Is the calendar right — Christmas is one week from today?

That means New Year’s Day follows in one more week. As the year draws to a close, and most people will be cooking family traditional recipes, today’s food and drink feature is focused on what to do to enjoy a safe holiday season. Plus, for any last minute gift-giving ideas, or “I don’t know what to get them,” an assortment of recipes are provided for holiday jar mixes to make as presents or to have on hand when friends and family drop by during the coming weeks.

First things first, reminders to make it into the New Year. New Year’s Eve is one of the most festive nights of the year. Counting down to 2020 while simultaneously saying goodbye to the current year provides grounds for celebration for millions of people across the globe.

New Year’s celebrations vary depending on where the partying is taking place, but it’s common for people to check their inhibitions at the door on December 31. That can make for a fun evening, but also puts celebrants in jeopardy of making bad decisions or confronting the consequences of others’ poor decisions. Adhering to three simple safety strategies can increase the chances that this New Year’s Eve is memorable for all the right reasons.

1 — TRAVEL IN PACKS

Most people who are out and about on New Year’s Eve are focused solely on having fun. However, some criminals see New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to prey on unsuspecting men and women who may not be as alert to danger as they are on other nights of the year. For example, a recent report from Australia’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found that the number of violent offenses between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on New Year’s Eve is nine times higher than it is on other nights of the year. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, conservative estimates suggest that roughly one-half of sexual assaults on American women involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim or both. While alcohol and its relationship to traffic fatalities draw the bulk of the attention on New Year’s Eve, even people who don’t intend to drive should recognize the dangers of overindulging in alcohol and drink responsibly. By hitting the town with friends and staying with those friends throughout the night, New Year’s Eve revelers can make themselves less vulnerable to criminals.

2 — DON’T OVERINDULGE IN ALCOHOL

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that people who consume alcohol begin experiencing a loss of judgment when their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, reaches .02. That means it only takes a relatively small amount of alcohol before people’s judgment begins to falter, and judgment only suffers further with each additional drink. The pressure to overindulge in alcohol on New Year’s Eve can be considerable, but revelers should avoid situations where they might be tempted to drink too much. Such overindulgence only makes people vulnerable to bad decisions and even criminals looking to prey on inebriated victims.

3 Timely reminders at year’s end to cheer in 2020

New Year’s Eve should be as festive as possible. Celebrating responsibly can ensure everyone has a fun and safe time.

• HOST RESPONSIBLY. Even people who don’t intend to leave their homes can take steps to make New Year’s Eve safer for everyone. If you’re hosting a party at home, do so responsibly, making sure none of your guests overindulge and making the party less about drinking and more about having fun. Shift the focus from toasting drinks to games and activities that don’t include alcohol. Make sure to have plenty of food and nonalcoholic beverages on hand and encourage people who are drinking to eat full meals and drink water throughout the night. People who fill up on food and water during the party may feel full, which may discourage them from having extra drinks. While many people will expect to drink alcohol on New Year’s Eve, don’t stock up on too much alcohol, the availability of which may encourage guests to overindulge.

3 — DON’T GET BEHIND THE WHEEL

Even people who avoid alcohol on New Year’s Eve are vulnerable to potentially unsafe highways. That’s because everyone shares the roads, and drivers never know who else will be on the road when New Year’s Eve festivities end and everyone goes home. The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that, over the last half-decade, an average of 300 people die each year in drunk-driving crashes in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. To avoid becoming such a statistic, New Year’s revelers can celebrate at home and invite others to stay overnight.

• ARRANGE FOR TRANSPORTATION. If you need a car to get around on New Year’s Eve and plan to drink alcohol, arrange for someone else to do your driving for you. Groups of friends should choose someone to be their designated driver or pool their money and hire a taxi or bus service for the night so no one who’s been drinking gets behind the wheel. The NHTSA even offers a free app called SaferRide that is compatible with Apple and Android devices and enables users to call a taxi or a friend to be picked up. Hosts also should keep the phone numbers of local taxi services handy just in case some guests cannot drive themselves home safely.

Celebrate safely this New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate. But for hundreds of people each year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day proves fatal. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the last five years an average of 300 people died in drunk driving fatalities between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Holiday celebrations, and New Year’s Eve festivities in particular, tend to include alcohol, raising the stakes during this festive yet too often fatal time of year. The sobering statistics provided by the NHTSA don’t have to prevent people from toasting a new year. In fact, there are many ways to have fun this New Year’s Eve without putting yourself in harm’s way. Don’t overindulge in alcohol. For many people, overindulging in alcohol is part and parcel during New Year’s Eve celebrations. Such behavior puts everyone at risk, even people who don’t drive.

New Year’s Eve is a fun but potentially dangerous night. However, a few simple safety strategies can make sure New Year’s Day conversations are all about the fun from the night before.

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