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5 Ideas for a Fun, Sober Holiday Party

 This time of the year can be challenging for those who are trying to stay sober. Many holiday parties include alcohol, and watching peers drink can put a lot of pressure on individuals recovering from alcohol dependency. 

By contrast, substance-free parties are respectful of everyone. They bring the chance to connect and celebrate the season without individuals worrying about what will be served. Here are five ideas for how to throw a fun, sober holiday party:

1.   Send Clear Invitations


The first step to throwing a substance-free party is to let everyone in on the plan. Whether you’re sending out paper invitations, Facebook messages, or texts, make sure you explain that this will be a zero-substance event. That way, people will have a heads up, and no one will be disappointed when they arrive.


Substance-free parties can be just as fun, if not more so, as parties with alcohol and other mind-altering substances. Guests will drive home more safely, and they’ll wake up feeling refreshed the next day. As the host, you’ll also have less to worry about at an alcohol-free party – if someone acts out or gets hurt, it won’t be because of substances you provided.

2.   Set the Mood


People like having alcohol at parties because it helps them relax and open up. You can achieve that same effect and help your guests feel comfortable by thoughtfully setting the mood for the party. Lighting is a big contributor to this – try dimming the lights so that people feel less exposed. Candles and a fireplace are another great way to bring ambiance and a sense of rest to your event.


Music is another helpful tool for setting the mood for your party. Choose the soundtrack with your party vibe in mind. Ask yourself if people will have trouble talking over the music you choose. Do you want them to be able to sing along, say to Christmas music? What are you trying to achieve with your sound? In conjunction, music and lighting can do a lot to help your guests relax and enjoy the party.

3.   Create Several Spaces


Some people come to parties to talk to everyone, while others prefer to sit in a corner and engage one-on-one. To help everyone feel comfortable and keep the energy flowing, make sure there are several spaces for guests to move through.


If you’re hosting in one small room, rearrange the furniture to create natural separations so several groups can form. That way, guests have somewhere to go if they want to switch up conversation partners or be alone for a moment. Creating numerous spaces will help people feel safe and encourage natural movement.

4.   Serve Good Food


To help fill the space usually occupied by alcohol or other substances, ensure there is plenty of good food at your gathering. Serve a robust menu of holiday treats, proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep your friends from feeling any alcohol cravings.


It’s also a great idea to serve fun drinks like hot chocolate, cider, and punch. That way, there’s something to reach for and sip during conversation time. Making mocktails sounds fun, but they can be a trigger for those weaning off alcohol dependency. To be safe, it’s best to stick to drinks that aren’t reminiscent of alcohol at all.

5.   Plan an Activity


To round out your party and ensure no one is missing a drink, plan one or two group activities. These can range from complicated board games to simple ice-breakers like charades. Try to get everyone involved with games that require teamwork, provoke laughter, and are easy for everyone to pick up. 


Planning a party is a delicate balance of directing your guests and also letting them do their own thing. Your guests came to relax, not to feel like they’re at work, so it’s best to keep your planning simple. However, organizing a few group activities can give purpose and direction to your event.

Celebrate the Holidays Sober


Although a sober party is not everyone’s idea of a good time, it can be a lot of fun if you plan it well. As the host of a holiday event, you have the power to create an environment where friends can connect without feeling pressured to partake in alcohol and other substances.


Follow these five tips to throw a fun, relaxed holiday party that will support your substance-free friends, foster meaningful connections, and encourage people to come back year after year. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. I am all about food! I rarely drink, so I don't even need alcohol at a party, but food? Yes!

  2. Great post! We will not be parting this year, but I do think all these ideas are great! Love the serve good food part, man I have had my share of bad Holiday party food...lol

  3. I really enjoyed this post, these are all really helpful tips.

  4. It's my favorite time of the year. And I can see myself planning lots of activities to make the holidays fun

  5. Thank you for these tips on how to throw a fun, and relaxed holiday party. Serving good food is definitely on top of my list

  6. Im all about fun activities and games. But A christmas party will not be complete without great food.

  7. Janeane M Davis7:56 AM

    It is great to have alcohol free celebration options so that those who do not drink have fun options.

  8. These are really sensible ideas to have fun and also a sober party. Good food and wholesome activities are what would make the party a success.

  9. Wonderful ideas here. I know that food can be such an important part of having a holiday party too. You always want to make sure to have good food.

  10. Richelle Milar10:38 AM

    These are all really great and awesome ideas! I really enjoy reading this post so much!

  11. These are great tips. We love to create a Christmas bucket list with things we want to do together as a family before the season is over.

  12. Good food is the key to any good party. It's important to have a good selection of options to allow for allergies etc.

  13. These are thoughtful ideas. Not only for a sober party, but a nice gathering with things to do.

  14. Love this and honestly there is no need for alcohol to have fun. I appreciate this as I grew up with an alcoholic stepfather and drinking really does no good for anyone or anything. I do ocassionally enjoy a good glass of wine or an IPA beer but that is about it.

  15. This is such a great idea! Great tips! Thank you for sharing the inspiration!


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