Drink Tank

A guide to going booze free over Christmas

I took a Pregnant Pause when my wife was expecting our second child. And Christmas was unfortunately approaching during those first three months when we were staying ‘mum’ on the pregnancy. So both of us had to come up with novel and ingenious ways to get people off the scent.

Through our shared experience, I’ve collated a selection of tactics that we found to be useful and sometimes a little fun.

So, as an early Christmas present to you all, here’s our five tried and tested approaches to help you go booze-free at even the hardest social situations over the silly season.

The catch-up

It seems as though people come out of the woodwork as soon as the word Christmas is uttered. Despite the fact you haven’t caught up with that “friend” since the exact same time last year, it quickly becomes mandatory to “have a drink before Christmas”. So how do you deal with your newfound sobriety, and still handle the monotony of having the same conversation you did 12 months ago?

Tactic: The diversion

Instead of a pub or bar, suggest a catch-up at a café – the smaller and noisier the better. Your “friend” will assume that you chose this place for its vibrancy while the noise will reduce mundane chatter to 30 mins max. Unlike meeting up for a wine, often people will stay for only one coffee and even if the catch-up stretches out to two coffees, a coffee round is much cheaper than buying an expensive round of the coolest sangiovese or latest craft beer.

Christmas parties

Whether it’s a work function, street party or just catching up with mates, end-of-year Christmas celebrations often have one thing in common: alcohol. So, with your non-drinking Christmas cracker hat on this year, how can you survive the Christmas party, have a good time, and not get pressured into the boozy fog?

Tactic: The Groupie

Parities means lots of people and you can work this in your favour. A press of people or a fun group ready to party can be the perfect place to employ The Groupie …

  • Start dancing – when someone is offering you a drink, pretend that your absolute favourite song has just come on and get everyone on the dance floor.
  • Blend into the crowd – if you have a particularly persistent friend or colleague offering you a drink sometimes it’s easier to take it rather than prompt questions on why you’re not drinking. Parties are great because the natural flow of people will often mean that either you or your friend/colleague will soon move on to the next group and give you an opportunity to subtly abandon your drink.

Christmas Day

There are lots of things on Christmas Day that don’t revolve around alcohol – unwrapping a mountain of presents, devouring delicious food, sharing corny bon-bon jokes, and spending time with family. But in between all that, corks pop all day. So how can you treat yourself without partaking in any of the French bubbly?

mocktail-1Tactic: The Mocktail

Summertime makes The Mocktail a perfect tactic for Christmas day. A few delicious juices, some carbonated soft drink and a muddling of mint can provide for a perfect, refreshing complement to your Chrissy feast. Check out the 12 Mocktails of Christmas, where 12 delightful mocktail recipes are slowly revealed during December. These easy peasy non-alcoholic recipes will provide a sense of fun, colour and anticipation – which let’s face it, is what Christmas is all about. Plus, with no alcohol to make you drowsy, you may find yourself having some ‘me’ time while everyone else is passed out on the couch!

Boxing Day

Boxing Day means eating leftovers and watching cricket. Both of which have traditionally been accompanied with a frosty brew in hand.

Tactic: The Mimic

There are many occasions where not having a beer in your hand can raise eyebrows. This is where the mimic comes in. A few soft drinks are packaged in similar looking glassware to many alcoholic drinks such as ginger beer. Cover up your softie with a stubby holder to keep it cool and discreet.

New Year’s Eve

The biggest party night of the year can look like a huge drag for a pregnant woman or a Pregnant Pauser, but it can bring in benefits, such as an extra public holiday to do countless things while the rest of the world is nursing their sore head. In recent years, I have avoided the city and been much happier at house parties, the perfect location to engage the final tactic…

Tactic: The Sleight of Hand

Smuggle a bottle of non-alcoholic wine into the fridge or place slightly separate from the rest. Pour yourself a glass and then become the hostess with mostest! When you see other guests with empty glasses, offer to top-up their drink. When you’re back at the fridge getting refills for others, use the occasion to discreetly top-up your own alcohol free cup. This puts you in control of your drinks and makes you look super lovely.

Duncan Buchanan

Duncan Buchanan

Dad to two girls and Pregnant Pause champion, Duncan Buchanan, supported his wife by not drinking during her last pregnancy. Prior to this he showed his support by abstaining from alcohol for nine weeks – a week for every month of pregnancy – after his first daughter was born.

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