5 Ways To Master Holiday Drinking, So You Don't Crash Before The Gifts

by Matthew Hawley

It's getting to be that time of year again. You know, the holidays.

Most of my friends started complaining weeks ago about the dreaded time back home where they're forced to spend time with their families.

They have to answer a million questions they haven't answered themselves, and the old trope of a ruined Thanksgiving due to political divides between children and parents.

And don't forget the racially insensitive undertones of Aunt Sheila that will undoubtedly be resurrected with Trump's victory.

Many of them try to keep their personal lives separate from their family, avoiding conversation topics like politics, dating or drinking stories.

This is where my family diverges from the norm.

Not only do I share at least one alcoholic beverage a week with my Irish Catholic mother, but she's also taught me some of the best ways to enjoy alcohol around the holidays.

So here are the five drinking lessons my mom has taught me:

1. Pace Yourself

Many kids out there may try to drink heavily on the holidays from the get-go. These younglings are amateurs and won't be able to function by mid-afternoon.

If you get too drunk too early, you'll miss all the crazy shit your relatives do.

My mother taught me this: Every holiday should start with a light alcoholic beverage. A mimosa before opening Christmas presents, or a Blood Mary before cooking the turkey is critical.

You should always plan to be slightly tipsy right before a mid-afternoon dinner.

Hard alcohol should start right after dinner, but before dessert. Open the whiskey while your brother is passed out on the couch with his pants unbuttoned.

Unlike your peers who only get a few hours of inebriation during the day, you'll be slightly buzzed from 9 am to 9 pm. That's how they do it in the big leagues.

2. The Nicer The Glass The Classier You Look

At my house, alcohol choices are a judgment free zone.

My brother still drinks Mike's Hard Lemonade and we haven't castrated him yet. However, not all of our extended family feels the same way.

My mom taught me early on nobody can look down on your decision to drink two bottles of Barefoot Moscato on Thanksgiving if you're drinking out of the classy China our deceased grandmother left us.

This isn't a college house party. Step it up.

The fewer eye rolls you receive from judgmental relatives, the more drinks you'll consume.

3. Trashy TV Is Better With Booze

We all love a good holiday classic, like "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve or "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," but there is so much horrible television during the holidays.

One year our family scrolled through the entire TV guide and found nothing of quality to watch. My mom was in control and settled for a TLC reality show about trashy brides-to-be.

As I complained, she held up her seventh glass of chardonnay and pointed at me, “Listen, Matt: You'd enjoy this a lot more if you just drank more.”

These are words I still live by: If a party isn't fun, maybe it's because you're too sober to make it fun.

4. Naps Are Critical

When I was younger, I assumed my mom took naps on holidays because she was so busy cooking.

With time, I've learned it was a mere facade.

Naps are breaks to keep pace with the consistent level of drinking. If you aren't the last one drinking on a holiday, you lost. Or at least those are the Irish rules.

A nap immediately following dinner can be critical for a second wind, plus it can give others the impression you're asleep because of the turkey and gravy.

If you don't wake up with a hangover later that afternoon, take a shot. You've earned it.

5. Jesus Loved Wine

As Irish Catholics, we're taught anything that brings pleasure must be connected to sinful and awful things.

My mom made sure this connection didn't apply to alcohol.

After all, Jesus' first documented miracle was to turn water into wine at the wedding at Cana. Even Jesus concedes a family affair would be a bust without the sweet elixir of wine. I mean, God made grapes, after all.

So have no shame, no guilt, no fear -- raise a glass and thank the Lord that alcohol is a thing this Thanksgiving.

Originally published on the author's personal blog.