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Having a Low-Risk or No-Risk Holiday Season

December 7, 2012 by HealthyFamilies BC

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You'd think the holiday season means "more drinking" because of the work parties and other social events that have become part of our culture. But often it's at house parties with friends and family that the glasses really stack up.Feeling comfortable and safe - and having a place to flop if need be - can lead some to knock back more than they would if out in public, which can lead to falls, fights, or inappropriate behaviour and unintended consequences.

A good start for holiday planning is a review of Canada's low-risk drinking guidelines, which include how to pour a "standard" drink, be it wine, beer or a mixed drink, and set a recommended daily limit of three drinks for men and two drinks for women.

Here are some additional helpful tips for a safe holiday season, from both a host and guest perspective:

As a Host:

  • Be responsible by being mindful of your own alcohol intake; offer alternatives like Cranberry Sparkler, Peppermint Hot Chocolate and other jazzed-up alcohol-free drinks.
  • Offer food and low-salt snacks (salt increases thirst)
  • Plan a safe-ride home system and promote to your guests; see the resource page on for ideas

As a Guest:

  • No need to feel the pressure to have a drink just "to be festive"; enjoy an alcohol-free beverage, or alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Snack on some of the wonderful offerings
  • Secure a safe ride home (public transit, taxi, dial-a-driver, a designated driver, etc) before you begin your socializing

An alternative is to throw a non-alcohol event where the money not spent on alcohol is collected and donated to a special cause.

What are your tips for avoiding alcohol challenges over the holidays?

Today's blog is written by Nicole Bodner. Nicole works for the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC); the place where research and knowledge exchange focuses on issues around alcohol use and related harms. CARBC invites citizens to critically examine BC's current drinking culture and work toward safer, healthier attitudes and behaviours around the use of alcohol and other drugs. Thanks for being our guest blogger today Nicole!

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