The Secret To Winter Happiness
I’m cold all the time. Seeing me in a hoodie in the summer is not uncommon. I sleep with my socks on (and wake up with only one). And I live in New England. In Boston. In the cold cold city. I’ve been here my whole life, so it’s probably time for me to figure it out.
As a kid, I loved the snow and playing outside and coming in for hot chocolate, soup and grilled cheese with red cheeks and a runny nose. My mom wrapped our feet in gallon sized ziploc bags before slipping them into our boots to keep our feet dry. We stood at the door to switch mittens, not allowed to come in and track snow through the house. There was a basket of dry mittens and hats by the door. Our neighbor would hose down the hill behind his house to ice it up for sledding. I liked our hill better. It was plenty fast enough. Our other neighbor flooded a spot in his yard for ice skating. When we came inside, my mom helped us take off our wet clothes and carefully lay them on the bricks around the fireplace to dry.
As I got older, my love for winter faded. I soon had my own car and had to shovel it out. I was too cool for a warm enough jacket, so I was always cold. Running sneakers aren’t snow boots, but I thought they were fine. Soon the only time I spent outside was to walk the dog on a path my dad shoveled for us. My brother still went out. He skied. He shoveled for money. He played hockey on the frozen pond across the street.
This is the first year I’m finding myself ready for the winter. I’m certainly not outside shoveling, but I’m willing to go outside. I even find myself encouraging Roozle to join me. Maybe I’ve accepted that this is my life. There will be cold days. There will be snowy winters. Maybe the magic in Roozle’s eyes when she watches the snow fall is changing me. Or maybe it’s just that I finally have the right clothes to wear. Perhaps it’s all of these things. Boston is my home. I love it here. And not just in the spring.
Here are the 9 items of clothing that have increased my winter happiness.
1. Cycling Rain Pants: We have a small apartment with even less closet space. One important part of our winter wardrobe is to find multi-use items. These rain pants are awesome for bike commuting and are light and completely waterproof. Over jeans (or my reindeer pajama pants) they’re also great for snow.
2. Gaiters: These are my new favorite. I wear these on slushy days or in the snow over my rain pants. They slip over my boots to keep the snow and water from getting in the tops of the boots or getting the bottom of my pants wet. They also add an extra layer of windproof warmth.
3. Down Vest: I’m cold all the time. This is my new favorite thing in the world. I wear it all day long at work over my hoodie, then wear it under my jacket as an extra layer. I’ve never been so warm and happy in my life.
4. Down Jacket: We bought this down jacket for Roozle when she was little and quickly realized that the whole family needed them. I love it. It’s light enough to wear in three seasons, but warm enough to be awesome in the winter. And it’s purple. I love purple.
5. Big Mittens: I love my mittens. They’re warm and soft and obnoxious. I’ve had these ones for years though I was terrified I’d lose them at first and didn’t want to get too attached.
6. Fingerless Gloves: I wear these every day. They rule for still being able to use your phone and keep my hands warm without making me feel trapped. In the snow, I wear them under my obnoxious mittens so I can take off a mitten to take photos with my phone and still be relatively warm for a few minutes.
7. A Wide Scarf: I love this scarf even though it’s a bit scratchy and I hate it. It’s wide and long enough to tie up for long adventures outside, though, so I keep it. And it matches all my other stuff. So it’s cute.
8. Ear Flapped Hat: I wear hats a lot, but this ear flapped fleece lined wool one rules for days like today. It’s 5 degrees. OMG.
9. Good Boots: Until last year, I tried to manage winter with rain boots or sneakers. It was not a good idea. Last year, I grabbed these waterproof Keen hiking boots that I adore. They’re warm enough to wear in a big storm but light and comfortable enough to wear every day. I wear them daily all winter long. They rule extra with my fancy gaiters.