How to make non-drinkers comfortable at Christmas

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Woman handing a man a drink at BBQ

Christmas in Australia is a hot day for most of us.  And with that comes plenty of cold beers and icy cold wine from the esky. But what if you have people over who are not drinking? 


What can you do to make every adult feel welcome, without handing them warm orange juice, sickly sweet coke or lemonade with an apologetic smile?


Firstly, and most importantly, if you offer a drink and are told ”no, I’m not drinking”, don’t ask why.  For those of us who choose not to drink, its actually really nice not be questioned about why we aren’t drinking.  It can be hard enough just saying no to alcohol, without having to give a reason.  And don’t ever be tempted to say “oh go on, one won’t hurt you”.  Because it just might, and probably will.


Be the super party giver who has plenty of icy cold, alcohol free drinks on hand for us non-drinkers, preferably in the esky too.  (Trust me, its not fun trying to get drinks from the back of the fridge without destroying the pavlova).


Lots of plain water is a good start, and bottles of soda or sparkling water chilled to the max. 


Grab a few lemons and limes, a couple of cucumbers and a bunch of fresh mint.  Add a slice of each to a nice glass with plenty of ice and a sprig of mint.  This has been my go-to summer drink for a couple of years now, and I’m still not tired of the how refreshing it is.  And it looks nice, and feels grown up.  (I’m still smarting from the time I was at a surf club at sunset, watching a live band, and the only non-alcoholic drink they could offer me was warm water.  In a paper cup.) 


If you know some of the blokes aren’t drinking alcohol, ask them up front what they would like to drink and keep that in the esky too.


There are a bucket load of alcohol free beers, wines and spirits on the market now and lots of them are readily available in the supermarket next to the soft drinks (there’s another whole blog post on my thoughts around that!). 


You may like to have a few AF beers chilled and on hand, but it’s not expected.  Most of us who don’t drink alcohol but still like an AF beer or AF wine will most likely come prepared with our own favourite.


And on that note, it’s really important for me to mention here that just because some of us  no longer drink alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safe for us to drink any of the alcohol free alternatives.  I enjoy an AF beer, but I know that drinking anything tasting like spirits is a slippery slope I don’t want to go down.  For anyone who has recently given up alcohol, or is still finding their way without it, let them be the best judge of whether or not they drink that AF beer.


So often booze is the go to gift when we can’t figure out what to buy for someone, particularly if we don’t know them well.  And I have been very guilty of this myself in the past.  But maybe it’s time we all think a little differently and find another alternative, like socks or a book or better still, something from a bush based business.  The bottle of red or fancy bubbles picked up from the local bottle shop at the last minute and given as a gift may just put someone battling with alcohol in a tough spot. 


And none of us want to do that. 



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