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This article was published December 26, 2013 at 3:01 a.m.

DEAR READERS: Is it time in your home to start taking down the decorations, Christmas tree and more? But what can be done with the Christmas tree?

Check with your city’s solid-waste management agency to see if trees are collected as part of curbside recycling.In many cities, the trees are turned into mulch, which is then offered to residents (for free).

See if trees can be dropped off at a recycling center. More cities are collecting trees to use for mulch on paths for hiking trails, among just a few of the many ways to use a dead holiday tree.

If you can, set the old tree out for birds and other animals. You even can turn the tree into a giant bird feeder by hanging leftover fruit, popcorn, etc., on it.

P.S.: Please consider a living tree next year. They may not be as big or beautiful, but certainly will last longer.

DEAR HELOISE: I seem to always have too much to carry when going from car to house and vice versa. My hands are full, and my keys are in my purse. I have to set all the stuff down just to dig through my purse to open the door. Now my keys have a regular ponytail holder on the key ring, so when I get out of the car or house, I can carry my keys, hands-free, around my wrist.

  • Lynn H. in Georgia

DEAR HELOISE: I like to make little loaves of bread for my friends and family. I use small loaf pans. Many recipes call for you to grease and flour the pan before baking. I grease and sugar my pans instead. The loaves of bread come out with a nice sugar outside instead of coated in white flour. I think it adds to the taste and gives them a little extra touch.

  • A Reader in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: One year, I forgot to send my niece a birthday card, and she was sad. Now I buy all my nieces and nephews birthday cards at the beginning of the year and keep them in a folder until their birthday. On a piece of paper, I write their names, birth date and a description of the card to send to them.

  • A Reader, via email

DEAR HELOISE: Before I put mascara on, I use my old toothbrush (or a cleaned mascara brush) to run through my eyelashes a few times. This helps the mascara to not gunk up.

  • Melissa V. in Alabama

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Weekend, Pages 32 on 12/26/2013

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS

Comments on: HELPFUL HINTS

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