MERRY XMAS, HAPY NEW YEAR my dear friends! I don’t know about you, but this is a difficult time for me. I kind of have mixed feelings about the holidays. I say that because, like myself, I know many of you are reminded of the death of a parent or a loved one.

Personally, I deal with this by doing what I am doing now. I get into my motor home, drive across the country and have a good time. After doing some research and thinking about my own feelings, I put together some tips to help you cope doing the holidays, especially this weekend.

1. First of all, never grieve alone. Find a family member or friend to talk with and remember, solitary grieving is not good for anyone.

2. Place a holiday wreath or flowers on your loved one’s grave, if possible. This will help you feel a deeper connection.

3. Start lighting a candle in honor of them at a special place in your home or theirs.

4. Go to a religious service at the place where your parent or loved one worshipped.

5. Take time out for yourself. Decorate your home, go shopping and establish new traditions. Honor the memory of your deceased loved one.

New Year’s Eve is a major social holiday in Baltimore, the United States and all over the world. Two of the top destination cities for New Year’s Eve are New York City and Las Vegas, where I am now. Las Vegas’ America’s Party is always attracting a large number of New Year’s Eve partygoers with the famous Las Vegas strip being closed to vehicles and fireworks launched from numerous rooftops of every casino on the strip. In New York City, the “ball dropping” at Times Square, which is broadcast to all of America and rebroadcast in many other countries, is a major component of the celebration.

In Baltimore, we have the Inner Harbor fireworks at midnight. There is no charge to watch the fireworks. You also can have dinner at one of the restaurants, such as the Cheesecake Factory, Phillip’s or J Paul’s.

You can take a New Year’s dinner cruise on the Spirit of Baltimore. The ship leaves the dock in the Inner Harbor at 8 p.m., and returns at 1 a.m. Meals, drinks and party favors are included.

Visit a nightclub in Baltimore such as Melba’s Place, 3126 Greenmount Ave., 410-366-6536; Cat’s Eye Pub, 1730 Thames St.; Hyatt Regency 300 Light St.; Maceo’s Lounge, 1926 N. Monroe St. and Linwood’s Lounge, 25 Crossroads Drive in Owings Mills, 410-356-3030.

What ever you decide to do, enjoy and be safe. I have to go now and fix me a cocktail. If you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or e-mail me at