Leave it to Pete Brown. He, author of Hops and Glory, and Shakespeare's Local.
I had only just stopped in to my local for a half-pint of Mad Fox's deliciously warming Wee Heavy —liquid nourishment for the Christmas Eve kitchen escapades yet to begin— when what, to my wondering eyes, should appear but this lovely screed from Mr. Brown, written some 4,000 miles away.
I'll quote it in part here, skipping the exposition, and jumping right to the exhortation. (If you'd like to read the former —and you should, if you're a good drink enjoyer— here's the link.) It's anodyne to neo-prohibition, it's clever and funny, and it's a wee bit, seasonally appropriately, sacrilegious.
Christmas, like birthdays and weddings, is a time of celebration. Intoxication lowers inhibitions, creates a feeling of euphoria, relaxes us and helps us interact with people. We think we, and those around us, are funnier, sexier, more interesting than when we’re sober. And as a society, we are somehow in the process of convincing ourselves that this is a bad thing.
If alcohol were that bad for us, we probably wouldn’t be here now. Because in the past we drank a hell of a lot more alcohol than we do today.
If it were bad for us, the other piece of booze related news last week – the latest in a long line of studies that proves yet again that moderate drinkers live longer than teetotallers as well as alcoholics – would never have appeared.
So this Christmas, don’t drink responsibly - not all the time. Christmas is a holiday from our day-to-day responsibilities, and that’s why it exists, an essential safety valve from our lives.
Don’t drink to black out. Don’t drink till you throw up. Don’t drink to punish yourself or others. That’s the behaviour that suggests you have a problem that isn’t drink itself.
But do drink more than two units per day for men or 1.5 units for women. Drink until you feel like singing. Drink until you feel epic and marvellous. Drink until you feel confident and comfortable enough to ask out that person from work on a date. Drink until you feel a hangover the next day, on a day when having a hangover doesn't matter, and reflect on the yin and yang, on our ability to heighten euphoria to new levels and then take the knocks for it the next day with good grace.
Christ’s first miracle – if you believe that particular superstition – was turning water into wine at the wedding in Canaan. According to the Bible – and I think this is a fairly close translation from the original Hebrew – the saviour of mankind announced his presence on Earth by getting people shitfaced and showing them a good time.
So don’t get drunk every day over Christmas. But do get drunk at least once. And tell our Puritan overlords that it’s what the Baby Jesus would have wanted.