Moderation is the key to a happy holiday

Lisa Fisher, Health Promotion Specialist

As December begins, the season of holiday parties and functions are in full swing. Although some may view the upcoming holiday season as being synonymous with alcohol, it’s important to realize that alcohol consumption is not necessary for having a good time. If you choose to drink, then do so with moderation to ensure you have a healthier and safer holiday.

Drinking during the holidays has been normalized and, although we oftentimes think that people choose to consume during festivities to add to the fun, there are actually many reasons why people may choose to drink during the season. For some, the holidays may not be a source of joy; instead they may be trying to mask feelings of discomfort in social settings, loneliness from being away from family, and/or sadness resulting from an array of life experiences. The holidays can be expensive and this financial burden can lead to increased stress. Some people choose alcohol as a way to de-stress.

If you are choosing to drink over the holidays, remember Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines. For men, this means no more than three standard drinks per day and a maximum of fifteen standard drinks per week. For women, this means no more than two standard drinks per day and a maximum of ten standard drinks per week. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or about to breastfeed, the safest choice is abstaining from alcohol. To keep your drink amounts in check, pour your own standard drinks instead of free-pouring.

Plan to not drink alcohol consistently throughout the holidays. It’s important to have some alcohol-free days and engage in activities with friends and/or family that don’t include alcohol. Other quick tips for safer alcohol consumption over the holidays include:

• Avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Eat something before and while you are drinking.

• Pour yourself some water to stay hydrated and alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.

• Never mix alcohol with energy drinks.

• Look out for your family and friends who may be overindulging this holiday season and/or struggling.

• If you are driving to a party or function, choose to carpool and decide on the designated driver at the start of the night. Choose to use Operation Red Nose on the nights that they are operating.

If you are hosting a party, ensure that there are non-alcoholic options available to your guests or even host a “dry” party! Avoid drinking games which encourage overconsumption of alcohol and instead plan activities that are alcohol-free. Ensure that there are snacks available throughout the event for guests to enjoy. Make sure that your guests get home safely by asking them if they have a way home prior to them beginning to drink and check on them before they leave.

For more information about alcohol in moderation over the holidays, contact the Health Promotion team at or local 6958. In addition to information brochures and booklets, Health Promotion can provide mocktail recipes and a selection of standard drink measuring cups.