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Stay Safe this Holiday Season!

Harm-Reduction Tips for Drinking Over the Holidays​


A message from Dr. Kelsey Louie, FNHA Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO)

For some, the holiday season is a time for more merriment than usual – in the form of parties and gatherings, where alcohol might be served. While more fun is a good thing, more alcohol can be not so good. Moderation or abstinence is definitely best when it comes to alcohol. So if you do choose to drink, please help keep yourself and others safe by drinking responsibly. 

A couple of months ago, many community members in BC participated in our "Sober-er for October" campaign, reflecting on alcohol education and ways to consider safely reducing or even quitting their alcohol consumption altogether. Happily, many have kept the ball rolling with their choices! With the holidays approaching, I'd like to reiterate here some of the tips we shared during "Sober-er for October" for safer, more responsible consumption of alcohol. After all, what's more important at Christmas time (or any other time, for that matter) than to try and keep yourself and your loved ones safe?

Holiday Drinking and Harm Reduction

• Avoid leaving your drink unguarded, or if you have to put it down, consider covering it with a coaster or napkin.

• Fill up with some food before drinking (don't drink on an empty stomach).

• Remember that drinking slowly and steadily is the way to go.

• Sip your drink, or skip a drink! Drink a glass of water in between drinks, or maybe if you have a bottle of beer, when it is nearly empty, fill it with water so that others won't get you another drink right away.

• Consider grape juice in your wine glass – or sparkling water with lime or club soda with a splash of cranberry juice – and make sure to have something in your hand the entire time. Non-alcoholic / "mocktail" choices, some of which are mixes of herbs, fruits and spices, can be really delicious! Not to mention much healthier!

• Remember that the combination of alcohol and drugs (including prescription drugs) can be dangerous.

• Develop accountability. Don't be afraid to let the people around you know that you are planning to keep your holiday drinking to a minimum / not drink at all! If people know, they will support you and may even join you! 

• ​Stock your fridge with lots of non-alcoholic beverages – sparkling low-calorie flavoured waters are great. You don't want to replace alcohol with unhealthy, high-calorie, high-sugar beverages such as regular pop or lots of eggnog. It takes a bit of preparation, but keeping a pitcher of water in your fridge with some cut-up fruit is a great habit to develop. Try lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries – be creative! 

For more great information on reducing alcohol consumption, please visit​ any of the following messages:

Especially for youth and young adults:


On behalf of myself and the whole OCMO team, I would like to extend my safe thoughts and wishes to everyone over the holiday season and into the New Year.


Dr. Kelsey Louie

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