5 Things to Do Now to Prepare for Winter

Add these tips to your checklist and you'll be all ready for winter.

A cozy crackling fire gets us in a winter mood. 

Jodie Johnson / Stocksy
  1. Check your chimney. A crackling fire creates coziness. But before you start one, you'll want to make sure your fireplace and chimney are in good working order, so they won't leak smoke, gas, or carbon monoxide into your home. Technicians from AAA House Manager, a Bay Area–based home maintenance service, can repair gas and wood fireplaces, and help you schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. AAA Members get 10 percent off an annual House Manager membership; use code VIA20 for an additional 20 percent off. For more information, visit (Note: House Manager is only available in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.)

  2. Winterize your car's emergency kit. Stash an ice scraper, snow shovel, and snow brush in the trunk near all the gear you usually carry: tools, flares, jumper cables, and a flashlight with batteries. A box of nonclumping kitty litter can come in handy, too, if your tires get stuck in snow. (Trust us, it works!)

  3. Do your part. More than 40 million people in the United States—one-third of them children—don't have reliable access to nutritious food. To help feed a child in need this holiday season, go to

  4. Don't forget your flu shot. Vaccination can cut your risk by 40 to 60 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Sniffles season starts in October, so if you haven't gotten a jab yet, visit your doctor or your local pharmacy.

  5. Get your hike on. Skip the deal-mad crowds at the mall on Nov. 29 and #OptOutside. In honor of "Green Friday," the Oregon and Washington state parks are offering the ultimate deal: free admission for you and your car.

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