Arkansas Democrat-Gazette



DEAR HELOISE: It won’t be long before many of us start sending and receiving packages for the holidays. The problem is that too many packages are taken by “porch pirates” who are just low-life thieves stealing from others.

I realize that right now, many families are struggling to make ends meet, but stealing someone else’s packages is not going to make things better. The thief could end up in jail with a police record that follows them. Just try to get a decent job or credit with a record for theft. Plus, with all the home security gadgets today, it’s stupid to rake anything from someone’s home.

I’ve worked out a plan with two of my neighbors: If I see a package on their porch and they do not pick it up, then they’re probably not home. I’ll take it, keep it at my place until they return and then take it to them. The other two will do the same for me. So far, this has worked out very well and might work for other people.

Neighbors should look out for neighbors. It builds a safer, stronger community if we all protect one another. There are, of course, other methods, and it’s best to call the carrier service you frequently use to find out what suggestion­s they have in avoiding porch pirates.

People spend valuable money on these purchases, and they want them delivered to the correct person. After shopping for a gift for someone you care about, there’s no reason a stranger should help themselves to it!

— Helen D., Bloomfield, N.J. DEAR READERS: Got rolls of wrapping paper at home that you don’t know what to do with? Try one of these hints:

■ Ask friends if they need any wrapping paper.

■ Place the rolls in an unused waste basket and, over time, use up the paper you already have.

■ Line the back of a built-in bookcase with some of your prettiest paper.

■ To cover up a scratched dresser, on top of the dresser, roll out a piece of wrapping paper the same size as the dresser. Place a sheet of glass over this to secure it.

■ Bundle all the rolls together and sell them in a garage sale.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

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