As the holidays come swooping onto our calendars with the passing of the year, so do parties filled with holiday cheer. For some, these parties can be an exciting time. But if you are on the road to sobriety, or supporting someone who is, these parties can leave you stressed out and anxious. That is where throwing an alcohol-free holiday party comes into play. It allows you to celebrate the festivities with all your friends and family, without having to deal with the stresses and concerns of being surrounded by champagne and egg nog. An alcohol-free party can be an amazing event, all it takes is some pre-planning and a group of friends who are ready to let loose.
Make It Clear
Like any party, you want your guests to understand what they are coming to. If you were getting married, odds are you would not send out an invitation that invited your guests to a birthday party. Same goes for throwing an alcohol-free party. You want them to not only understand your goal, and avoid the always-given-bottle-of-alcohol gift, but you want to get them excited about the possibilities of what is to come.
Next, the Guest List
One of the greatest attribute of attending a party is meeting new people. So while hosting an alcohol-free event, make sure to invite people from all walks of your life. The mix will allow people to mingle, making new friends, and will keep the party’s energy humming along. Plus, when all is said and done, everyone will look back and love what a diverse group of people you managed to wrangle into one party.
Pick a Theme
Whether it is White Christmas, Black Tie New Years or Disco Chanukah, have a theme and go all out with it. Having a holiday theme will help guide you as you plan your non-alcoholic evening. It will dictate how your guests will dress, the mood they will arrive with and how you decorate. Following your theme and decking your home out in festive garb will allow your guests to feel as though they are stepping into another world, which will only amp up their festive spirits, enabling them to let loose.
Drinks for All!
People coming to your party will be ready to eat and drink, so make certain your menu matches your event. Since you’re focused on an alcohol-free evening, make sure your drinks shine. Come up with a few mocktails that all guests will love; whether it’s a non-alcoholic blood orange mojito, a fresh hot apple cider, or a house made hot cocoa (recipes here!), make sure they look great and taste better. Having delicious, holiday themed drinks will make your guests forget there is no alcohol involved and prove to them a party without alcohol is even better.
Fill Their Stomach
Once you have your mocktail menu crafted, focus on your food. Depending on your theme, maybe you have a handful of holiday appetizers and hors d’oeuvres like baked brie, mini latkes or cold shrimp cocktail. Or if your party is more geared toward the sweeter side of the holidays, a decorate-your-own-cookie buffet is a fun way to engage guests while tempting their sweet tooth.
Though the goal of your party is to mingle and celebrate the holidays with friends and family, that does not mean you cannot have some added fun involved. A self-made photo booth is always an exciting addition. All this takes is a camera on a tripod (set to a timer), a fun backdrop and some homemade props. Maybe some reindeer antlers made of construction paper on a headband, or giant construction paper candy canes your guests can pose with. Or if your party is outside, get your fire pit cranked up and build a s’mores station. It will make your guests feel like kids again.
The Memorable Moment
What sets a party apart from others is creating a memorable moment that no one will forget. As the year winds down, it is a fresh opportunity to encourage your guests to look positively to the future. One memorable moment idea is to gather everyone around and have every guest share a resolution or two for the New Year. Write them all down in a book, then encourage your guests to return to the same party the following year, so everyone can check in on how they did. If resolutions is not your thing, breaking the crowd out into a holiday sing-along, or snapping a group photo that you can then give to everyone as a memory of the night will work just as well.
Have a Festive Blast
Once you have everything in order, the most important thing you can now do is have fun. Alcohol is not what makes a party, it is the spirit of those who attend. Turn on some music, grab yourself a holiday mocktail, and jump into a few Photo Booth pictures. It will only be a matter of time before you realize you have created a party with your friends that is sure to become a tradition.
Party planning is a great sober activity and when the actual party starts, don’t stress about everyone enjoying themselves, just become the leader and be sure you are having fun, everyone else is sure to follow.
Melissa Holmes Goodmon is the founder and CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, a leading California addiction treatment center created just for women—by women. Melissa is a licensed clinician and has stayed on the cutting edge of women’s treatment since 2006. Because of her own beautiful recovery story, she is proud to be among a small group of trailblazers since founding Casa Capri Recovery for Women in 2011, leading the way for other women to join them in this otherwise male-dominated industry. She is considered an advocate for the recovery community in the truest sense, standing up to discrimination and legally fighting for the rights of sober people in recovery to live in peace. To learn more about advocacy or if you’ve experienced discrimination, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out casacaprirecovery.com for more information on our program, or please give us a call at 844-207-4880.