When some folks dream of a white Christmas, it has more to do with the color of underwear than snow.
Adult underwear -- size large or extra-large -- is the most requested item from adults who sign up to receive Christmas presents and food baskets through the Neighbors in Need holiday program, said Sylvia Canon, director of the agency that runs the clearinghouse in Carroll County.
"People say, 'Mitten trees are nice, but how about an underwear tree?' I guess it doesn't say 'Christmas' to anyone to have underwear hanging on a tree," said Ms. Canon of Human Services Programs Inc. of Carroll County.
While people might go all out for a loved one with Victoria's Secret camisoles or Calvin Klein boxer shorts, Ms. Canon said that any basic underwear will be appreciated by Neighbors in Need, -- from white cotton to plaid flannel to paisley polyester. Long underwear is often requested, she said.
Such gifts make sense, she said. Second-hand coats and other clothing are available at thrift shops and charities, but not underwear.
"And everybody needs more than one [set of underwear]," Ms. Canon said. "It isn't like a winter coat, where if you have one, you're good to go."
The large sizes are easier to distribute because a medium person can wear a large if necessary, but a large person can't wear a medium, Ms. Canon said.
"Just go out on Main Street and look. Do you see more big people or more small people?" she said.
People can still take gifts of underwear to the Neighbors in Need station at Cranberry Mall this afternoon.
The program has been operating out of a storefront near Leggett that was once a billiard hall.
The big giveaway for families that signed up will be Monday at the mall.
The requests for help exceeded donations this year, and gifts and cash will still be accepted and distributed as late as Christmas Eve, Ms. Canon said.
Monday through Thursday, donors may take food certificates, new clothing and toys to Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc., Distillery Drive in Westminster.
More than 1,000 families are asking for help this year, up by about 300 families from last year.
Volunteers are filling boxes this week trying to make sure that each member of a family gets some kind of present of clothing or toys, Ms. Canon said.