AN evening spent plodding around the Christmas market can be just what the doctor ordered, especially if you’re in need of some festive stimulus this year. And while the warm thoughts of huddling crowds, enjoying hot beverages under heated lamps – with weird exotic snacks from the grill on the side – can conjure up phantasmagoric feelings of snugness, one can be forgiven for underestimating just how cold it can be out there.
We know. We’ve been there. As a result we’ve put together a little list of what we think are the essentials, what you absolutely shouldn’t leave home without, so that you can get the most out of your Christmas market experience.
A woolly hat
Although it’s actually a myth that we lose most of our body heat through our heads, overall body temperature does tend to drop more rapidly if we leave the hat at home, even if it’s well wrapped up in every other part. Personally, we find hats essential just for keeping our ears warm. Your hearing might suffer, but at least you’ll be spared the – frankly – downright painful sensation of frozen ears.
Christmas markets have a tendency to get more accommodating and expansive every year. Which means you’ll probably end up spending more time wandering around outside this year than you did last. If there’s anything to rival the discomfort of frozen ears, it’s when your fingers start to feel the bite – so wrap them up. Fingerless might, at first, seem counterintuitive, but they do make a difference, and you’ll be less likely to spill mulled wine down your top.
In our experience, most people don’t own ‘winter’ footwear, and very little thought seems to go into what’s on their feet. Most probably just throw whatever’s on the show rack as they’re headed out the door. Your feet don’t and shouldn’t have to be neglected. Fortunately, there are companies out there, such as Uppersole, that have stylish and affordable winter collections. Not just shoes, but slippers, so you can keep the trend going after you’ve returned home.
(And of course…) The coat
A coat will more than likely be the first thing to come to mind whenever anyone mentions the words ‘winter’ and ‘outside’ in the same sentence, and rightly so. Most people probably will own several coats and at least one winter’s coat, but even this is worth some consideration. If the market is near a river, a windshield coat may be the best option for fending off a chill rolling in from the coast. Other ‘coats’ such as leather jackets, hoodies, and poorly-made parkers can look warm, but will actually do little to keep you comfortable. Especially if you’re out for long periods.
Lip balm and hand cream
A bit of a digression perhaps, but we wouldn’t go anywhere outside for too long without them. The lack of humidity in the cold and the wind can dry hands and lips out quickly, and can in severe cases force them to crack. Moisturise them regularly to stamp out this easily preventable discomfort.
Remember to enjoy yourself at this year’s Christmas markets, but also remember to keep yourself warm!