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Sun, Aug. 18

Dear Annie: Cheer for those not home for the holidays

Dear Annie: Earlier this year, I moved to the East Coast for my first job out of college. My parents, siblings and entire extended family are all back on the West Coast. Overall, I like it out here. I’ve been keeping so busy with my new job that I’ve hardly had time to be homesick at all.

But now that it’s the holiday season, I find myself missing them a lot. I get nostalgic thinking about all the Christmas mornings my sisters and I spent together. This year, I have to work a half day on Christmas, so I won’t be flying home. Originally, my roommate was also going to be around, so we were planning on having our own little celebration, with eggnog and a Christmas movie marathon. But she just decided she’s going to drive home to spend the weekend with her family.

I don’t want to complain about having to work on Christmas, because really, I should be grateful to have a job when millions of people are out of work. But I just can’t help feeling sad that I’m not going to get to hug my parents. At least I won’t be totally alone. I am taking care of my roommate’s dog. Any tips for cheering up? – Blue Christmas

Dear Blue: It’s homesickness season, and when you’re away from loved ones on Christmas, there’s not a pill in the world that can fully cure the heartache. But gratitude is the best antidote we’ve got. So keep counting those blessings. Though you can’t see your family members in person today, you can still talk to them. That is a gift.

Consider stopping by a retirement home and visiting with patients for an hour or two, or visit VolunteerMatch.org for other ideas on how to give back during the holidays. Your mood will get an instant boost from helping others.

I hope you can make a trip home soon, but in the meantime, stay thankful. Merry Christmas.

Dear Annie: I think “Fed Up in Philly,” who has been doing all the holiday hosting and cooking for 30 years, should take charge and email the sister and brother. She needs to tell them that although Mom and Auntie have not complained, it’s time the three of them took over the holiday entertaining. Their generation needs to step up. She should ask them to decide who wants to take a turn this year. They’ll take advantage of her only if she lets them.

A side story: Many years ago, a co-worker with limited means was able to move from her teeny home (with her son and husband) to a slightly larger home. She was overjoyed to have room to host the family for Christmas Eve for the first time. When I spoke with her, I learned she had to work till 6 on Christmas Eve. Her solution to entertaining everyone was to order Chinese food and pick it up on her way home. It was her treat! I often remember this and think it is a great example of true holiday spirit. – Happy Holidays

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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