How to avoid those January blues

Even if you’re not a Christmas celebrator, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the big sweep of activity from Thanksgiving (heck, from Halloween) through January 1. (If you’re old school, you can stretch the festivities out to the Epiphany on January 6). But then the party’s over. You pack away the lights and ornaments, you check your social calendar (nope, nothing ‘til Valentine’s Day) and you realize that, even if the Groundhog gives a favorable forecast, it’s still two months of dark, cold and lame TV.

Before the seasonal gloom takes hold, consider signing up for a class, taking a workshop or volunteering your time. (Trust me, “The Bachelor” will go as follows: Jake the pilot will take his shirt off a lot. Champagne will be guzzled, girls will cry and at least one person will shriek, “Everyone in the house is fake!” See? You’re not missing anything.) Here are some enticing out-of-the-house opportunities. Sign up soon so you’ll be ready to go come January.

• AB Tech has an extensive Continuing Ed program. Classes include Bookbinding (Thursdays, Jan. 21-Feb. 25, 6-9 p.m., $55), Country Western Two Step (Thursdays, Feb. 4-Mar. 25, 7:15-8:15 p.m., $56.25), Cake Decorating (Mondays, Jan. 25-Mar. 15, 6-9 p.m., $55), Beginning Mandarin Chinese (Thursdays, Jan. 21-Mar. 25, 6-8:30 p.m., $55), Beginning Quilting (Mondays, Jan. 25-Mar. 15, 1-3:30 p.m., $55) and much more.

• Web site lists pretty much every sort of dance class/workshop/event happening in the 828 area code. Some fun picks: Beginner East Coast Swing & Jitterbug Class begins Jan. 13 (Wednesdays through Jan 27, 7:30 p.m. at the Asheville Arts Center, $40), Salsa and Latin Dance 6 week Workshops starts Jan. 4 (Mondays through Feb. 8, 7:30 beginners, 8:30 advanced beginners, at Salseros 828 Latin Dance School at Asheville Fitness Center, $65) and Bhangra (Punjab Indian dance hall/hip-hop) (Thursdays, 6:30 at Studio Zahiya, $12 to drop in).

• Go to Hands On Asheville for ideas on how to help out in the local community. Upcoming January projects include unpacking merchandise, pricing and stocking shelves at Ten Thousand Villages (Saturday, Jan. 10, 1-4 p.m.), baking cookies for families staying at the Lewis Rathburn Center (Monday, Jan. 11, 7:30-8:30 p.m.), Martin Luther King Drive litter cleanup with Asheville Greenworks (Monday, Jan. 18, 1-4 p.m.) and knitting or crochetting hats for newborns as part of Buncombe County Health Center’s Community Health Program (Sunday, Jan. 24, 2-4 p.m.).

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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