Here’s the thing: you are going to be home A LOT for the next few months. The holidays, the winter season, the sunsetting by 5:00 PM? It’s all going to be unusually tough this year. So Ben Blair and I have been talking about how we can embrace it, and coming up with small but impactful things we can do around the house that will make the whole place feel cozy. Here’s some of what we are doing:
Pile on the Throw Blankets
Put them on every chair, every sofa. Pile them in a big basket near the TV or the reading lamp. Fold them at the end of the bed.
Velvet Weighted Blanket
A source that might surprise? Home Depot has a whole bunch of weighted blankets, with lots of size, color, and weight options. And the prices are decent — the one pictured is under $50.
Plaid/Faux Fur Blanket
The plaid is so fun and festive. And ALL Pottery Barn’s throw blankets are 25% off right now.
My daughter Maude found this blanket and it’s a hit. Super soft on both sides, it comes in several sizes and colors.
Scent the House
You could use a favorite candle, essential oils, or simmer something on the stove. This month I’ve been simmering sliced citrus (usually the old, sad clementines no one is going to eat), with stems of dried thyme, and a dash of vanilla extract — the combo was a suggestion of Kelly Hurst. In December, I’ll switch to whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, and some ginger too.
Frasier Fir Scented Candle
These are by Thymes, and there are lots of sizes and options. I learned about this candle from Jane Rhodes who has exquisite taste.
When we lived in a house with forced air heating and heating vents, I would put a few drops of cinnamon oil on a piece of cardstock and tuck it in the living room vent. Every time the heater would turn on, it would blow the cinnamon scent through the house. My mom taught me this trick and I love it.
If you have a working fireplace, light it up. If building a fire is too arduous, try those super easy to use compressed logs. If you don’t have a fire place, put unscented votives on safe surfaces around the room. If candles are a no go (hello toddlers!), gather all the twinkle lights you can find.
Bulk Votive Candles
Get a ton so you won’t hesitate lighting some every day. I prefer unscented because I like to use a lot of them, and I want the light, but I don’t want to get overwhelmed with the scent.
Votive Candle Holders
You’ll want holders for your votive candles — they are sized to fit votive candles perfectly and they protect your furniture. I have a set of these basic glass holders (a set of 16 for $11) and I use them throughout the year as needed. But it would also be fun to get something more glam that would help reflect the light.
If you’re going to be lighting a lot of votive candles, you might as well have good-looking matches too. There are so many handsome options out there. Try Homart brand.
Or these vintage looking matches (they come in red or black).
Or get a good-looking butane lighter.
Check the holiday section of Target and choose whatever you like. I favor the kind with bendable wires that you can shape. Try them in a big glass bowl or jar.
Keep Those Toesies Cozy
A soft rug, fur-lined slippers, luxe socks. Keeping your feet warm and cozy will go a long way to keeping you feeling good.
Pink Tent Slippers
They’re made by the North Face. I love that they look like little quilted tents for your feet.
These are hand-crafted by an Etsy maker and they look like perfection. Click through to see the other color options.
There are lots of pretty options out there. This soft pink pair from Boden is especially sweet.
Faux Fur Rug
This one is so soft. You can put it on the bare floor or you can layer it over carpet. It comes in a few different sizes and colors — the 3’x5′ option is on sale for $49.
Put the Kettle On
If you don’t have one, I strongly recommend treating yourself to an Electric Kettle. Like other small kitchen appliances you can find them at bargain rates or choose a pricey option. You’ll use it to make tea, get those spices simmering on the stove, or just to quickly boil water for a box of pasta.
Classic Electric Kettle
KitchenAid offers beautiful colors.
Modern Electric Kettle
It’s sleek and simple, and a bargain at less than $30.
Traditional Stovetop Kettle
If you prefer a non-electric kettle, you’ll be glad to hear this Le Creuset whistling beauty is 25% off. So sturdy you’ll be handing this down to the grandkids someday.
Le Creuset Mugs
Pretty mugs in pretty colors to hold your tea or cocoa.
Tea Advent Calendar
This Teapigs option will fit right in with your rustic holiday decor.
Colorful Tea Advent Calendar
So cheerful! It’s from the English Tea Co., it’s organic, and it includes seasonal offerings like Christmas Cake, Candy Cane and Gingerbread Man. And it’s a great price at $12.
Hot Cocoa Mix
Try a few until you find a favorite. I like this handsome container from Monarca, the famous Los Angeles bakery.
Make a Playlist
This is a good assignment for your kids. Give them some themes or ideas and ask them to make weekly or monthly playlists, and then keep the music flowing.
Music is the sort of thing Alexa is ideal for. The newest Alexa devices (called Echo) are spherical, and come in black, white, or blue.
