Next Best Thing
Nothing quite matches the cozy feeling of lounging beside a roaring wood fire. But let’s face it: Even if you’re lucky enough to live in a home with a hearth, it may not enjoy all that comes with it. From stockpiling wood to shelling out for once-a-year chimney cleaning, operating and maintaining a traditional fireplace can be a real hassle. Enter the Fireplace Space Heater from Crane USA. Compact and, thanks to a built-in handle, easily portable, the sleek and stylish unit fuses the charming aesthetics of a fireplace with the convenience of a plug-in space heater. There's even a "glow only" setting, if you ever want to enjoy the ambiance of a fire without the heat. Available on Amazon; $89.99.
Dark and dreary winter mornings make you want to stay in bed, if not forever, then for as long your schedule allows. This year, rather than drag your bones through the same-old rigamarole, why not hit the ground running each morning with the best-selling, clinically proven Philips Wake-Up Light? Here's how it works: 20 to 40 minutes before the time you designate, the Wake-Up Light turns on—first dimly, then gradually brighter until sun-simulating illumination fills the room. Then, the gentle process culminates, not with a jarring alarm, but with one of five soothing yet stimulating natural sounds. You wake up not only more naturally, but more energized as well. Available on Amazon; $139.99.
A Chunky Knit Blanket
Nothing embodies coziness quite like an over-sized knit blanket. This particularly stylish blanket from Etsy shop PinkUnicornStudio attributes its ultra soft texture and smooth Scandinavian style to its material: 100 percent natural merino wool dyed in one of 14 colors. Completely hypoallergenic, this handmade blanket won't cause sniffles or stuffiness; rather, it promises to keep warm, well-rested, and in good spirits every time you bundle up this season. Available on Etsy; starting at $192 for a standard 40 by 60 inches blanket.
etsy.com via PinkUnicornStudio
Holiday-Scented Hand Soap
The FDA announced that antibacterial hand soaps aren't the end-all, be-all against cold germs, but that's no reason to get too lax on your handwashing routine this season of sniffles. Instead, focus on the time you spend sudsing up with a trusted hand soap like Mrs. Meyers—even opt for a holiday scent for extra cheer. The brand's all-natural cleansers come in three seasonal scents (Iowa pine, orange clove, and peppermint) for a limited time, so stock that liquid dish soap while you still can. Available on Amazon; $36.
A Warming Blanket
During the frigid days of winter, cold air can leak through cracks in doors and windows, leaving homeowners shivering. Keep the chill at bay with the Biddeford Velour Heated Throw. The soft polyester blanket has six controllable heat settings, so users can set their perfect temperature. The soft fabric, 10-hour automatic shut-off feature, and long 13-foot cord make this throw a viable alternative to blasting the heat—and subsequently paying sky-high electric bills. Available on Amazon; $59.95.
Do you constantly suffer from cold feet in the winter? Warm your extremities with the Indus Tool Toasty Toes Heated Footrest, which has three different temperature settings and a manual thermostat. Take the footrest to your office for extra heat under your desk, or use it in the comfort of your own home. Plus, in the warmer months, the footrest can double as a muscle reliever for aching feet. Available at Target; $39.49.
In the Air
No amount of moisturizer can make up for the damage that dry and stuffy indoor air wreaks on sensitive skin each winter. Instead of slathering on extra layers of lip balm or hand cream, pump hydration into the air itself. A simple and sleek humidifier from VicTsing will do the trick. Though it may look small, its reservoir can hold up to 300 ml of water, enough to keep it running continuously for ten hours. For an added bonus, this winter lifesaver doubles as an essential oil diffuser, meaning you can bring a spa-like ambiance to any room with a couple drops of lavender, orange, or peppermint oil. Available on Amazon; $25.99.
Zap Airborne Germs
A buttoned-up winter home is a warm one, no doubt. The downside to all of that draft-dodging is the stale, stuffy, and (let's face it) germ-filled air that comes with it. When you can't open a window for the cold, there's another way to get a breath of fresh air. Try the small, unobtrusive GermGuardian pluggable air sanitizer. The device removes smoke, cooking fumes, and other scents from the air to help you breathe easier, while a built-in UV-C light is designed to zap germs without the use of toxic chemicals. Now, if it only did the dishes! Available on Amazon; $37.13.
A Touch of Sun
Is there anything more dreary than facing another sunless winter day? But just because the sun goes to bed early at this time of year, doesn't mean you get to loaf around. In fact, staying active, even when you'd rather hibernate, can help you stay healthier and happier this winter. Give yourself a dose of get-up-and-go with a light therapy lamp from Nature Bright. Clinically proven to boost your mood, the little lamp can help you feel rested, refreshed, and energized—even in the depths of winter. Available on Amazon; $69.99.
Hang It Up
For creatures of comfort, a fireplace in every room is the ultimate treat. Most of us, however, live in homes that can't accommodate such extravagant tastes. If a small space and budget is keeping you from achieving your fireplace-loving dreams, consider a wall-mounted unit like this one. The remote-controlled electric fireplace can be hung from the wall like a picture, and provides reliable heating with a realistic flame display, to give you the coziness of a real fire without the upkeep. In the off-season the fireplace keeps working when you switch on the flames (but not the heat) to add ambiance to a romantic dinner, at-home spa session, or family movie night. Available at overstock.com; $153.99.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!