This year will be my 5th booze-free Christmas and I’m really looking forward to it.
It’s a total myth that you need alcohol in your life in order to have fun, be social or enjoy Christmas. That’s just marketing hype.
Alcohol-free living is amazing at any time of year, but I particularly like being sober in December. Not having a hangover makes surviving the crazy festive season a lot easier!
My first ever alcohol-free Christmas felt like such a big deal at the time – I remember being really worried about it. But nowadays, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’re feeling a bit anxious or unsure about the next few weeks, make sure you check out these 12 reasons for staying sober this December. I hope they inspire you to keep going! 🙂
1. You’ll feel like a superhero
People might tell you that this is a silly time to be quitting drinking. But moments like this can also be brilliant opportunities for taking action. You will feel incredibly proud of yourself for not drinking during one of the booziest times of the year.
2. You’ll have tons more free time
During this busy month, we could all do with more hours in the day. When you’re not losing time drinking (or thinking about drinking, or beating yourself up about drinking) you reclaim a LOT of lost hours and headspace.
3. Cutting out can be easier than cutting down
Moderating forces you to make endless decisions: what will you drink, where, when, how much? All those decisions gobble up your willpower. And of course, consuming a mind-altering drug makes it pretty hard to stick to your good intentions.
4. You can drive home from parties
This is still one of my favourite things about not drinking. No more staggering about in the cold, trying to hail down a taxi (I nearly got run over doing that once 🙈). You just jump in your car, put the heating on and drive yourself home. Easy peasy.
5. You’ll look better
It’s hard to disguise a puffy face or hangover bloat. If you want to feel great in your party dress, then skipping alcohol (and all the calories that come with it) will make a massive difference.
6. You’ll feel better
The silly season is an awful lot easier to navigate when you aren’t feeling sick or struggling with a massive headache. Alcohol is a powerful chemical that stresses nearly every organ in the body – during the winter flu season, this is the last thing you need.
7. It’ll be a massive confidence boost
It’s easy to get stuck in a story such as, ‘I’m a shy person, I can’t socialise without alcohol.’ The chances are you’re far more capable than you think you are. Wouldn’t it be awesome to surprise yourself?
8. You don’t have to worry about accidentally causing world war three…
Christmas isn’t always about sparkly lights and jolly japes. It can be pretty stressful at the best of times, without the fear that you’re going to have one too many and start telling your relatives what you really think of them! Your diplomacy skills are at their best when you’re sober.
9. Your relationships might grow stronger
Alcohol does a great job of keeping you stuck in a rut. Without really realising it, you tend to repeat the same behaviours, the same conversations, the same family arguments. Who knows what might happen with alcohol out of the way, not causing any drama?
10. You might realise that other people don’t drink as much as you thought…
We all have a bit of a confirmation bias – i.e. a tendency to interpret events in a way that confirms our preconceptions. Sometimes we want to believe that other people drink a lot, because it makes us feel better. When you stop, you might be pleasantly surprised by how little some friends actually drink.
11. You’ll get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions
Stopping drinking increases your chances of losing weight… and showing up at the gym 🙂
12. You’ll make good memories
This is the most important one of all, because this is what Christmas is really all about: spending quality time with friends and family. When you’re fully present, and living in the moment, you increase your chances of remembering this time together… for the right reasons.
Kate, this is a great post. Since being sober my relationships have been sooo much better. I rarely argue with my husband. I’m cherishing the holiday memories with kids. I do have my first Christmas party next week. I’m looking forward to it, but it’s certainly going to be different this years. Thanks as always for your work!
It’s amazing how much changes when you stop drinking. I hope you have a fab party and a wonderful Christmas Abby!
This is a fabulous read and one I need to refer to more in the lead up to Christmas. I don’t know what’s going on with me but I keep setting the goal of giving up alcohol for good and each time I’m certain that this is it only to be tempted and give in again, sometimes only days after making the decision to quit. I have never felt so powerless and ashamed of my drinking which is really getting more and more ridiculous. I’m so greedy and there is never enough wine. I have such a lovely family and my boys are starting to notice my drinking which makes me feel awful. I’m paranoid about alcohol related illness and scared that I won’t be there for my kids. I need to be organised and things don’t get done when I’ve been drinking. My husband is so patient but concerned. He’s heard all my promises before. I’d love to have an argument free festive period and indeed argument free life! I’m quite a determined person so I must really try harder. Sorry for long post.
