Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (mostly) on Sundays. Enjoy!
5 Tips to Not Drinking at Christmas
Christmas is a time a lot of people associate with alcohol and that’s OK. Some people may be looking at a Christmas not drinking for the first time and that’s OK too. What I thought I would share in this article are 5 tips for people who don’t want to drink this Christmas. It’s not intended to convince anyone one way or the other, simply some tips for people who have already made a decision not to drink. As it says in the bio for these articles, I, personally, don’t drink alcohol and my first Christmas was a learning experience for sure. So here are the 5 things I’ve learned about booze free fetive periods.
1. Have a Nice Adult Drink to Drink
I quite like coke (Pepsi Max actually) and I do drink it at home but for a special meal or when I am out I like something a bit different with a bit more of a complex, adult taste. My personal choice is ginger beer and I make sure I have a ton in for Christmas. I don’t normally have it at home due to the ruinous amounts of sugar it contains and so it’s a nice treat. It’s also got a nice, complex adult taste so I don’t have to sit there sipping pop while everyone enjoys their festive tipple. It wasn’t always ginger beer, for a long while it was lime and soda, all that really matters is that you enjoy it and you don’t have it at home.
Don’t be afraid of the rather condescendingly named ‘virgin’ cocktails, they’re often super nice if pricey. I learned very early on that rum is really not important to me at all in a mojito. What I would say is that alcohol free beers and wines don’t really do it for me at all, they just remind me of beer and wine in a slightly rubbish way. I do enjoy booze free spirits like Seedlip with a nice tonic but this isn’t a supplement for booze as I didn’t drink spirits even when I did drink.
2. Keep your Car Keys to Hand
I say car keys, it might be a tube ticket or a bus pass but control your exit. Particularly don’t pin your leaving on someone who might want to stay later after you’ve had enough. Some parties, truth be told, are super boring and only really places to keep drinking, in that case, if you’re sober you may well find you’re bored and, if so, why not just go home? Great parties with cool music and conversation are one thing, but if it’s being stuck in the kitchen with a bunch of nonentities make sure you can leave if you want to.
3. Look at What you’re Eating
Deciding not to take alcohol might include food, it might not. If it does then have a good look at what you put in your mouth. At Christmas a ton of stuff has got booze in it for no real reason (who puts vodka in cream for instance? Supermarkets do, that’s who) and so you can get caught out. If you have decided to take a few months off and have also decided that includes food, don’t worry if you take a boozy bite by mistake, it doesn’t take you back to square one, just don’t have any more.
4. Enjoy the Mornings
It’s been a long, long time since I had a hangover and so I am a total morning person. Now, I’m not suggesting you get up before 6am to go trail running (well, I am because it’s fun, but you don’t have to) but if you’re laying off the booze you do get to enjoy the mornings. There are tons of excellent mornings over Christmas, from presents on Christmas morning through lazy Boxing Day contemplating leftovers for breakfast to waking up on New Year’s Day and having a think about the possibilities contained in the year ahead rather than wondering at what point the night before you slammed your head in a car door. Mornings are good, enjoying mornings does not mean you lose the late nights, 6 hours sleep is fine if you go to bed in good shape.
5. Find Like Minded Folks
A lot of people drink a lot over Christmas but a lot of people don’t too. If you’re having the festive period off, seek out folks who are doing the same. Yes, they’re harder to spot at parties but there are a whole bunch of people who just don’t drink. It’s much easier to not have a drink if you’re not hanging out at parties with people who are getting hammered. That’s not to say ditch your mates, noone wants to do that, but find the sober folks and make their acquaintance, they’ll probably be glad of the chat.
I hope those tips have helped, if you do or don’t decide to have a drink over Christmas, or if you change your mind mid way through, have a lovely time, after the year we’ve all had, we deserve it.