Rumour on the sleigh is that Father Christmas is reducing his alcohol consumption this year after being caught ‘flying under the influence’ on Christmas Eve, 2019. Mrs Christmas was rather unimpressed her jolly husband got himself locked out, having somehow lost his keys… and Rudolf (don’t worry, he was eventually discovered at a reindeer sanctuary in Luxembourg). Whatever next? Perhaps Mrs Christmas will go vegan and the big man won’t get turkey no more.
Now the ‘C’ word is popping up more and more frequently in conversation, it seems little excuse is needed to pop the corks on some Bucks Fizz to ring in the festive season. And that increase in alcohol consumption seems to ring true, as in 2018, the average Brit consumed 26 units of alcohol per day (that’s nearly 3 bottles of wine or 9 pints of beer!), and over six billion units were consumed by the nation collectively over the festive period.
Do you tend to drink more over Christmas? If so, have you ever stopped and wondered why? Here are the reasons 2,000+ 18-year-old Britons gave:
- It’s Christmas – 89%
You can’t argue with that unwavering logic, can you?
- Everyone else was drinking – 71%
Aah, yes, the infamous peer pressure. Even Father Christmas can’t say no when the workshop elves crack open the candy cane vodka after a hard nights’ work.
- It’s nice to be able to drink without having to worry about work the next day – 56%
Very true. The lull between Christmas and New Year should be spent doing nothing but eating food in PJ’s and taking a copious amount of naps.
- There was more alcohol in the house than usual – 34%
Stockpiling is all part of the Christmas spirit. I know Morrison’s is only closed for a day but it’s important to prepare as if the apocalypse is forthcoming.
- We had a constant flow of people in the house – 32%
Lots of people around would make me want to drink too. Only a few things can you drive you to rum and coke faster than Grandad’s war stories.
Despite alcohol being all around us at Christmas, research has shown that the number of 16-to-24-year olds who never drink alcohol increased from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015. Researchers also reported a drop in the rate of binge drinking from 2005 to 2020 in this age group. This is likely due to the impact of our digital age. With family and friends around the globe instantly accessible through social media and smartphones, we no longer rely on pubs and clubs to socialise and have fun. It seems young people are more interested in drinking a cuppa and watching Bargain Hunt than going for a drunken night out and dealing with an earth-shattering hangover the next day.
In 2020, where festivals, pubs and nightclubs haven’t been an option, some studies have found that people of all ages are cutting down on alcohol. According to a UK study, 1 in 3 people are taking steps to manage or abstain from drinking during lockdown, with 6% of people quitting entirely. However, those who had cut down the most were found to not be drinking much anyway – with 47% of people who drank once a week or less cutting down, compared with just 17% of daily drinkers. Yet, with all the festive spirit and jolly cheer ahead of us, it may mean that more of us indulge in an alcoholic beverage (or 5).
Here at Word Monster, we’re all looking forward to enjoying a relaxing festive period (which may or may not involve alcohol). While the majority of our team are looking forward to mulled wine and mince pies under the Christmas tree, others are excited for a tee-total time! One alcohol-free Monster says she doesn’t feel as though she is missing out by going alcohol-free at Christmas. They actually enjoyed spending time without a soul-crushing hangover or the horrific taste of cinnamon-infused mulled wine the morning after! If you listen carefully, you can hear a faint, collective cheer from all of our livers, thanking us for the well-needed break.
But if you can’t imagine sitting through your dad’s jokes without the numbing effect of an ice-cold Bailey’s, here are some tips from DrinkAware to help you drink safely (and responsibly) this Christmas:
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Ensure it’s stocked up with pigs in blankets, chocolate and yule log before overloading on alcohol
- Pace yourselves by alternating alcoholic drinks with soft drinks (e.g. the milk you left for Father Christmas)
- Keep warm and always take a coat if you’re going out. Whilst the ‘beer jacket’ may make you feel ready to conquer the icy winter temperatures, you can lose heat very quickly and easily which can become dangerous
- Downsize your drinks – it’ll help reduce your caloric intake so there’s more room for Christmas dinner
Whatever you’re planning for your December downtime, have a fabulous time. Cheers!
- Britons to consume 6 million units of alcohol this Christmas. Available at: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2018/12/britons-to-consume-six-billion-units-of-alcohol-this-christmas/. Accessed November 2020.
- Young people turning their backs on alcohol. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/young-people-turning-their-backs-alcohol/. Accessed November 2020.
- One in three people are drinking less in Lockdown. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/16/one-three-drinking-less-lockdown-uk-survey-alcohol. Accessed November 2020.
- Twelve tips to staying safe this Christmas. Available at: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice/staying-safe-while-drinking/twelve-tips-to-stay-safe-this-christmas. Accessed November 2020.