Q What does a person do with unwanted Christmas lights? I switched to LEDs and have bunches of mini-light strings that I don't want.

A Don't throw them in the trash; lights in good condition can be given to those in need. Check with churches, shelters and other similar organizations in your area. They may know of families that would welcome such donations.

At the very least, recycle them.

The nation's first statewide recycling program for holiday lights is underway in Minnesota.

Drop them off at participating businesses, such as Snyders Drug Stores, or events such as the Holidazzle Parade (check www.recycleminnesota.org for a list of businesses and locations). They'll be picked up and recycled.

Recycling light strings keeps them out of landfills and provides jobs. Plus Snyders will give you a $5 coupon toward a $20 purchase.

Recycling Christmas lights isy easy if you're a customer of Randy's Environmental Services: Put them out with your curbside recycling. Let's hope the idea catches on with other recyclers next year.

No gumballs?

Q I have a lovely, clean, but old gumball machine that no longer works. The gears don't catch and nothing happens when you turn the lever. Can you suggest where in the Twin Cities I can take this for repair?

A Contact a company that services and repairs vending machines, such as Theisen Vending Co. in Golden Valley,

Depending on the machine, however, it may not be reparable, said Judi Heston with Theisen Vending. Lots of gumball machine companies have gone out of business and parts are unavailable, she said.

Heston said they would be willing to take a look at your machine or consult with you by phone. Call 612-827-5588 or 1-800-633-3436.

Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or call 612-673-7032, or e-mail fixit@startribune.com. Past columns are available at www.startribune.com/fixit. Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies. Fixit appears every day except Friday.