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5 ideas for celebrating sober this festive season.

Today is November 1st which means 2 things: my massive teenage sons both punch me in the arm while shouting ‘pinch, punch, first of the month’, leaving me with a dead arm. Aaaaand, it’s the start of the party season.

You may want to cut down your alcohol intake over the Christmas season because you have so many parties to go to or maybe you’re a sober newbie. Either way, if you think life has to be all Pukka tea and slippers, think again! I have some ideas to help you have fun without alcohol.

1.  Plan your alcohol free alternatives.

Mulled wine is Christmas for me.  That cinnamon, cloves, orange, red wine combo used to be as much a part of my Yuletide warmup as watching Elf! So, what to do?

It’s the spices that matter most here, not the wine (in terms of flavour anyway). So try this BBC Good Food recipe for Mulled Apple Juice.

The aforementioned spices can also be added to tea. Take a berry based fruit tea and add a cinnamon stick, sugar and a few cloves.  Again, mulled wine without the alcohol. For an easy option, Teapigs do a ready made version called Spiced Winter Red Tea.

If you are able to choose the venue for a works dinner or friends Christmas meal then choose somewhere that has a Mocktail list.  Plenty of places do now and they are normally really tasty!

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Chris Evangelidis at The Beechhouse in Amersham will make you a Mojito Mocktail that you won’t believe is rum free.

 

2. Fake it til you make it.

We all know the feeling of arriving at a party and feeling awkward until we have the first drink or maybe 2 inside us. If I wasn’t being offered a drink by the time I had my coat off I would just go to the fridge and help myself.

So you fake it. You arrive ready to party by going into the evening smiling and chatty. By the time everyone else has reached their happy place you will be feeding off their good energy and you won’t be trying anymore, you’ll just be having fun.

 

3. Dress up!

You may feel like you haven’t got the confidence to go out in your LBD or those killer heals since you won’t be using alcohol as an invisibility cloak. But if you dress down and feel drab then you’re more likely to feel like a wall flower when the host starts dancing on the table.

Be ready to shine and stay shiny, after all you will still look amazing at midnight and there’s a good possibility your drinking party mates may have lost some of their sheen.

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4. Make your night out a big occasion.

Plan what to wear a few days before you go. Ask others what they are wearing – no, you’re not too old to ask that! Think about your hair, your makeup. Maybe paint your nails, get a spray tan and if it’s a casual thing then casual the fuck out of it!

And when you get there, dance like a mofo! Maybe not if it’s a Tupperware party but otherwise shake your booty. If you were a dancer when drinking then don’t let sobriety stop you.  Trust me, it’s just as good without the booze.

 

5. Leave.

When the party’s over, it’s time to go.  This is not a concept I grasped until I gave up alcohol.  Probably because I would never go and the party would never stop but now I know when it’s time to leave.

You’ll know because people’s conversations start coming around again. Like watching a 24 hour news channel that eventually has to run the same interviews and trails, when you’ve seen them 3 times, it’s time to switch off.

Don’t feel bad for leaving.  Whether it’s 11pm or 2am, you go when you’re ready to go. FOMO (fear of missing out) is very real when stopping drinking but go when the night is obviously over for you.

If you have tips to add to this little list then let’s have ‘em! Shared experience is a wonderful thing.