Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about Christmas letters:

“Dear Heloise: I hate to be a Scrooge, but I don’t really care for Christmas letters. Most of the information is either mundane or exaggerated. Does anyone really care that Susie got her braces off her teeth or that Tommy made a touchdown for his high school team?

“The last Christmas letter I got recounted how the author’s father had been in the hospital six times during the year, the family dog died and their daughter dropped out of college. Please, no more Christmas letters.”

- Larry in Oklahoma

I agree that sad news might be inappropriate during the holidays, but entertaining, newsy letters from family and friends are always welcome. Keep it up, folks!

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some repurposing ideas:

- An empty tissue box makes a good place for plastic grocery bags.

- Use address labels to identify your possessions.

- A cardboard six-pack holder can be used for condiments on a picnic.

- Use a plastic shower cap to pack your shoes for a trip.

- Heloise


Wedding bell blues

Dear Heloise: I have been to two lovely weddings and we were seated by number, but sad to say, we were apart from our family and friends. I wish the parents of the bride and groom would work together so they knew where to put us.

- A Reader, Canfield, Ohio


Santa’s footprints

Dear Heloise: We have a silly but fun Christmas tradition: On Christmas Eve, after everyone has gone to bed, I put on big boots and create a trail (with sprinkled baking soda) from the chimney to the tree - it’s Santa’s snowy footprints!

In the morning, the little ones really get a kick out of seeing “evidence” that Santa has stopped by. And bonus - the carpet is refreshed when I vacuum up the baking soda.

- Helen in Illinois

Helen, I love it! Baking soda can certainly look like snow, and it can eliminate odors from the carpet too. It’s a workhorse in the home.

- Heloise


Pet treat

Dear Heloise: I like to pour meat drippings or gravy over my dog’s dry food. He really loves it and licks his bowl clean!

- Pam T., Lubbock, Texas



Dear Heloise: I got so frustrated with many of my silky blouses and sweaters sliding off the hangers. A friend of mine suggested a simple remedy: Put two wide rubber bands on the hanger, one on each side. So easy and inexpensive!

- Carrie R., Bonner Springs, Kan.


Gift for the elderly

Dear Heloise: I wondered what to get an elderly but very mobile neighbor of mine for Christmas. I found that a gift card to a grocery store was a favorite for many older adults. It helps them stretch their budget and buy a few items they normally wouldn’t buy for themselves.

- June S., Santa Fe, N.M.

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