After weeks of frantically perusing the high street for stocking fillers, debating turkey sizes and navigating the dreaded work Christmas party, the big day is almost upon us! It might seem tempting, after so much intense preparation, to indulge on the day itself with the excuse of “all my hard work”. However, whether you are moderating or kicking the booze altogether, getting through a sober Christmas could be the best gift of all. Here are our top 10 tips and tricks for surviving Christmas Day – or “the big one”.
1) Plan, Plan and Plan some more
Our first tip is the most important, simple and fail-safe method of all. Take the time before to think about all the things that might tempt you to drink on Christmas day, whether it’s getting through a conversation with that dodgy Uncle you never really liked, or FOMO at the Christmas bubbly.
2) Stockpile those cupboards
Part two of your plan should include filling the cupboards with non-alcoholic festive treats, so you can still fill your glass with something fancy. We’ve got ideas for homemade mocktails, mulled wine alternatives, and even a special alcohol-free sparkling wine – check out our favourite festive drinks.
3) Be ready to answer “What? You’re not DRINKING?!”
Part three of the master plan varies depending on who you are spending your Christmas Day with. If it’s people who understand why you’re doing a sober Christmas, then that’s great. However, if you expect to encounter anyone who might question or even challenge your decision, it might make you feel better to have a few go-to excuses in the pipeline. We’ve got your back, so we’ve already made a list of ways of saying no.
4) Find your festive feet
Getting through a sober Christmas is much easier if you anticipate the good bits without the alcohol. Rachel Black’s blog lists the best bits of choosing Christmas activities based on “their merits rather than the abundance of booze”. Make the most of the festive food, family and presents, rather than reaching for the wine as a reward.
5) Time out
This isn’t to say that Christmas day will be chock-full of sunshine, unicorns and rainbows. However, no one will notice if you feel like escaping the chaos for 10 minutes or so. In his article for the Guardian, Nick Johnstone says that there’s nothing wrong with feeling shy, awkward or a bit tongue-tied without your usual “Dutch courage” – just take a small step back.
6) Judgement isn’t a thing
It’s Christmas Day, so presumably you will be spending it with people you care about, and people who care about you. Sort yourself out with your own drink to avoid any direct confrontation, but remember, no one is a mind reader. Just saying “please don’t pressure me” usually does the trick.
7) To paraphrase The Proclaimers, you’ve walked 500 miles and you can walk 500 more
In many ways, Christmas Day is a lot like the other 364 days of the year – there are good bits, bad bits, and bits that are just okay. It’s not as big a deal as you think it is, and you’ve come this far! You’ve overcome so many obstacles before, so you have the strength to face this one head on. Ask yourself if indulging will bring you closer to or take you further from your goal – you might want to have a look at Harriet’s advice, compiled from her experiences of 14 sober Christmases!
8) Challenge the alcohol myth
What The Sober School says is true – the “alcohol illusion” is heightened at Christmas. Nobody needs alcohol to have a good time or a proper celebration, and it will not be the contents of your glass that delivers a magical festive season. Revel in the fact you’ll really be able to enjoy the celebrations, with the bonus of a guilt and hangover-free Boxing Day.
9) Check in at Club Soda Facebook group
You aren’t on your own, and if you’re struggling, someone else is bound to be out there, ready to help. Drop in for a quick chat.
10) Enjoy yourself!
Don’t forget that today is a milestone in reworking your drinking routines and habits, and that deserves to be celebrated. Make the most of family time and festive treats, and breathe a sigh of relief that all your hard work was worth it.