Winter Resources


Illinois winters are no joke. Are you ready?

From Polar Vortexes to rising prices on, well, everything, this season is full of challenges. At Illinois Extension, we know that your winter wellbeing matters. Make the most out of the season with our collection of resources that answer your questions. Does sidewalk salt hurt my lawn? How can I keep the kids busy on school break? What are the best items to donate to food pantries? How can I safely keep my house warm and my heating bills low? Stay frosty. Trust Illinois Extension to help.


  • Tips for Space Heater Safety (Espanol): Electric space heaters can help warm a room quickly. However, they can be as dangerous as convenient if used improperly.
  • Stay Safe During Power Outages (Espanol): Severe storms are devastating to homes, properties, and lives. These storms can also take down power lines—creating a dangerous situation for all of us, including the line crews working hard to get your power turned back on.



  • Download a factsheet on Poinsettia care at
    Prevent tantrums during the holidays: We talk a lot about stress during the holidays and try to find ways to reduce or make that stress more manageable. However, we usually talk about it in regards to us – the adults – and sometimes forget that holidays can be difficult for children as well.
  • Make time for holiday self-care: The holiday season comes with an abundance of tasks and expectations. Treat yourself kindly and practice extra moments of self-care during this holiday season.
  • Explore Winter Holidays: Holiday celebrations differ across cultures, backgrounds, and faith traditions. Learning about these differences can be a great way for you and your family to build cultural competence. This year, make it a new holiday tradition to explore the holiday traditions of others. 
  • What are Frankincense and Myrrh?: Certainly, they are part of many Christmas stories, but do you know what those products are and why they were so valuable? Here is more information on both of these plant-based products.
  • What do you really know about reindeer?: You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixon, and of course Rudolph from being a part of Santa’s trusty reindeer herd, but did you know that Santa isn’t the only one that is raising reindeer? It is thought that reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, were first domesticated around 5,000 to 7,000 years ago. 
  • How to Recycle Christmas Trees: Christmas tree recycling is one way to help the environment. There are more ways to continue to benefit from your tree in the home landscape.
  • Holiday Plant Care: Poinsettia (PDF Factsheet), holiday cactus, Norfolk Island Pine, amaryllis, living Christmas tree




  • Winter care for backyard chickens: Winter begins challenges to the small flock chicken owner. There are issues that need to be solved: keeping the water from freezing, preventing the birds from getting frostbite, and maintaining egg production.
  • Prepare beehives for winter: When temperatures start getting cold in late fall, it's time to make those last-minute preparations that help your bees have the best chance of surviving the winter.
  • How to overwinter potted plants: Perennials in pots are subjected to much harsher conditions than those planted in the ground. Because of this, even if they are hardy to your area, they can be damaged and killed. Take steps to try to get these plants through the winter. 
  • How to winterize outdoor plumbing: Your final garden task before winter settles in is to winterize all irrigation lines, hoses, and spigots.
  • Prevent winter sidewalk salt damage to plants: Deicing salts can be a major problem in some landscapes by negatively impacting plant health or sometimes outright killing plants from overexposure. 
  • Do we need to fear the Polar Vortext?: What is the Polar Vortex and why does it feel the need to visit Illinois?
  • Winter weather and La Nina: Meteorologists have gotten better at predicting when El Nino and La Nina are going to occur, and how it affects weather in areas like the Midwest.
  • Ice fishing this winter? Aquatic invasive plants and animals are still active. Throw out unused bait in the trash and drain bait buckets and remove plants and mud from ice fishing gear before leaving for the day.



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