This Christmas is going to be full of firsts, that I know for sure.
Last week, I got my first ever real Christmas tree. My flatmate and I drove down to a small independent place near our house, and sang Last Christmas as we walked to the car carrying the new love of our life in our arms.
We had a few friends waiting at home, and an evening of Christmas songs, tree decorating, and M&S food ahead.
My last five Christmases were mostly spent in unsightly student house shares, and whilst I loved my fellow student friends dearly, we'd never really made an effort to make the house ‘Christmassy’ before.
This year, it’s been totally different. In the absence of alcohol, I have more time, money, and attention to spend on making our house a wholesome, homely, Christmassy place full of love.
I have to admit, it was a little strange putting up the tree without a little Baileys or glass of Prosecco.
But actually, I enjoyed it way more than ever before.
When you’re drinking, it can be easy to fall into the trap of grasping for the next fun/interesting thing that may or may not happen.
When can I get another drink?
When can I have a cigarette?
When will something funny happen?
But this year, things feel totally different
There was a feeling of peace in the room as we laughed, sang, and decorated; no one was reaching or grasping for the next ‘fun’ thing to happen. We were consistently having fun, and all seemed content in the moment we were in.
As the festive season approaches, I try to remain positive. It'd be easy to get stuck in a negative cycle of thinking around this time of year. I could easily talk myself into thinking I'm unhappy, lonely, and deprived because I can't drink like my peers.
But the thing is, I don't think we sober folk are missing out. Not really.
Instead, we are gaining things.
We are gaining memories where we might have forgotten; we are gaining feeling fresh on Christmas morning where we might have been hungover; we are gaining having meaningful, loving moments with our families where grumpiness or anger might have sparked arguments in the past.
We are gaining the strength it takes to do something this bold.
This Christmas, I think we should consider the possibility that WE are the lucky ones
I'm not saying it will be easy. It might be hard... really fucking hard. You gotta be seriously brave to go against the majority and have a booze-free December.
All I'm saying is, I think that, actually, we might have a better time than our still-drinking buddies. Or at the very least, we'll remember it this year.
As children, we don't need alcohol at Christmas time, and yet that's probably the period of life that Christmas feels the most magical.
I plan on at least trying to channel my inner child this festive season, getting as excited as I possibly can and being grateful for what I do have, rather than sad about what I don't.