Limit the expense, and stress, of hosting

DEAR READERS: Happy Thanksgiving! You may be entertaining now, later on or for the new year. Here are a few Heloise hints to help save money and enjoy the event, too:

▪  Make your centerpieces and buffet decorations from fresh, colorful fruits, vegetables, nuts and greenery. I love decorative gourds.

▪  There are plenty of free music-streaming services online, on cable and satellite. I tune in to a radio channel that plays holiday music all day. I keep it low in the background for just the right touch.

▪ Try to shop with a plan. Who gets what, who might like what, or gee, let’s see what we can find for Uncle Ted.

▪  An easy and low-cost way to have guests over is a hors d’oeuvres drop-by between 5 and 7 p.m., or just desserts from 7 and 9 p.m.

▪  Using several slow cookers is a simple way to simmer and serve!

▪  If you hate cleanup, stock up on holiday plastic- and paperware. No one will bug you – it’s your event.

DEAR HELOISE: I can dispose of almost anything by placing it curbside. Put the item you want to get rid of on your curb with a note: “It Works! It’s Free!”

It will disappear.

Keith N., Costa Mesa

DEAR KEITH: How right you are! We once (over 30 years ago) put a huge (the size of a chest of drawers) copy/memo machine outside of the gate. I wrote “Free to a good home ... broken, but has lots of good parts.”

Someone pulled up in a pickup and loaded it, and it was gone before noon.

DEAR HELOISE: I found the perfect sewing basket at a yard sale. It was an hard cosmetic case. The tray keeps all your sewing tools together.

Paula B., Fort Wayne, Ind.

Send a money-saving hint to Heloise P.O. Box 795000 San Antonio, TX 78279-5000.