Finding a gift your friend will love is difficult as it is, unless you're among the handful of those who've mastered the art of giving the right gift. Picking a gift for a friend who is on a path to sobriety can be tougher, and more so if you're among the nearly 61% of folks that purchase alcohol to give as a holiday gift. If booze is out of the question, what is left to gift that your friend will enjoy and not feel guilty about later?
Gifts for Friends Trying to Quit Alcohol
Intangible gifts have risen in popularity, especially when it comes to special occasions like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, and anniversaries. They also make memorable corporate gifts to colleagues and B2B clients. And they can be a safe choice for friends who're looking to stay sober.
The gift of experience
A number of internal and external triggers can make sobriety that much more painful. Quite likely, your friend will be giving boozy parties a skip or mentally preparing to avoid temptations at a party he/she does plan to attend. An experience that helps them get their mind off the things they shouldn't be thinking about too much can be among the best gifts they receive. Think a spa day, cooking class (if your friend has been trying to improve their culinary skills), or a class or workshop they've expressed interest in. Think along these lines and you'll strike gold within the day - after all, you know your friend best.
The gift of time
If your friend has made it known that they will stay in during the holidays while their partner or family is attending a holiday get-together (or if they're single), how about spending time with them? You can have an alcohol-free party of your own (maybe a few other friends can join in) or relax in each other's company. Watch a movie, bake, build something together, play poker/board games/indoor games, practice playing musical instruments, or make videos for your YouTube/Instagram accounts. Involve your friend in brainstorming how you'd like to spend the day. Make it about spending time with them rather than helping them cope. Nobody likes being pitied.
It's easier to decide gifts for a friend who loves doing DIY projects. DIY arts, crafts, casting kits, and repair kits can keep them busy during the holidays as they try to avoid their favorite holiday spirits. You could let them know they can call you if they feel tempted. And if mutual friends are up for it, they can take turns speaking to him/her to help them get their mind off triggers. This can be especially helpful when your friend has been persistently experiencing withdrawal symptoms and sought your support.
There's another holiday gift that can help your friend celebrate in a familiar way, whether at home, in your company, or with family and friends. In a way, it's unorthodox, but it can make a surprisingly good gift/party addition. So here goes.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks for a Sober Celebration
Non-alcoholic drinks do a good job of replicating the social experience of drinking alcohol but without the unwanted effects. As their name suggests, they aren't alcohol - but they're also not limited to the common non-alcoholic options on restaurant menus, namely, mocktails, iced tea, and ginger beer or the non-alcoholic punch at house parties. Non-alcoholic beverages also mean drinks that contain up to 0.5% ABV, while offering the flavor and taste of beer, wine, or various spirits. And since they barely contain alcohol, it's practically impossible to get drunk on them.
Another respect in which they're different from alcohol is that they hydrate you. This means your friend has choices other than water to supply their body with ample fluids. The other cool thing about non-alcoholic drinks is that they can be good for your friend's health as they're made from botanicals and herbs rich in vitamins and minerals.
Virtually every alcohol has its non-alcoholic version. Whether your friend is a big wine or beer guy or prefers hard drinks like gin or whiskey, there's something for them in the best non-alcoholic marketplaces.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks as Holiday Gifts
Here are some top-rated wines, beers, and spirits from Better Rhodes. They make a great holiday gift for friends and additions to your sober holiday party menu.
- Wander+Found Pinot Noir, a well-balanced red with a complex finish.
- Wander+Found Cuvée Blanc, a white with lime and citrus notes, a bright tartness, and a relatively dry and long finish.
- Wander+Found Trio Set of the Pinot Noir, Cuvée Blanc, and a complex Rosé (excellent for holiday gifting)
- Zeero Sangiovese, a non-alcoholic Tuscan wine with notes of red plum, rhubarb, and black cherry, and an earthy body.
- The Spirit of Gin, which has a fresh nose of juniper, and notes of citrus, coriander, and cardamom
- The Spirit of Bourbon, which has an oaky-caramel nose, and a velvety-smooth malty palate
- The Spirit of Tequila, which has an earthy, spicy nose, and a smoky, agave-forward palate
Big Drop Brewing's award-winning alcohol-free craft beers will get the conversation started at your sober Christmas party. They're great for enjoying with friends who're abstaining, committed to quitting, or cannot drink due to religious or other reasons.
- Paradiso IPA, which uses Citra hops for a sharply bitter twist
- Galactic Extra Dark, with the characteristic chocolate flavor and a strong smell of malt
- Pine Trail Pale, a west coast American pale ale beer with blueberry and citrus flavors, and characteristic bitterness
A Gift that Inspires Wellness
It's important to mention that while non-alcoholic or low-alcohol drinks do not count as drinking and have none of the effects of consuming alcohol, they can create a nostalgia for the taste, possibly threatening sobriety. Keep this in perspective if your friend has had a tough time coping with triggers, which while crucial in recovery, need proper management to avoid slipping into old habits.
Any gift that inspires and helps your friend lead a healthy life will make a positive difference at a time when they need support coming out of an unhelpful habit. It will tell them that you care about helping them solve their issue with a good solution and that you're a friend indeed.