parent opinion

The sneaky Christmas Party hangover hack which lets me still parent the next day.

I feel I should give an upfront disclaimer: this article is in no way an encouragement of excess drinking…

But please. Let’s be realistic.

After a parent has done all the things for all the people, they have earned the right to an alcoholic beverage or three at this most wonderful time of the year – in between doing even more things for even more people in the lead up to Christmas Day.

So some wines, Aperol spritzes, and/or Gin and Tonics (joking, not quite that much – though it does sound good), are deserved. They’ve been earned. Parents have, indeed, fought for, and won, their right to Christmas party.

They’ve booked the sitter months in advance. Set aside a ridiculous amount of cash to pay for said sitter. Organised clothes, food, and logistics for the following day – all just so they can leave the house for a few hours at night.

Most of us will promise ourselves we will ‘just have a drink or two’. For some of us, that’s all it takes for next-day dire dehydration. For others, it’s six hours of steady drinking to prove they can still drink like their 18-year-old selves.*

*They cannot.

Either way, the same thing happens: there’s a hangover. And as every parent can attest, a hangover is bad enough in general, but it’s a special kind of hell when you’re a parent.

Not only do you still need to be a functioning adult, you need to do it on probably less sleep than you usually get, and when your desire to do it is probably less, too. But you don’t have a choice. And that can be brutal – for everyone in the house.

But, after one particularly bad hangover, I spoke to a man – a surgeon – who changed my life. His hangover hack has literally meant I’ve never had even the slightest hangover, since.


Here’s what happened.

I’d attended an elegant black tie Christmas ball which commenced at 7pm one night, and through absolutely no fault of my own, safe in the knowledge that my five-year-old son was sleeping at my mum’s house, I arrived home at 4am. (What? It had been my first night out in months! No judgement, please.)

I hadn’t exceeded the one-drink-per-hour rule, and I’d had lots of water…but man, I knew I was tipsy.

Somehow, I managed to down a Berocca (yes, those fizzy tablets that give you energy and hydration) before I face-planted, fully-clothed, on to my bed. It won’t surprise you to learn that the Berocca did not help, at that stage of the game.

The previous night, before I went out, I’d set my alarm for 8am, knowing I needed to collect my kid from mum’s and get him to a party at the ungodly hour of 9:30am. So, after 4 hours of sleep, I was jolted awake, and immediately wanted just one thing: to die.

I showered, (which also did not help), stopped at Maccas for a Quarter Pounder with cheese (again, no help), grabbed my child from his grandmother, and dashed to the local YMCA where the ‘gym party’ was being held.

Now, YMCAs are amazing places which make fitness facilities affordable for everyone, but I don’t think I ever hated them more in my life after I arrived to discover this one did not even have a coffee vending machine.

Instead, what I got was the cheerful face of one of the dads, taking approximately 30 minutes to get everyone’s coffee orders for the cafe across the road. You may ask why I did not go to that cafe myself and the answer is because I could not walk another centimetre without more caffeine.


I needed to lie down. So when the lights went off for a big game of hide and seek in the hall, I tip toed into that blessed darkness, lay down on a revolting, sweaty gym mat and closed my eyes.

When the lights went back on, I realised the observation balcony was lined with parents who’d all just seen me at my finest. But I didn’t care – the coffees were here! As I desperately snatched mine from the tray, one of the other dads laughed at me and asked if I’d had a big night.

You have literally just seen me take a nap in a YMCA, I thought.

“Here’s what you do, next time you want to have a few drinks,” he went on to advise me.

“Take Berocca before you go out. It works as a buffer.”

I’d never felt so supported and less-judged in all my life.

And you know what? He was absolutely right. Ever since then, before any event where I planned to have some drinks, I’ve taken a Berocca as part of my pre-game prep and have never felt ill the next day.

No dehydration. No headache. No loss of the will to live.

This trick’s seen me through a few silly seasons now, enabling me to have a good time, and still be a functioning parent the next day. So, I’m passing on this sage advice – consider it my Public Service announcement to every parent who wants to have a sensible few this Christmas.

Because lord knows, you deserve to.

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