How are you feeling about the cold weather and darker days? I keep thinking it’s midnight, and then I look at my clock and it’s like 6:30 PM. Hah! What would you add to this list to create a cozy house?
P.S. — More gift guides.
43 thoughts on “Gift Guide For Your Own Home”
Add some house plants! :-)
Definitely. The more plants the merrier.
I love this post! We’re trying hard to lean into the idea of being cozy at home. We just got a heated mattress pad and it is silly how luxurious it feels to climb into a pre-warmed bed every night. Definitely recommend!
Oh my goodness! I forgot heated mattress pads existed until you mentioned them. We once stayed in a rental house at Lake Tahoe and it had heated mattress pads and they were heavenly.
We love the bed heating pad that just heats your feet.
Thanks for the tip, Mom. I’m going to go look those up.
I recently added lamps to each room or a mason jar full of warm white LED Christmas lights. Something about the soft glow makes everything feel much cozier. We also added throw blankets or electric blankets around the house, switched out linen for flannel and use an oil diffuser to fill the house with warming scents. Personally, I love this time of year for how much it makes me enjoy my cozy home.
What is it about lights in a jar that is so pleasing?
Oh I wish you could do this guide with french references ;-) (I’ll do the searching, these are great ideas).
I would add: a carefully chosen book and movie selection (poetry, novels, biographies and classic movies; for this winter, I’m reading all the books from the same author, it’s super exciting and we’re thinking about doing the same with a film-maker). We’ve gotten 60 books out of the library for the quarantine (we’re allowed 40 books each in Paris, + an instrument)! I live a selection in a wooden box (of wine). Also: all the ingredients you need for baking (chocolate chips, spices, vanilla sugar, etc) and a good selection of family games.
So, I need more blankets now. It is going to be a tough Christmas and it will take us a lot of love, imagination and self-discipline to add a little joy in our lives for that time of the year. Your blog is definitely inspiring, thank you Gabby!
Really terrific ideas, Agnès! I especially love the idea of stocking up on all the baking ingredients. So smart.
I like the game idea! If we’re going to spend the next 100 evenings socializing only within our own households, what games do you recommend? My family has been enjoying Carcassonne, Qwirkle, Blokus, Sushi Go and Wingspan. And also charades, and for video games, Just Dance.
Boggle and Bananagrams are great word games for a wide range of ages. I have been loving a game called Photosynthesis that looks thematically similar to Wingspan, but different in play and strategy. Super challenging if you are playing to win strategically, but can also be lots of fun at a less competitive level.
I was just checking out flannel sheets. Garnet Hill has some cute, winter-y patterns. I try and do a “theme” night for each night of Hanukkah-I’m thinking we all might have “Snuggley Flannel Sheet Night” for one of them!
I love the idea of themed nights. What a fun way to organize things!
Yes-with 4 kids I have to organize it like that or it gets overwhelming. “Book Night”, “PJ Night”-and one night we’ve always gone to Barnes & Noble and each child picks out a book to donate to their book drive, and we get hot chocolates and cookies.
This sounds so sweet!
Love these! We’re embracing the hygge theme here as well, got this game for Christmas (but haven’t opened yet, hope it’s fun).
Thanks for the link, Anita. I want to check it out.
I’ve been stocking up on tea, succulents, lounge pants, Christmas lights, candles, baking supplies, and local wine. I bought as much as I can before the new shut down. Now Im ready for some serious lounging.
Bring on ALL the lounge pants.
Our electric kettle just started making strange noises yesterday so think we need a new one. Thanks for the link. We have one of those Le Creuset ones as you showed but I don’t want my husband to use it. It is the third one we have had because he puts it on and forgets about it which is why I bought an electric one.
Hah! One of our kids tried to heat the electric kettle on the stove by accident last Christmas when they were in still in a mid-morning haze. It’s one of those force of habits things.
The kids version of the new echo comes in Panda and Tiger. My kids keep moving our Tiger one around listening to Harry Potter audiobooks and building Lego.
The panda and tiger are adorable!
I got: a set of four assorted CDs of nature sounds (songbirds, rain, etc.); a lamp with higher and lower settings for mood lighting; and best of all, a kitty cat from the ASPCA.
A kitty! Hooray!
We have very small children – 3 and a week-old newborn! – so the Waldorf festivals and traditions have been fun to embrace this year! We celebrated Martinmas for the first time by making candle jar lanterns with modge podge and tissue paper, and then did a socially distant, masks-on walk through the forest (aka the backyard) with another family. It was sweet to hear the littles’ perspective on how we can bring light and warmth to each other during the dark of winter! Love, hugs and vitamins, if anyone’s looking for ideas :)
Congratulations on the new baby! How wonderful. And thank you for the link about Martinmas. I don’t know anything about it and I look forward to learning more.
