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9 Things to Do This Winter

'Tis the season for snow-filled outdoor adventures and bonding with loved ones around a fireplace.

A cozy chair, cup of tea, and a good book puts us in a winter mood. 

Jodie Johnson / Stocksy
  1. Pack it up. Save your outdoor furniture from rain damage by covering it or putting it away for the season. Store it in a dry place, like the garage, to keep it fresh for next year.

  2. Check out a good book. Gather around the fireplace and crack open a family-friendly read. It's a great opportunity to enjoy some quality bonding time and spark creativity in the minds of the little ones around you.

  3. Prepare for winter driving. A new season brings new road conditions. Make sure tires are in good shape, windshield wipers work well, and headlights are clean and bright. Run through our winter weather tips.

  4. Have a peaceful season. One in three adults feels anxiety around the holidays, according to the American Psychological Association. Fend off stress, get organized, and stay ahead of tasks with this handy prep list.

  5. Get frosty. Outdoor winter fun doesn't always require a lift ticket. From riding fat-tired bikes through the snow to viewing elk from a horse-drawn sleigh, the West's best cold-weather adventures await! Looking for ideas or inspiration? Here are 13 snow play ideas across the West.

  6. 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. (Note: House Manager is only available in Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano counties, and Milpitas.)

  7. 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!)

  8. 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 feedingamerica.org.

  9. 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.

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This article was first published in Fall 2019 and last updated in Fall 2020. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.