Hi Susan, don’t feel powerless! Stopping drinking – and actually feeling good about it – isn’t about ‘trying harder’ or trying to muster up more willpower. (That method will always lead the failure in the end.) Successful sobriety is about changing your mindset, educating yourself about alcohol and understanding what it does and does not do. I’d be very happy to work with you on this – sobriety just doesn’t need to be this hard. Do make sure you check out my online course as this is exactly the kind of thing we cover there: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Hang in there Susan. I know exactly what you mean about best intentions, then falling off again.
I’m with you from afar during the tough times, and I know you would for me during my challenges. It takes courage to share and helps to feel supported, even by people you don’t know. I read “12 Reasons To Stay Sober” each morning and evening — in fact, I just keep it up on my screen all the time.
I decided to give up alcohol 8 days ago after many failed attempts and a night out at the pub the night before I woke up the next day and decided enough is enough. Even though 8 days isnt that long! So far so Good! I like the sober life. Thank you for the tips. I look forward to seeing more.
8 days or a lifetime. Be proud of your accomplishment.No matter how long we have been sober, we are all one decision away from maintaining our progress. I’m 15 days and have survived 2 weeks of wine o clocks, a dinner out, Thanksgiving and one happy hour with NA beer. Thank God Coors has an amazing NA beer! God bless and congratulations on your decision to stay sober!
Thank you for your kind words well done on doing 15 days. X
Well done Brodie and Susie – the early days can be some of the hardest and you’re both off to a great start. Keep going! 🙂
Into my fifth week without alcohol – and it feels GREAT. I have believed in the myth of alcohol nearly all my life, and what a relief to let it go. It really doesn’t give me what I thought it did. Here’s to an alcohol free Christmas! Thanks Kate
Fantastic, congratulations on your 5 weeks Lynne! That is brilliant. Have a lovely, hangover-free Christmas!
One down! I’m going for 2 tonight. Wish me luck and thanks for All the tips. I want to be a Superhero!
Congrats and good luck tonight, Rosemary! I will be on night 2 as well this evening.
See my comment below. Cheese works well with orange juice. I think I’ll try cranberry juice tomorrow. How about you?
Hey! Let’s think up alternatives!
I start today so just one day behind you – here’s to us congratulations
A superhero cape is coming your way Rosemary 🙂
Keep going! You can do it.
Cheese works well with orange juice too!
Hi Ladies, I am on day 2 today as well. Got so much done last night and feel good today. I am sure the craving will hit over the next day or so but i am onto it!
Thank you for your wonderful blog and post! I am 3 months without alcohol, after 15 years of over-drinking. I am very worried about the holidays, so your post is a great reminder of why I stopped drinking in the first place. One I would like to add: you will have more money for presents for others and yourself!
Great point, I should have mentioned money – you save so much by not drinking! Congratulations on your 3 months Cassiel, I hope you have a fantastic holiday season 🙂
Back on track and looking forward to enjoying work meal out and driving home!!!
Driving home afterwards is very satisfying! Have fun Aphra 🙂
Kate! Thank you so much for your blog. This is my 5th week and I really look forward to starting my week off on the right foot with your inspiration. I feel lighter, in mind and body. I feel that i am listening to my body more, taking baths when stressed out. I light scented lavender candles and drink tea in the evenings and that really helps me unwind. In the past i would pour myself 3 large glasses of wine and wake up exhausted, and full of regret. Most of the evening was used on this. Often I didnt dare call anyone for fear of sounding tipsy and inclear. The freedom I feel is huge. I dont need to remember to have wine in the house ever, cause I dont consume it at all.
Looking forward to christmas with my children completely sober. My biggest gift to my family and myself
What a fantastic gift that will be – not only to you, but your children and your family too. Congratulations on your 5 weeks Mini – replacing wine with baths and tea is a brilliant idea, just the kind of stuff you should be doing. Keep going!
