Enjoying Sober-Friendly Holidays in Vegas

Hey friends,

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been able to get on and update. It’s a list of reasons why – the whole family was sick for a few weeks (ear infections, flu, allergic reaction that led to hives for our daughter…you know, lots of fun things), it’s been a really busy time at work which comes and goes in cycles and right now the cycle is such that I barely have a minute to take a much needed deep breath, and on a happy note, I got to see my best friends for the first time in two years.

There was a trip planned back in March of 2020 so you can guess how that turned out.  But all the aforementioned items kept me from getting on here and writing up a November post, so instead, I’m going to give everyone some ideas for the next 6-8 weeks of sober friendly holiday activities here in Vegas.

Let me start by saying – the holidays are really fucking hard for sober folk. Hard stop. If you have sober people in your life, please be extra kind to them over the next couple of weeks. Even though we’re probably not all back at big office parties this year, it seems more and more gatherings are creeping back in as vaccinations are more widely available and adopted.

A few tips for anyone wanting to host a more sober-friendly holiday gathering (and you can view my original post about this HERE from a few years ago!

  • Have a thoughtful sober friendly options. Nowadays there are SO MANY delicious non-alcoholic drinks that feel special. And many of your friends who do drink may want to switch to them as well after a cocktail or two.
  • If you have a fancy glass that you’re using for your drinkers – put the non-alcoholic option in it for your non-drinkers too. Some people aren’t ready to explain to everyone yet why they’re drinking a seltzer in a can instead of the fancy wassail in a cup.
  • If someone asks for an N/A drink please don’t ask them why. It can be really triggering to have to explain that you are having issues with alcohol, or that you think you might be pregnant, or that you had a DUI, or that you’re having medical issues, etc. If someone offers to tell you why – awesome! Chat it up! But sometimes folks need space and can be tempted to drink by the question.
  • Lastly – when you’re naming options that you have to drink, offer the N/A option in the list to everyone. It may surprise you who opts for it

And, if you’re looking for something alcohol-free and friendly to make for your guests, I worked with my dear friend Sarah Lohman, culinary historian and author, to put together some fun recipes for larger gatherings.

Opportunity Village Magical Forest (Nov 26 – Jan 2, closed Christmas Day) – The Magical Forest is a winter wonderland with millions of sparkling lights, exciting rides, great food and endless holiday cheer. This year, the Magical Forest will celebrate its 30th season of being open to the public. And in those 30 years, Opportunity Village has welcomed families and friends from across the globe. The best part is, every dollar spent at the Magical Forest goes towards programs and services for over 3,000 people with disabilities at Opportunity Village. So while you warm your hands on a cup of hot cocoa from Frostbites, you can also warm your heart knowing you are making a positive impact on someone’s life. 

Native American Heritage Day Market (Nov 26) Celebrate Native American Heritage month and support local Indigenous businesses, artists, crafters, and organizers with this outdoor market at Nuwu Studios.

Las Vegas Clark County Library Holiday Book Sale (Dec 2 & Dec 3) The Holiday Book Sale at Sahara West is back! You are sure to find amazing treasures and bargains galore on books, DVDs, CDs, LPs, and more, with some items discounted as low as 50 cents. There will be holiday crafts and activities in the multipurpose room, so bring the whole family for a morning of fun and exploration.

Ice Menorah Chanukah Celebration (Nov 29) A Chanukah Celebration! Featuring: The sculpting of a large Ice Menorah! Hot latke bar, Chanukah activities, dancing dreidels, and more!  Taking place on the 2nd night of Chanukah at the Vistas Park, this Menorah Lighting is for everyone. The incredible ice Menorah sculpting show, the hot latkes and the family atmosphere make this the perfect Chanukah celebration for children and adults alike.

Bellagio Conservatory (Nov 20-Jan 1) I love going here because it’s a free family activity (other than the parking cost at the Bellagio) and they always do such an incredible job with the flowers and plants on display. The Conservatory team changes out the design and also replants and repurposes as much of the living plant material as possible, further celebrating their commitment to sustainability.

Las Posadas de Las Vegas (Dec 11) The Walnut Recreation Center will celebrate the traditional Latino Posadas. Celebrate with traditional foods, music, toy drive and a special Posada scene.

LIVE Podcast for Charity (Dec 8) Please join the Love Yourself Foundation in this special holiday collaboration with Makers & Finders. This event is designed to be both a networking opportunity, along with a fundraiser for the Love Yourself Foundation. Monica, from LYF, will be doing a LIVE podcast interview with Co-Founder of Makers & Finders, Josh Molina! Come and enjoy an insightful conversation and delicious food, along with a live DJ set by the talented Douglass Gibbs! To add to the vibe, there will be LIVE painting by Juan Quetzal.

11th Annual Menorah Lighting (Dec 9) Join JFSA in celebrating Hanukkah Virtually this year from wherever you are. Please join us for our 1st Virtual and 11th Annual Lighting of the Menorah. Simply go to www.JFSALV.org and visit our home page for the live broadcast on Wednesday, December 9th at 7:00 PM PST.  Hanukkah means “dedication” and the Light of Life Menorah will project the illumination of our traditions and remind everyone of the dedication it takes to sustain the miracles that occur each day at JFSA.

Glittering Lights (Nov 11- Jan 9) Nevada’s premiere drive-thru light show, a holiday tradition, hosts different initiatives to support local charities, churches and schools. When you drive through millions of twinkling lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Speedway Children’s Charities receives a portion of each ticket sold. In fact, Glittering Lights and the PJ5K makes up the largest portion of money the charity grants each year to 50 plus children’s charities in Southern Nevada. Goodwill of Southern Nevada collects clothing and household goods, transforming donated goods and monetary contributions into pathways to meaningful employment for Southern Nevadans in need. When you purchase food and drink from concessions, area Boy Scout troops gain interpersonal, money management and leadership skills, along with earning money for camp and activities.

Parade of Lights (Dec 3) Around 25 boats adorned with lights and holiday decorations will participate in the annual Lake Mead Boating Association’s Parade of Lights Dec. 3. Decorated boats will be on display at Las Vegas Boat Harbor and Lake Mead Marina from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Visitors can vote for their favorite decorations. At 6:30 p.m., the boats will depart the marinas and parade across the Boulder Basin. Visitors can watch the departure from the marinas or view the parade from Boulder Beach. The marina restaurants will be open with holiday drink and food specials.

Birding with a Naturalist (Dec 30) Join Interpretive Naturalists on this early morning birding hike at the Ash Spring Trail. Learn some tips and tricks on birding and about the birds that around the Red Rock Canyon area. This hike is easy to moderate difficulty and is estimated to be 2.5 hours. Bringing your own binoculars is recommended. Registration necessary/limited space. Call (702) 515-5367. Time of hike and meet up location will be given during registration. Ages 13+. Bring plenty of water and dress for the weather.

Ethel M. Cactus Garden Lights (Nov 5 – Jan 2) Stroll through our three-acre cactus garden with over a million lights twinkling, enjoy our premium Holiday Chocolate tasting experience, sip one of the world’s best hot chocolates. FYI reservations are required so be sure to check their site.

Happy (sober) holidays everyone!