"Blood donations always decline around the holidays. People just become so busy with shopping, getting together with their families and going out of town and they don't always make time to come in a donate blood."
Cortney Martin with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center says they need 1,000 donations a day to meet the demands of the region — after all emergencies don't take off for the holidays.
In fact, demand often goes up at this time of year.
"We're actually seeing a bit of an increase in demand for platelets, specifically. Don't know why that is exactly, but the concern also is that we're not having as many donors schedule appointments to give platelets at the moment. So we want to make sure that we do everything we can to get those components in."
To accomplish that, the agency will be open for extended holiday hours this year. They're specifically requesting extra donations on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, when they'll be open from 7am to 3pm at 17 locations.
"It takes about 24 hours to process a blood donation. So if an accident happens, or a need suddenly arises, you can't go run out to donate blood right then. You have to have already had that blood on the shelf. So the supply has to be there all the time because you never know what's going to come up."
The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Supply has a complete list of hours and locations on their website giveblood.org.