During the holiday season, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, family and friends come together to celebrate the season and the beginning of a new year. The incorporation of alcoholic beverages is usually a large part of these celebrations. However, the current wellness boom has fueled a mindful drinking movement called “sober curious” (the term given to those questioning their relationship with alcohol). This movement includes those who want to cut back their drinking habits periodically to complete alcohol abstinence.

Many mindful drinkers are inspired by their own experiences, which include balancing health and wellness and eliminating bad drinking habits. The ultimate goal is to reframe your relationship with alcohol to encourage mental wellbeing, and improve overall health.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over the past five years, an average of 300 people died in drunk driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. In 2016, 781 people lost their lives in drunk-driving-related crashes in the month of December alone. About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders according to NHTSA fatality data. In Georgia, during last year’s Christmas holiday period, 190 arrests were made for driving under the influence, and 289 people were arrested during the New Year’s holiday for the same offense. Colonel Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said “Most fatal crashes during a holiday period in Georgia involve an impaired driver, speed, or the person killed not utilizing a seat belt.”  In some crashes a combination of the contributing factors is found, he noted.

During the holiday season, law enforcement and traffic safety agencies throughout the United States and Canada, encourage motorists to wear a seat belt, obey the speed limits, avoid distracted driving, and don’t drink and drive through concentrated patrols and educational outreach.

If you are contemplating becoming a part of this mindful drinking movement or at least want to support others, you may want to consider providing non-alcoholic beverages and encouraging designated drivers during your holiday celebrations. There are several sites that provide non-alcoholic recipes and suggestions for hosting non-alcoholic parties. You can also find online communities for those who are interested in changing their drinking habits. Whatever you decide to do this holiday season, please make it a safe and enjoyable occasion.