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Thompson: A tip that could please St. Nick
Cut a 12-inch piece of square rod stock with a hacksaw and bend it to fit around your mantle, like this. - photo by Tim Thompson


Hear Jason Walters, sports director at the Georgia Mountains YMCA, talk about Charles Caston.

It’s the holiday season and time to hang the stockings. I’ve got a cool tip on how you can hang your stockings from the fireplace mantle. Instead of buying expensive hangers, make your own. First, go to your local hardware store and buy a piece of “square rod stock.” It’s basically a thin piece of steel that is 3 feet long and 3/16-inch thick. Each rod will cost you less than $3. Cut off a 12-inch piece of the rod — you can use a hacksaw. Now, take the rod and bend it in a vice so it looks like the picture at right. You can vary the dimensions to fit your style of mantle. The key here is to have the “hook” piece of the hanger underneath the mantle. As the second picture shows, you’re ready to use it. If you want to get creative, you can paint it or glue Christmas items to the hanger. Make it a family project! If you have any problems, e-mail me. The hanger can easily hold more than 10 pounds.

Here’s a little-known fact. A lot of hotels will give you  a discount if you pay with cash. Before you book your reservation, call them and ask.

Here’s another little-known fact. Instead of buying a postcard when you’re on a trip, just print out one of your pictures you’ve taken and use it. Yes, the Post Office will let you send it!

Reaching under your Christmas tree to water it can be a pain. To make the job a little easier, consider using a long plastic funnel that you can buy at an auto parts store. They usually cost less than $5 and you can find them in the motor oil section.

I love Duck brand duct tape. They probably make the best duct tape out there. Well, they also make shelf liners. The liners come in a number of colors, styles and textures. In addition to lining your shelves, you can also use the material for the following:

  • Yoga mats
  • Put under your car floor mats to keep them from sliding
  • Put under your toddler’s plastic potty to keep it from sliding on the floor
  • Use a small section to pick up pet hair off of furniture. This works!

Guys, do you want to earn some brownie points with your wife or girlfriend? Take her to see the movie “Enchanted.” She’ll love it and you’ll be able to tolerate it. Also, buy the soundtrack so that when both of you get back into the car and she says how much she loved the Jon McLaughlin song “So close,” you can drop it into the CD player. Trust me on this one!


Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.