative. Personalize it. Write a note in the front of the journal. Choose her favorite scented candles. Fill the bowl with her favorite candy.Pick out an ornament or book that relates to a shared joke or experience…just make sure it was a sober one!

And don’t feel like you have to completely ignore her new-found sobriety. If she’s very close to you, besides simply handing her a wrapped package, take the time to tell her (in your own words) that you’re so happy for her and you’re proud of her for sticking with the recovery process. Truth be told, those encouraging words just might be the best gift of all.

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