Party foul: 2 in 3 say one relative always drinks too much at holiday gatherings

NEW YORK — Three in five Americans dread going to family gatherings during the holidays. That’s according to a new survey of 2,000 Americans over the age of 21, all of whom typically attend large gatherings during the holiday season.

Almost two-thirds of the poll (63%) agree that there’s always one family member who takes things too far when it comes to “indulging” during the holidays. Meanwhile, 58 percent agree that their entire family drinks too much at holiday gatherings.

So, who’s most likely to over imbibe and do something shocking? One-third of respondents say they can count on that behavior from their uncle.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ritual Zero Proof, also revealed that a little more than half (54%) of respondents know that someone is going to have to apologize the morning after the family gathering.

Forty-seven percent say politics is their least favorite dinner table discussion topic, with more intimate ones like family gossip (42%) and personal drama (41%) following closely behind. Americans add that mom (31%) and dad (30%) lead the charge in bringing up uncomfortable subjects.

Holiday party fouls

Holiday problemsAccording to 43 percent of people surveyed, leaving early is one of the most common party faux pas at family parties, followed by yelling (39%) and drinking too much (38%). When asked about the most embarrassing thing someone has done at a family holiday get-together, one respondent took the term “lit” a bit too literally and “fell in a fire pit.”

Another popular, embarrassing foul was vomiting, whether it be “on another person,” “on the table,” or even “on the host.”

Uncomfortable moments and jaw-dropping conversation may factor into why 48 percent admit to drinking more at family holiday gatherings — more so than any other social event during the year.

However, it’s not just family gatherings where liquid courage may cloud judgement. Two-thirds of Americans agree that there’s always one coworker who takes it too far at holiday office parties.

Sixty-two percent also confess that they’ll drink more than usual if there’s an open bar at the office party — specifically because it’s free and 69 percent believe that too much booze is available at parties in general.

Three-quarters of people feel the holiday party is where they truly find out what their coworkers are like. This also proved to be one of the top reasons people attend office parties, with 46 percent seeking to discover the hidden sides of their colleague.

Office party curiosity can backfire

Holiday problems“The lowered inhibitions that can come with ‘liquid courage’ aren’t always a good thing, not just for our egos but for our well-being,” says Marcus Sakey, founding partner of Ritual Zero Proof, in a statement. “That’s why many Americans are becoming more sober-curious — they want to experience the benefits that drinking in moderation can yield, like increased energy, better sleep, and most importantly, a clearer head.”

Speaking of clearer heads, 62 percent of respondents say they’ve dreaded going to work the day after an office party due to embarrassment. Another 64 percent admit that they couldn’t look at some of their coworkers the same way once the celebration ended.

According to one respondent, “[A] coworker got drunk and fell into the Christmas tree and knocked it over, then threw up in the boss’s driveway.”

With 56 percent worrying that they themselves might get fired after office holiday party events, it’s no surprise that almost half the poll (47%) have a desire to reduce their alcohol consumption.

​​“We’re all more health-conscious these days, but moderation doesn’t need to mean sacrifice, especially during the holidays,” Sakey adds. “Swapping in a nonalcoholic beverage is all about balance, so you and your social circle can celebrate without the hangover, embarrassment or regret.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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