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Whether we are ready for them or not, the holidays are upon us. And between checking the turkey and hanging the stockings, we bet you have no time to deal with any creepy, crawly, uninvited guests. Unfortunately, much like your invited guests, pests are wooed into your home by twinkly lights and festive smells.

Fret not! You can still have your Christmas cookies and eat them too–and have a pest-free home this holiday season–if you follow a few simple tips and tricks from your pest friends at Nature’s Turf.

  1. Bright lights, merry pests: If you’re anything like us, you love a good Christmas twinkle, but those bright lights are just as magical to pests. Lights attract bugs, and if you leave those sparkly displays on all night, there’s no telling what you’ll find in the morning. Our recommendation (and one that your neighbors and wallet might like): set a timer so that the lights turn off around bedtime. 
  1. Santa may be Amazon: Has the big guy swapped his sleigh for an Amazon van? Probably not for every gift, but boxes are sure to be piling up. Unlike the supply chain, pests aren’t stuck in limbo. They’re getting cozy in warehouses and easily hitching rides into your home. Our recommendation: if you can do it before the kids see, open packages outside and give the packaging a good shake before heading back inside. 
  1. Uh Oh, Christmas Tree: There’s nothing better than a fresh-picked live tree to really get you into the Christmas spirit. The smell, the trimming, the family time – ahh, it’s the best. However, before those big ol’ fir trees came into our homes, they served as actual homes for animals and bugs. Our recommendation: once you’ve found THE tree and carted it home, take a few moments to shake it down and check for critters.  
  1. Brrr, it’s cold outside: Sometimes, even with a wintery mix brewing, you still need to open the doors and the windows. When the pie gets burnt or the carolers come caroling, it’s prime time for bugs to make their entrance. Our recommendation: air out the house and listen to the tunes, but don’t forget to close up and give a cursory glance of the area soon after.  
  1. Eek, that’s not an ornament: Since the holidays only come but once a year, you’re likely having to head up to the attic or dig around the garage for decoration boxes. Try as you might to pack things away in air-tight containers, the spaces these boxes are stored in are prime pickings for pests. Our recommendation, before you bring the tinsel in: unpack the boxes outside and, just as you should do with the packages above, give them a little shimmy. 

With these five quick tips, you won’t just be dreaming about a pest-free home this holiday season, you’ll be living in it.