Is it really Christmas if there's no snow? The romantic image of a "White Christmas" has been a staple of the season, so it's no wonder so many people seek out a little snow to get into the holiday spirit. However, there are plenty of places around the country that don't see snow at all. If you can't find any snowflakes on your local mountain, you may decide to travel to a scenic snowy location for the experience. The problem is, if you live where it doesn't snow, how do you pack for a frosty climate? Here are some tips for how to pack for a winter wonderland vacation when you're not used to snow.
One recommendation for newer snow-goers who aren't sure what they might need is to take a little bit of everything. It's easier not to wear something than to need it and not have it. Plus, since you're coming from warmer weather, you may feel the cold even more sharply, leading you to appreciate every piece of clothing you have. However, this doesn't necessarily mean bringing your whole wardrobe either. The idea is to think in layers on both the top and the bottom. As long as you have your layers covered, you don't need to worry about freezing your tootsies off.
These are your inner layer and also your loungewear, unless you bring along a pair of sweatpants. Generally, the tops are long-sleeved with crewnecks, v-necks, or u-necks. Certain ones might even be turtlenecks. Some are thicker and sometimes referred to as thermal tops or thermal skirts and are great for keeping off the chill if you plan to be outside a lot. Others are thinner, breathable, and comfy—basically long-sleeved t-shirts which can also function as your normal daily clothes. If you aren't sure which you will need, take a couple of both. On the bottom, are fleecy leggings often called thermals, long johns or long underwear. You might wear your top and thermals by themselves if you're inside with the heater on, but if you're out having a Christmas adventure, they'll serve as the layer closest to your skin. As such, you'll want to make sure whatever you choose is moisture-absorbent, toasty and made of comfortable material. You'll need more of these since they get dirty the fastest.
These are definitely thicker than the tops. Sweaters get their own category because they're responsible for trapping most of the heat around your core and keeping it close to your body. These typically have crewnecks or turtlenecks, are generally knitted in patterns, and are made of materials like wool. Since you have your top as your base layer, you shouldn't need more than one or two good sweaters unless you have an extended stay planned.
These are the outer layers that keep the snow and wet out. These pieces are usually insulated by down or some other equivalent, and should definitely be waterproof. Snow is water, remember, so any snow that gets on you and comes into contact with your body heat for long enough will melt. Waterproofing will help that water slide right of, keeping you from being soaked after a snowy tumble. Many people have one main jacket, but some like variety and bring along two or three. There are also men's and women's snow pants available. It's up to you!
Remember your extremities! These are going to get cold the fastest, so they need some extra care. You may even want to consider electric warmers to keep the chill at bay. Thick socks will help protect your feet, and a double layer of them will ensure it! When you have a good pair of winter snow boots, you can traipse about for hours without worrying about your toes freezing. You definitely want some good waterproof snow gloves, but the problem is, they can sometimes limit your mobility. That may not matter if you're focused on skiing and snow fort building, but sometimes you may need to tie a shoe, use the restroom or buckle something. Mittens with removable fingers solve this or perhaps an inner layer of cloth gloves can keep your fingers warm just long enough for you to do what you need to do before you plunge your hand back into the toasty heat of your snow glove. You decide what you need and which idea sounds better!
Lots of heat escapes from your head, so an easy way to keep warm is to have the right headgear. Toasty beanies, winter hats, and ear muffs or other ear coverings will be helpful in that regard. Long warm scarves are, of course, critical winter accessories—few like a cold breeze or snow down their necks.
Now that you know what layers you need, you can pack for the snow with confidence—even if you've never been!