These popular Christmas words pop up in a variety of lyrics and holiday jingles such as:
Glad tidings! Glad tidings!
- or –
Glad tidings we bring…….
I can’t help but hum along when I read them or think of people raising wine or champagne glasses ready for a holiday toast. Whether it’s at a once-a-year club membership gathering, an office party, subdivision social, or holiday home party, alcohol will be on hand. Women will be decked out in their finest red or green holiday sweaters and men in Santa Claus or Christmas tree ties and they’ll be mulling in front of buffet tables and making regular rounds to the bar set-up.
Which brings me to this week’s blog topic of alcohol. I had already decided on it before I spotted an article this week in USA Today. That writer was one step ahead of me but we’ll do our own spin on this important topic. Yes, it is related to everyone’s health, and it’s extremely timely for the next two weeks. Besides the important ‘alcohol’ take-home message, I’ll try to tread easily with a little levity. Be amused at James Bond’s movie statistics for vodka martinis; there’s little doubt that Hollywood is capable of spinning glamour into alcohol consumption.
How much alcohol do you think you normally drink or how much might you consume Christmas week or on New Year’s Eve? Most folks drink a lot more than they take credit for. Here are the facts (from my book Younger Next Decade) - the following amounts of alcohol each constitute a ‘drink:’
0.6 fluid ounces or 1.2 tablespoons of pure alcohol mixed in your beverage constitutes a drink.
A single shot glass (1.5 ounces) of alcohol such as 80-proof whiskey or gin (that’s about 40% alcohol),
Five ounces of table wine (that’s about 12% alcohol),
Twelve ounces of beer or a cooler - that is about 5% alcohol.
If you drink two 12 ounce beers, that’s already two “drinks,” and if you were to polish off a 750 ml bottle of wine, you’ve had five drinks.
It adds up, doesn’t it? The point is that what constitutes a drink is a lot less than the average person would admit.
Point number two is this and we’ve heard it dozens of times. The next two weeks are among the deadliest times of the year to be on the road. Besides the regular holiday crashes due to stress, time constraints and aggravated drivers, our highways and byways are more dangerous due to drunk drivers.
Be cautious this holiday season. Don’t let yourself become a statistic and watch out for loved ones. Decide ahead of time who isn’t going to drink when going out with friends or family. There needs to be a designated driver!
Know that in bigger cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York there is a cab-hailing app called Hailo. There is a discount code available at certain bars for cab rides because funds have been donated – check out information about Hailo online ahead of time.
Wrap up 2013 in a safe and responsible manner. Raise that glass for health and happiness - it doesn’t necessarily have to have alcohol in it!
Feel free to leave comments below. Since you may have recipes and food figured out for the holidays, rather than leave a recipe, I’ll leave you with some poignant words from a previous President, and Glad Tidings everyone:
“On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man.
The feeling is seen in the wondrous faces of children and in the hopeful eyes of the aged. It overflows the hearts of cheerful givers and the souls of the caring. And it is reflected in the brilliant colors, joyful sounds, and beauty of the winter season.
Let us resolve to honor this spirit of Christmas and strive to keep it throughout the year.
Nancy and I ask you to join us in a prayer that prudence, wisdom, and understanding might descend on the people of all nations so that during the year ahead we may realize an ancient and wondrous dream: ‘peace on earth, goodwill toward men.’”
RONALD REAGAN, Christmas Message, December 24, 1981.
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