We’ve all done it. It’s hard to resist. Especially when you’re younger, full of energetic exuberance and particularly when you’re part of the LGBTQ community.

For us, the holiday season begins with Halloween. Usually there are multiple parties at private homes and themed celebrations at bars, along with a handful of see-and-be-seen presentations at special events facilities, upscale hotels and historic sites.

It’s one long party that begins the last week of October and stretches throughout November and December. It doesn’t really come to an end until sometime around Jan. 2.

And who are we kidding? It’s all about fun and over indulgence. We won’t bother to deny the blending of cocktails and party favors (that typically leave us all pretty blended) and other recreational activities (wink, wink) can be a lot of fun. 

The old saying “everything in moderation” doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. But it could be the difference between a ticket or arrest on the way home and a revoked license; a nasty hangover the following day, or something even worse; an automobile accident that could change the course of the future (that’s a nice way of avoiding saying exactly what you know is being insinuated).

Reviewing Best Policies and Procedures for the Holiday…

If you’re prepared to go barhopping and/or ready to hit various parties, either hire (if you share the cost with friends it’s a lot cheaper) or designate a driver and be prepared for a hangover the next day. Note: the darker the liquor the heavier the hangover and the same goes for the sweeter the mixer. Something like vodka and club soda with a twist of lemon can lessen the deleterious impact of alcohol the next morning. Also – if you’re currently taking medication for anything, be certain imbibing won’t cause any unexpected consequences. 

If you’re a holiday foodie and you’re planning on chowing down on hors d’oeuvres and multi-course meals in your social circle’s dinner party round, watch your carb intake. If that leaves you scratching your head, put simply, it means don’t go too heavy on the sweets and stay away from overindulging with edible items that fall in that category and are commonly associated with this time of year, like cakes and pies and candies. It’s hard and it can be a challenge, especially when all those things taste so good. Here’s another case where moderation is key: keep in mind, the more you consume, the more your fat cells expand.

While the use of illegal substances as party favors is something no one ever wants to talk about, it is a reality. It happens. 

In fact, a 2016 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that LGBTQ adults are more than twice as likely to face challenges with recreational drug use and addiction than their heterosexual counterparts. 

With no judgments being made, the advice is cut and dry: the decision to partake is up to you. Do you know what you’re putting into your body? What impact will it have? Are you adequately hydrated? Do you know when it’s time to stop? If you are currently on any type of prescription medication are there any dangers if you mix one with another? These are all valid questions to consider before making the decision to go down this path.

Now let’s talk COVID… 

This year, like last year, social protocols remain in a state of limitation because of the ongoing COVID pandemic. The list of variants is seemingly endless: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Mu, R1, L, S, Epsilon, Omicron, Theta and Zeta.

The initial variants that robbed us of so many lives (and now going on two years) initially are known as L and S, followed by Delta. 

And now: 

Attack of the Omicron! 

According to experts at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the World Health Organization (WHO), things are about to get really bad again, especially if you haven’t received any kind of vaccine. But, if you have been fully vaccinated, there is a good chance you will not be infected by additional variants. Health authorities are encouraging individuals to follow up with a booster shot to increase immunity. 

The Biden Administration released the following statement:

“Our vaccines work against Omicron, especially for people who get booster shots when they are eligible. If you do get COVID, your case will likely be asymptomatic or mild. For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”

So, if you’re completely vaccinated and you got a booster shot, your seasonal celebrating doesn’t have to come to a complete stand still. If you choose to go to parties or bars or any crowded event, take some sensible precautions. You know what they are: wear masks, remain a safe distance, if you’re running a temperature or you don’t feel well, stay at home. If you’re the host of a party or an event, you might even consider requiring people to show proof of vaccination. 

The responsibility you take for the remainder of the holiday season is yours. But don’t forget the decisions you make impact not just your health and well-being, but those around you as well. 

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...