clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

6 Fast Fixes for the Holiday Season

Easy ways to prep for the festive winter rush

Clean Up Candlesticks

Photo by Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Pop wax-covered candlesticks in the freezer for about an hour to help you easily scrape away any messy drips.

Swap Out Old Bulbs

Photo by ULTRA.F/Getty Images

With longer nights, it's a good time to switch to energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, which use up to 80 percent less electricity than incandescents.

Change Air Filters

Photo by slobo/Getty Images

'Tis the season for revving up the heat. Energy Star recommends checking your furnace filter every month during the winter and cleaning or replacing it as needed.

Cook Efficiently

Photo by Jupiterimages/Getty Images

Using pots smaller than the size of your burners wastes energy—up to 40 percent if you use a 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner. Choose an appropriate pot size to help cut down on utility costs.

Silence Noisy Floors

Photo by Image Source/Getty Images

Work talcum or baby powder between squeaky floorboards with a dry paintbrush.

Clear Out Weep Holes

Photo by Peter Mukherjee/Getty Images

Weep holes—the small holes in window frames that allow moisture to escape—can often get clogged with dirt. Use a soft, small brush to clear the opening.

Protect Pets

Photo by Jan Tyler/Getty Images

Festive plants may be beautiful, but many of them can be harmful to pets if ingested. Amaryllis, holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can lead to vomiting, irritation, erratic behavior, or even death. To keep flora out of reach, place it high up on shelves or install hanging baskets for holiday displays. For a full list of dangerous plants, visit

Banish Emerald Ash Borers

Photo by insect courtesy of; (woodpile) simplycreativephotography/Getty Images

This insect has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 25 states and is often found hitching a ride around the country via firewood. To help keep it from migrating, make sure that any wood you purchase this season is locally grown and heat-treated. Then monitor your ash trees for signs of the pest, such as wilted leaves and D-shaped exit holes in the bark. For more information, visit