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Home » Uncategorized » Celebrate the Season Sans Spirits

Celebrate the Season Sans Spirits


This article is part of the Unified Prevention Coalition for Doña Ana County’s bi-monthly guest column in the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Saturday, November 28, 2020; Las Cruces, NM: “I kept sharing with everyone that I am excited to have three years sober,” my friend Rachel exclaimed. “And do you know what they did? They kept offering me drinks! My cousins were all like, ‘you good, you need a beer?’, and when I asked if they had any non-alcoholic drinks, they said they had ‘milk, water, or Coke’.”

Last year, Rachel had gone to the family home to celebrate Christmas, and though our gatherings will be smaller this year due to Covid-19 health regulations, it’s no less important to support our friends and family that want to avoid alcohol during the holidays.

Wanting to avoid alcohol isn’t unusual; the Center for Disease Control and Prevention points out that about one-third of the adult population reports they haven’t had alcohol in the past 12-months.

One of the ways that we can support non-drinkers is by making sure we have tasty non-alcoholic options available. Being offered milk, water, juice, or Coke can make us feel like a child again, and not in a good way. Offering another alternative that feels more adult – like a mocktail – can help people trying to avoid alcohol feel like they are part of the celebration.

Sometimes we may not know how to offer our support but imagine the difference in Rachel’s experience if her family had said, “Congratulations on three years sober! We have some sparkling grape juice or some warm spicy apple cider. Can I get you a glass?”

Small actions can make it easier for people to avoid alcohol, if that is what they are trying to do. Providing a celebratory non-alcoholic beverage might even make not drinking sound appealing to someone who had not even planned on celebrating the season sans spirits!

Some people may say that if a person wants to avoid alcohol, that’s their business, and that no one should have to make concessions for that. I would argue that something as simple as offering verbal support and a celebratory non-alcoholic beverage is the least we can do as caring people.

When we make avoiding alcohol more challenging than it needs to be for others, we are being unsupportive with our actions. Why would we do that when being supportive is so simple?
There are many reasons someone might choose not to drink alcohol: they may be pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant; they might have a family history of alcohol problems; they might have a problem with alcohol itself; they could be diabetic, or they might just be avoiding alcohol for generalized health or personal reasons. Sometimes people don’t like alcohol or how it makes them feel.

Whatever their reason, we can take the simple action of having celebratory non-alcoholic beverages to share with our families and friends this holiday season.
Providing non-alcoholic choices also teaches children that alcohol does not always have to be the preferred beverage at family gatherings. Consider letting children and teens be in charge of selecting and preparing a “mocktail” for the family to enjoy or perhaps hold a friendly competition for the best non-alcoholic drink!

The UP! Coalition is featuring “mocktails” and other non-alcoholic beverage recipes all month on our social media to help you with ideas for celebrating the season sans spirits.
Mocktail recipes are also featured on a recent episode of “Double Talk,” a local television program broadcast twice weekly on the Las Cruces community access television station Comcast 98 and featured on their YouTube channel. Follow along for some inspiring recipes to help those celebrating the season sans spirits.

Wait! There’s more. Check out one of the many delicious mocktail recipes we are sharing on our Facebook page (@UPCoalition):

Salted Caramel Cider
• 1 gallon of fresh apple cider
• 1 cup of caramel flavored syrup (as used in coffee drinks)
• ½ to 1 tablespoons of sea salt
• Pour the apple cider and caramel syrup into a large pot (or crock pot) and warm to desired temperature.
• Add ½ a tablespoon of sea salt
• Taste the Salted Caramel Apple Cider and add more if desired.


This news release is made available by the Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition for Doña Ana County, a program of the Center for Health Innovation, and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP).