Tips for pacing yourself on holiday party drinks

Whitney Adams
Whitney Adams


Holidays are all about splurging. We buy more stuff than we should. We eat more than our bellies can handle. And we drink more too, which makes us do or say things we might later regret. Here’s how to slow down and enjoy your drink when the booze is flowing.

Usually you don’t think about drinking less at a holiday party, but with so much celebrating and so many parties and day-long festivities, you can quickly burn out. I often try to find ways to pace myself while still having fun and imbibing. To avoid getting completely wasted and ending up in a fight with, like, your cousin, I say go high or go low.

Either stick to a high ABV beverage or spirit that you can slowly sip (keyword: sip) and savor one or maybe two of or enjoy more glasses with low alcohol wines, aperitifs, or beer; think cider, wine spritzers, and semi-sweet bubbly.

And there’s always something about a really special bottle of wine that makes people stop, pay attention, and slow down. Choose one bottle that means something or that you’ve been looking forward to and enjoy it over great conversation, it will feel way more satisfying.”

Whitney Adams, sommelier, wine writer, wine traveler, and YouTube sensation.

For those dealing with addiction…

“Take a closer look at the people, places and things that cause you stress. If you would rather not run into a certain relative at a family event, ask the event planner to help you avoid the person, or excuse yourself.

If you fear going to a friend’s party to celebrate the New Year because alcohol or drugs are present, plan to go to an alternative place with other people in recovery.  

“Celebrate the holidays with like-minded people who want to remain sober.”

Isolating yourself from the festivities because alcohol may be served or because of the presence of people who may pull you down is likely not an effective strategy.

Identify Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)/Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups that have an activity planned during the holidays and plan to attend.  There are also “Alkathons” that you can join or volunteer to help with. These are elongated AA/NA meetings that may run all day on Thanksgiving and 24 hours during Christmas and New Year.”

Dr. Indra Cidambi, psychiatrist and medical director of the Center for Network Therapy in New Jersey.


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