Party planning is party planning, whether alcohol will be served or not. The same steps need to be taken. The only difference is in making sure your guests know in advance that alcohol will not be served and is discouraged.
- Choose a theme. Picking which holiday party you want to have will dictate the theme. Doing this first and building a sober holiday party around the theme will make it much easier.
- Prepare a guest list. Mix it up. Think of inviting friends and family members outside of your 12-step circle. Just be sure they know the party will be ‘dry’. Having a mixture of people will make the party fun and ensure it doesn’t turn into a 12-step meeting. Always over-invite. Especially for a sober party around the holidays.
- Purchase, DIY, or electronically create your invitations. This will be easy since you have a theme. Check out eVite for a variety of electronic, FREE, invitations. They will also track for you who is coming and send out reminders. It is VERY IMPORTANT to note on the invitations that this is a sober- alcohol-free holiday party. Otherwise people may B.Y.O.B. or be disappointed.
- Stock the bar with a variety of beverages; sodas (include non-caffeinated drinks), flavored iced teas, mixers, and garnishments (straws and cut up lemons and limes).
- Introduce a non-alcoholic, festive signature drink just for the occasion. Eating Well has a variety of recipes to choose from.
- When it’s not all about the alcohol, it’s all about the food. The choice is yours; do you want to have a sit-down dinner, or mock-tails and hearty appetizers? If dinner is not served, have something for your guests to do throughout the night while appetizers are being passed around. Maybe a fun game to break the ice and encourage guests to get to know each other. When people are provided a casual, comfortable way to meet each other and are having fun, they won’t notice or need the alcohol.
- Set up an interactive desert table. A chocolate fondue or chocolate fountain with angel food cake, fresh fruit, or sugar cookies to dip. Provide coffee (regular and decaf), hot tea, and maybe cider for the holidays as well. If you have the room and you’re party is small; place a toaster oven on the desert table with a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough (chilled over a bowl of ice). Guests can bake and eat their own hot-out-of-the-oven cookies.
The success of any party is dictated by the guests. Choose wisely. If your best friend refuses to stay sober at a holiday party, don’t invite him/her. You will be surprised by how much your drinking friends and family members will want to support your recover efforts and will appreciate a dry party.