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Alcohol and the holidays

Wednesday, December 8, 2021   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: prevention, support, harm, alcohol

2021 has been a pretty stressful year and with the holiday season upon us, many are looking forward to taking time out to relax, be with friends and family and enjoy some summer fun and parties. With Christmas and New Year coming up, have you thought about the role alcohol will play in your celebrations?

In New Zealand, we generally associate drinking with these events and often people feel pressure to consume alcohol, which can mean drinking more than they feel comfortable with or is safe. You can set your own healthy alcohol consumption boundaries and be a role model for your family too.

Tips for low-risk holiday drinking

There are several things you can do to make sure you (and others) stay within low-risk levels. These include:

  • Know what a standard drink is.
  • Set limits for yourself and stick to them.
  • Start with non-alcoholic drinks and alternate with alcoholic drinks.
  • Drink slowly.
  • Have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
  • Try drinks with a lower alcohol content.
  • Eat before or while you are drinking.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Be a responsible host.

Is your drinking ok?

Are you curious to understand what sort of drinker you are? Or are you worried about a friend or family member and their drinking?

Take the ‘Is your drinking okay?’ test to find out what your/ their level of risk might be. Just complete the questionnaire and it will automatically add up your score and tell you what it means. It's that easy!

12 ways to celebrate the holiday season without drinking

For most people the holiday season means socialising. You may want to choose some activities to do with your family and friends where drinking isn’t the main event.

Here are our suggestions to get your ideas flowing:

  1. Watch your favourite Christmas movies with homemade popcorn (experiment with different flavours – there are heaps of recipes online).
  2. Bake some edible gifts for your friends, neighbours and work colleagues.
  3. Make your own Christmas or New Year decorations.
  4. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or charity (or donate to a gift drive or foodbank).
  5. Go for a walk in nature. Even better - take a friend, family member or your dog with you.
  6. Go on a photo walk in your local neighbourhood and see things through a new lens.
  7. Kick back with a good book – check out your local library for holiday reading lists.
  8. Break out the old school board games (or puzzles).
  9. Start a new project – scrapbooking, photo book, herb garden, knitting.
  10. Pamper yourself with a home manicure, foot massage or facial.
  11. Hit the park or the beach with a rugby ball, cricket set, a picnic, plenty of water and sunscreen!
  12. Organise a Facetime catch-up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

Need help to cut down or stop drinking? has plenty of information, advice, research and resources to help prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm and inspire New Zealanders to make better decisions about drinking alcohol.

If you or someone you know needs support and treatment to stop drinking or cut back, call the Alcohol Drug Helpline or Māori/ Pasifika line:

Source: Canterbury DHB CEO Update (6th December 2021).