This post is perfectly timed for me. Last night, I decorated the Christmas tree with my family without drinking wine for the first time since I was pregnant 10 years ago. It’s a small thing…but feels huge and momentous. I want to have a sober holiday season and enjoy my family without the boozy haze, sleepless nights, and mornings of regret.
I can totally understand why that feels like a big deal – it is! To me, decorating the tree always feels a bit like the start of the holiday season, and you’ve got things off to a great sober start. Well done 🙂
Thank you so much! The longest I’ve gone without since my children were born is 4 months. My kids are 30! I’m truly ready to give it up because I want to be healthy, feel better and live to be over 50. My father died in a car accident when he was 50 and 4 months old from driving drunk. I want to make it much longer than that. I have a love hate relationship with alcohol. My whole family drinks and our fun revolves around booze! I don’t want to drink anymore. I have to be strong and let them know there is life without booze, but even if they don’t see it I have to do it for myself. It’s all a big mind fuck. I have to get in control of my mind! Thank you for helping me to do that.
just INSIST when telling your family that you are alcohol free. It causes an atmosphere at first, but keep to your resolution and with the backing of your relative that do not drink (yes, you will find they do exist, its just you were ignoring them before) you will get through Christmas (and more). You will see, slowly one after another will give up the drink. It does happen – I now have to buy a large alcohol free pudding!
I love this post and it makes so much sense to me – am looking forward to a healthy happy hangover-free Christmas with no worries about causing any dramas with family or friends and remembering everything 🙂 xxx merry Christmas season Kate! From Caroline (who just did your sober school 🙂
It’s great to hear from you Caroline! I hope you have a sparkly sober Christmas! 🙂
This is a great blog . I was driving back home today and wondering if I should just stop now . Feeling very tired and anxious all of the time . Day 1 . I want a sober Christmas and life . Thank you for the inspiration .
Go for it Frany, you won’t regret it 🙂
After a slight set back last week, I’ve committed to an AF Christmas and am looking forward to not feeling tired & hungover and enjoying Christmas with my children. That is my absolute priority. A lot of people are shocked when I say I’m not going to drink…. ‘Why!?’ , ‘You can’t do that’, ‘You have to have one’, ‘Treat yourself!’…. which can be really infuriating!! But it’s making me even more motivated to succeed & I really hope I do!! I’ll refer back to your post when things get tricky!! Thanks Kate!!
Love this. It is my second AF Xmas although had a couple if blips. I now see myself as a person that doesn’t drink rather than someone trying not to blink. Ive fallen in love with my OH all over again and the relationship with my daughter and grandsons has changed beyond recognition. I love your blogs – the have helped me so much. Thank you.
Ah – this is lovely to read. Well done Jacquie! Have a lovely Christmas.
Looking forward to another sober Christmas- another tip: I love notebooks, diaries, wrting it down but even if you don’t usually, try making a blog/log/gratitude book of your 12 days of sober Christmas/or Advent/or whatever. Just writing down what was positive about each event often associated with alcohol- party, decorating the tree, dinners out, family gathering- will be a permanent reminder of the very best of Christmas. Oh, and another tip- make alcohol free mulled ‘wine’ with berries and cherries squash, orange slices and the spices used for mulled wine. It’s now a tradition here and it means drivers and kids can join in , too, Try to replace each old habit(drinking) with a new one so you have a new set of rituals – mine grow every year
Great tips, thanks Felicity!
Night 1 for me! I am so tired of being disappointed in myself. I’ve needed to stop for my health for a long time. I hated the idea of AA. Love the tips and support you offer. Hoping for sober success this time!
Good luck Beth! You’ll feel so much better without alcohol holding you back 🙂
Thank you for this post. This will be my first sober Christmas in over 10 years. That sounds kind of horrible, seeing that in writing. Today is actually my first day, but am really wanting sobriety and I love reading everyone’s posts that it is worth it. Eggnog is nasty anyway!!! Lol.
