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Survival during a season that makes some say 'Bah humbug!'

November 20, 2005|By KRISTIN WILSON

kristinw@herald-mail.com

Does the thought of holiday gift shopping make you ill rather than giddy?

Do you turn the dial on the radio as soon as you hear "Silver Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or any other variation of a cheery holiday jingle?

Not everyone enjoys the holiday season. Maybe Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and the time in between carry sad or negative memories; maybe family time is best avoided or maybe some people shy away from the hypercommercialism that is the "holiday season."

Whatever the reason, there are things that people who are not fans of the holidays can do to survive.

Here are a few ideas:

Volunteer to work the holidays. No one can argue with the excuse: "I have to work" as a reason to get out of a holiday meal or event. In fact, if you are so kind as to offer your work skills over the holidays, you might score some pity points while creating goodwill vibes among co-workers.

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ust volunteer. Nonprofit organizations and charities are often flooded with holiday do-gooders, however, many organizations always need more volunteer help.

The Washington County chapter of the American Red Cross could use help with its fundraiser, wrapping gifts at Valley Mall, and also needs volunteers to donate blood and work blood drives, says Julie Barr-Strasburg, chapter director.

"We try to find volunteers to help us during the holidays when collections are low," says Barr-Strasburg.

Jenny Fleming of the United Way of Washington County says REACH Cold Weather Shelter organizers are always looking for volunteers to help support their mission of providing meals and a place to sleep for homeless men and women. Through the REACH program, there are many other volunteer opportunities available.

Would-be volunteers also can contact their favorite charity organization to see if volunteers are needed.

Take a vacation. The holiday season can be a great time to travel. Depending on the destination, special deals often can be found. Some places are even less busy during the holidays.

Develop selective amnesia. "Christmas was on the 25th this year? Thanksgiving was on a Thursday? That just slipped my mind." People might not buy it, but you'll have fun pretending that you actually forgot the holidays this year.

Take a sleeping pill and set yourself up for hibernation. If you're going to hole up and ignore the holidays, make sure you have plenty of non-holiday-related videos on hand or enough reruns of "Friends" and "Alias" so that you won't have to put up with Claymation versions of "Frosty the Snowman."

If all else fails ... Find a watering hole where you can commiserate with others who prefer to get away from the holidays.

Thanksgiving Day is a "darn busy" day at The Corner Pub on South Mulberry Street in Hagers-town, says owner Darryl Sword.

People "appreciate a nice place to go after they get their family obligation taken care of," Sword says. "I just get the sense that people have to get a drink after being around the family for four or five hours."

Happy holidays everyone!




To become a volunteer...

To volunteer with the American Red Cross Washington County chapter, holiday gift wrap at Valley Mall from Friday, Nov. 25, to Saturday, Dec. 24, call Donna Scotti at 301-739-0717, ext. 210. Proceeds from the gift wrap go to local Red Cross emergency services, says chapter director Julie Barr-Strasburg.

For more information about donating blood or volunteering at a blood drive, call Amy Saufley at 301-739-0717, ext. 225.

Call REACH at 301-733-2371.

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