The festive season is widely accepted as being a time for indulging. From work Christmas parties to family gatherings, alcohol plays a huge part in our celebrations. The festive cheer can make it difficult to realise when too much is too much. Here, we look at some of the statistics on holiday drinking and highlight what you can do if you’re trying to cut back


The Holidays and Alcohol

Rightly or wrongly, drinking during the holidays is considered a social engagement. Supermarket shelves are adorned with drink deals, TV adverts showcase festive tipples, and magazines even round up their best alcohol-themed gifts. But drinking at Christmas time isn’t always a result of happiness.

For some, the Christmas period can feel lonely and even stressful. Not everyone looks forward to the annual holidays, whether it’s a build-up of end-of-year deadlines, financial concerns or stressful family situations.

Either way, binge drinking is high around this time of year – with one in five admitting that they suffer more hangovers during this period. Moreover, the risk of accidents and injury increases with higher drinking rates. Typically, the weather is worse, too, and more people are out on the street and on the roads late at night. These factors contribute to a growing risk surrounding alcohol and the Christmas season.


Are You More Likely to Drink Around the Christmas Period?

The truth is, just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you’ll drink automatically. However, there are likely to be more opportunities to do so. A study from DrinkAware revealed that over 60% of UK drinkers over-indulge during the festive period with alcohol or at least drink more than they normally do.

When it comes to Christmas Day, drinking earlier on in the day is also more widely accepted. Research from an alcohol brand found that most UK drinkers start drinking alcohol before midday.

All around the world, specific names are being given to certain days in the year when drinking is traditionally considered high too. In the UK, Mad Friday is the Friday before Christmas when many people head out after work to celebrate. In the US, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is known as Blackout Wednesday, whereby people look forward to three-day celebrations.

Students typically return from the university during December, contributing to the raucous celebrations and get-together drinking that is so common during this month. Even if you consider Christmas traditions and New Year celebrations, most include a glass of fizz. Unfortunately, even those who don’t want to drink much or at all are surrounded by alcohol and the temptation to drink throughout the festive period. This leads us nicely to our next point.


Alcohol Consumption Statistics Over the Holidays

The survey from DrinkAware revealed that workers are more likely to feel pressured to drink at Christmas parties than at any other time. Interestingly, 20% of respondents feel pressured to drink on Christmas day and 29% on New Year’s Eve. 13% of UK drinkers said they had avoided certain occasions during the festive period because of pressure to drink.

16% of UK drinkers admitted that they had done something they later regretted because of alcohol at a New Year’s Eve party. A further 16% said they’d done something regretful at a work party, and 22% said they regretted doing something at home with children present.


Alternatives to Drinking if You Want to Stay Sober

Drinking alcohol impacts the brain and body function and can result in hangovers, regrets and mistakes. If you regularly consume more than 14 units a week, you’re also at an increased risk of disease. For this reason, it’s a good idea to track how much you drink and have at least three days in the week where you don’t drink. If you do want to drink alcohol, then interspersing each alcoholic drink with a soft drink can help, too – and be sure to eat food while you are drinking.

For those that want to stay sober or those individuals in recovery from alcohol addiction, the Christmas period can be particularly challenging. However, at Asana Lodge, we have some tips to help you stay resilient and enjoy your celebrations.

  • Speak to someone. Even if you don’t want everyone at the party to know about your choice not to drink, telling the host or a close friend can give you the necessary support. That way, you don’t need to worry about the constant offer of drinks.
  • Look for local support. The holiday season is notoriously hard for those in recovery, which is why there are often additional community groups and initiatives.
  • Be the designated driver. Not only will you have something to focus on, but you can be sure that your loved ones will get home safely.
  • Host at yours. With a get-together at yours, you can be sure there’s a range of alcohol-free drinks and healthy food to minimise the impact of alcohol for those drinking.

At Asana Lodge, we understand that the festive period can be difficult – for those individuals suffering from alcohol addiction and their families. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Our phone line is always open if you have any questions, need advice, or even want to discuss what treatment is available in your local area.

Our addiction recovery treatment centre is ideal for kickstarting your recovery plans in the new year.

So, what are you waiting for? If you need some help, get in touch with us and make it a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 16 December 2022

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.

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