The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years are filled with revelry, celebration and good spirits. This is the time of the year that many homeowners enjoy playing “host” and inviting their friends over to enjoy fine foods, social conversation and toast to good times.

I want you to have a great time and rejoice in the season, but I also want to give you some tips, some simple precautions to ensure that everyone has fun and remains safe. No accidents, no tragedies, no litigation is the goal. Remember as the host, you are responsible for the well-being of your guests, especially if alcohol is being served.

NINE Tips For Keeping Your Company from Celebrating Too Much: 

  1. FOOD IS THE KEY: Bars and taverns often put out food during their Happy Hour events, because serving food with alcoholic beverages cuts down on the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream. It is proven that food can help counter the effects of alcohol. Avoid carbohydrates which have the opposite effect, and go for proteins and fats. Cheese, cold cuts, shrimp, chicken wings, sliders all have the ability to slow the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream through the stomach lining.
  2. SWITCH TO NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES 1 HOUR BEFORE GUESTS LEAVE: Put out the tea, coffee, soft drinks and bottled water as the party begins to wind down, and place the booze back in the cabinet. This will give guests an opportunity to hydrate and wake up before it is time to get behind the wheel.
  3. EVERYONE ON THE BUS: Recently a neighbor hired a party bus for the guests of his cocktail party and everyone was required to arrive/leave on the bus. This was possible because everyone lived within 5 miles of each other, but he said he had no worries and slept soundly that evening, knowing that everyone was taken care of.
  4. APPOINT A DESIGNATED DRIVER UP FRONT: Make sure you know who the driver is up front for each group of guests who arrive. 
  5. PLACE ALL OF YOUR GUESTS CAR KEYS IN A BOWL: A friend of mine graciously presents his guests with a glass bowl upon arrival and requests that the driver place his car keys in the bowl. This way no one leaves the party without the host making sure that each designated driver does not have his driving impaired.
  6. DON'T "TOP OFF" YOUR GUESTS DRINKS: It is difficult to gauge how much a guest is consuming if you are refilling their glass before they finish what is in it.
  7. STAY SOBER: It is your obligation, to make sure that your guests are safe, that no one underage consumes alcohol or get’s behind the wheel of their car while debilitated.
  8. CHECK YOUR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE: There is a special area of negligence called “host liquor liability”. if you provide alcohol to guests, the chances of injury or damage increase. You may be held responsible for injuries or damage caused by intoxicated guests, even after they leave your premises. This is why I always recommend looking into the added coverage of "Umbrella Insurance." It protects you above and beyond the liability limits of your Homeowners policy.
  9. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL BARTENDER - Often providing a professional bartender, that provides the alcohol as an aspect of his service will exempt you from certain liabilities. You need to make sure he carries his own insurance policies and check them to make sure this is part of his coverage.

 I hope that you have a festive, fun and joyous holiday season.

Additional links on Alcohol Awareness and Gauging Your Guests:

  •  http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm
  • http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/holiday.html