Written by Anita Davison
Did you notice it? That specific day last week when, just like the flick of a switch, we stepped out of Summer and into Fall? Yes I said Fall, get used to it, you won’t be using “Autumn” for long. Especially when you have to repeat yourself for the umpteenth time and say Fall anyway!
I know what many of you are thinking, I thought it too when I first arrived, “This is not NOT FALL or AUTUMN or whatever it’s called here, this is WINTER!”. This is that bone chilling, wearing a heavy coat, a thick scarf around the neck, a beanie on the head kind of cold we were used to back in Oz. When days that barely hit 15ºc were so cold and unbearable we complained, and had every right to! A word of advice to the newly inducted New Yorkers, take off a layer before you leave the house and brave the weather, acclimatise yourself now, because when winter actually does hit, you can put on that layer (along with 5 more) and have a chance at actually keeping warm!
Have I scared you yet? Well don’t board that flight home just yet. Yes, winters here are cold, colder than you could have imagined (unless you come from Antarctica or Alaska, then you win), but coming in to my 3rd fall/winter I actually look forward to this time of the year. I look forward to the first snowfall, the crisp cold days, the cozy weekends and the holiday season (yes, replace “Christmas” with “Holidays” it saves time).
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Americans really know how to celebrate the holidays! Harvest festivals, pumpkin picking, night markets, twinkling lights wrapped around bare trees down the avenues, warm cocoa, hot apple cider & apple cider donuts (*sigh*). These are all the things to look forward to and celebrate when its so cold you can no longer feel your toes. So don’t be afraid, welcome it with open arms.
Until February rolls around, thats when you have permission to curse this god forsaken place and want to runs for the hills – or Florida or the Bahamas – where sandals & cocktails are taunting you from your dreams.
Dressing kids for winter
We all know that kids grow fast. My son just grew so much he basically skipped size three (he turned 3 a few weeks ago – go figure), and my daughter seems to be growing like a beanstalk and moving through size 5 into size 6 (she’s 4 – I gave birth to future giants), so buying decent quality yet affordable clothes are the only way to keep us above the poverty line in a place where our clothes are truly seasonal (the great NYC seasonal closet changeover is a real thing).
The key to getting your kids through their first winter here in NY is to prepare early. When that first snowfall arrives, don’t run out to buy snow boots, they will a) be sold out weeks ago, b) if available you will fight to the death with some other poor soul and probably come out less than victorious (New Yorkers are a tough crowd), or c) win the battle but stand in line for 30-60 minutes to pay. At this point, ordering online is not an option, because its ALREADY SNOWING!
When you see winter coats, shoes, beanies etc arrive in store, wait the obligatory week (maybe 2) until they go on sale (trust me!), then pounce. Also, sign up to EVERY store website that you think you may shop at (you can unsubscribe when you’re done), check those emails for coupons, download the ‘Retail me Not’ app on your phone to see what extra discounts you can get. Want to start working toward that credit rating? Apply for a store card at Gap, Old Navy etc. They may only approve you for a couple of hundred dollars, but you will get extra discounts & earn store credits for using it.
My go to stores are: Gap, Old Navy, Carters, H&M, Target, Century 21, Uniqlo, and Costco (I picked up some great snow gloves and rain coats there last month). Polarn O. Pyret, Patagonia & Columbia are a step up, but you may find a great sale happening, which helps. Go online and look at 6pm.com, Diapers.com, Zulily.com, Zappos.com. Promise me you won’t pay full price for anything, because EVERYTHING is discounted at some point.
If you’re not ordering online, don’t take the kids to the stores with you, they get hot and bothered and don’t want to try stuff on. Just about every store has a no questions asked returns policy (in store or online). So stock up, try things on at home and return it (KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS!).
Lastly – ask your friends, or put a call out on the AWNY Mums & Dad’s Facebook group page, someone might be wanting to pass on some gently used winter gear that their kids no longer fit into.
You will need:
- A puffy coat – Down or ‘Primaloft’ are a necessity when the ‘real’ winter arrives
- Gloves – and they need to be waterproof for when playing in the snow
- Beanies – get ones that cover those little ears
- Thermals – Uniqlo have served us well at $6-10 a piece
- Snow boots – rain boots just aren’t warm enough
- Blankets/Footmuff – for those using strollers.
I know there is so much more I could include; but I will leave it to the seasoned AWNY Mums & Dad in our Facebook community to share their tips on clothing the kiddies (and yourselves) and general info on preparing for the winter months ahead.
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New York NY
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