Peer Pressure and Drinking Culture over Christmas


For a lot people having one too many glasses of mulled wine or fizz is the best thing about the festive period. From Christmas parties to boxing day in the pub, what was once a month centered around spending time with the ones we loved regardless of what they ate or drink, is now an excuse to drink all the alcohol in sight. At our work Christmas party, some colleagues seemed more interested in the amount of alcohol they would drink than the party itself and in the supermarkets people are piling all the alcohol into the trolleys. This is my second year not drinking alcohol at Christmas due to medical reasons and I'm not even missing it. I can count all the alcoholic drinks I've had this year on my hands and feet (well two hands and one foot to be exact), while a large proportion of people would need hundreds of bodies to calculate their consumption.

I'm very lucky that I have really understanding family, friends and colleagues, all of which are aware of the circumstances that prohibit me to drink, but out of my immediate social circle, I have felt pressured to drink and that shouldn't be the case, no-one should feel pressured to put anything in their body and although alcohol is the norm for a lot of people, for some it isn't. Christmas in particular, there's a lot of peer pressure to drink without people realising that they are enforcing it on people.

For example, I have been to events where alcohol has been put in my hands without me even asking for it. It is automatically assumed that I should drink it and if I do pass it up, I then feel obliged to tell them my whole medical history because 'not wanting alcohol' isn't a good enough excuse. At parties I have been made to feel like 'i'm not joining in with properly' if I don't drink alcohol and I have also had the phrase 'why come if you cannot drink?' said to me before - well I'm sorry that me spending time with my friends isn't a good enough reason to come out, god forbid that I actually want to make an effort.

Also what really annoys me is the lack of sophisticated non-alcoholic drinks in the supermarkets that are catered towards non-drinkers, no offence to Shloer, but I feel like a ten year old trying to fit in an adult party and my mum muttering to me 'this is a grown up drink, it will help you fit in'. Admittedly, many stores are now selling non-alcoholic alternatives to alcohol such as non-alcoholic wine, but these are put in the alcohol section so it is made to look like you are conforming to a drinking society when really you are not. Also you have to be 18 and over to buy non-alcoholic wine, yep wine with no alcohol in it...so juice, just grape juice. M&S has angered me this year for pulling their zero alcohol pulled punch that they sold last year - last year it was the highlight of my Christmas. My family enjoyed drinking it with me around the fire despite it being alcohol free. Thankfully, Holland and Barrett saved me from a Christmas deprived of zero alcohol mulled wine with a mulled punch that they stock.

In short, Christmas isn't about alcohol, excessive drinking, passing out on the sofa before lunch time after too many morning proseccos, spending all boxing day in bed nursing hangovers. Christmas is about spending time with loved ones and actually remembering the time you spent with them. I'm not anti-alcohol, if I was meds free I would happily enjoy a tipple or two - even though I've never been one to drink to excess. It's just some people need a gentle reminder that Christmas is for making special memories that last a lifetime and that life is too short to be living in an alcohol fueled daze.

Have you experienced pressure to drink at Christmas?


















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24 comments

  1. I don't feel the pressure, I can take it or leave it, I think I drank too much from 18 - 20 to care for drink now lol x

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  2. I am going to my office party tomorrow and I will be driving, so no fizz for me but that's ok! I am sure I will get a few questions asked, but I simply have too much to do and have to be up at 5am the next morning, so don't really want a headache I guess. Each to their own, I would never pressure anyone into drinking though, it's up to the person..

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  3. I really don't think it is anyone's business whether someone chooses to have a drink or not, and to pressure them to do so is just rude. I agree though, it seems for some people the focus on the Holidays has become all about the drinking, but they are missing the point of the season.

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  4. I hate when people pressure you to drink! I drink very little if any and its a vary rare occasion that I do and I've had people try to pressure me into drinking, all it does is puts me into a bad mood because I can decide fro myself what I'd like to drink and I prefer soft drinks!

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  5. I live in Germany and I feel that there is a lot less pressure over here to have a drink. Non-alcoholic drinks are a little more inspiring in most places as well thankfully. Even the Christmas Markets do great non-alcoholic Gluhwein.

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  6. No one should be forced to drink but I do know what you mean. Up until recently I was unable to have alcohol because I was so sick. Even now I have to be careful how much I have but it was worse before. When I am at events people do automatically presume that I will be drinking and its not right. Peer pressure is not cool.

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  7. As an adult you would think peer pressure goes away, but it doesn't. It's a very real and very annoying thing. I'll be 36 in a few weeks and sometimes I feel like I get more pressure now as an adult then when I was teenager. I don't drink for many reasons, and people should be accepting of that, but I have found it's worse after people are already drunk and I just laugh and order a virgin girly drink so it appears that I am drinking.

    xo,
    Eeka

    Live.Love.Random.

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  8. I must admit I haven't experienced peer pressure to drink at any time of year but then firstly I can't be convinced to drink if I am not in the mood, secondly I really don't need alcohol to be relaxed and enjoy myself and anyone that meets me is normally instantly aware of that and thirdly my friends are great and wouldn't want to make me feel pressurised into doing anything I don't want to.

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  9. I totally agree with you, people just make assumptions and look down on you if you've chosen not to drink. I like a drink on occasion but I am not a huge drinker and hate it when people look at you like you're not joining in or having fun if you're not drinking x

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  10. I really like this post. I don't drink too much and always get told that I'm a pay pooper, which I think is unfair. I just don't need alcohol to have fun!

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  11. I definitely felt pressure when I was younger, but now people don't bat an eyelid if someone isn't drinking at Christmas x

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  12. I think their can be pressure and that's such a shame. I've never really had to deal with it, thankfully - I like a drink but am also very happy not to indulge. That being said, I do think more interesting non-alcoholic drinks are important, when we entertain I always try to feature a couple of fun, tasty mocktails for the non-drinkers.

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  13. I have never felt pressure to drink on the holidays. I am not one to drink much anyway, but it is nice to have a little drink and indulge only if one wants to. I suppose it can depend on your temperament and whether or not you will easily give in. I have always been so careful to not drink and drive and if anything I am the one telling others to drink less. x

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  14. Being raised by an alcoholic father I guess alcohol was always around but I am actually a very sensible drinker after seeing the devastating consequences it can have on families

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  15. When I was younger I used to feel the pressure to drink a lot. Especially when I was out. I think as you get older you just get a confidence where no means no. I do enjoy a good drink though. This year thought pregnancy means I won't be having anything!

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  16. Me and my wife don't drink - a glass of wine once a year probably and not even at Christmas, we just enjoy tea more. We didn't even drink on our wedding day.

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  17. Good on you for sharing! If I'm honest, I never drink christmas. I got drunk one year, but don't do it. I usually drink for a xmas do or something else. Somehow doesn't appeal to me around family x

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  18. to be honest no because me and my husband don't drink apart from special ocassions and even then its not much

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  19. It must be horrible for you to feel pressured to drink. I don't think you have to drink to be able to have a good time.

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  20. I am very fortunate to have a great set of friends who know I don't need to drink to be wild and loud lol it's natural thing for me but even when I opt out of drinking they don't pressure me to drink. Great post

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  21. I'm fortunate enough to have never felt pressure to drink over Christmas time, but I'm sure many people have. This post will be so helpful to them. It's great that you're spreading awareness about it.

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  22. I'm not a huge drinker but a lot of my friends love a good boozy one. I am quite well behaved because I like to train first thing, if I have too many I just don't achieve as much with my day.

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  23. I cant stand people who think you have to have a drink to enjoy yourself. I rarely drink and feel better for it x

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