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Recovery Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

The holidays are here and everyone is rushing around trying to get their gifting completed before all of the office, family and friend gatherings. This time of year can be especially tricky for those who are in recovery as a lot of these activities and a lot of gifting can be triggering. In an effort to try to make that a bit easier, I have taken the time to pull together a list of gifts that are not focused on food or alcohol. Hopefully this list will make your holiday shopping experience a little less stressful and a little more... jolly?

Stocking stuffers can be tricky in recovery because a lot of times these end up being snacks or candy. That can be triggering in a number of ways. This list of stocking stuffers not only avoids food and alcohol, but in my opinion these items are also all useful! Another bonus for all of these items is that they are gender neutral and can be purchased for almost anyone.

Stocking Stuffers:

  • Stickers or window clings

  • Self care items (bath items, nail polish, lotion, tissues, chapstick)

  • Cell phone cord (everyone needs more)

  • Fidgets

  • Essential oils/things that smell good

  • Stationary

When purchasing wearables, it's good to skew toward items that do not have sizing involved. If you are purchasing wearables that are sized, please make sure that you have been given an explicit size and that you are fairly sure that they are going to like the item.


  • Gloves/Scarves/Hats (no sizing)

  • Socks and Slippers (not as triggering as a clothing size for most people)

  • Jewelry

  • Sunglasses

  • Blankets/Snuggies/Travel Pillows


  • Books

  • Craft making items (crocheting or friendship bracelets)

  • Recorder or other musical instruments

  • Puzzles (jigsaw, 3D)

  • Puzzle Books (crosswords, word search, sudoku)

  • Board or Card Games

Experiential gifts are an excellent go to for those in recovery but it is also important to be mindful of how food or triggering moments can play into some of these experiences. When choosing an experience, consider how food or alcohol will present itself in the space and how you will be able to mitigate that while there. Also, when considering things like sporting events, it's important to think about how triggering that environment might be and to lean away from events that may be more difficult than others.


  • Zoo

  • Planetarium

  • Museum/Event Tickets

  • Low triggering sports events (think baseball, NOT gymnastics)

  • Pedicure/Manicure

Living Things and their Accessories:

  • Pet accessories - toys, clothing, collars etc.

  • Plants and plant accessories

"Adult" Gifts:

  • A donation in their name

  • Random Necessities (toilet paper, Q-tips, etc.)

  • Buy a subsciription for them (Netflix, Book of the Month)

This list is meant to be an inspiration for gifting this holiday season, but remember that your best bet is always just to ask the person you're buying for what they want! Nothing is better than opening up a gift that is exactly what you've been wishing for. Also, this may be chiché, but I think it holds true - the real gift of the holidays is in spending time with the people you care about!

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