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  • 11 Ways To Celebrate Christmas In Recovery

    celebrating health and happiness this Christmas holiday season

    Christmas can be a special time of year, and even more so if you’re celebrating your first sober Christmas in recovery. 

    Along with the joy of the season, however, comes stress for many people. People in recovery might find that social obligations and expectations can feel overwhelming.

    The ideas shared here address these concerns and help build healthy habits for lasting sobriety.

    Above all, if this is your first sober Christmas, congratulations on your success. Rely on your support system when needed, and enjoy the holiday season on your own terms.

    1. Ask A Family Member For Their Favorite Holiday Recipe

    Asking a family member for their favorite recipe can provide a bonding experience, whether you make the recipe or not. Consider asking why they like the recipe so much and what makes it special to them. 

    If you do end up making the recipe, it comes with a bonus: Cooking and baking have been shown to increase feelings of happiness and satisfaction and are great ways to warm up the house during cold winter months. 

    Your family member might be pleasantly surprised if you also want to invite them over to enjoy the dish with you, or you can take it to a family gathering.

    2. Schedule A Virtual Game Night

    Though less threatening than it was at its peak, the COVID pandemic continues and has made virtual events of all kinds more popular, including game nights.

    Coordinate a Zoom meeting, a Google Meet, or even a FaceTime call to meet with your friends and family and play whichever game you choose. Get as creative as you like. 

    The popular app game Among Us allows four to 15 players and is a great example of fun, interactive virtual gaming.

    3. Practice Self-Care

    Although avoiding Christmas gatherings and events can be a great way to avoid addiction triggers, it’s not always possible to say no to every invite.

    Many people find that balancing social time with personal time is key to keeping stress levels low this time of year.

    Prioritizing self-care during the holiday season is important for everyone, not just people in recovery. 

    Self-care can be whatever you need it to be. Take a long, hot bath or two, read your favorite book, enjoy time in nature — whatever works best for you.

    4. Decorate With Christmas Lights

    Chrismas lights come in a wide variety of colors and shapes to suit your holiday mood and creativity level. They are also relatively inexpensive.

    You can even select the color of your lights based on chromotherapy, or color therapy. For example, green tends to cause relaxation while blue can help with depression and pain.

    White lights are a good classic choice. Decorate with lights both inside and outside for an especially dramatic effect. 

    5. Make Time For Moments Of Awe

    Experiencing awe has many benefits, such as helping people experience more positive emotions and develop resiliency. That resiliency can help build coping skills for addiction recovery.

    Awe happens when we experience something vast that causes us to change our beliefs or perceptions.

    That vastness can come from something that is physically vast, such as the ocean, or from something conceptually vast, such as a theory behind our existence.

    Although we can’t anticipate when we’ll experience awe, we can make room for it to happen, such as by taking in the night sky or reading a great work of literature.

    6. Write A 2022 Holiday Card Or Newsletter

    Reflection can serve as a pathway to growth and understanding. Taking a moment to reflect on your year can help you grow from the changes you went through.

    Picking a few key moments or changes that happened during 2022 and sharing them in a letter with family and friends can bring additional focus to your goals.

    Companies like Shutterfly offer holiday deals for Christmas photo albums if you’d rather commemorate your year through pictures.

    It’s also a fun way to reconnect with family members and friends you haven’t seen in a while. You can share the letter via DM, email, or old-school mail, or just keep it for yourself.

    7. Create A 2022 Scrapbook

    Scrapbooking is a great indoor activity that allows you to reflect on your year and celebrate your memories. 

    Collect snippets of your favorite sober memories using your own photos and images cut out of magazines, then decorate with stickers and special scrapbooking pens.

    Scrapbooks allow you to enjoy special memories for years to come. It’s also a fun activity to do with someone else. 

    8. Host A Cookie Exchange

    Whoever you end up celebrating your holidays with, food will inevitably become a part of your time together. 

    Hosting a cookie exchange among your small group is a great way to engage with one another while also enjoying the fun of the season. 

    The standard cookie recipe makes about two dozen cookies, so if you invite six people, each person will go home with four of one another’s cookies.

    9. Volunteer To Read Books To Kids

    Reading children’s books can be a very soothing experience for you and an excellent way to give back to your community.

    Many libraries and elementary schools offer reading partner programs. You can also check with your local United Way, or just google volunteer opportunities to read to kids.

    Investing in our communities this holiday season is one of the greatest gifts we could possibly give. 

    10. Plan A Movie Marathon

    One of the biggest highlights of the Christmas season for many people is movies. Whether your favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone or Miracle on 34th Street, these movies have so many memories attached. 

    Indulge in your favorite films and binge away with those closest to you. Stay inside, cozy up, and watch those shows and movies that bring you joy.

    11. Start A Holiday Ornament Tradition

    Another chance to reflect on your year, choosing an ornament that represents something significant that you did in 2022 can be a fun way to enjoy the holiday.

    There is no shortage of ornament options out there. Everything from roller skates to moving trucks is available. 

    This is something you can look forward to every Christmas. As your collection grows, you can reflect on the number of sober Christmases you’ve had and celebrate your ongoing success.

    If you or your loved one need extra support this holiday season, contact us today to learn how we can help.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2021 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on December 6, 2022
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