19 Winter Holidays Hints and Tips

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Are you planning a Winter holiday or White Christmas? Hopefully some of the points that we discovered on our recent Canada White Christmas might come in handy for you too.

1.     Layering – yes everyone says it, but it is 100% true. My most valuable layer was the one against the skin. I wore a camie style on the top half and tights on the bottom – which was perfect to retain heat. I share some of my layers here.

2.     Perspiring – you don’t! We could have taken half of our clothes, and we didn’t take that much for 3 weeks travelling. But as you don’t perspire then you don’t need to wash your layers as much as you would expect.

3.     Tuck ins – important to tuck in at least your first layer – i.e. my camie was always tucked into my trousers – again for retaining heat against your skin. See my second layers here.

4.     Do up boots fully – if your boots are laced up properly then there is little chance of snow falling into them. Plus if you have fur rimmed boots, the fur catches any snow and you can dust it off. Our first venture into snow in Vancouver had us both with melting snow trickling into our boots.

5.     Fur rimmed hood on coat – we didn’t have these but wished we did when it was really snowing. If there is wind behind the snow it can be sharp on the face and stings the eyes, whereas the fur rimmed hood catches a lot of it first, before hitting your face – not just a fashion statement like it is here.

6.     Beanie and hood combo – beanie is a must, however if snowing or sleeting, then pull up your hood over your beanie. This will keep your beanie dry as most often they are a knit that will get wet quickly. Interestingly all of our layers dried out quickly with the warmth inside accommodations. The beanie I wore can be seen here.

7.     Gloves + Liners – ensure you have quality high-warmth rated ski style gloves with liners. The liners make such a difference with hand warmth, plus if you need to get out your keys, or map etc, you can still do this with your liners on and fingers don’t become so cold. But try not to lose your liners like I did in New York.

8.     Glove elastic – when you first buy your gloves you think the elastic attached is just for packaging – don’t cut them off or lose them. Every time you wear your gloves slip the elastic over your wrists, so they do not get lost when you remove them. I did this and still left one in a taxi momentarily.

All rugged up, even with sunlight
All rugged up, even with sunlight

9.     Pockets – hands in your gloves and then in your pockets against your body does make a difference. We often needed to keep hands in our pockets especially if we had been taking photographs on the phone or camera which needed greater nimbleness than just the glove liners.

10.  Shoes – we both had waterproof shoes. Mine were puffy style so likely more water resistant, however the snow brushed off them and even in slush and rain my feet were dry. The main point is grippy soles…..definitely no smooth soles. Soft snow did not require cleats, just good rubber large tread soles. Sometimes even with good shoes we would slip while walking along – more so on manmade surfaces, such as roads and footpaths.

Thick solid treads needed
Thick solid treads needed

11.  Cleats – my boots had cleats that could be pulled out, and twisted around for wear. I preferred my cleats out when walking in the snow, but not really needed. However, if you want to use them, pull them out before walking outside. If you find you are out walking and need them, it can be very tricky to do – standing on one foot plus having to take gloves off – not a great option (there may have been some cursing from me first time I had to do this). Be careful walking on concrete or tiles with the cleats out though as very slippery. I often had the toe cleat out on one boot and the heel cleat out on the other boot. You can see my cleats etc here.

12.  Mascara – Don’t bother!! If snowing or sleeting, just don’t bother with mascara as you will, as I often did, end up with panda eyes.

13.  Footprints – we found that walking on other people’s footprints was a good option. That snow was already compacted, so made walking more secure.

14.  Steel – don’t walk on metal plates when it has been snowing as extremely slippery –  this was our major slips so we soon learnt.

15.  Tissues – the cold weather will make your nose drip. Take the opportunity when inside a store, or under cover to blow your nose – as your hands can be out of the gloves for a short while. No point trying to use a tissue with ski gloves on which are too big and no doubt wet.

16.  Plastic Bag – handy to carry a plastic bag with you when heading out and about for the day. When snowing/sleeting, everywhere is wet, so if you have to stop to do something – for us it was to change lens on the camera, then you need to put your bag down. At least with a plastic bag you can put that down first.

17.  Sleeping – your body will be ‘out of whack’ due to the late sunrises and early sunsets, so try to maximise your sleep by drawing all curtains in your accommodation, to block any outside light and this also will retain warmth in your room.

Snow Angel
Snow Angel

18.  Snow – soft powder snow makes great snow angels, but is too soft for making snowmen or having a snow ball fight. In the cities when the roads are graded or ploughed, and scattered with salt, the edges become very slushy. (see me try throwing snow at Anthony here) 

19.  Overhangs – avoid walking under awnings, so you don’t get covered in falling snow clumps or drips of water as the snow melts.

What are some of your hints and tips for the winter? Love to hear them.

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