Six Critical Mistakes to Avoid During End of Year’s Festivities

This time of year is full of celebrations and parties as Christmas and New Year’s Eve is around the corner. Many of these parties start civilly, but are likely to end up a bit messy.

You have probably experienced or witnessed inappropriate, embarrassing or even dangerous behaviour as a result of drinking too much alcohol.

Excess celebration and etiquette “faux pas” can become the source of juicy gossip and future notoriety. I have personally experienced this situation one Christmas when I had one (or two) too many drinks and I decided to make a game of throwing grapes at the kids as a bit of fun. The kids found it quite amusing and joined in however I feel a little bit uncomfortable every time the Grape Incident came up in conversation!

From the second you take your first sip, alcohol starts affecting your body and mind. After one or two drinks you may start feeling more sociable, but after four or more drinks basic human functions, such as walking and talking become much harder. Five or more alcohol drinks consumed in one night can stay in the body and affect brain and body activities for up to three days.

Studies have found that alcohol reduces how much people care about making mistakes as alcohol reduces the brains alarm signal in response to errors.

Over time, I have learnt from my mistakes and I have implemented strategies to make sure that they are never repeated. Here is what I have learnt.

Mistake # 1:

No Strategy

Do you turn up at a party and hope for the best with no plan and strategy in mind? It is likely that one drink will lead to the next and by drink # 3 – all good intentions are thrown out the window or ignored. A strategy with specific guidelines or rules needs to be formed before you go to the party.

Tip: Determine exactly what your strategy will be before attending the party. How many drinks will you allow yourself? Have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.

Mistake # 2:

Start drinking as soon as you arrive at your destination

You are likely to be very thirsty when you arrive at your destination as it has probably been longer than 20 minutes since you have consumed any water. Don’t gulp down a glass of alcohol to quench your thirst as this will further dehydrate you.

Tip: Drink a glass of cool sparkling mineral water upon arrival. It feels like it is a special drink and it is so refreshing. Have it poured in a champagne flute.

Mistake # 3:

Someone else is topping your glass

Allowing your glass to be topped up by someone else, whether that someone else is a waiter or a well-meaning friend is asking for trouble as you will have no idea how much you
are drinking.

Tip: Place your hand on top of your glass and politely say “No Thank You”

Mistake # 4:

Taking part in ‘shouts’

When taking part in a ‘shout’, everyone that is part of the ‘shout’ must take a turn to buy the whole group alcoholic beverages. The problem with this approach is that people tend to drink faster as they are trying to keep up with their mates and feel compelled to have all the drinks until the shout is complete.

Tip: Don’t join a Shout. I used to think it was rude not to take part in a shout when you out with a group of people, but the fact is that nobody minds! In fact, in my experience, they prefer it if they have one less person to buy a drink for.

Mistake # 5:

Not eating

Foods will slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.

Tip: Eat whilst you are drinking. Make sure that the venue you are going to also has food

Mistake # 6:


As personal experience has taught me – shots are “lethal”! Having shots at a party is very much a game where you need to quickly ingest a concentrated amount of alcohol. Ingesting this concentrated amount of alcohol so quickly is like shooting alcohol directly into the bloodstream and has an immediate impact to the functioning of the brain and body. Anecdotal evidence also shows that having shots the day before leads to a terrible hang over the next day!

Tip: You can enjoy yourself without taking part in games of shots. They are so unnecessary. Play a fun game instead that doesn’t involve alcohol

Finally be safe. If you are the designated driver, keep away from alcohol altogether.

Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas and a New Year where you take control and live strong!
– Helen

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