December and January are not only known for cold temperatures and fluffy precipitation, but they are also two months which contain many holiday celebrations. The holiday season can be a busy and stressful time. It’s also a time where folks are indulgent and sometimes overindulgent. Partners for Prevention wanted to share some helpful tips for folks who are hosting gatherings. Here is how you can be the host with the most by considering prevention, limiting access to youth, and having recovery-friendly gatherings, so everyone can enjoy the celebration.
KEEP YOUTH SAFE BY LIMITING ACCESS
• Designate an area/cooler for alcoholic beverages and a separate area/ cooler to contain the non-alcoholic ones.
• Holiday hosting means increased foot traffic in and out of your home. Consider putting any cannabis substances and prescription medications up and away from common areas. Take time to go through your medicine cabinet and dispose of any medications that you no longer need or that have expired.
• Have conversations with your kids about your expectations and encourage them to celebrate safely.
• Reach out to other parents/caregivers if your children will be attending any of their celebratory events.
MAKE IT FUN!
• If you are going to offer alcoholic beverages, make sure there are also plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options and get creative. The mocktail movement is in swing and people like having options other than water, juice, and soda. Look up some fun recipes and make a non-alcoholic holiday beverage.
• Make new traditions! If your holiday gatherings previously revolved around drinking games, consider adopting a new tradition. For example, break into teams of two and have one team member give instructions while the other member is blindfolded and assembles a gingerbread house.
SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH
• Encourage your circle to take a break from social media during this time. It can be so helpful for mental health especially if we’re inadvertently comparing our lives to others.
• Reach out to friends and family who may be going through a difficult time. It’s not all about festivities during this time – many struggle with depression and anxiety especially during the holidays.
• Avoid substance-use related gifts especially if it’s for a group gift-giving event like a Secret Santa or Yankee Swap.
• Be intentional with food items as well. Some holiday recipes may list alcohol in their ingredients. These are often easy to substitute.
• Choose games or activities that don’t center around drinking.