WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — It’s that time of year again.

Hanukkah is right around the corner, and Christmas is just a few weeks away. You may already be preparing your home for guests, welcome or reluctantly.

Whether you’re prepared or not is up to you, but here are some tips to try to hopefully help make it a more pleasant experience.

Guest Rooms

If you haven’t dusted in a while, make sure you’ve gone over it well and cleared as much dust that may have accumulated as you can. If you have pets, make sure the comforter and any blankets are free of pet hairs. It’s also a good idea to check under the bed to make sure your pets haven’t turned that space underneath into a secret den stashed with toys and other trophies they may have accumulated around the home. Check any lamps to make sure they’re in good working order and that all the light bulbs are still functioning. Check to make sure there is a free accessible outlet that your guests can use to charge their devices. If you have some chargers to spare, you may want to leave them in the room for your guests to find. If you can’t remember the last time you changed the sheets on the guest bed, it’s probably a good idea to change them out or wash them. If your guests are staying more than a couple of days, it might be a good idea to clear up some closet and dresser space for them in the guest room if it isn’t available already. Make sure the room is free of clutter.

Hallways

Make sure you have a clear path for your guests. They may not be familiar at all with your home, and if they need to navigate it at night in the dark to reach a restroom, tables and decorations that protrude from the wall make for a potentially noisy or dangerous obstacle course. Check those lights and replace any burned-out bulbs. Also, make sure you have a working smoke detector in that hallway.

Bathrooms

Now is a great time to check your toilets for any leaks and check the internal mechanisms in the tank, like making sure the stopper flap is opening and closing properly. Test out the showers to make sure they are working properly with adequate pressure. If not, you may need to clean them to remove any mineral deposits. If that doesn’t help, you might consider replacing the shower head. It’s also a good idea to install a night light in the bathroom, as well as the hallway leading to the bathroom, so your guests can more easily find their way overnight without waking up others in the house. Make sure there is a plunger accessible to your guests. Don’t forget to set out guest towels, fresh soap, and if you have them, extra toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste.

Kitchen

The holidays mean lots of cooking, and lots of cooking often means more chefs in the kitchen. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen in an easily accessible spot. If you use a gas stove, make sure it is in good working order before holiday cooking begins. If it’s been a long time since it has been serviced, now may be the time to have it looked at, especially if it’s been giving you issues. Are you not a coffee drinker but keep a coffee maker around for guests? Double-check to make sure it is still in good working order. Check to make sure the water tank hasn’t developed any leaks and that the machine is clean inside and out. Make sure you have plenty of filters for your guests. Have snacks for your out in the open, so they are easy to find, as well as any soft drinks you may have purchased specifically for them.

Living Rooms

Be sure to remove whatever clutter you can. Might be a good idea to check the batteries of those remotes and even wipe them down to clean their surfaces. What you may have thought was just the button labels fading may actually be accumulated dirt and grime. In addition to dusting, you may want to set out activities like board games, a deck or two of cards, and a selection of any holiday movies you may own, especially if they’re ones that don’t regularly appear on television this time of year.

Utility Room

Make sure your furnace is in good working order and you have had it recently serviced. If you haven’t done so, change out your air filter. Most HVAC systems should have their air filters replaced every 90 days. You may not notice the smell of your home, but your guests definitely will. They may find it unpleasant but may not say anything out of politeness. A new air filter can make a big difference. Check for any leaks in or around your hot water heater, including signs of rust or corrosion. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, call in a professional to see. There will be a lot more people using hot water in your home, and if you have an older tank, all the extra hot water use may be the final straw leading to a costly repair or replacement.

Outdoors

Check your sidewalks and entrances for any debris or clutter that could be a tripping or fall hazard. Make sure any decorations you have aren’t obstructing the path as well. Check those outdoor lights to make sure they are all in good working order. Keep your ice melt and shovel some place easy to get to so that you can keep those walkways safe and clear as much as possible for your guests should winter weather move in.

Prepare You

This can be a really stressful time of year, especially if you are the one hosting. Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Even if it’s just 15 minutes alone in a room by yourself just to decompress. Sometimes relatives can be difficult if you have opposing viewpoints on the world. However, know that they are just viewpoints and don’t make up that person as a whole. Avoid conversations that would steer in that direction. There’s no sense in arguing or debating an issue that neither one of you have any control over and won’t be solved at all by you two debating it. Instead, steer the conversation to things they would like to do and see while they are your guest. Talk about holidays from their childhood and look for common ground and shared experiences. Don’t engage if they bring up subjects you know can lead to heated arguments. Take opportunities to get out of the house. Sometimes the change of scenery can help ease the stress.