Holiday Spirits: It’s the Booziest Time of the Year

friends celebrating holidays

Did you know people drink twice as much during the holidays? A recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the supplement company Morning Recovery found that the average American will drink 100 percent more once the holiday season starts.1 Although it may seem like a fun way to socialize during the holidays, all the extra parties and binge drinking come with consequences. Not to mention, increased alcohol abuse can have devastating effects for anyone, let alone people who suffer from alcohol addiction.

Of the five most popular drinking days in the year, Christmas and New Year’s Eve steal the top two spots, according to a survey conducted by Yahoo!.2 Additionally, every year during the holiday season, DUI offenses, binge drinking, and other alcohol-related problems increase. According to one survey:

  • 16 percent of adults say they drink more than usual during the holidays
  • 22 percent of adults who have attended a holiday work party have felt pressured to drink
  • 50 percent of people say alcohol plays a role in their family gatherings
  • 96 percent of adults went to work hungover after a party or know someone else that did3

Many social events this time of the year also involve champagne, glasses of wine, cold beers, or other mixed drinks at work parties, bars and restaurants, or other event spaces. According to the OnePoll study previously mentioned, 69 percent of survey respondents said they’ll be socializing this year and are likely to attend three different social events every week.2 With the uptick in social activities during the holidays, there’s bound to be more alcohol abuse.

Holidays like Thanksgiving are also associated with increased alcohol abuse and binge drinking because many people are off of work for Thanksgiving and college students are home to celebrate the holiday with friends and family. Thanksgiving eve, the official start of the holiday drinking season, has even been coined as “Blackout Wednesday” since so many people use the holiday as a reason to party and drink.

Why Does Alcohol Abuse Increase During the Holidays?

Although the OnePoll survey is recent, it has long been known that alcohol consumption increases during the holiday season. There are several reasons for the increase in holiday drinking, but most often, this behavior is attributed to the fact that people engage in more social activities during this time of year, and many social activities in western culture involve alcohol.

Besides that primary factor, here are a few other common reasons for increased alcohol abuse during the holidays:

  • Peer pressure: If co-workers and friends are all drinking at social events, non-drinkers may feel pressure to join in. People may also feel more pressured to drink if this behavior is perceived by their peers as being more “festive” or fun.
  • Holiday parties: In addition to regular social get-togethers during the holidays, this time of year is also known for its holiday parties and community events, many of which involve alcohol.
  • More access to alcohol: In attending more parties and events, people will inevitably have more access to alcoholic beverages, whether they intend to or not. This makes it easier to drink and over-indulge.
  • Celebratory mindset: The holidays are a time to celebrate and festive celebrations like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are often used as an excuse to overindulge in alcoholic beverages.
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    Negative Effects of Binge Drinking During the Holidays

    Although it’s common, all the celebratory drinking doesn’t come without a cost. Increased alcohol abuse during the holidays results in many negative effects for Americans, including employment problems, financial issues, personal physical harm, car crashes, and increased death rates.

    Here are a few statistics that demonstrate the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol abuse during the holiday season.

    • The average American is late to work three times and calls in sick twice during the holiday season due to hangovers.4
    • 7 in 10 Americans report being less productive at work during the holidays.4
    • 40 percent of highway deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday are alcohol-related.5
    • 37 percent of highway deaths during the Christmas holiday are alcohol-related.5
    • 58 percent of highway deaths on New Year’s are alcohol-related.5
    • During the holidays, 2 to 3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes.6
    • During the holiday season, 40 percent of traffic fatalities involve a driver who is impaired by alcohol.6
    • 60 percent of people think alcohol makes a party more fun.8
    • 57 percent of people have seen people drive under the influence during the holiday season.8
    • 40 percent of people say their family and friends use holidays as an excuse to drink.8
    • During the holiday season, the average American spends $537 on social events like drinking, compared to an average of $241 per month on social events throughout the rest of the year.1

    Get Help for Alcohol Addiction with Medical Alcohol Detox

    For people who struggle with alcohol addiction or people in recovery, the holidays can be a difficult time of the year. With more temptations and opportunities to abuse alcohol, people are more likely to develop dangerous drinking habits or relapse from a period of sobriety.

    Additionally, it’s important to remember that alcohol addiction doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes days, weeks, and months to develop an alcohol use disorder. However, this doesn’t mean it’s okay to over-indulge just because it’s the holiday season. One holiday season spent binge drinking can lead to more days and weeks continuing with the same behaviors.

    Alcohol addiction can affect anyone, and although it’s not always easy to recognize the signs of alcoholism, it’s vitally important to seek help for addiction right away. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, get help this holiday season and begin the recovery process.

    Since alcohol withdrawal can be severely uncomfortable, dangerous, and even deadly, the first step in treating an alcohol use disorder is often a medical detox program for alcohol addiction. At Briarwood Detox Center, we provide a medically-assisted inpatient alcohol detox program for adults in Austin and Houston. By providing a traditional detox program and an executive detox program, we meet the needs of a wide range of clientele with various needs, expectations, and lifestyles.

    Call Briarwood Detox Center today to learn more about our individualized alcohol detox program or to enroll yourself or a family member.


    1. https://nypost.com/2018/12/04/people-drink-twice-as-much-alcohol-over-the-holidays/
    2. https://isp.netscape.com/news/fte/5drinkingdays/5drinkingdays
    3. https://www.scramsystems.com/holiday-drinking-and-duis-resources-from-scram/
    4. http://www.wdrb.com/story/39584454/survey-says-people-drink-twice-as-much-alcohol-over-the-holidays
    5. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/alarming-stats-show-holiday-drinking-an-issue-for-many-283503651.html
    6. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/RethinkHoliday/NIAAA_NYE_Fact_Sheet_2012.pdf
    7. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/alarming-stats-show-holiday-drinking-an-issue-for-many-283503651.html
    8. https://www.claimsjournal.com/app/uploads/2015/12/drinking-and-duis-during-the-holidays-infographic.jpg

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