Helpful Holiday Tips From Our Community

Helpful Holiday Tips From Our Community

The holidays can be tough when we love someone suffering from addiction. As you know, we love our community, and we asked them to share their helpful holiday tips.

There are things we can do within our power to really rise above that and enjoy the holiday no matter what our partners are choosing to do. 

We asked the wonderful women in our programs to share some of their holiday tips. 

These holiday tips can carry you through these few weeks, and help you enjoy yourself, even though times can be hard. 

Helpful Holiday Tips from our Community

I set a boundary and told my partner that I wouldn’t be making plans or spending time with him over the holidays. This was a tough one for me. I told him I would love to spend time with him on his free weekends, but I won’t be spending time with him over the holidays because of the chaos. I plan on having a relaxing holiday season at home.

My daughters are adults with their own families and busy careers. My gift to them has been not requiring them or guilting them into participating in the family traditions we had when they were growing up. We, my husband and I have made our own little traditions together. One is we take a night drive around our community to admire all the Christmas lights! Releasing us all from family Christmas requirements has been so freeing and allows us to enjoy the season together or separately. And this year, my daughter, my little granddaughter who is four and I are going to see The Nutcracker ballet together to kick off the holiday season!

The adults do an ornament white elephant exchange instead of gifts. It’s cheaper, less stress and it was a lot of fun last year!

I wrap gifts as I buy them. The adults in my mom’s family do white elephant gifts. That eliminates about 12 adult gifts. It is wonderful!

We are taking our kids on a vacation instead of a traditional Christmas this year!

And we will still be doing our gift-giving tradition of a box on Xmas eve containing a pair of PJs, a movie, snack, and hot cocoa, and a book.

We do a ‘girl’s day’ with my mom, my sister, my girls, and myself the weekend before Christmas, where we decorate cookies and make gingerbread houses. And we usually try some new dessert recipes from Pinterest, as well. It’s a nice, fun, relaxing time.

I do holiday craft activities with the kids. It gets them in the spirit along with me. Holidays are tough with the addiction, but staying busy and doing fun things with my kids helps me through it.

I plan to have all the shopping, wrapping, and shipping done by December 1st. I’m going to enjoy all of the festivities.

Cook the turkey in a bag, always Uber to go places, start your Christmas cards now, and you can wear plaid pajamas anywhere the week of Christmas, and people will just think you’re being festive!

I LOVE Christmas and the holidays.

Yes, I’m one of those people who put up my tree on November 1st, and no, I do not care. I also make my own tree topper each year. I have my HER bag all good to go for when I need to jump in the car and leave my husband by himself if he starts acting up. My HER bag is my Holiday Emergency Resource bag.

“Holiday” can mean any day/event where you need to escape and detach from them. My lovely bag includes…2 pairs of clothes, toiletries (such as deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, a roll of toilet paper, Q-tips, makeup remover, lotion, body wash, and body spray), 4-6 face cloths, 2 full bottles of water, a fully charged portable phone charger, a spare cheap flip phone, a hoodie, gloves, a hat, 4-6 pairs of socks and underwear, an extra bra, pain medication (Advil, Tylenol), a flashlight, batteries and my spare car key (because if he manages to destroy my keys, I can always call AAA and have them unlock my car and. While they are conveniently there as a buffer, I can grab my spare key and leave. No matter what happens, I’m ready.

I plan to not overspend this year and relax and enjoy it.

I LOVE the holidays and put my focus on doing things for others. My girls and I plan an all-day shopping trip to get the majority of our presents and laugh a lot! We also have a decorating day and watch movies and make cookies/candy. When you stay focused on the things you love doing, the behavior of my husband takes a back seat!

Last Christmas, my alcoholic husband was fresh out of rehab. We were not living together, but my family adores him, so we invited him to our usual Christmas Day celebration and let him know it would be an alcohol-free zone while he’s there. He spent a couple of hours with the nephews and niece and then drove himself home. I arrived about 1.5 hours into his visit, so he and I overlapped our visit for only about 30 minutes. It worked out really well, and the minute he walked out the door, we all broke out the egg nog! 

The weekend after Thanksgiving, my boys and I decorate the tree and the house, and we play oldie Christmas tunes.

The one that we love the most is Elvis’ Blue Christmas. Through the years, I’ve bought every Christmas movie I could find – the Rankin/Bass ones from my childhood, Polar Express, The Grinch, etc. I will make cookies and hot chocolate several nights during the holidays, and my boys and I watch all those cheesy movies while enjoying the cookies and hot chocolate.

But the one tradition that my mom used to do that my kids and I now do is that we go to midnight Christmas service at our church and then come home and have a birthday party for baby Jesus, complete with cake and ice cream. It’s awesome! And I forgot to mention, my boys are 17 and 20 now, and I have been doing these things since they were babies. I tried one year just to put up a small tree and do nothing else. My kids wouldn’t stand for it. As they get bigger, they love the traditions even more.

My mom, sisters, and their husbands and children aren’t buying presents this year, which is a huge relief.

Instead, we’ll go to a hotel and enjoy wellness food and each other’s company.

My husband stays with his family, and then we’ll meet later.

This year I have booked for my three girls & I to fly back to the UK for a month & enjoy our first cold, winter Christmas after 8 Aussie hot summer ones!! Now that I’m also recently separated, I cannot tell you how relieved I am to have this already planned & paid for! I booked it in February because my gut was telling me I could NOT stand another miserable Christmas. And this year, I don’t have to. I get to spend the first Christmas in 10 years with my 82-year-old dad & 78-year-old mum! I’m so excited because we leave in just four weeks!

See?! It’s doable. In fact, it’s more than doable; it’s enjoyable. It can be fun. You can make it that way. You have that power.

And we believe in you. You’re doing a great job. And you’re in a tough situation. 

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used her experience to create powerful resources for women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.

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