The holiday spirit

With just one week left until Christmas Day, the messages of holiday cheer are in full swing. From the best-of-the-best holiday cocktail recipes to holiday music that bellows “That Christmas tree ain’t the only thing getting lit this year,” it’s no surprise that most of us will increase our alcohol intake by an easy 100%. ‘Tis the season, right?

On any “normal” year, the stress and worry of the holiday season has been known to drive people to drink — and then… well, then 2020 happened. This year is like no other. Families are separated. People are alone. So many have lost loved ones — and jobs, and homes. There is no roadmap to guide us through this unprecedented holiday season. Just detours, roadblocks and too many closed for business signs. We’re all sort of winging it; making virtual plans to celebrate together and doing our best to keep our spirits high as we slide into the reality that Christmas is coming whether we have it figured out or not.

So that brings me back to the booze.

Even on a “normal” year, it’s easy to tell ourselves that the Christmas spirit is best jumpstarted with a boozy glass of eggnog. Whether you’re drinking to celebrate or to calm your nerves due to, well… the holidays… alcohol is almost synonymous with this time of year.

And in years past, I was all in.

Our wine cellar in the basement is home to some amazing wines, and the holidays meant there was no guilt in opening the “good stuff.” Bring it on, holidays!

But here’s the weird thing, as I click past 7 months alcohol-free and think about the holidays, what I’m looking forward to most is a mug of hot chocolate around a fire. Some time off to sit with a cup of tea and a good book. Card games and watching corny holiday movies. Turning off the lights and lighting up the Christmas tree. Long hikes with my son. Wearing fuzzy Christmas socks and watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the 25th time (true story.)

I’ve already been singing along to holiday classics on Spotify and have spent a fair bit of time on Christmas crafty projects, holiday cookie baking and decorating the house.

I’m filled to the brim with Christmas spirit — the alcohol-free kind.

As much as I used to look forward to opening that special bottle of Cabernet, I’m looking forward to knowing that I will be completely, 100% present and clear every single day of the holiday season.