I love the holidays. I love the decorations, the music, the food, celebrating with friends and family, and the hope of a fresh new year on the horizon. This is, indeed, the happiest season of all.
And the holiday season means holiday parties—which range from “excellent fun” to “oh dear God this is miserable.” Whether it’s the office party to kick of the season or a get together with friends on Christmas Eve, you’re likely navigating a whole host of social events and obligations just now.
So, put down the eggnog for a moment, because we need to talk about CCW and self defense during the many festive occasions you’ll be attending. Now, some of the points I’m going to make are obvious—if you’ve got an office party scheduled, your CCW practice should conform to the policies of your workplace. If you’re at a bar, restaurant, or similar venue, you’ll need to follow the applicable laws in your state. And under no circumstances should you be imbibing while carrying a firearm. Guns and alcohol do not mix. There is not excuse. Do not do this. Ever.
But it’s the holidays, and you want to have a glass of champagne or a bourbon while enjoying a New Year’s Eve fiesta or Christmas party with your relatives. Or your celebrations take you to a place in which you legally can’t carry. What do to about self defense?
Relax, I’ve got you covered:
Safety begins with situational awareness. During the holidays it’s almost embarrassingly easy to get swept away by a wave of “peace on earth, goodwill toward all”. While I encourage you to embrace every positive moment and feeling, keep your head on a swivel. This means staying reasonable sober as well, so know your limits.
Pick and choose your venues with care. Your family and friends presumable have safe and happy homes, and your workplace is likely relatively danger-free. However, people do screwy things on New Year’s Eve, so sticking with less dodgy watering holes and party spots is a smart move.
Holiday parties tend to necessitate dressing up—in formal wear, in costumes, or in the ubiquitous tacky Christmas sweaters. If this differs greatly from your normal attire, take a moment to make sure your carry system still works, that your CCW isn’t visible, and that you’re able to draw the weapon quickly and smoothly. This is likely to be a little more complicated for the ladies, but we’ve talked about that as well.
If you can’t carry a firearm, remember that there are plenty of other options for tools that can give you the edge in a self defense situation. This time of the year I especially recommend a good flashlight, for all sorts of practical reasons—chiefly related to the long nights and darkness the Northern Hemisphere is going through right now.
Finally, know when to say when. There comes a time to leave the party before things get stupid, or turn down that next drink, or walk away from a conversation. Simply identifying and avoiding problems before they start prevents a lot of frustration later on.
With that having been said: do get out there and enjoy yourselves. It’s a festive time, and I’d like us all to lay down our troubles and just celebrate all that’s best about humanity. Toward that end: don’t drink and drive.
Happy Holidays, everyone. Stay safe out there.