Christmas is only a few days away, so it’s time to ask yourself that all-important question: Have you been naughty or nice? You know the drill: Naughty, and you could end up with coal in your stocking. Nice, and who knows, Santa could leave you some lovely new ski gear under your tree.

Now, I’m sure alllllllllllllllllllll the Ski Divas out there have all been on their best behavior. So when you get your new equipment, do you know how to take care of it properly? I mean, Santa’s going to give you a big responsibility. Think you can handle it?

Sadly, some of us may have been damaging our old gear without even knowing it. Sure, it’s unintentional. Ski gear costs big bucks, and I know you’re not the kind of person who throws their money away, right?

Still, sure as there are eight tiny reindeer, there could be eight things you’re doing that are bad for your gear:

• Not drying your boot liners. Your ski boots are only as good as the quality of your liners, and the salts and minerals from your sweaty feet can cause them to break down pretty quickly. Be sure to dry your liners at the end of each ski day by either removing them from the boot or using a boot dryer.

• Not drying your skis. This may sound strange because your skis are built to perform in wet conditions (i.e. snow). Nonetheless, keeping them dry is important in preventing corrosion on the edges or in the bindings. Wipe your skis down after each use and flip them over so your bindings can drip dry. Another tip: seal any holes that can cause water to get into the core; that can ruin the wood inside. So if your ski is delaminating or if there are any holes from moving your bindings, seal them up.

• Not providing adequate protection during air travel. Once you leave your skis at the baggage claim, all bets are off. You have no idea how they’re being handled. So keep them safe; surround them with plenty of soft stuff to insulate them against impacts.

• Carrying skis unprotected on a car roof rack.  Road grime – salt, dirt and nasty water – can cause the edges of your skis to rust and your bindings corrode. Whenever possible, transport skis inside your vehicle or in a ski bag. If that’s not an option, wipe them down with a wet rag and then a dry one, once you reach your destination.

• Not washing your outerwear:  Accumulated oil and dirt interferes with the shell membrane’s ability to repel water and vent moisture. Wash your outerwear at least once a season, and be sure to reapply a DWR treatment, which makes water bead up and roll off your jacket’s outer layer before it reaches the membrane.

• Not protecting your goggles. Leaving your goggles loose in your boot bag is a sure way to end up with scratched lenses. Store them in a goggle case or pouch when they’re not in use. (Shameless promotion: This could be averted with a Ski Diva Gogglesoc. Go here for more info.)

• Wiping the inside of your goggles. This is a huge no-no, but it’s something I see people doing all the time. Companies spray a protective, anti- fog coating on the inside of lenses. Wipe the lenses, and you remove the coating.

• Storing your boots with their buckles unbuckled. Plastic has a memory. If you leave your boots unbuckled for an extended period of time, they can start to lose their shape. This makes it harder to buckle your boots when you wear them again, and can even make them fit differently than they did when they were new.

Friends, it’s not too late to reform. Christmas r is almost here, so make a fresh start and give your gear the love it deserves. Treat it right, and it’ll treat you right, too.