Melissa’s Musings: Alcohol is not a part of holiday cheer

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 30, 2002


A glass of red wine accompanies the roast. A glass of white wine washes down the turkey.

Spiked egg nog warms up cold December nights and makes the holiday season more festive. But would any New Year’s celebration be complete without a nice chilled glass of champagne?

It is the holiday season again, time for merry galas with friends and coworkers, time for long chats out on the porch swing with family members.

Brilliantly-colored Christmas cards ornament mantles. Police cars clutter the roadside, flashing red and blue emergency lights.

While holidays like Christmas and New Year’s are among the most anticipated days on the calendar, they can also be the most deadly. During the holidays we are less inhibited and more social. With a merry spirit, we indulge ourselves with holiday foods and alcohol. That, when combined with just under 50 million people on the road for holiday travel, could spell disaster.

Law enforcement officers see more drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs during holidays like Christmas and New Year’s than they do at any other time during the year. That is one of the reasons why travelers see such an increase in police patrols, why more people are stopped, fined and arrested during the holidays.

But, hey, give officers a break this year. While law enforcement’s road blocks and traffic stops are inconvenient and sometimes costly (depending on how fast you are driving and if you are buckled up), increased patrols are meant to get travelers safely to families and to holiday gatherings.

They are meant to remove unsafe drivers from the road so that all of us – including those drivers – have the opportunity to see another Christmas and another New Year’s go by.

For those of us having just one more hot toddy, just one more mint julep, it is also time to open a few more presents or to have one more long conversation with Grandma.

Even during the holidays, we have our limits. The key is recognizing those limits and knowing when they have been crossed. And when they have been crossed – stay put. Drinking and driving never mix.

MELISSA PEACOCK is a staff reporter for L’Observateur. She may be reached at (985) 652-9545.