health

Clever ways to hide your non-drinking this Christmas, from someone who does it every year.

This is the worst time of the year to be a non-drinker.

There are so many parties, gifts of bottles of wine and functions up to your eyeballs. I’m a non-drinker – I just don’t like the stuff – but this time of the year leave me feeling left out or worse still, a total party-pooper.

Is it just me or are people drinking more each Christmas? I’ve always been more of a foodie. Alcohol doesn’t tempt me but I find it hard to eat reasonably at Christmas, and in the lead up to Christmas, and for a few days afterwards, and on New Year’s Eve.

If you don’t drink or want to drink less this year, there’s a way to go about it.

MMOL: Stop telling people to eat up or booze up at Christmas.

Instead of loudly announcing the fact you don’t drink – which might see you explaining why for most of the day – or telling people you are cutting back – which many drinkers see as a challenge to get you as wasted as possible – you can be more subtle about it and simply have a few side-step moves up your sleeve so nobody is any the wiser.

1. Get your own drinks.

The pressure to drink usually begins the moment you arrive. You can get away with asking for water when you first get there, saying you’re thirsty and might have a water first. After that, get your own drinks, so you don’t have to ask for fizzy drinks or water and so nobody offers to get you a drink, because you are already holding one.

“I’ve got a friend who doesn’t drink,” Mia said on Mamamia Out Loud, “and she drinks water but out of a wine glass or a champagne glass, and it tends to bother people less.”

“People can get quite defensive if you don’t drink alcohol. They’re like, ‘Oh come on! Just one.’ But she can’t because of a medical condition.

'I prefer to eat than drink, but always make sure to have something non-alcoholic in hand so nobody notices.' Image: Couple's Retreat, Universal Pictures
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2. Pretend to have a medical condition

For many of us there are medical reasons why we can't drink or have to cut back, and issues such as alcoholism definitely fall into the "medial reasons" basket. If you attend a function with a group you know are going to want you to drink, tell them you have a medical condition and can't. Mia says telling them you are on antibiotics is an easy out. "Or you can say, 'I'm just getting over a migraine.'"

3. Offer to get other people drinks

Instead of standing around while people wait on you, help out by offering to get drinks. That way you can support other people who choose non-alcoholic drinks. I find that the longer the function continues the less the drinkers bother you about not drinking, because by then they have had quite a bit to drink and no longer care.

Ab Fab - What will you drink if you stop drinking?

Video via BBC Films

4. Offer to make punch or mocktails

To make it clear that your non-drinker status doesn't mean you don't know how to enjoy yourself, offer to make a non-alcoholic punch or a delicious mocktail. There are so many delicious recipes for non-alcoholic punch online and mocktails that are so good some of the drinkers might choose them instead of juice or water to hydrate in between rounds. But don't leave them unattended or one of your older relatives might slosh a bit of their special brew into it when you're not looking.

5. Keep a drink in your hand at all times

Never hold an empty glass. It's worse than not holding a glass at all. An empty glass is a signal for any good host to top you up and that can end in alcohol consumption. Put the glass down or keep a bottle of soft drink or water near you to top up your glass yourself.

Listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud.

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