New Year's With No Alcohol: A Survival Guide

Above all, my lovely readers, have fun, stay safe, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Publish date:
December 30, 2011
alcohol, drinking, new year's eve

Whether you don't drink or you can't drink, New Year's Eve can sometimes be a bit of a minefield, what with all the drinking and it being sort of central to the events. After years of navigating social environments where everyone wants to thrust a glass of champagne into my hand as an act of kindness, I've learned a few things. And, because I love you all, I thought I'd drop some knowledge.

Presenting my further tips and tricks for handling New Year's Eve (and other social events) when your plans for the evening don't include alcohol!

Option One: Awesome, Party Of One

If you're like me and you hate parties, this is a great option. Because, let's face it, that's what I do every night. I'm well stocked with a review copy of "Downton Abbey," a shitload of chocolate and a cat. Which means you'll probably find me skulking in my bed on New Year's Eve, with a grumpy expression at midnight when people start shooting fireworks (and guns).

Optional: For those who aren’t as hardcore about misanthropy as I am, you can always invite a few friends over for dinner and a mellow night.

Option Two: Be the Designated Driver

It's hard to argue with the designated driver. And your friends will be totally stoked that you're willing to chauffeur their drunk butts around for the night. When you live in the back of beyond like I do and you pretty much have to drive to get anywhere, people who are willing to fall on that particular sword are warmly embraced.

Potential bonus: That friend with the really nice car might let you drive it for the evening in trade. Vroom vroom!

Optional: Apply some protective sheeting to your backseat and floors before the evening begins.

Option Three: Be Blunt

Someone offers you a drink?

"Thanks, but I don't drink."

I've found through years of experience that "No thanks, I'm not drinking tonight," "Oh, I'm good," etc. tend to invite discussion. When you're crisp, clear and confident, you tend to get less hassle. Should someone decide to press the issue with a "Oh, why?" you bust out the Miss Manners Approved:

"Pardon me?"

Now, a full-on Miss Manners Pardon Me takes years of training, but a quick practice round in the mirror will get you set for party basics. For additional effect, raise one silky eyebrow to make it clear that you're shocked, simply shocked, that someone would ask such an intrusive question.

Option Four: Party With Friends Who Aren’t Butts

I'm a big fan of this solution. If your friends know you and know your boundaries, not only are you likely to have more fun, but they'll be less likely to pressure you to drink, and they'll run interference for you. My pal Peaches selflessly puts herself in the way of many an incoming cocktail on my behalf, for example.

Your friends are also more likely to be down with a venue that isn't as alcohol-centric for New Year's Eve, but also isn't a dreary night of board games in the Rec Center.

Option Five: Carry A Flask

This has the added plus of making you seem slightly 1920s and mysterious, especially if you waggle your eyebrows and give people a knowing glance while you imbibe. You can bring out the single arched eyebrow for anyone who dares to ask for a sip, if necessary.

Optional: Strap it to your thigh for bonus points. For bonus bonus points, use the ole cleavage storage compartment, and carry a sharp stick for drunks.

Option Six: Go Out to a Fancy Restaurant

Depending on where you are, tables may still be available! And there's something deeply enjoyable about eating ridiculously fancy food and reading a book, for misanthropes like me. Such establishments also have cool nonalcoholic options you can treat yourself to, if you're into that kind of thing. Plus, someone else does the dishes. WIN!

Optional: Invite a friend you don’t hate along for the fun.

Option Seven: “Why Yes! I’d Love A Ginger Ale!”

I like to call this the relentlessly cheery approach to fielding offers of drinks, because you put a big grin on your face, imagine snapping open your fan, and say:

"Oh, how sweet of you! I am parched, a ginger ale would be fantastic!"

The great thing about being almost aggressively cheerful is that it's hard for people to counter, especially if you start steamrollering them if they keep talking.

"Oh, but if there's no ginger ale, cranberry juice would be great too."

Above all, my lovely readers, have fun, stay safe, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

How about you, xoJaners? Any tips for dealing with an alcohol-free New Year's Eve, whatever the reason?