You wwwdo this
I have sad childhood memories of father and uncle drinking and ruining the evening–sorta dreaded the holidays for years. I share this with those who drink during special occasions or holidays and hope that could influence one or more to stay sober
Day 3 for me after many times trying but feel so much more positive this time and looking forward to a sober free Christmas and life, these 12 reasons have come at the right time thanks, have copied it so can read whenever I want
Thank you for this. I have been sober for nearly 4 months now. My husband (who actually drinks very little) is planning Christmas drinks and I was wondering how to deal with this. Now I know to stick to my guns! Our favourite non alcohol special drink is mulled apple juice, made with the usual spices and slices of fresh ginger. It gives it a lovely warming kick! Thank you Kate and Happy Christmas everyone x
So happy to have seen your information.. I was sober for 15 years at one point and started drinking again. Thank you for a save place to make the statement I need/want to stop drinking again. Today will be dey one. Somehow saying it out loud helps.
I was sober for almost 11 years and have been drinking again for over 14 years. It’s a monkey on back for sure. Often not real large quantities but almost daily drinking. It takes up so much space in my head. Seriously considering stopping instead of trying to moderate. Life is too short!!!!!!
I am only two days into it…..I see a brighter future if I stick to this. Your emails really help. Thank you. I found you in time
Amen to feeling like a superhero after battling one’s demons.
I started to notice that drinking became a reason or excuse. A reason to celebrate and an excuse to relieve the pain and now I am ready to uncover who I am without turning to what I thought was a friend in that glass of wine.
These are all so TRUE and so GOOD! Kate, you were born to get your incredible knowledge out to others in the world. Holidays have been stressing me out as in America this is a very serious time for alcohol! All the tips and steps you have provided so far are so supportive and truly helpful!
Keep things simple and remember what drink does to you ,sober living is way better I know
I notice I feel mildly nauseated when alcohol display at store or waitress asked if I wanted something from the bar. Does this pass soon?
I’m so ready for this and feel excited about a sober Christmas. 2 weeks ago was my work Christmas party. I got so drunk that I didn’t remember I’d made an inappropriate comment (for which I was called into HR on the following Monday. I was threatened with a disiplinary and my boss told me i needed professional help! Oh the shame. But to hear someone else finally say that to me was a relief. I have therefore admitted to myself that moderation doesn’t work and in fact each ‘incident’ gets more serious each time. I’m 9 days sober and feeling so serene and calm and dare I say Christmassy. I’m looking forward to every sober moment over Christmas.
It’s great that you’re taking action now Gayle. It sounds as if you’ve hit a bit of a turning point. Should you need any help staying on track with your sober goals, be sure to join my course in January. I know it’s going to be a great class! https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Thank you Kate. I want to bottle this feeling so I can dab it on (or spray furiously) when the honeymoon period is over. Maybe it won’t end this time. Perhaps I’ve had enough of a jolt this time. An email from HR in the aftermath of the Christmas party was the stuff of nightmares. Maybe that’s the scent I should remember to help me through! And YES! I’d love to join the class in the new year. Thanks again for your words.
Love this post, thanks Kate. I’m enjoying the Christmas season so far. Whilst it is still way too busy for my liking, I know I am coping with it all better than I have in previous years. Happy Christmas to you.
Last year not drinking over the holidays was torture. Thanks to the April course and not having a drop of alcohol since last NYE, I am at such a confidently content sober state. It’s so true that even we shy ones can surprise ourselves and have a great time at parties sans the sauce. And our makeup stays intact all night! And leaving exactly when we want to leave is priceless and never gets old! Thank you!
That’s so great to hear Nat – congratulations! Have a lovely Christmas 🙂
Kate thank you for your wonderful post and inspiration
I’ve been AF for four months after a life time of drinking heavily and the shame and remorse that goes with it!
I’ve made the decision to give up alcohol completely and once that decision has been made I feel so light and free.
I’m more resilient and able to cope so much better. My anxiety has almost disappeared.
My only challenge now is telling my family and friends I’m now a non drinker! Even my husband and older sons reaction has been strange!
I’m dreading telling certain friends who are also big drinkers … I know I should be proud and own it but not that easy.
Thank you kate you’re such a gem and inspiration