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ARIES (March 21-April 19): You will pick up information quickly, and you can selectively choose topics that will help you reach your professional goals. Insight into helping those who don't have a voice will be your calling. Your appeal is amplified, and romance is on the rise.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Problems will not go away unless you deal with whatever is bothering you before your temper has a chance to blow. Dealing with matters diplomatically will bring much better results. Don't let your work suffer because you are fretting.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Don't be afraid to change your direction. As long as you get the results you are looking for, the path you take won't matter. Changes at home will improve your personal life and motivate you to make a positive relationship choice.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Look for the obvious. Don't trust anyone with your secrets or your intentions. Don't make a fuss, just take care of your responsibilities, and get some rest. Quiet time will help you reassess your position and your competition.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You can make a difference if you put your efforts into something you believe in or care about. Social events will allow you to drum up followers who support your cause. Don't slow down when you should be speeding up. Love is highlighted.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Tread carefully when dealing with domestic matters. Not everyone will agree with your plans. You will have to use persuasive tactics if you want to reach your personal goals. Deception and disillusionment must not be disregarded.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Make plans for the weekend. A short trip, a little shopping, or assisting in a good cause will put you in a good mood. Satisfaction will come from knowing you have fulfilled something of meaning. Romance is on the horizon.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Follow the road less traveled, but be particularly careful when it comes to your money, possessions, or dealing with people from your past. Cover your back by taking care of your responsibilities before you opt to follow a personal path.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Temptation is the enemy. You can have fun without being indulgent. Be true to yourself as well as to the ones you love. Positive changes will add to your comfort, convenience, and your emotional well-being. Plan a surprise for someone special.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Be careful with whom you share secrets. Focus on money matters, and look for tax write-offs and investments that will keep your money working for you. Don't expect everyone to be on your team. Avoid unpredictable people.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Take care of matters that concern elderly relatives or friends. Your help will be appreciated and rewarded. Positive changes at home will bring you closer to your personal goals. Prepare to have visitors; it's the holiday season.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Jealousy will surface if you feel threatened by someone interfering in your work or home life. Refuse to let anyone know how you feel, and you will find a way to outmaneuver any opponent you encounter.

Christmas Trivia:

• During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made — enough to keep a medium-sized rave going for almost eight hours.

• For every real Christmas tree harvested, two to three seedlings are planted in its place. Christmas trees are like botanical hydras.

Franklin Pierce was the first U.S. president to decorate an official White House Christmas tree. Presidents didn't have as much to do back then.

• Frumenty, thought to be the forerunner of modern Christmas puddings, was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor — though admittedly, it was enjoyed a little bit more by the poor.

• The British believe that a wish made while mixing Christmas pudding will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction. I believe that the British give unhealthy credence to the power of magic, coupled with OCD.

• The 2000 live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas features roughly 52,000 Christmas lights, 8,200 Christmas ornaments, 2,000 candy canes, and 0 funny jokes.

• A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard. English cuisine has improved little in the intervening centuries.

Andrew R. Juhl thanks various Internet sites for supplying him with these easily modifiable Christmas factoids.

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