What do you get a difficult child in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for c-mas?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I am currently, completely stumped on what to get difficult child for Christmas. He is slowly transitioning from the hospital back to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and probably/hopefully will be full time in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) by Christmas - but he will probably be one of a handful (or maybe the only one?) that will not be allowed a visit from family.:(

    Furthermore, I have no idea what to even get him for Christmas. I mean truthfully, he doesn't need anything, and after all he has put me through he should get nothing - but - you all know - that is not the way a mommy heart works. His first Cmas without his family, at age 18 - that really stinks. It is hard enough for me with my sister dead, my parents out of town, and difficult child in ID - I can't imagine how icky he will feel.
    So anyway. Not to belabor the point. I feel like I should get him some thoughtful gifts - but I can't think of one thing except an itunes gift card.

    He is in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC), so they don't allow much of anything, but it is a group home so there is a lot of outside activity, etc. He has more clothes than he needs, and he does not like to read. Any ideas?

    I know there are a lot of you who have been in this same boat before or now so thanks in advance.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would ask them what he is allowed. Many things are not allowed in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), so it would be useless to send something to him. When M was in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for Christmas, I sent a warm fuzzy blanket and some slippers. They wouldn't allow any music as they had to not allow drug and violence message. No foods, shampoos or personal items as some parents smuggle in booze and drugs that way. Check and see what he can have, ask him what he would like, then give him one or two things.

    What are you doing for you for Christmas?
  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Is he allowed an mp3 player. Could you maybe get one a put on some "approved' music?
    Food! A basket of his favorite foods, snacks. You could wrap each item separately giving him a lot to open. A gift card to his favorite store--if they are allowed outings. DVDs to share with his housemates. Socks and underwear---I'm sure they are eaten by washing machines just like at home.
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Just brainstorming here but how about:

    A journal, a book by a favorite author, copies of favorite pictures (maybe ones of him and H if it wouldn't upset him), gift card for something that he would have access to during outings, if they are allowed their own personal products (shampoo, shaving stuff, etc) maybe some of his favorite brands that would normally (even at home) be "extras", a box of his favorite Christmas cookies or holiday treat, or even just a gift box type thing of some of his favorite "stuff" things. (that would be allowed of course)
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Phone cards to call home? Stationary, envelopes, stamps to write to you? A new pair of shoes? Roll of quarters for snack machine if there is one? New toothbrush?

    As Witz mentioned, you need to ask staff about any acceptable gifts. You would be surprised at how many friends and relatives enable their friend/family members by smuggling in contraband in shampoo bottles, laundry detergent boxes, etc.

    Maybe you can pay for a pizza party? Ask the facility if you can donate a few movies?
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Will he "get into" anything? Origami? Growing a bonsai tree? Zen garden? They have small, inexpensive gift boxes at book stores that include a starter kit- it's not a book (only an instruction book). I like the idea of a journal. Is he allowed an account that you could put a small amount of money into? How about a savings bond or something to help him get started when he gets out of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?

    Sorry I can't think of anything better-

    I like Andy's ideas...
  7. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    We have always done things like arts and crafts items (with the hope that they use them as coping skills etc). We also did blankets and slippers. Those almost always seem to be allowed. It varies so much with each place.

  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    A Bonsai tree is a great idea. And so is a savings bond and a group pizza party! You guys are awesome.

    I have an email and call in for what is acceptable, but most of the things you mentioned are acceptable. It really is like a home, and he earns an allowance, and stuff, so no vending machines or anything like that. But he does really "get into things". He loves art stuff, when manic he was the most amazing artist. Now he chooses not to draw, but he likes to write and do other creative stuff. (Because of his dyslexia he hates reading - however - he does like those kinda books that are scientific and full of pics and facts.)
    A journal is a definite, and maybe a blanket, and I may get him a headlamp/flashlight since he is on 18 acres of land.
    But I like the idea of cultivating an interest, like Zen or art stuff. He used to be SO into that sort of thing, and it has all dissolved.

    Keep it coming please. This is really, intensely important to me. (Probably because of my own grief over this holiday season - but none the less it means probably as much to me as it will to him.)

    Witz I am doing absolutely nothing. I cannot take any time time off because I work retail. I am currently recruiting the few friends I have to see what they are doing. It will be OK.
  9. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Maybe a sketch pad and some charcoal pencils? Or oil pastels?
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think art supplies would be great. You can find really cool origami papers and a book on folding origami ornaments? I know my husband really loves that.

