Kate's Blog

Boozy Christmas Cards: What They Should Really Say

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I absolutely love this time of year. However, there is one thing about the festive season that I don’t like. I can’t stand the endless, pro-booze marketing messages that seem to be everywhere right now.
The idea that you need to drink alcohol in order to be festive, ‘get into the Christmas spirit’ or celebrate properly is absolute nonsense.
It makes me so mad when I see people being tricked into this idea. Pouring a toxic, liquid drug down your neck is not the key to having fun or finding joy.
I think it’s worth remembering that not so long ago, cigarettes were often portrayed like this:

Nowadays, these ads seem silly and rather outrageous, don’t they? Glamorising and romanticising a dangerous, cancer-causing drug like tobacco just feels weird. 
So… why are we still glamorising and romanticising alcohol? It’s also a a dangerous, cancer-causing drug.

I decided to take some photos of the crazy Christmas cards I’ve seen – and add in a few changes…


Drinking alcohol won’t help you survive Christmas – it will make it harder!
Adding booze into the mix makes everything more stressful, not less. Alcohol does NOT have magic, stress-busting qualities. Contrary to popular opinion, drinking actually increases stress. (I explained why here.)
The jokey nature of these cards makes it easy to ignore what we’re really doing when we drink – we’re consuming a mind-altering, toxic drug in order to numb out from our lives.
Rather than having to drink in order to survive life, wouldn’t it be better to create a life that feels so good, you don’t want to numb out from it?  

If there’s one thing guaranteed to make Christmas a less-than-special, messy blur, it’s drinking your way through it.

For a lot of people, alcohol comes with terrible side effects: it increases their anxiety levels and makes them feel depressed.
It’s hard to feel ‘bright’ when you’re seriously hungover and your body is struggling to process a powerful drug. 

It absolutely is a fun, happy time of year – but that has nothing to do with alcohol.

We’ve all been to parties where it doesn’t matter how much we drink, we still don’t have fun.
We’ve all had times when drinking has left us feeling sad and emotional. Or we’ve become irrationally angry and picked a fight for no reason.
Alcohol is not magic joy juice – we must stop giving it all the credit for the fun times in life.

It’s hard for me to alter this card. It’s just rubbish!
I can’t think of any good stories that start with “that one time I meant to drink one glass of wine but ended up knocking back an entire bottle… before passing out on the sofa and then waking up in the early hours, feeling terrible.”
For a lot of us, that is the reality of our drinking – and it isn’t very funny.
This card reminds me of something the columnist Giles Coren wrote recently. He said:
‘Don’t tell me booze makes parties go with a swing. If you can’t enjoy a party sober, you should stay home and do origami. And don’t give me “it loosens my tongue” because if you can’t talk without a beer in your hand you should stay silent, for you have nothing to say. And as for “Dutch courage”, Jesus. If you’re not brave enough to do something sober, it is because it is not a good thing to do.’

And finally… here’s one alcohol-themed Christmas card I think I approve of!
Alcohol is bad for your health, obviously. It’s also bad for your inner elf.
I’m talking about the bit of you that has to run around making the Christmas magic happen. Whether it’s buying presents, getting the food ready or organising a party… it’s all a hundred times easier (and more enjoyable) without a hangover.

Hi, I'm Kate

I founded The Sober School to show you there’s another way out of your shame that doesn’t involve AA or rehab. 


33 Responses

  1. Kate: Your blogs have helped me so much, you cannot imagine. I thought myself a realist. Now, I feel so real without alcohol covering up myself like cat litter in the cat box.

  2. I have recently stopped drinking because I am unable to know when I have had enough.
    Looking at all the above cards …and yes silly. But we do live in a world of drinkers, smokers, eaters…we have to live with them . It’s not about changing what out there it’s about changing what going on inside our selves. Right?

    1. I think it is about changing what’s out there, as well as what’s going on in ourselves. Campaigning on these issues is a big part of the work I do. I’ve coached hundreds of women to stop drinking, so I know the impact this boozy culture has on people. We’re living in a world where heavy drinking is normalised, and where people who don’t drink are sometimes stigmatised. That’s not ok. Whilst alcohol isn’t going to disappear off the face of the earth anytime soon, I think we do need to keep highlighting the ridiculous approach our society takes to alcohol. We’ve managed to completely change how we view smoking (that’s seriously uncool, and quite stigmatised now) and I look forward to the same thing happening with alcohol… one day!

      1. I couldn’t agree more. We need to get the word out that alcohol is poison. I recently stopped drinking November 12th and my recovery has been strengthen by blogs like yours. Thank you for all you do.

      2. Kate
        I have been following your blogs and they really help me, I had 5 months sober on December 4th and then got overwhelmed and succumbed to the stress of life and stress of holidays and relapsed. The first three days only had one drink to “take the edge off” but last two days back to one is one too many and one is never enough…. can’t control it. The definition of alcoholism right ? I feel so ashamed of myself feel utter disgust cause I was so happy sober but now so stressed out and feeling like crap don’t know how to start over especially with all the holiday stress!! I’m feeling really down in the dumps!! I had three beers tonight and feel depressed. I want to start over tomorrow but feel scared. I hate myself for messing up those awesome five months. I don’t know why I thought I could drink just one and it would be okay. Cause sad to say an alcoholic can never just drink one ….I hate being this way! But it’s who I am and I need your help to get back on track. I hate that my 5 months sober was ruined by a few days of drinking but I don’t want it to continue. Want tomorrow to be different FOREVER!! I hate I repeat I hate ALCOHOL! It destroys me and makes me depressed and miserable. Would love your feedback and support so I can leave it , kiss it goodbye forever

        1. Hi Melinda, it sounds as if you need some help shifting your mindset around this. I’d be very happy to help you make this click for good. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll probably know all about my group coaching programme? This is exactly the kind of thing we cover there. If you’d like to work with me, the next course is in January. More details here: https://thesoberschool.com/course

          1. Thank you Kate. Looking forward to joining the group in January. Going to kick this for good and look forward to the support of other women going thru this. Merry Christmas.

