Published On: November 11, 20201095 words5.5 min read

There must be ways you can navigate this festive season without the wine, surely? Or are you worried that it is not possible to enjoy a drink-free Christmas in 2020? Why on earth should we have to ditch the wine after all that we have been through? After all that the world has been through? 

2020 was The Year of Covid 19. It was the year of Lockdowns and restrictions. It was the year we were forced to STOP in our tracks and think about our too-busy lives. For many of us, it will be easy to navigate this festive season without the wine. For others, however, it might just be the hardest thing to do at the end of 2020. To even imagine navigate Christmas and New Year without an alcoholic beverage would be hell! 

Bankrupt and Depressed or Solvent and Sober?

Drinking and the Coronavirus Pandemic go hand in hand for some people. These people simply drank more during the global crisis when we were all masked for months and online for everything.

It is true that many of these Covid-19 drinkers became extremely depressed. Many of them became very bankrupt too as they lost their jobs AND bought booze on the black market. Did the booze help, I wonder? 

Other people decided to give up the drink entirely. These people stayed solvent and sober. They can look forward to a drink-free Christmas to celebrate their year. They will be able to navigate the festive season without the wine. I will too!

Drinking to This and That and The Next Thing!

My husband will not be enjoying a drink-free Christmas because he says 2020 deserves many drinks. When South African President Cyril Ramaphosa gave his first speech at the end of March 2020, my husband’s anger was palpable. And it continued to pulsate for the next 8 long months of lockdown. 

He had stockpiled some beers and some red wine and some whiskey. Which he seemed to keep going with gifts from old friends who had extra stash. He drank daily, from afternoons right through to bedtime. When this booze ran out, my husband refused to navigate lockdown without the wine. But wine was too expensive on the black market. So, he found a recipe for homemade cider and started his production process in our garage. The cars were moved out, the gas cooker was turned on and the house was filled with the smell of apples. 

Bags of apples, brown sugar and yeast hid the dining room table. The shops ran out of yeast and the flies got drunk on the fumes.

A Comedy of Errors?

The comedy continued for months. Until Ramaphosa announced that alcohol sales were on again. The drinks flowed in our house every afternoon, into the night. Lots of them. Then one day, hubby announced he would be having drink-free weeks and only drinking on weekends. I asked myself: is he going to navigate lockdown now without the wine? 

Well, he made up for the sober weeks with plenty of alcohol on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I don’t know about you, but I call this binge drinking. Binge drinking is a huge problem in South Africa and the world. 

But getting back to our subject: how to navigate this festive season without the wine. This is very do-able. The rock bottom theme for 2020 for most people on the planet opens doors for getting back up and climbing life’s long ladder. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we too can rise from the sadness, the debt, the shock, and the unreality of the horror. 

The closing of 2020 and the opening of 2021 is a time of hope, new beginnings. Drinking through this very enlightening process and era will cloud the positive energies. Join me as we navigate this festive season without the wine. I know December can be a challenging month if you’ve recently quit drinking or you’re trying to drink less.

10 Tips on How to Navigate this Festive Season Without the Wine

  1. Think Ahead. Get your mind right during December: you want to feel refreshed and happy about your decision to not drink. Get enough sleep and look forward to the week of festivities. Prepare yourself for the craziness and make sure you have a plan.
  2. Prepare a Plan of Action: 
  • buy yourself some Alcohol-Free drinks to have in hand when others are drinking or making toasts
  • have something to do that keeps your hands and mind busy: knitting, cooking, baking, making decorations with the kids, tidying the kitchen
  • keep a great film for later
  • keep some treats you love in the kitchen where you can sneak away to indulge. 

     3. Tell one person about your plan to be sober this Christmas. This will hold you accountable and remind the other drinkers that you were in control and remember everything.

     4. Offer to be the photographer for the special occasions. You will keep busy and take crispy clear photographs of a time to remember.

     5. Lay out your fitness gear every night before you to go bed; when you awaken, sip a coffee and set off on your chosen fitness regime: walking, running, cycling, gym or swimming. Do it daily, throughout the festive season.

     6. Be ready to answer all of the “why are you not drinking” questions with a smile, a giggle and a NO answer. Whose business is it anyway? Check out these fab responses.

    7. Hang out with the kids, who will be much more fun and interesting as others drink. Play games, watch movies, and climb the jungle gym outside – or take them for a walk.

    8. Make sure you look terrific and stay that way all week. It will boost your self-esteem and get the others to notice your bright freshness as they awaken daily with ghastly hangovers.

   9. Have a plan of action to leave the party if things get out of hand. Go in your own car which you can then drive home. If your partner has too much to drink, he/she can stay the night or get a lift home. Make this clear before you go out to a party: “I am taking my car so that I can escape when I get bored or tired. You can call the Uber.”

  10.  Treat yourself: a long hot bath, something decadently delicious, a weekend away somewhere after the festivities have died down (because you don’t waste money on booze).

Check out this article too. Remember that navigating this festive season without the wine is achievable. It is entirely up to you. Go for it and good luck!


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