    A tin of homemade cookies, or whatever his fave treat it would be nice.

    Find out where they go on outings. maybe a Michaels or Hobby Lobby gift card?

    I think a blanket with whatever his favorite "feel" is would be great. I have one that prefers polar fleece, one who likes the microplush, and one who wants anything with that "silky" border.

    Slipper socks if his feet get cold, fancy "guy" shaving products, like from Bath and Body Works. I was surprised last year when a shaving kit from there was one of Wiz's favorite gifts.

    Maybe asking difficult child what he would like would be a hit? Or you could make him some aftershave by taking herbs with his fave scent and steeping them in witch hazel and then straining them in a week or 2. Add essential oils after you strain them. It can make a really nice gift.

    If he likes taking care of his skin maybe making a sugar scrub? Use the coarse sugar (like sugar in the raw) and mix it with olive or vegetable oil and essential oil to make a paste. All he has to do is scoop some out and massage his hands - they feel really good. I like the lemon one from Bath and Body works, but often just make my own.

    Salt scrubs are another option, but if there are ANY scrapes or cuts it stings like the dickens.
  11. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    What about something like the Guinness Book of Records, or Ripley's, or one of those 1001 Interesting Facts about <Fill In Subject Here> books?
    (My difficult child gets the Guinnes book every year. It's a big hit at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and the other residents enjoy them as well. They have a set going back 10 years or so, which difficult child "donated" from his collection.

    I also like the blanket and slippers, pizza party and some of the other ideas you've received.

  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Someone might have mentioned this already, but if there's any game that several of them might like but the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) doesn't have, maybe that would create a good motivator to socialize and it would last a while. Is there a staff person you could call and ask? (For instance- maybe there's an XBOX and the only racing game quit working, yet all the guys want another one.)

    There have been some great ideas here already!
  13. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Does he really have enough clothes for how cold it gets up there?
    Can he have snowshoes? I don't know what the predicted snowfall is but I used to go snowshoeing out by where he is.
    Binoculars? Or a book on animals of the NorthWest? If he is interested in that.
    The Binoculars so he can Eagle watch and Osprey watch. The Eagles are migrating right now and they will stay until after New Years. Osprey stay all summer. The big birds will be around both of the lakes he is near.

    K and I used to take walks with our Binoculars... we took a walk with them on Sunday.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    You know Steely - I've spent three Christmases without Dude. Each time the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff said "No visit on Christmas?" I wish I would have said "PHOOEY on you." and went anyway. This year I did say PHOOEY on you all.....the agency wanted to ship him downthe road remember? I said NO. And now? I am leaving for my Mom's house in Ohio for Christmas. lol. Ugh...some day/some year it will all come together. Dude is very cool with me going to my Moms. We're doing our Christmas EARLYLATE as he calls it.

    When Dude WAS in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and he's also a great artist.....I put an art kit together. I found a tackle box and in it I put circle drawers, Sharpie markers, erasers, colored pencils and a sharpener. The only thing he couldn't have was the sharpener. I got him different sizes of paper and a spiral bound art book. I got him water colors too......but the Sharpie markers were the bomb!

    I also got him the scratch off art kits that reveal a picture. The origami book was a big hit too - and the one where he could fold money into shapes was pretty popular as you KNOW anything you get him he'll pass around to the other kids. (or at least Dude did)

    Also playing cards and a book on card tricks - NO reading - just pictures.

    A calendar for his wall with dates written on it of things HE did that were important to you with the year marked on it. Holidays with some inspirational words....etc.

    A subscription to a magazine that kids/teens like - I got Dude - Vibe, Blender, and other rapper mags (most for free through web sites) Even if he doesn't read them cover to cover (and check to see if they can have books with staples in them) he enjoyed feeling NORMAL like other kids who looked at car mags etc. Dude was HUGE on motorcycles (go figure) and we would get him those too. But they couldn't be given WITH staples in them.

    A photo album you put together with some pictures of him, his pets, you and him.....his home. And then in gold marker write on it HOME, or LOVE YOU BRO - miss you on the dogs picture.....

    Ill keep thinking - we got Dude a radio controlled car one year too. They kept it in the office and he played with it when he earned the time.


    So what ARE you doing for Christmas?
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Gosh, you guys are great. I got a list longer than I need now!!
  16. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    How about a heart-felt letter describing some warm memories from Christmas past? Maybe even a scrapbook?