  3. Maybe I’m more sensitive to this stuff but I see alcohol related marketing everywhere! I am in marketing, so I do pay more attention but the shirts, the wall décor, cards, commercials, television programs all romance it. I just don’t like to see it because I know the ravages of the cycle. I want it to stop for me and don’t want another young girl to fall in its traps.

  4. I just love getting your emails. My husband and I have gone almost 4 months alcohol-free. I just love reading your blog it keeps me motivated in a difficult time of year
    Thank you for what you do!!!

  5. Could not agree more. Lots of stresses at this time of year are quadrupled when mixed with booze. I am going to have a best booze free Christmas. I am determined!

  6. Thank you for your insight on alcohol and how it is expected to be part of a celebration. It is time we ask ourselves, what do we want out of christmas. I bet nobody will answer a hangover. I betmost people want beautiful moments sharing love with your family, and creating memories that live on in the minds of our children6 weeks alcoholfree today and loving my light body and clear mind. I am stronger and better equiped to deal with my life and i live the direction and purpose that fills me.

    1. So true – no one wants a hangover ruining their Christmas! I love hearing how much has changed for you Mini. I hope you have an amazing Christmas! 🙂

  7. 12 and half weeks alcohol free and still the best decision I have ever made as opposed to some seriously bad ones I made when drunk.. was reminded of them the other day..
    So far I have survived the work Christmas function sober.. and it was actually easier than I thought.. went to a concert on Saturday night and saw young girls getting wasted.. and felt so relieved to wake up hang over free on Sunday morning.. but also sad for all those young girls .. some only 18., who felt the need to get absolutely wasted in order to have a good time.. I was “that girl” not so long ago.. my daughter is 10.. and I am hoping that the sober, clean choices I am now making will serve as a role model for her in just a few years time ..
    Love your blog.. keep up the great work

    1. You will be a great role model for your daughter Candice. Congratulations on your sobriety and here’s to many more alcohol-free days ahead!

  8. You’re great Kate. (April school student). Love the blog post. I have to shake my head at all the ridiculous alcohol marketing. It’s so sad. I’m done with it all. I’m staying AF and only wish more people would cross over into the light. This is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Thanks for all you do!! This is going to be a truly memorable Christmas.

    1. It’s great to hear from you Sadie! I hope you have an amazing Christmas – it will be lovely to be clear headed and fully present for it. Wishing you all the best for 2018 x

  9. Love your emails and blog, Kate! Since I stopped drinking at the end of September I’ve also become aware of all the booze-motivated facebook posts.
    On Saturday my husband and I went to a Christmas party where there was a bar/bartender. I asked the bartender to pour me a club soda in a cocktail glass on ice with a lime. He did, of course, and was my new best Christmas party friend. I felt great for not drinking and no one even noticed my drink! Better still, I drove home so my husband could imbibe. The best? Sleeping well and not having a hangover the next morning! Boom!
    I’m so glad I “stumbled” upon your Sober School!

    1. Ah, I love this! Bartenders can be so helpful like that. Congratulations on your sobriety Barb and I hope you have an amazing Christmas!

  10. Kate,your posts are so much help to me,you will never know how much you have changed my mind set,this will be my 1st booze free Christmas on years.You are right,alcohol is normalised too much.I know a lot of people drink socially and that’s fine,but people also need to be aware,that to an alcoholic,this drug is as powerful as heroin or cocaine,only much more easy to access and portrayed as “harmless”.Keep up the good work x

    1. Exactly – it’s the idea that it’s harmless that’s so dangerous! Enjoy your alcohol-free Christmas Caroline, it’ll be great! 🙂

  11. When drinking, have to exercise such self control e.g:
    don’t drink too fast, don’t drink more than 3, don’t have a nightcap, don’t drink any other night apart from Friday and Saturday. Exercising that level of self control (once I’ve started drinking and my wavering resolve is weakened with every glass) is WAY harder than not drinking at all! It also becomes the focal point of the evening and I miss out on the enjoyment of the company I’m in and the food I’ve been given! That’s no lie!

  12. So glad I found this website. It really rings true for me and after years of trying to moderate my drinking I’ve decided I want an alcohol free Christmas. It will be my first alcohol free office party (other than when pregnant) and I’m really looking forward to not spending the Christmas break full of dread, wondering what I said or what I did and whether I even have a job to go back to in January!

  13. Just wanted to say thankyou Kate for all your hard work and commitment. I only found this site yesterday and am so glad I did! Been drinking for years now and have a couple of weeks off and always notice how much better I feel when Im not drinking. I always end up going back to buying that bottle of wine thinking that Im in control of it! The sad truth is that IT is very much in control of me! Thanks to you my last bottle was consumed last night and after reading some of your bloggs am absolutely determined not to have another drink. One day at a time! Looking forward to staying free. Thankyou Kate

  14. I’ve just found your site and I’m loving it. I did 63 days AF earlier this year & then thought I could ‘just drink on a weekend’….. I’m sure you all know the rest!
    So, I’ve sent my email address for the Coaching program you run & today is day 1. Thank you

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