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Holiday spirits: the past, the present and the future

3 mins read

Alcohol is something that most people can associate with an embarrassing story when they have had too much to drink and made a fool of themselves, or worse, seriously injured themselves and ended up in hospital. Whether it was a long time ago, recently or for the many times to come, alcohol plays a massive part in these stories. There are already increasing laws to control drinking culture in Scotland so why doesn’t it apply to gifts?

In recent years, alcoholic themed gifts have become a lot more popular across stores. From giant wine glasses that hold an entire bottle, to gin advent calendars and mugs that say, ‘I never drink anything stronger than wine before breakfast’. Could the high street be creating a naïve and dangerous attitude toward Scotland’s already dangerous drinking levels or is it all just a bit of fun?

Many products reinforce gender stereotypes that all mothers need is wine and dads beer. Even encouraging children to serve alcohol. Whether it is meant to be a lighthearted joke or not alcohol abuse is a serious illness that is not treated with the same serious attitude it needs.

Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy Monitoring Report found last year Scotland’s adults drank an average of 10.2 litres of pure alcohol per person. More and more laws are being enforced to try to curb the nation’s drinking habits but gifts across the high street are still making light of binge drinking and encouraging unhealthy drinking habits.

Alcohol takes centre stage at most celebrations all year round, with Christmas being no exception. People joke about ‘being p*shed for four days straight’ and it is extremely common to start drinking from breakfast time. Starting with Buck’s Fizz or champagne with breakfast, wine with lunch and more wine or liqueurs after dinner right through to boxing day.

With all this attention, should gifts really be putting more emphasis on it? You wouldn’t find any other drug advertised in the same way. This attitude overlooks the seriousness of alcoholism even if it seems like nothing the smallest encouragement to a dangerous stereotype will reinforce it which could in the future have serious consequences.  

To reduce the amount of sweets being bought at the supermarket and temptation for young kids, sweets have been removed from near the tills or replaced by healthy snacks. I can’t help wondering if doing the same for alcohol would work. Would minimising the adverts showing excessive drinking as a silly habit across gifts change the attitude on drinking even a little bit? After all, at this time of year Scotland needs no further encouragement for getting on the bevy.

For more information visit:

Rehab 4 Addiction is a free addiction helpline run by people who’ve beaten addiction in their own lives.

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Film Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Editor in Chief at Brig Newspaper. Edinburgh / Stirling

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