People in recovery deserve a lot of praise. The best gift that you can give someone in recovery is acknowledgment; an acknowledgement of how hard they have worked, how much they have changed, and how proud of them you are. If you didn't know, those in recovery call their recovery dates birthdays, so having that date in your calendar is really thoughtful as well.


The holiday season can be an especially difficult time for anyone, especially those in recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder. Charged family events, holiday parties with alcohol, family traditions such as eggnog on Christmas morning, complicated family dynamics, jet lag etc. can be very triggering and challenging. It would mean a lot to that person in recovery for you to not only praise them but when you are shopping for holiday gifts, give some special thoughts to their gifts. 

Here's a list of 18 ideas for holiday gifts for people in recovery:

  • A journal: much of recovery is about self-discovery and awareness. It is helpful and encouraged to do a lot of writing and note-taking—a gratitude or personalized journal would be well received
  • A seltzer maker such as a Soda Stream.
  • Books, books, books: recovery-related or not.
  • Recovery-related jewelry: search Amazon, Etsy, Pinterest and you will find amazing gift ideas both for men and women
  • Essential Oils/Aromatherapy: these are known to promote calm and relaxation
  • Donate to recovery or other cause in their name
  • Fun Stuff: a Chia pet, etch a get the idea
  • Gift Certificates: this could be anything! Mani/pedi, facial, massage, spa day, favorite restaurants, Amazon, local gardening store
  • Yoga/Fitness: a yoga mat, workout clothes, a foam roller
  • Make a playlist of inspiring songs
  • Tickets to a show, concert or sporting event
  • A smooth rock to hold or one with an inspirational quote engraved
  • An IOU for home-cooked meals or treats, snow shoveling, raking leaves
  • A subscription to a magazine, monthly flowers or treats
  • Candles
  • Movie passes
  • Tickets to a comedy show
  • A plant or something else to take care of

The possibilities are endless. And don't forget to tell them how proud of them you are! That is truly the best gift of all. If you want to learn more about Alcohol Use Disorder, visit our FAQs page.  Happy Holidays!

Deborah Reich, MD