Teresa Giudice Won't See Husband Joe for the Holidays: 'This Is Going to be a Difficult Christmas for Them'

"This is going to be a difficult Christmas for them," a source close to the RHONJ star tells PEOPLE

Teresa Giudice won’t be seeing her husband this Christmas.

As Joe Giudice continues to serve his 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud that began in March 2016, his wife and their four daughters — Audriana, 8, Milania, 11, Gabriella, 13, and Gia, 16 — won’t be able to visit him until after the holidays.

“Joe was recently, right around Thanksgiving, moved to a federal prison in Pennsylvania,” a source close to Teresa, 45, tells PEOPLE. “It takes about four to six weeks for visitors to be approved, so she will unfortunately not be able to see him before Christmas, but her hope is that immediately after she gets back from her trip, she will be able to see him once her visiting form is approved.

“They speak multiple times a day over the phone,” the source adds. “He’s emailing people all day long. Emails with each of the girls, separately. He is in good spirits and he’s happy and even happier where he is than where he was. This facility is better suited to him … he seems more upbeat since having moved.”

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But with plenty of family and friends, the Giudice clan will be surrounded by love.

“Her father lives with her,” the source says. “He has been living there since March when the mother died. She’s going to obviously be with the father and the four girls, and they’re going to spend time either Christmas Eve or Christmas day or the days leading up with Joe’s family and then also the Gorga family. They’ll be bouncing around all together. Then Dec. 26, she’s flying to Punta Cana with the girls. Her father is scheduled to go, but that’s going to be a gametime decision based on his health. He was only just recently in the hospital with pneumonia, so they’re going to play it by ear.”

The past year has proved difficult for the RHONJ star: She lost her mother, Antonia Gorga, in March, she’s raising her daughters alone, and her dad was put in the intensive care unit while battling pneumonia.

“This is going to be the first Christmas without Teresa’s mother,” the source says. “For the girls, it’s a Christmas without their father. This is going to be a difficult Christmas for them. So it’s a little bit gloomy, and it’s one of the reasons they wanted to get out, and get a change of scenery and do all that. Hopefully her father is better, too.”

Though Joe and Teresa won’t be able to spend the holidays together this year, they’re focused on what’s important: health and family.

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“He’s been working out a lot,” the source says. “He lost a ton of weight. He’s saying he is exercising and reading. Those are his two pastimes. Presumably in the new year, Teresa can go see him in the first or second week of January, and as soon as she’s approved she will be there. Teresa’s really working at being mom. Her obligations to her book have ended. The show is on hiatus right now. So right now ,she’s all about being mom.”

Giudice previously opened up to PEOPLE on her own nearly year-long stint in prison for the same crimes as her husband, calling it her biggest regret as a parent.

“I wish that I was never away from them for 11 and a half months,” she says. “I guess it was part of my journey, and maybe that was a way of helping them grow. I always try to look at the positive for everything because I know it wasn’t my choice, and if it was my choice, I would have never left my daughters.”The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.

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