The winter holidays are a time to enjoy the company of family, friends, and coworkers. Whether you are planning a dinner, informal gathering, or holiday party, your job as host is very important. Your many responsibilities include planning the menu, entertainment, gifts and games. However, some of the most crucial details can be overlooked in all of the frenzy. Perhaps your most important responsibility as host for a gathering where alcohol is involved is to take steps to ensure your guests’ safety both during and after the celebration. Drinking and driving is an all too familiar and tragic combination. More people are on the road, and they also are consuming alcohol as a part of their holiday celebrations. Additionally, providing alcohol to underage youth is illegal, but often parents allow their children to drink alcohol during holiday gatherings.

Richland County Partnership for Promise would like to offer some tips to help keep your holidays safe, legal and fun this season. First and foremost, recruit people ahead of time to be sober drivers, who can ensure that everyone makes it home safely. Also, avoid making alcohol the main focus of social events. Instead, entertain guests with music, dancing, and games. This is a great opportunity for adults to be role models to kids, showing that alcohol does not need to be consumed to have a good time. As a host, provide a wide arrange of drinks, including non-alcoholic beverages. If you are going to serve alcohol, make sure there are plenty of food choices available, and that the underage kids will not be consuming it. Foods high in protein like meat and cheese are great choices, because they slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Toward the end of the event, stop serving alcohol. Instead, choose this time to serve desserts, coffee and non-alcoholic drinks.

Lastly, your most important responsibility of the night is making sure everyone has a safe ride home. Enlist the help of the sober drivers you recruited before the event. Luckily, Sidney Shuttle is available to drive people home if there is no sober driver. Have their phone number on hand in case you need it. If there are no reasonable options for a safe ride home, always be prepared to have guests stay the night at your home. If a person insists on driving despite his or her obvious intoxication, take the keys, ask for help from other guests, or temporarily disable the car. If all else fails, say you will call the police (and do so).

The Partnership for Promise would like to wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

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