Ideas for Sober Holiday Fun

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Ideas for Sober Holiday Fun

woman sitting in cozy cafe during the holidays using her phone - sober funIt’s a simple shift in mindset: if you’re sober, the holidays can be fun in numerous ways. Some events might include family members, others a few close friends, and still others might involve getting out into the community more than you used to with different festivals and events.

What Does It Take to Have “Fun”?

This is frequently a loaded question, especially if you’re trying to coordinate aspects of the holiday season with other people, and each person’s viewpoint is different. But when you break down fun to its basic terminology, it’s “enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure,” according to the Oxford Dictionary. Now that you’ve chosen to not use alcohol or drugs, what does it take to have fun?

Peter Economy, who writes for Inc. as “The Leadership Guy,” encourages people to add more fun to their lives with three easy changes:

1. Be more open to having fun.

There’s that shift in mindset again! He says not to let time constraints prevent you from including more fun in your life. Prioritize it—add it to your daily calendar if necessary—just like you would any other important commitment.

2. Be spontaneous.

Wait—we just said to schedule fun! What’s this spontaneous business? Basically, Economy’s thought circles back to being more open to life’s pleasant surprises, such as quick getaways, impromptu gatherings, and little detours that can really brighten up your day.

3. Be creative.

Instead of staring at the television, go for a hike, visit a new coffee shop, or stroll through a different neighborhood. Fun doesn’t always need to cost a lot to be fulfilling.

So how can these qualities help you have a sober fun holiday? Although many of us grew up with certain seasonal expectations and traditions, if you’re concerned these very things will restrict your ability to enjoy the holidays or compromise your recovery, it’s essential to your wellness to redefine what fun can include this time of year. This anonymous quote speaks volumes: “Having fun is a choice. There is enough fun for each of us. Choosing to have fun depends on you only.”

Ideas for Sober Fun During the Holidays

Some of these ideas might happen with little effort, while others could require everyone to get on board with something new and different. Either way, hopefully they’ll spark even more thoughts on how to make your sober season bright.


Ask some of your closest sober friends to a potluck, barbeque, or special dinner out. Use this time to give thanks for the successes in your recovery journey, share stories, and laugh. A lot!

If your immediate family members understand the importance of your sobriety but still want liquid fun, talk with them about making a signature holiday soda or homemade vinegars, syrups, and infused olive oils to help people 9–90 get in on the creative fun.

Get everyone outdoors! If snow is likely, bundle up in your best winter gear and build snow forts, make snow angels, have a snowball fight, or cross-country ski on wooded trails. If you’ve never ice-skated before or gone ice-fishing, these might be great options, too. Anything that helps everyone have fun being active will do, which makes hot cocoa even better when you come indoors to shake off the chill.

For some people, gift-giving can add unnecessary stress, especially if finances are concerned. To help manage expectations, have a conversation before the holidays and ask everyone for other options to this particular ceremony. One might be to get crazy matching pajamas and make new memories posing in goofy photos, such as washing the car, cutting firewood (safely, of course), or walking the dog. Whatever reflects your group’s sense of humor is bound to be a hit!


When’s the last time you visited New York City, Philadelphia, or another major city nearby to explore their holiday lights and celebrations? Nothing like a good road trip, even for a day, to provide a new perspective and add some cheer.

If you and your family friends have musical talent, consider putting together a group to perform holiday songs. This provides a sense of purpose and allows everyone to break out of their creative ruts. Then, play for each other, or put on a show for your neighbors or, better yet, residents of a hospital or retirement community to share the joy.

Change up a family tradition by adding a new one or expanding on existing ones. Ask key members of the family to work with you to create a new table centerpiece that includes special mementos. Instead of Christmas morning gift-opening, arrange for a magical midnight tour of the lighted displays, then sleep in and have brunch the next day. If there’s always too much food during the holidays, plan a few days ahead to make a little extra and create meals for a homeless youth shelter.

Speaking of volunteering, if there’s a holiday parade, major light show, or charitable gift-giving event near you, sign up to participate. Donating your skills and time to help make the season more enjoyable for others might just be the best fun perk of all.

Seabrook Alumni Services Can Help

Finding sober fun during the holidays might require a few changes, but you’re certain to come across something that adds to your joy. If you’d like to connect with other people who have created new ways to celebrate the season while in recovery, take advantage of Seabrook’s alumni services.