Drinking During the Holidays

By: Marisa DiPaolo | December 12, 2019 | Graduate Assistant for Health Promotion Programming

The holiday season can be a whirlwind of family, friends, and communities gathered around food, and often, alcohol. Holiday parties and family gatherings might include more freely flowing alcoholic drinks than many of us are used to during the rest of the year. Forbes writes, “it is hardly surprising that many people indulge in seasonal binge-drinking,” given that the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States notes that a quarter of the $49-billion-a-year distilled spirits industry’s profits come from the month between Thanksgiving and the New Year. (source: alcohol.org)

Plus, reconnecting with family can present a change in social norms around drinking than you might be accustomed to on campus, and friends from home might be coming back together with different experiences and values around alcohol consumption. It’s a good idea to take a few moments to evaluate what you want out of your break, and maybe even have a conversation with parents and friends from back home to exchange ideas about what they’re comfortable with when it comes to drinking, or not drinking, this holiday season. You might choose to think through or talk about some questions like these: Is it important to you to feel included at a family gathering by having a few drinks with relatives? Could making healthy choices about alcohol use help you enjoy more quality time with family and friends? Is navigating pressure to drink different when family members are around rather than peers? How can you monitor how much you chose to drink and be supportive of friends or family who don’t drink alcohol?

If a goal of your winter break is to come back to school feeling rested and re-charged, consider how making healthy choices around alcohol use might help you to return to school feeling fresh and ready to tackle a new semester!

If you do decide to drink over the holiday break, here are a few tips to help you do so more safely!

1. Don’t Make Drinking the Focus

Put more time and energy into catching up with friends and family.

If you’re hosting an event, make sure equally-fun non-alcoholic drink options are available, like non-alcoholic eggnog or sparkling cider!

2. Drink in Moderation

If you drink, stay low-risk by limiting drinks to 1 or fewer per hour and no more than 3 drinks during one occasion.

3. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water

Consume a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink to help pace drinks to 1 per hour, and stay hydrated!

6 cups filled with various drinks

4. Measure Your Drinks

Remember that a standard drink is 12 fl oz of beer (5% alcohol), 5 fl oz of wine (14% alcohol), or 1.5 fl oz liquor (40% alcohol).

Pour your own drink if you can, or monitor your drink being poured, so that you know how much alcohol it contains.

5. Don’t Drink the Punch

Avoid drinking from punch bowls or other large containers as you don’t know how much alcohol it contains.

6. Use a Designated Driver

Get home safely by using a designated driver, your favorite RideShare app, or public transportation.


Wishing you a a restful, relaxing winter break, from all of us at OHP!!


 Cozy fireplace


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