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’Tis the season for turkey dinners, holiday parties, and festive cheer. Whether it’s the cold and the snow, the food, or even the music, Americans across the country have the traditions they hold dear to help the holidays come alive. For some, that can even include liquid libations in the form of beer, wine, and liquor.

Despite the sentiment of merriment and cheer, Americans are more likely to drink beyond their limits during the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year than at any other point. Unfortunately, excessive consumption is one way holiday toasts can turn into misery for hundreds of people every year.

To learn more, we surveyed 1,000 men and women across the country to get their take on which booze-infused holidays they drink on the most, what’s caused them to black out, and what their brew of choice is for each of the major holidays throughout the year. Curious what’s really got people feeling so tipsy during these times of celebration? Read on to find out.

Punch Drunk Celebrations

When it comes to blacking out, the most important factor isn’t just how much you drink in a single sitting, it’s how fast you drank that can cause you to forget where you were or even what’s happened. The more concentrated your drink is, the more dangerous it becomes when consumed excessively and even seemingly irrelevant circumstances like your stress levels or exhaustion can play a role in how likely you are to black out after drinking. Like alcohol-induced “amnesia”, blacking out can make you forget anything from what you said 30 seconds ago to the entire night’s events.

While New Year’s, the Fourth of July, and even Halloween (to a certain extent) have all be associated with drinking at one point or another, none of those holidays is nearly as ubiquitous with blacking out as the main event according to people we polled: their birthdays. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe it’s important to celebrate birthdays, and almost as many say they feel special when someone else puts energy into planning the celebration. For most, that means their own birthday is the perfect occasion to knock a few drinks back to help commend the moment. According to our poll, more than 1 in 3 men and women admitted to blacking out during their own birthday bash.

When it comes to the yuletide holidays, New Year’s Eve lead to the most blackouts (nearly 1 in 4), followed by Christmas Day and Thanksgiving.

Mandatory Minimums?

There’s no denying alcohol consumption goes up as the holidays progress. But just how many drinks are most Americans consuming as they ring in the New Year or blow out the candles on their cake? Based on our panel of men and women across the country, the answer could be more than just a handful.

New Year’s Eve isn’t just about the countdown, watching the ball drop, or having someone to kiss at midnight – it’s also about keeping the champagne flowing all night long. People we polled admitted to drinking the most (more than five drinks) during their New Year’s Eve celebrations, a quantity that could constitute binge drinking for many. While low risk drinking for men is usually capped out at four drinks per day (three for women), binge drinking occurs when a person’s blood alcohol concentration hits .08 percent. Just how much does it take to push the limit into binging territory? Five drinks for men and only four for women in a two hour span.

Americans told us they drank nearly the same amount on their birthdays as they do on New Year’s Eve (more than five drinks) and more on the Fourth of July than either Christmas or Thanksgiving. While not an annual occurrence, people we polled also admitted to having more than two drinks on average for Inauguration Day in 2017.

A Different Kind of Drinking Party

People all around the world had various reactions after Donald Trump was elected President. After one of the most divisive campaigns in political history and a somewhat emotional upset for some, people from Mexico to Moscow had their own take on what it meant to see Donald Trump sworn in as the 45th President of The United States.

For Americans we surveyed, Inauguration Day was a better cause to drink than either Easter or Hanukkah, though some may have had opposing reasons for feeling compelled knock back a few rounds.

While happy occasions are more likely to lead people to drink than somber ones, people who told us they drank on Inauguration Day in 2017 were nearly twice as likely to be depressed or sad than to be happy or celebrating. Because alcohol is a suppressanta few glasses may seem to help you unwind or even help relieve symptoms of anxiety. Still, the connection between alcohol misuse and depression suggests drinking to feel relief should be closely monitored as it can lead to addiction for some.

The Reason For the Season

A popular opinion is that people drink more over the holidays because they’re lonely. In reality, we found that nearly 3 in 4 Americans drink on Thanksgiving simply because they’re celebrating.

Drinking culture in the U.S. has become so synonymous with social settings and functions that we’ve started to associate certain drinks to events. If someone around you opened up a bottle of champagne, you might immediately wonder what the cause of celebration was. Because drinking alcohol released endorphins (the ‘feel good’ chemical) in the brain, it should come as no surprise that science has connected drinking with feelings of happiness and elation. These positive emotions may even be boosted by the inclusion of friends and family around the holidays. But like the festive season itself, those feelings of happiness are also fleeting.

For more than 1 in 5 Americans we polled, having to deal with relatives was their reason for drinking, followed by just over two percent of men and women who told us they consumed alcohol because they felt alone.

Bottles For Daze

Even though they offer somewhat similar alcohol concentrations, there’s a lot to be said about the difference between beer and wine. More than just their taste, a person drinking a glass of wine could feel its effects quicker than if they had poured a bottle of beer. Lagers, pale ales, and stouts tend to have more calories per pint than reds, whites, or rosés. While it’s also true there may be some health benefits to the occasional glass of wine (red, specifically), all drinks should be enjoyed in moderation to receive any of the potential health benefits they offer.

Our research revealed that beer and wine may have their respective places in the history of traditional holidays. Wine was generally more popular during traditional holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Easter while beer earned the top slot for events like the Fourth of July, Inauguration Day, and Halloween.

Knowing Your Limits

The strength of your drink has a lot to do with the how it impacts your body and no beverage has a stronger concentration of alcohol content that distilled spirits. Just. 1.5 fluid ounces has eight times the alcohol content of a single can of regular beer.

Americans across the country told us they were most likely to reach for vodka on two holidays in particular: their birthday and New Year’s Eve. Considering most people told us they drink more than five glasses on average over each of these “holidays”, the average American’s consumption of alcohol celebrating their birth and the New Year could be exceptionally dangerous.

According to people we polled, other forms of liquor (including rum, tequila, and whiskey) only surpassed vodka three time each year: Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.

Staying Merry and Bright

The holiday season isn’t just the happiest time of the year, it includes many of America’s favorite days of the year. Celebrations like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s rank among the all-time favorites for most people. Americans love them for the way they bring friends, family, and eternal memories together. While food and drink are often part of the celebration, may of these holidays also see a spike in the number of deadly car accidents every year.

If you or someone you love is battling with alcoholism, help is here for you. At Archstone Recovery Center, we don’t just treat the addiction, we work to help give you your life back. We know the individual is at the heart of what makes rehabilitation so important and we help you and your family personalize the treatment plan that works for your individual needs. Start living your best life again today. Call us today at 561-903-2519 or visit us online at ArchstoneRecovery.com to learn more.


We surveyed over 1000 people about their drinking habits during the holidays

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