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Tips for responsible drinking around the holidays

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and for many, that means attending parties where alcohol is served. There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks to toast the joy of season as long as plan ahead and don’t make risky decisions. Use these tips to drink responsibly during the holiday season and make it memorable for all the right reasons.

holiday drinking moderation

Designate a driver

If you’re going to drink while you’re out, make that decision at the beginning of the night and know how you’re going to get home. Either volunteer yourself or ask one of your friends to be the designated driver to help you get home safely.

Ask for car keys

If you’re hosting a holiday party and one of your guests indulges in too many drinks, ask for her keys in a discreet manner. It may be difficult, but it helps ensure your guests are not driving under the influence.

For more tips on how to help prevent a friend from drinking and driving, visit Deflate the Elephant.

Collect cab and public transit far

To help ensure guests get home safely, think about collecting cab or public transit fare. At the beginning of your party, ask your guests to make a donation to be used by anyone who needs a ride home later.

Make it a sleepover

If you’re going to a party and don’t have a safe way home, consider asking your host if you can crash on an extra bed or couch. That way, you can have a good time without worrying about how you’re going to get home. If you’re hosting, let your guests know they’re welcome to stay over.

Drinks for everyone

If you’re hosting a holiday celebration, make sure to offer a great selection of drinks to all of your guests , even those who choose not to drink alcohol. Choose drinks that can be made with and without alcohol, and mix up both versions. Use colored straws or different glasses to designate the non-alcoholic beverages. This way, everyone is able to enjoy a delicious drink.

Canada’s first set of national low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines for women and men was recently introduced. To find more information about these recommendations, visit the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Great drink recipes — with or without alcohol

Cranberry Champagne


  • Cranberry juice
  • Champagne
  • Limes, sliced


  1. Mix equal parts cranberry juice and champagne, then garnish each glass with a slice of lime.
  2. For the non-alcoholic version, simply substitute a non-alcoholic champagne or sparkling cider.
  3. Mix the drinks right before you serve them so they’ll be bubbly and beautiful when they reach your guests.

Holiday Cosmo


  • 1 cup cranberry or pomegranate juice
  • 5 ounces vodka
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Chopped fresh mint
  • Mini candy canes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Ice


  1. Mix the juices, vodka, peppermint extract and water in a drink shaker with ice.
  2. Strain the drinks and pour into glasses, garnished with the mint and candy canes.
  3. For a non-alcoholic version, omit the vodka or substitute it with club soda or seltzer water.

Snowy Monday

(Courtesy of LCBO’s Deflate the Elephant)


  • 6 marinated cherries
  • Juice of 1/8 fresh lemon
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 lemon wheel
  • Nutmeg


  1. Add first three ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake sharply and strain into a tall glass with ice.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wheel dusted with nutmeg.

Quick tip

Have food available so guests don’t drink on an empty stomach. Avoid serving salty, sweet or greasy foods; they’ll make your guests thirsty. Foods high in protein and starch, such as meats, veggies, cheeses, dips and breads, are good choices.

More holiday party tips

5 Holiday drink recipes you won’t want to miss
Homemade holiday eggnog
Perfect holiday drink: Warm Winter Margarita

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