Since I recently moved to the United States from sunny Queensland, Australia, this will be my first white Christmas, and the excitement levels are out of control. Sitting around a cozy fire wrapped in cashmere and faux-fur throws, sipping on a warm mulled wine with views of a stunning winter wonderland outside is pretty much my idea of heaven.
But while it looks gorgeous, it pays to remember that snow is freezing cold and very wet, which won't be fun if I don't prepare (especially since I'll be traveling to the mountains from Los Angeles). Since I'm most likely not the only one preparing for their first snow trip this year, it's only fair to share a list of winter essentials so you're fully equipped before takeoff.
Scroll down to see our snow-trip picks, from a luxurious cashmere scarf to a practical pair of waterproof gloves.
There are going to be some chilly days and nights ahead, and this versatile piece is the ultimate snow trip accessory. It's super warm and cozy by the fire and is a ultra-chic look around your neck when walking around outside too.
There's nothing worse than cold appendages in the snow. Frostbite is serious, but just the idea of numb fingers and toes gives me goosebumps—no thanks. These waterproof gloves are ideal for keeping your hands toasty; they've been designed with a built-in system for ensuring your fingers don't get chilly.
Before you embark on your trip with the usual wheeled luggage, think about how those small wheels are going to handle the snow. Don't make the same rookie mistake I almost did—grab a weather-proof waterproof duffel bag instead. This Patagonia one has been built to handle rain, hail, snow, and rough terrain.
Your face and head are more sensitive to changes in temperature than the rest of the body, so it pays to keep them warm. A Moncler wool pom-pom hat is one of the most wanted winter accessories, but any woolly beanie will do the trick. No one wants cold ears in subzero temperatures.
So if skiing isn't really your thing, don't worry; there are so many other insanely fun things to do in the snow. Tubing is one of them, and I have to say, as a non-skier, it's what I'm most looking forward to. Whether you want something fun to keep the kids amused or you're a kidult looking for a cheap thrill with friends, tubing is where it's at.
Is there anything better than a hot water bottle in winter? It takes me back to my childhood when Mom would stash one under my blankets so my bed was warm when I hopped in. This cashmere version is the ultimate hot water bottle and a must-have for all snow holidays, because no one wants to slip in between ice-cold sheets.
While today's smartphones take incredible images, do you really want to risk dropping it in the wet snow? With awkward gloves and heavy layers on, there's every chance you will. So choose a cute waterproof, shockproof camera you can hang from your wrist to snap cool shots on the go.
If leather gloves aren't your vibe and you're after something more practical, these hand warmers should be at the top of your snow shopping list. The fingertips have touchscreen-compatible fabric for nonstop texting (or Instagramming).
Just because it's the snow doesn't mean you won't need sun protection. In fact, you'll need it just as much as a tropical holiday. The sun reflects off the ice, and the glare can really burn. Make sure you put high-protection 50+ sunscreen on every day.
Your regular boots just won't cut it in the snow. Not only is it wet, but also, snow turns to ice, which turns to slush and then mud… which is also very slippery. Be smart and invest in a pair of snow boots. They're built for this kind of weather, and even if they're not super pretty to look at, hey, it's the snow—everyone will be wearing them.
When it's cold outside, you'll be drinking every kind of hot drink there is to warm up from the inside. We recommend a thermal cup for your morning coffee, mid-afternoon hot chocolate, and evening mulled wine.
Don't even think about leaving for a trip to the arctic without thermals. They're super lightweight so they won't take up much room, and you will wear them every day—I promise. Wear them as a base layer underneath your regular jeans for added warmth; they're naturally flexible, and they help regulate your body temperature too.
We can't wear gloves all the time, so for those moments when you're outside but your hands are turning into icicles, these cute hand warmers will get them nice and toasty in no time. This super-sleek design will give you 12 hours of gentle, consistent heat.
What are you taking on your first snow trip? Is there something we missed? Share it below so we don't leave without it.
This story was originally published on December 8, 2015, and has since been updated.