DEAR HELOISE: With four boys, there was a huge mess on Christmas morning when they opened their gifts. One year, I decided to do something different. I got four trash bags, gave each boy a bag and told them they couldn’t open another gift until they put the ribbons and wrapping paper from the previous gift into the bag. It saved me at least an hour of cleaning and reorganizing. After we opened all our presents, I told them to put away their clothes and toys.

Hints from Heloise sig

They’re grown men now, with their own families, and they follow what we did when they were children. Their wives appreciate it!

— Imogene, Wisconsin

New phishing scam

DEAR HELOISE: Please tell your readers to be aware of a new phishing scam going around. Someone contacts you, usually by email or phone call, claiming to be from your bank and wanting to update your information for security purposes, or they’ll have to deactivate your account. Hang up immediately! Call your bank directly and ask if they need your information updated, and let them know about the scammer who called you.

Whenever you get a request to update information on ANY financial matters, DO NOT click on the link they provide. Instead, call the company directly and protect all financial information.

— Trent D., New York

Send hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 or email

Friday, January 17, 2020
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Wednesday, January 15, 2020