Getting it all wrapped up


'Tis a wonderful season, what with carolers crooning, cas registers ringing and folks getting that slightly crazed, holidazed feeling. We'll try to help -- or at least give you a few seasonal laughs along the way -- in The Sun.

It's 1 in the morning, you're sloppily slapping wrapping on Gift #97, and there's no end in sight. What happened to that warm, giving glow, you wonder, that goodwill-toward-humankind feeling, that holly jolly spirit? It's lost among the scissors, bows and tape.

But never fear. Boy Scout Troop 485 is here, a beacon of hope for the wrapping-weary. You can restore your seasonal spirits and indulge in the warm feeling of goodwill by visiting their wrapping station next to Macy's in Hunt Valley Mall. Staffed by Scouts and Scout mothers, the station will wrap anything you take to it from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The $1 to $4 fee benefits the troop.

Bill Hillard, general manager of the mall, says people take advantage of the service in a very big way.

"We have customers who literally bring things in by the truckload," he muses. "They fill up the flatbed, back it up, and say 'do your thing.' "

Troop 485 doesn't have a monopoly on charitable wrapping. The Baltimore Association of Retarded Citizens raises money with a similar station at the Shops at Kenilworth in Towson. Their hours vary -- this week, they'll be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. -- and prices range from 50 cents to $5.

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