By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
December 8, 2023
Tis the season for Christmas cheer, but for many, “getting into the holiday spirit” is an all too literal proposition. Alcohol consumption increases drastically between the day before Thanksgiving (also known as Blackout Wednesday) and New Year’s Day.
In fact, a study conducted by Alcohol Monitoring Systems and involving more than 450,000 DUI offenders showed that they increased their drinking rate by 33 percent between Thanksgiving and year-end.
“These individuals are being monitored every 30 minutes, and they know they’re going to be caught,” AMS Vice President Lou Sugo told Kaiser Permanente. “You can imagine the rate of drinking for those who aren’t being monitored.”
According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the $49-billion distilled spirits industry makes about a quarter of its profits during the last four to five weeks of the year.
And lest anyone believe the connection between alcohol and holiday festivities is all about boosting profits and spreading cheer, data from the Fatality and Injury Reporting System shows that during the winter holidays a full 40 percent of highway deaths are alcohol-related. In fact, the CDC says December is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drug-and-alcohol-related deaths. (Nearly 91,000 deaths have been reported for the month since 1999.)
Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that New Year’s Day is the deadliest day for alcohol-related crashes, with 58% of accidents being alcohol-related.
“Many of these statistics don’t even touch on other causes of alcohol-related deaths such as alcohol poisoning, falls and domestic violence,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
He pointed to a report from UCLA Health showing that some people as much as double their alcohol consumption over the holidays.
“With eggnog, adult ciders, spiked punch and celebratory glasses of sparkling wine, it’s not that hard for extra alcohol to creep into one’s daily life,” the report noted. “Even a short-term increase in alcohol use can have adverse health effects, including changes in blood sugar control and blood pressure. It can also lead to changes to mood and mental health, lowered resistance to risky behaviors, increased risk of trips or falls and dangerous driving. All of which is to say that concerns about holiday drinking are well-founded.”
Plus, Creech pointed out the propensity for those already struggling with alcohol addiction to relapse during the holidays.
“Christmas, the birthday of our Savior, should be one of the most joyous times of the year for Christians, but sadly it is often marred by alcohol abuse,” Creech said. He challenged believers to examine their personal use of alcohol and to consider the costs to themselves and to others whom they might cause to stumble.
“Habakkuk 2:15 reads, ‘Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!’ Some scholars say this text is mostly a prohibition on drunkenness, others contend it’s about the way some people might use alcohol as a means of social exploitation, and still others say it is condemning the use of alcohol to manipulate people to commit sexual sin, debauchery, and even idolatry,” Creech explained. “However, the text is more. Essentially, it infers the rightfulness of intervening and taking causative steps. It denounces all the stages and agencies – the poisoned potion, the giving of it, and the final result.”