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Tips for Throwing an Alcohol-free Holiday Barbecue
Holidays are often difficult times for many people, but for those in recovery, holidays can dramatically increase your stress and anxiety.
For recovering alcoholics, coping with these emotions is challenging enough, but holiday parties and family gatherings, including end-of-summer barbecues, often serve alcohol. If you live an alcohol-free lifestyle, a barbecue can be challenging.
The good news is it’s possible to host a barbecue that isn’t only alcohol-free, but a celebration that will be fun and something everyone will enjoy.
Here are a few tips to help you throw a fun and memorable, alcohol-free barbecue.
Stock the Coolers With Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Just because there’s no alcohol being served doesn’t mean you and your guests can’t have a selection of flavorful drinks. Create a beverage bar where your guests can assemble their drinks and encourage them to build their non-alcoholic creations. A great addition to a beverage bar would be Top Tomato Bloody Mary Mix.
There are nonalcoholic beers and wine that can also be used to make specialty alcohol-free drinks. When served in a cocktail glass and topped with garnishes, they may even taste better than traditional alcoholic cocktails.
Make the Food Stand Out
There’s nothing better than having good food to go along with alcohol-free beverages. You can still serve all of the classic barbecue foods, simply put your twist on them. When you don’t have alcohol on the menu, you should compensate with good tasting food choices, such as:
- Burgers and hot dogs. These barbecue staples don’t inherently need to be accompanied by alcohol. Circle B Ranch Nitrite Free Hot Dogs are perfect for the grill!
- Kabobs. Provide the ingredients and let your guests create their own before you put them on the grill.
- Something sweet. Put together a dessert bar that showcases all of your favorite sweets.
Your guests will enjoy the food, and the effort you put into the planning and in most situations. They won’t even remember that your barbecue was an alcohol-free event.
Themed Barbecue Party Ideas
If you associate barbecues with checkered tablecloths and coolers full of beer, this is the perfect opportunity to step outside of the traditional and give your barbecue a theme. Some fun themes include:
- Western barbecue. Skip the lawn chairs and picnic table, instead use hale bales for seating, serve Tex-Mex style side dishes, and give your guests a cowboy hat when they arrive. Use bandanas to wrap the silverware and be used as napkins.
- Bring the heat. Use party decorations that have grill flames pictured on them. Give guests a paper fan. Create hot sauce pyramids for the table centerpieces. Encourage guests to bring their spiciest side dish for the hottest food contest.
Although the food and good company are the highlights of your party, party games and activities can help to ensure your barbecue is a hit.
Some fun activities and party games to consider may include:
- Two-legged races
- Volleyball or badminton
- Bean bag or water balloon toss
- Egg-spoon races
- Sack races
Choose Guests Carefully
Whether your barbecue will include family, friends, or a combination of both, it’s important to invite people who you are comfortable with.
Not only should your guests understand the reason you are hosting a non-alcohol barbecue, but they should also understand the importance of not bringing or encouraging others to bring alcohol. Make it clear that anyone who does bring alcohol will not be permitted to enter or will be asked to leave.
It’s not a whim; you’re protecting your sobriety.
Taking alcohol out of the picture may make you slightly uncomfortable with this “new” type of party. When you were drinking, you probably planned your parties around it.
Keep in mind that these feelings are perfectly normal. Be prepared for a few minutes of uncomfortableness. You will realize that this party is being hosted by the “new” you, the person who no longer relies on alcohol to have a good time.
Once you begin to relax, you’ll realize that not only are you having fun but so are others around you.
Take This Opportunity to See How Far You’ve Come
Parties are a time for you to take a break from the daily grind of daily life, to relax and recover physically and mentally from daily pressures.
Before beginning your journey of recovery, parties probably included heavy drinking and hangovers. Focus now on the benefits of being sober, not what you think you’re missing.
This is the time to pamper yourself, take the time to look around, take a mental note of how far you’ve come since your time at the alcohol treatment center, and what you have to look forward to.
When you are inviting guests, be sure to let them know that the barbecue will be alcohol-free. Letting guests know ahead of time will help to prevent the risk of them bringing a cooler full of alcohol.
Keep in mind that some of your guests may be a little confused by the idea of a party without alcohol, but it’s okay to explain your reasons for the change and your true friends will support your decision and respect your wishes.
If you make sure to offer a variety of activities and games for your guests, they will be too busy having fun and connecting that they won’t even realize there’s no alcohol involved.
The most important thing to remember, both when planning the barbecue and during the event, is to have fun.
Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.