The holidays are often a great opportunity to teach underage family members about responsible drinking behavior. That doesn’t mean it’s okay for parents to allow their kids to participate in holiday drinking at family gatherings. In fact, it’s not legal in North Carolina for parents to supervise their kids drinking alcohol — no matter the circumstance.
The winter holidays are often considered some of the booziest holidays of the year. Parents who plan to engage in holiday drinking at family gatherings should keep in mind their kids are watching (and learning from) their behavior. They will also need to monitor their kids to make sure no one is drinking underage.
Celebrate Without Alcohol
There are many safe ways to celebrate the holidays without alcohol. Children and teens want to be a part of the fun too! Start a new tradition this year, and make sure everyone in the family participates.
Focus on the Food
You don’t need champagne to enjoy a gingerbread cookie or a candy cane! Find some new treats you can bake with your youngest family members. Baking is a fun holiday activity the entire family can enjoy. Not only can everyone participate, everyone will reap the benefits.
Cook a dish or two using a family recipe and remember to pass the recipe along to the next generation. This makes the meal more meaningful, and it allows for family bonding.
Allow the highlight of your holiday gathering to be the main meal. Savor the experience when everyone is sitting around the table eating their favorite foods (including those family recipes). This could even be a teachable moment if adults choose to drink with their meal. When you demonstrate healthy drinking habits (like limiting the amount of alcohol you drink), kids will learn from your behavior.
Consider incorporating games and activities into your holiday events that don’t involve alcohol. This allows children to be a part of the fun, and it allows more family bonding. Here are some activities to consider this holiday season:
- Build a gingerbread house
- Play games like Charades or Pictionary
- Gather around a fire to tell stories
- Set up a cookie-decorating station
- Make your own tree decorations, like popcorn garland
Enjoy Holiday Mocktails
Make some holiday mocktails that are creative and tasty without any alcohol. You can even create a base in a punch bowl and set up a mocktail bar with drink embellishments. Everyone can have fun making their own drinks!
Click here for some fun holiday mocktails you can make at home.
Demonstrate Safe Drinking Behavior
If you do decide to drink alcohol around kids this holiday season, make sure to demonstrate safe drinking behavior. It’s up to you to set a good example for them to follow when they are older.
Take the Pledge to teach your kids about underage drinking.