Anyone trying to cut down on drink or ditch the booze completely may be wondering how an alcohol-free Christmas fits into their overall plan.
Seasonal parties and get-togethers tend to always involve a tipple (or six). And if you’re used to reaching for some Dutch courage at work-related festive functions, the idea of being alcohol-free while engaging in small-talk with colleagues may already be tempting you to call in sick until 2 January!
There’s also the fact that other partygoers generally feel the need to pressurize non-drinkers into having a brew because “C’mon! It’s Christmas!” And so after a while it can seem pointless to resist.
But even in saying all of that, it is still possible to fully enjoy the yuletide fun and remain sober throughout. The key, particularly if this is your first alcohol-free season, is careful planning and a real commitment to staying true to the kind of Christmas you want.
So, below are some tips on how to stay teetotal this season and have a fabulous Christmas to boot!
Tip #1: Decide early what you’re drinking
Figure out what non-alcoholic beverage you’re going to have before you show up to a festive event. That way there’s no dithering at the bar or when someone offers to get you a drink.
If you know cocktails are going to be on the menu, experiment at home with a few mocktails first. Then, if there are no non-alcoholic alternatives provided, you can still order a mix of your fav juices – complete with an umbrella and a skewered cherry to the side!
Tip #2: Tell people beforehand that you’ve given up alcohol
To prevent friends and family from trying to strong-arm you into having a drink, tell them beforehand that you’re giving up alcohol.
You don’t have to mention why – Whether you’re elbowing the booze for mental health, hormonal or other personal reasons is no one’s biz but your own. But you can explain as politely as possible that you’ve made your choice and you’re hoping they’ll respect it.
If folk know beforehand that you’re not going to drink, then they won’t be so “shocked” when you turn down a tipple during a night out.
Tip #3: Create new Christmas traditions
For adults, alcohol has become a standard part of the festive fun, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s easy to create new Christmas traditions that are full of cheer but without the hangover later! The fact is, the yuletide calendar is crammed with great events for couples, friends and families to enjoy together – and spending time with your loved ones is what Christmas is really about.
You can go ice-skating or sledging or wrap up for a winter walk in the hills. In Spain, an afternoon stroll through Christmas markets finished off with churros and hot chocolate is something that’s always a pleasure! Additionally, with theatres opening up again, you can check out a movie, or go see an opera or play.
You can also pencil in a more homebound activity like making Christmas decorations with your kids or baking mince pies to give to pals.
It’s really up to you to make the change and create a little Christmas magic without having to sprinkle it with alcohol.
Tip #4: Schedule self-care events that are just for you
If the big events of your Christmas have always involved parties and booze, now is the time to think afresh about other ways you can make the season special.
What little treats can you gift to yourself to make you feel empowered by your decision to ditch the drink? A massage? A facial? A splurge on something you’ve always wanted but never had time or money to buy yourself?
Schedule something this season that falls into the area of self-care and makes you feel really good about the choice you’ve made for yourself.
Tip #5: Begin an exercise regime
I’m not suggesting you should give up the drink and then sign up to run a marathon (unless, of course, you want to!) But one of the best benefits of sidestepping a weeklong festive hangover is the boundless energy you gain. So, why not put it to good use and include a regular run, morning walk or trip to the gym in your day?
A new exercise regime is a great and consistent reminder of the benefits of not drinking. Because being more active not only makes you healthier but also makes you happier. This is down to the fact that exercise releases the so-called “happy hormones” norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin into your system.
And so if you’re still worried about having an alcohol-free festive season, surely the possibility of looking fine and feeling good will get you rockin’ around that Christmas tree in no time – without a glass in hand.