With the holiday season approaching, make sure that you are accommodating to all of your guests with these tips when hosting a holiday party. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 1 in 19 American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2017. So if you invite 50 people to your holiday party, chances are that at least 2-3 are non-drinking for health reasons. You never know what kind of personal decisions your loved ones are going through, even if it’s as simple as watching their weight over the holidays by skipping the alcohol. Here are a few ways you can host the non-drinking guests at your holiday party with awareness!
Provide Alcohol-Free Drink Options
Non-alcoholic eggnog and hot buttered rum are just as tasty as the alcohol versions! A great way to make a non-drinking friend feel included is to provide alcohol-free drink options. Try a holiday-themed hot beverage station like hot cocoa or apple cider. My birthday is December 20 (I’m a Christmas baby!) and I have had a hot cocoa station for the past few years at my birthday party. We make the hot cocoa in the Crock-Pot to keep it warm throughout the night. On the side, I include whipped cream, candy canes, cinnamon sticks, and marshmallows, of course. A collection of Christmas mugs also adds a fun touch!
Need a quick option? Buy canned seltzer water like LaCroix or Bubly and pour it into a fancy glass. Trader Joe’s has some holiday-themed non-alcoholic drinks like this Pumpkin Pie Spiced Ginger Beer that I tried for Halloween.
Going all out for your sober guests? Mix a fun mocktail from these recipes!
Don’t Make It A Big Deal That I Don’t Drink
When you hand me a drink or I grab my own alcohol-free drink, be mindful not to announce that I decided on a mocktail. My decision is mine and it is quite personal. I’m happy to discuss it privately, but it can be uncomfortable to discuss with strangers as small talk.
(Haven’t told your friends and family that you’re sober? Check out this blog post.)
Take the Pressure Off Drinking
It should be obvious not to pressure anyone to drink. However, you’d be surprised how many adults I’ve had to look dead in the eyes and say, “Look, you don’t want to see me drunk. Please stop asking.”
It is no one’s business but my own why I decided to quit drinking, how bad it was, etc. If you are genuinely interested, then let’s catch up just the two of us. I personally hate talking to drunk people about sobriety, because the conversation doesn’t always seem genuine. The drunk person may not even remember what we talked about. It is honestly hard enough to talk to a drunk person about anything as a sober person because of the smell of alcohol and the memories. Sobriety is the last thing I would like to explain to someone who is intoxicated.
Host an Activity that Doesn’t Revolve Around Drinking
Me: Let’s play a game!
I enjoy keeping my mind and hands occupied at parties. Otherwise, I notice everyone getting drunker and drunker. Organizing an activity when hosting a holiday party is also a great way to get to know people without having to join in the small talk. Please, for the love of Santa, no drinking games! I’ve played beer pong with water and it definitely wasn’t as fun. Many of my sober friends bring a deck of cards to every party just in case!
Here are some activity ideas to get you started:
Cookie Swap (or Cookie Decorating)
Christmas Sock Swap
Pen & Paper:
Pictionary (Themes: Holiday movies or songs)
Head’s Up (Holiday version available!)
Don’t Be Offended by an Early Exit
Having an escape plan is essential for sober people, especially those new to sobriety. Don’t be offended by an Irish goodbye or an early exit. Health and happiness are more important than any holiday party. I may get triggered by a comment or by another guest, a particular drink or smell, or, God forbid, a friend who is doing a drug of choice in the bathroom! Whatever it is, it’s not you, dear host. It’s me. Not you. G2G BYEEEE!
Thank You for Considering Your Sober Guests When Hosting A Holiday Party
Thank you for taking the time to read this post before hosting a holiday party. Considering your non-drinking friends is already very thoughtful. The holiday season is difficult for many people, sober or not. Loneliness and stress hit hard during this season. Lessening any anxiety by using these tips assures that your get-together will be a safer space. Your sober friends and family will appreciate your kindness!