The workplace Christmas party can be a great opportunity to let your hair down and celebrate the season of goodwill with your colleagues. But as we all know, heavy drinking is often on the cards at these events. With the health and happiness of you and your team in mind, here are a few tips to help you steer the festivities towards something healthier.
1. Factor in a good meal
Make a good meal part of the plan. Eating something before drinking helps your body to absorb alcohol at a slower pace.1 When you’re planning the event, make sure everyone will get a good meal, including colleagues who are vegetarian or vegan, or who have food allergies or intolerances. Think about going somewhere that offers a variety of choices, as well as the traditional Christmas meal.
2. Set the right pace with drinking
Try to drink slowly and savour your tipples. The moment your glass is empty, colleagues may offer to buy you a drink – or accelerate their own drinking to catch up with you. Lead by example and keep the drinking at a relaxed pace.
3. Include non-alcoholic drinks in the mix
When you’re getting a round in for the team, offer to get them water or a non-alcoholic drink at the same time.2 Mixing in non-alcoholic drinks like this helps slow down how much alcohol reaches our brains. We should aim to drink two or three glasses of water throughout the party. It’s also a good idea to drink a large glass of water right before bed to avoid dehydration, which makes you feel hungover the next day.
4. Go for lower-strength drinks
If you’re all drinking beers and ciders, for example, go for ones that have a lower alcohol percentage. You could also turn spirits into long drinks, by topping them up with mixers like cola or soda water. Similarly, beer shandies and wine spritzers help make alcohol last longer and reduce the amount that you and the team drink.3
5. Help people think through the trip home
Get people talking in advance about how they’re planning to get back from the party, so they can leave the car keys at home and make sure they get home safely. Colleagues might be able to travel home together or share a taxi. If you have the budget, providing for taxi rides home would be a well-received perk for everyone involved, while helping to keep the team safe.
Bupa has more information about sensible drinking that you might find useful.
- 1. Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics (2 ed.). Non-nutrient components of food. oxfordmedicine.com, last updated December 2015
- 2. Low alcohol drinks. Drinkaware. www.drinkaware.co.uk, accessed October 2019
- 3. Binge drinking. Drinkaware. www.drinkaware.co.uk, accessed October 2019