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DEAR ABBY: I have been with my husband for five years, and we have two children together. It’s my husband’s second marriage and my first. He and his first wife, “Gretchen,” had no kids, but they did have a long and messy divorce. She and her family live in the same small town as we do. Her f…

Dear Readers: O Christmas tree! Have you put yours up yet? There’s still time. In fact, experts agree that a live Christmas tree shouldn’t stay in your home for more than two weeks. Here are some hints for selecting a beautiful, live Christmas tree:

The original cradle song — “Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, Gute Nacht (Lullaby: Good Evening, Good Night)” — was written by German composer Johannes Brahms in 1868. Now known as “Brahms’ Lullaby,” this nighttime classic is still used by parents around the world to get their little ones to sleep.

DEAR HELOISE: Given the cost for checked bags and problems with carry-ons, when my wife flew, we BOXED UP everything she’d need, from clothes to toothbrush, and mailed it about two weeks before she would get there.

IN THE 1976 movie “Taxi Driver,” Robert De Niro practices some moves in front of a mirror while saying, “You talkin’ ta me?” Well, new research from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and Karlstad University in Sweden is talkin’ to us all.

DEAR ABBY: I gave birth to my daughter three months ago, after 44 grueling hours of labor. My mother, assuming I would want her in the delivery room, booked her flight, flew across the country and stayed at my house without asking when I’d like her to come to help me.

Last December, Joyce Ano, 63, had a surprise delivered to her Northfield home: new gloves, pajamas, writing paper and pens from an anonymous gift-giver acting as a secret Santa to seniors and handicapped Franklin-area residents who receive Meals on Wheels.

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DEAR HELOISE: One of my favorite hints is very simple: When trying to open a bottle that’s hard to open, I use a NUTCRACKER to grip the cap and twist it off. Most grocery stores sell metal nutcrackers.

DEAR READERS: Temperatures should be chilly over most of the country now. Have you given thought to the PIPES in your home? Water expands in the cold weather — this can put pressure on your pipes.

DEAR ABBY: I thought I had a best friend. We got to know each other when we worked together for almost four years. He’s straight, I’m gay and we’re total opposites. However, he taught me how to fish and took me shooting at his family’s ranch; we would go to dinners/lunches and go to the city…

DEAR ABBY: The holiday season is here, with the traditional family dinner get-togethers. Our problem is, our two children (ages 27 and 29) don’t like each other and rarely have contact during the year. This creates such stressful holiday meals that my wife and I would prefer to simply not ha…

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