Many of us in early recovery have significant concerns regarding how to enjoy the holidays in ways that don’t involve drinking or using drugs. Holiday gatherings centered around spiked eggnog and cider, wine, and beer can be challenging to navigate for the newly sober, so this season, you may have to get creative with your social endeavors, but it may not be as difficult as it first seems if you commit to finding fun, new sober activities during the holidays.
8 Fun Sober Holiday Activities
1. Plan an outdoor excursion.
Outdoor exercise, especially in warmer regions of the U.S., require non-alcoholic hydration. Moreover, inviting loved ones on an outdoor excursion is a relatively simple way to avoid drinking alcohol or sidestep relapse triggers. You can plan a hide, make snowmen, or take a walk on the beach, if appropriate for the weather. And you’ll probably feel uber-energized since you don’t have to suffer from hangovers and fatigue anymore.
2. Visit a tree farm.
If you celebrate Christmas, going to a farm and harvesting a live tree can keep the entire family entertained for a few hours. Some tree farms have hayrides, hot chocolate, have Santa visits, etc. Schedule the outing in advance and start a new family tradition to visit a tree farm each year, so the adults know they can take time off work, and the kids can look forward annually to the experience.
3. Host a movie or tv show marathon.
Getting cozy with refreshments to watch holiday films and shows is a treat that many children and adults look forward to every year. Even if you aren’t into Christmas entertainment, you can choose any movies or series you want, and now there is a wide range of platforms on which to view them, including DVD/Blu-ray, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
You can make hot chocolate, popcorn, or holiday cookies in advance for the activity. You can also decorate ornaments or do other fun crafts while watching to stay extra busy and add to the moment’s enjoyment.
4. Host a game night.
Board games, card games, and even some video games cater to a wide variety of potential players based on gender, age, interests, and attention span. You can get together with friends for Cards Against Humanity or go with Clue or Monopoly for younger individuals or a less adventurous bunch. Either way, time spent engaging in humor and creativity may be even more enjoyable than you would expect.
5. Have a baking contest.
The holiday season is synonymous with cooking and baking, including pies, cookies, brownies, bread, and pastries. Many people are likely to attend a bake-off to show off their skills or enjoy others’ creations. This event can also include serving non-alcoholic drinks such as mocktails, homemade eggnog, holiday milkshakes and smoothies, etc.
6. Decorate a gingerbread house.
In the same style as a bake-off, try dedicating an afternoon or evening to building and decorating a gingerbread house—or several. You might be amazed at how this activity can result in some impressive miniature architecture. Whether you decide on building a cottage or mansion, it can be quite entertaining for multiple generations to pick out colors, design rooms, and add all sorts of detail.
7. Go on a holiday light tour or make your own impressive display.
Some people take holiday decorating to an extreme, and the result is some pretty awesome displays of lights, colors, nativity scenes, Santa and reindeer on the roof, etc. Some cities and neighborhoods hold contests, and if you are feeling particularly ambitious, try to get your own home, or that of a relative, on a holiday light tour. Even if you don’t want to go all out yourself, you can gather loved ones in the car and drive around checking out others’ talents and enjoying the scenes.
8. Volunteer at a church, community dinner, or homeless shelter.
Volunteering your time over the holidays is a great way to feel good about yourself, help others, and stay busy and free from environments that may be conducive to substance use. Church activities and community dinners are a fun way to interact with neighbors and locals, and homeless shelters are also looking for extra hands to help prepare and serve food.
Getting Professional Help for Addiction
Just Believe Recovery is a licensed, specialized addiction treatment center equipped to address all aspects of a person’s health and wellness, including co-occurring mental and physical health conditions.
We offer multifaceted programs in a variety of formats, each including evidence-based services and activities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, substance abuse education, experiential methodologies, aftercare planning, and much more.