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Sober curious? How to cope with the festive boozy season

Christmas can be pretty full on when it comes to food and drink - and if you are trying to reduce your alcohol intake, this could feel like a challenging season for you. We spoke to Mandy Manners, who is a Sobriety Coach and Author and asked her for her tips.

Whether you are sober, sober curious or would like to manage your alcohol intake with ease through Christmas, this time of year can be a bit of a headache if you are avoiding the booze. It can easily feel that every family or friend gathering is dominated by alcohol - and if you are feeling the temptation to drink when you don't want to, it can be a really pressurised time.

As a sobriety coach, Mandy has not only personal experience to share to help you to navigate through the party season, but her advice is brilliant to help you take control of what can be a really intense time.

4 tips for a joyful alcohol-free Christmas 

Make a plan

Take time to think in advance the following questions: Who do you want to see? Where do you want to go? How long do you want to spend there? What might trigger you? What will you do if you are?

Consider calling a friend who doesn't drink, and/or connect with a sober community (like on Instagram, in your neighbourhood, or Facebook - Club Soda is a great platform). Have an exit plan ready and make sure you eat. Try to take some time out during the event to give yourself a breather. Don't forget to check what the alcohol-free drink options are; most bartenders can whip up an alcohol-free cocktail or two!

Play it forward

It can help to project past the social event to help frame your mind positively. Think: How do you want to feel tomorrow? How do you want to feel when you go back to work? How would you like to be present for the ones you love?

And remember, soon everyone will be doing Dry January and you will be ahead of the game! You will also have had a real rest and be less stressed when you return to work. And no-one has ever complained about being hangover free - so let's raise a (alcohol-free) glass to that!

Make it rewarding

One thing a lot of people find tricky when they stop drinking alcohol (or want to reduce their intake) is finding ways to treat yourself and celebrate successes when we are so conditioned to believe alcohol needs to be a part of that.

To help 'treat and celebrate' yourself, try these ideas:
👗Buy yourself an accessory every day in the lead up to Xmas to create your Christmas outfit;
💷 Put money in the jar that you would be spending on alcohol and book yourself in for a NYE sober spa treat;
🕯 Get really into sensory experiences that you can enjoy without drinking; festive scents, pretty lights and candles, spicy and fragrant teas or hot chocolates, singing to carols, snuggling under blankets.


Christmas and New Year can feel pretty overwhelming! Between navigating the needs and expectations of others and the emotions of what Christmas is, used to be and will be. Feeling the loss of loved ones or the stress of finances, it can feel like a lot. It's also the time of year that if we were listening to our inner seasonal rhythms we would be nesting, resting and conserving our energy.

So less is more! Think: What can you take off the to-do list, or better still delegate elsewhere? What can you - and those around you -  do without, so that Christmas is calmer and easier for all? How can you build rest into your Christmas plans to ensure you take time for your mind to relax?

You can buy Mandy's book, Love Yourself Sober on Amazon here