5 Steps to a Successful Sober Holiday Party

Being sober and social is hard—especially during the holidays.

Everyone knows the holiday season brings with it many opportunities for drinking. The 12 days of Christmas, bringing in the New Year, getting distant family together and other holiday festivities all seem to invite alcohol back into the house. For a recovering, or recovered addict, the holidays can become a difficult time of year.

To combat the pressure and stress brought on by an inebriated holiday environment, we recommend that YOU host the party this year! Here are some ideas to get you started down the path to your first, or maybe second or third, sober holiday party:

1. Have plenty of scrumptious food that will tantalize the taste buds of your sober guests.

There’s nothing like fantastic food to keep your holiday guests smiling. Have a variety of good eats—don’t “skimp” here!

Chocolate or caramel popcorn, crackers with fancy cheese dips, shrimp with cocktail sauce, chips with fresh salsa, fruit with melted chocolate… the list could go on, but I’m getting hungry so we’ll stop at the chocolate.

Be creative! Make a few phone calls and ask your guests what their favorite holiday food is, then put a personal twist on it. Come up with a list of ideas, and invite a friend over to help make the food. Have fun.

2. Make dazzling non-alcoholic drinks that will make your sober guests stop and savor.

Sumptuous iced cocoa cappuccinos, white vanilla lattes, thick fruit smoothies, simple lime or lemonade, and a variety of flavored sodas are just a few exquisite non-alcoholic ideas I got from “Sober Julie’s website

“Caffeine,” “chocolaty,” “subtle-but-sugary” and “attractive” I think are a few words that should describe your menu for the drinks. Serve your beverages in tall thin glasses, or in cups that leaf out at the rim.

Set out your drinks—and food for that matter—in a way that invites a social atmosphere. Encourage your guests to take the food and drink wherever they like (unless of course you want them to keep it off your handmade Indian rug).

3. Play games or watch something on TV that will make their guests forget they have to leave.

Good food and sugary drinks are important, but make sure there’s something else going on. You could watch a holiday movie, have a football game playing, or (if you’re really good) you could create a picture slide show of the people attending.

Group games bring guests together and often force people to talk to each other. Party games like a white elephant gift exchange, charades, spoons, UNO, round-robin (if you have a ping-pong table), scattergories, or creating teams for Nintendo or Wii will involve your guests on a level of real participation and fun.

4. Create an environment where anyone can chill.

Creating an environment where the geeks, artists, idealists, thinkers, and executives feel at ease may seem daunting. But you can pull it off!

Giving your guests the freedom and flexibility to come and go as they please will loosen some nerves. Your good food and rich drinks will keep them happy. And the social involvement of the games or television will make them want to stay longer.

5. Plan ahead

While you can find plenty of amazing party ideas on Pinterest, actually making them happen takes a bit of work, and sometimes more than one try. Some ideas look great, but are difficult to execute.

There’s nothing wrong with trying new things, but you may not want to plan your whole party around untested ideas. A mix of tried and true recipes and some exciting new ideas mixed in is usually a solid plan. That way, even if your exciting new ideas flop, you still have some delicious crowd-pleasers to carry you through.

Have a sober Holiday. And Merry Christmas!