Dear Heloise: Last year, as I carried trash to the curb for pickup after Christmas Day, I realized I had two large garbage bags stuffed with only our DISCARDED CHRISTMAS WRAPPING PAPER. What a waste!

I immediately thought of your helpful-hints articles. Do you have hints for reusing used wrapping paper or what we can do to recycle gift-wrapping paper? -- Steve T. in Ohio

Of course I do, and I’m glad you asked. Most good wrapping paper can be reused for wrapping smaller gifts or cut up and used as paper/ribbons. Use paper to line drawers or as shelf lining in a seldom-used china cabinet. Cut out uniform squares, staple on one corner, turn over and use for a notepad. Put through a shredder and use the colorful paper as stuffing for packages. If you have a pet bird, line the bottom of the cage with the paper, and it will be colorful. -- Heloise

P.S.: Many recycling centers now accept wrapping paper as long as it is nonmetallic.


Dear Readers: A recent column about sheets getting twisted in the washing machine generated a lot of responses. Here are just a few hints about how to keep sheets from twisting:

* Tom in Colorado wrote: “After spending many minutes pulling sheets apart, I got disgusted once and just pitched them into the dryer twisted. Lo and behold, with the tumbling action of the dryer, they came apart and dried in the normal time.”

* Dory in Arkansas wrote, “Fold them into quarter sections before putting them in the washing machine, and again when putting into the dryer.”

* Marcie in Texas wrote: “Don’t put sheets around the center post of the washing machine. Push them down in a wad on one side (contour on one and plain on the other), and they won’t wad up.”

I tested these hints, and they seemed to work fairly well. The only caution is putting them in a “wad” on either side of the washing machine. If doing a large and/or heavy load, the tub may become unbalanced, so keep an eye out. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I found a wonderful way to make children’s Christmas stockings memorable year after year.

Our children have received ribbons and church, academic and sports awards. I attach them to their Christmas stockings. They can proudly show off their accomplishments each year. This tradition is carried on with our grandchildren, and has created a sense of pride and remembrance of special times in our family. -- Margie R. in Arkansas


Dear Heloise: In case there’s still somebody left who reads books, here’s my hint: In addition to a bookmark (which gets you to your page), I put a sticky note where I left off. Makes for speedy resuming of reading! -- Ann B. in California

Yes, there are book readers, and I am one! I love reading a great novel or biography to wind down after a hectic day. -- Heloise

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

, King Features Syndicate