BOSTON (CBS) – The first official day of winter is next Wednesday the 21st.

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It is the darkest and shortest day of the year when the sun reaches its most southern point in the sky.

That means most of us are driving to work and home in the dark each day. I have no idea what kind of weather we will have for the next couple of months; I just know we’ll have winter weather.

So, when you are out shopping for Christmas gifts this weekend make sure you have the things you might need for a winter emergency. An emergency car kit for someone you love would make a very practical Christmas gift.

I found some already put together such as the AAA Emergency Road Kit, which you can get on Amazon for around $33. It comes in a storage bag and includes a booster cable, flashlight with batteries, emergency poncho, safety vest, duct tape, screwdriver, fuses, shop cloth, and a first aid kit. Duct tape is always important to have!

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You can put together an emergency road kit yourself and include a few more things. And maybe even a membership to AAA.

Make sure when you travel you also have a cell phone with a car charger, a fire extinguisher, flares and a tire gauge.

And for winter driving include a windshield snow scraper, small folding shovel, bag of kitty litter, a blanket and warm hat, gloves, tire chains, pair of old boots and some water in a cooler so it doesn’t freeze and nonperishable food for long trips.

You can tell me you won’t need these things just commuting to work but you might. Several years ago, I had left WBZ midday with it snowing and spent close to 6 hours getting home.

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A ride that normally takes one hour. Every route home was long and treacherous. I was stuck on the Mass Turnpike and then on 495 and was very thankful for my bottled water, power bars and a Christmas gift of fudge from someone here at the studio.