Skip to content

‘Tis the season for getting together and enjoying time with family and friends. With most of us expecting to host or attend several events over December and January, it’s important to note that a growing number of South Australians are entering the festive season alcohol-free. So how can we make sure that our social events are inclusive for those who are choosing not to drink alcohol this festive season?

Everyone has their reasons for not drinking alcohol – whether it’s for mental health, history of substance use, avoiding hangovers or just to feel more present. Many celebrities are also speaking more about a life without alcohol such as Chrissy Swan, Osher Gunsberg and Dave Hughes.

Alcohol is a known risk factor for cancer. Despite this, alcohol forms a part of many social and cultural activities in Australia, and less than half of Australians know that alcohol causes cancer.

Earlier this year Cancer Council SA Interviewed public health researcher Dr Belinda Lunnay about her work researching the sober curious movement. Dr Lunnay shared that the women she spoke to in her study reported feeling social pressures to drink and a saturation of alcohol in their everyday contexts that made declining drinking difficult.

Here are our 4 tips to support your friends and family who are going alcohol-free this festive season.

1. Provide non-alcoholic drink options

Making your own mocktails is a creative and fun activity that caters for all your family, friends and guests, offering a non-alcoholic alternative for those who may not want to drink or would like to cut down their alcohol consumption. Experiment with fruit, savoury and even spicy ingredients. Or a focus on food will never disappoint any guest – if you’re preparing a meal for your festive event, check out some of our delicious, healthy recipes.

2. Plan fun activities for your guests

Plan activities that don’t revolve solely around alcohol. If you’re organising end of year celebrations for work or your social group, consider activities that don’t centre around alcohol. These might include outdoor games, group activities, or even wellness sessions like yoga or meditation. By thinking about fun and connection outside of alcohol, you can ensure that guests feel included in celebrations and activities regardless of their drinking preferences.

3. Supportive small talk

Even small talk at parties and events can revolve around alcohol – such as, “What are you drinking?” or offering alcohol as the first drink out of habit. But it doesn’t need to. There are plenty of other conversation starters to try including asking about holiday traditions, goals or resolutions for the New Year, or highlights from the year past.

4. Alternatives to alcohol-based gifts

It’s all too easy to buy a bottle of something for the person you don’t know well. We have put together a holiday gift guide with suggestions for easy and affordable gifts to suit everyone, without defaulting to alcohol.

If you’re sober curious and want more tips on how to enjoy being alcohol-free this festive season, check out this post from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

For confidential telephone counselling, information and referral service, you can call the Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 250 015.