During the holidays, the name of the game besides shopping seems to be celebrating. Whether it is celebrating your particular holiday, celebrating New Year’s or celebrating friends and family, it is party time.
There is nothing better than surrounding ourselves with loved ones, no matter what time of year it is. The most important thing is that we all have a good time and return home safely. Towards that end, We Save Lives searched the Internet for the best tips on how to be responsible hosts and how to minimize the danger once our guests leave our home.
Many of these Responsible Party Host Tips are from the state of Michigan Liquor Control Commission and many are from us. If you have some good safe party tips, email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include them (giving you credit) next time we update this post.
Responsible Host Tips for Party Planning
- Have designated drivers. Plan to have sober drivers at your party who can escort folks home. Volunteer to be a sober driver at someone else’s party.
- Plan ahead to get keys. Prepare a basket or bowl where all of your guests can leave their keys. You are the only person who can retrieve the keys. This way, you can examine all of your guests before they leave.
- Have a cab fare fund. Having available cash to pay cab fare for your guests if they need it reduces the stress on you. If you can’t afford to pay for it yourself, ask your guests to pitch in a few bucks on your invitation.
- Have a phone number for a cab company handy. Print the name of a local cab company on your invitation and ask your guests to program it into their mobile phones.
- Purchase non-alcoholic beverages. Always have soft drinks, juices and other non-alcoholic beverages available for those guests who are driving or choose not to drink.
- Plan to be sober. Be a responsible host. Limiting your own alcohol intake will allow you to better determine if a guest is sober enough to drive at the end of the night.
- Don’t serve alcohol to minors. The legal drinking age is 21 and, as a host, it is your responsibility to make sure minors aren’t drinking.
- Don’t force drinks on your guests. Also, don’t rush to refill their glasses when empty. Be a smart host; push the food, not the alcohol on your guests.
- Food is the key. Always serve food with alcohol. It is proven that food can help counter the effects of alcohol.
- Stop serving alcohol one hour before the party ends. Serve only coffee, tea and non-alcoholic beverages as the party comes to a close. As the host or hostess, it is your responsibility to help your guests get home safely, so limit the amount of alcohol served toward the end of the party as guests prepare to leave or go home.
Develop a House Policy
- Hosts, co-hosts and friends will take good care of our guests and protect them from the effects of misusing alcohol, not only because it is our legal obligation under the social host liability laws, but because it is also morally imperative.
- A good host will not encourage excessive drinking.
- I (we) will be mindful of serving individual guests high alcohol volume drinks (such as a Long Island Ice Tea); no more than 2 should be served to a guest.
- Post the signs of visible intoxication.
- Minor guests/spouses/dates will not be served alcohol.
- Guests will respect our home and other guests or they will be asked to leave.
- I (we) will not “push” alcoholic drinks.
- I (we) will offer food and non-alcoholic beverages (“spacer” drinks between alcoholic drinks).
- No alcohol will be served the last hour of the party.
- I (we) will make every effort to keep intoxicated guests from driving, including: offering non-alcoholic beverages and snacks to encourage them to stay longer, providing alternative transportation, and arranging overnight accommodations.
- If an intoxicated guest insists on driving, we will immediately notify the police.
- Know and watch for the 50 likely signs of visible intoxication, combinations of the signs, and changes in behavior.
- Count the number of drinks, not glasses, each guest has.
- Wait until a guest finishes a drink before offering another.
- Serve one drink per person at a time.
- Do not push drinks.
- Encourage guests to eat food and non-alcoholic drinks.
- Offer water, coffee, or other non-alcoholic spacers between drinks.
- Announce party ending time well in advance.
- When appropriate, take a co-host or friend with you when you have to cut off a guest.
- Make it clear you are in control without being overbearing and/or scaring off guests.
- Use peer pressure if possible by asking support from the guest’s friends.
- When you attempt to pull the drink, use distraction to divert the guest’s attention: tell the guest they have a phone call, or ask the guest if that’s their money or jewelry under the chair, and so on.
- When you pull the drink, have something to replace it with: a glass of pop, a cup of coffee, a plate of food, even just a glass of water is better than nothing.
- If at all possible, slow down the intoxicated guest who intends to drive by offering them food and non-alcoholic drinks to allow time to sober up.
- Offer alternative transportation to keep intoxicated guests from driving.
- If an intoxicated guest insists on driving threaten to call the police and identify the driver and the vehicle.
- Follow through on your threat if the intoxicated guest drives away. – This is especially important for the host. Social host liability laws could hold you responsible for any damages or injuries caused by the impaired driver.
- Ask everyone, especially your family members to sign the Courage to Intervene Promise as a Christmas gift to you.
If you are in a state where marijuana is legal, advise your fellow party goers that pot will not be tolerated in your home and they can wait until they are in their own homes. After all, you are not an expert on impairment levels for marijuana and the knowledge on alcohol and impairment is far more widely known than it is for marijuana and impairment. Why take the chance? People who can’t have a good time without drugs should stay home rather than endanger others. If you are at a party where pot or other drugs are on the menu, leave, or risk your life when everyone begins the drive home.
Please follow these guidelines. We Save Lives cares about you and we want you to have a happy and safe holiday season.