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In some families, the holidays are a constant party: eating, drinking, and laughing for days on end. In other families, the holidays can be a more subdued and chilled-out affair. Every family is different, but one thing stays the same: it’s important to engage in responsible drinking during the holidays. From setting a good example for younger relatives to avoiding driving under the influence of alcohol, here are 4 reasons to practice responsible drinking this holiday season:

1. Drinking Too Much Is Not a Good Way to Handle Stress

If you associate this time of year with added anxiety, you’re definitely not alone. For people who are tight on cash, this can be an extremely stressful season for you and your bank account. Those with family drama have the extra angst associated with long days with extended family. In fact, the findings of a 2015 survey conducted by Healthline, a consumer health information site based in San Francisco, California have shown the holidays can contribute to elevated stress levels in nearly 60% of people.

Part of responsible drinking comes from avoiding triggers for consuming alcohol. So while it’s probably okay to enjoy a glass of wine over dinner—it’s definitely not a good idea to drown out your anxiety with drinking. This can lead to dangerous consequences and reinforces an unhealthy attitude toward drinking.

2. You Want to Remember Your Holidays

Despite potentially stressful situations, the holidays are still an amazing time for making memories with friends and family. For those of us who travel a long way to see family, this can be one of the only times every year where you get to reconnect with everyone you hold dear. You want to make memories to take back home with you, and binge drinking may interfere with that.

While a drink here or there is hardly going to alter your memory, serious binge drinking can actually lead to a blackout. Generally, this occurs when your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) reaches 0.14%. At this point, your brain may be unable to form short term memories. Aside from this being a dangerous situation to get yourself into, it also means that holiday memories will be passing you by. Make sure you practice responsible drinking by limiting your intake and cutting yourself off when you’ve had too much.

3. The Stats—It’s a Dangerous Time for Drinking

What’s one of the most important reasons to get your drinking under control for the holidays? You don’t want to just be another statistic. Tragically, the holiday months are some of the most dangerous in terms of driving and intoxication:

  • Across the country, an average of 300 people dies in drunk-driving crashes between Christmas and New Year.
  • In 2016, an incredible 781 people died in drunk-driving crashes in December alone.
  • Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday on the nation’s roads, with over 800 people dying in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes between 2012 and 2016 (between the hours of 6:00 pm Wednesday and 5:59 am Monday).

This holiday season, do not drink and drive so that you won’t be part of this statistic. Always have a plan for getting from point A to point B safe and sober during holiday revelry.

4. Set a Good Example for Friends & Family

Being surrounded by people you love can certainly be stress-inducing, but at the end of the day these are some of the most important relationships in your life. Often, holiday events include young children—nieces, nephews, sons, and daughters. When it comes to the people you love, it’s more important than anything to protect them from danger and set a good example.

By getting control of your drinking before the holidays, drinking in moderation, and avoiding drinking and driving throughout the holiday season and year-round you can help protect your friends and family.

Despite possible stress, the holidays are an amazing time. We get a chance to reminisce, reconnect with family and friends, and enjoy a few wonderful days off work and away from the everyday grind. With the right mindset, only drinking in moderation, and avoiding drunk driving, you can do the holidays right.

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