Where is the striped sherpa blanket from? The link just opens the landing page for Pottery Barn’s throws, but I don’t see that one in the list.
I think it’s this one.
Does anyone else have the thing where every throw pillow and blanket from the couch end up on the floor like six times a day??? I used to have a couch with removable cushions, and those ended up on the floor to. But now it’s a mystery to me because my kids are 10 and 14 and I never see them actually put this stuff on the floor.
Thanks for helping Rebecca. I had the wrong link listed (here’s the correct one). But the one you spotted is so similar!
And I hear you on throw blankets on the floor — we end up folding throw blankets and tidying up several times a day. #quarantinelife
My apologies, JF. I must of copied and pasted the wrong link for the Sherpa Blanket. You can find it here. I’ll go update the link in the post too.
Thank you! I just bought the pink one for my daughter. :)
I’m not loving the cold weather, but I am finding ways to be cozy around the house since that’s where we’re going to be for the foreseeable future. We might as well make the best of it!
I *love* this list. Thank you! I am thinking the same things, on a little tighter budget due to COVID-cut pay. Here are some things I’ve found lately, all bought online and delivered: a lovely Himalayan salt lamp for my girls’ room. It is even prettier and nicer than the photos! A Yankee candle (I’ve had the Thymes one and loved it, but this Yankee is almost as good, and less $$). Also, ALL the hot chocolate. Stephen’s is our favorite and there are so many delicious flavors. Also love the tins / easy scooping for larger batches. Finally, I bought some retro Christmas albums from eBay, and they are a hit. “The Great Songs of Christmas” was an annual album compilation of popular singers in the 60s-70s – fun for me, plus fun for my kids to “play records.” Keep the great ideas coming!
I second the electric kettle. I’ve had mine for 3+ years after using at an Airbnb in London. A big pot of water in 2-3 minutes! My family always had a plug-in hot water dispenser because us kids were never allowed to drink ice/cold water – only tempered hot or lukewarm, but I of course drink cold water now that my mom isn’t slapping my hand away from the tap anymore. So I don’t need hot water available all the time but having it available in a few minutes whenever I want has been amazing, esp. considering how much tea I drink. My electric kettle is ceramic and looks like a teapot, so it feels like I’m having a tea party all the time. And since I use it so often that it says on my countertop, it adds to my kitchen decor.
I also recommend an electric pressure cooker for all the hearty stews and soups you’ll want to have all winter. And microfiber slippers – they have the microfiber fingers on the sole so you’re cleaning your floor as you walk around.
And I know I’m in a small group of ppl who actually didn’t buy much if anything during the pandemic despite being home all the time (mostly because I already had so much to begin with – I probably have variations of everything on this list except the twinkle lights), the one purchase I made was an air purifier. Not so much for COVID air disinfecting reasons, but I figured if I’ll be stuck at home for the foreseeable future and can’t open my windows bc winter, I should breathe better air. I’m also mildly allergic to my cat (developed the allergy years after getting her!) and my allergies weren’t so bad when I left the house for 10 hours a day for work, but now that I’m WFH the buildup of dander had me taking a Claritin every day this spring and summer. Since I bought the air purifier, I’ve been breathing and sleeping better and only needed Claritin when I opened my windows.
Thanks to you I now have a box of 72 votive candles arriving today. I love a home full of candle light in the wintertime, and my stock was low. Your post reminded me to put my order in! I use votives in both my advent “wreath” and my menorah, so I go through a lot of them this time of year! Also, those Frasier Fir candles are my all time favorite scent! Sadly, this year with the loss of our jobs, it’s just not in the budget, they are pricy. Sometimes, right after Christmas, you find them on sale. When you do…BUY THEM ALL!
I bought this light therapy lamp. I figure we are going to need all the happy we can get this winter!
I love Mexican hot chocolate and would love to be able to order some. Do you order it through the U.S. Amazon site and have it shipped to you in France? I’m in Belgium and wonder how to get packages delivered here without paying import taxes/customs/etc.
Hi Joy. I ordered the hot cocoa for my daughter who lives in the U.S.. I only order things from the U.S. to ship to France once in awhile because the customs fees are too high. In my experience, Mexican Hot Cocoa is typically regular hot cocoa with cinnamon. Maybe if you do a search for chocolat chaud canelle on European sites you’ll find something suitable?
One other note: If I do order something from the U.S., I prefer ordering from Amazon, because they calculate and build in the customs and shipping charges, and then they refund any extra if they charged too much. That means when the package arrives, I’m not charged any money at my door to receive it (because I’ve already pre-paid it through Amazon).
We love this game! It’s called Colorku (like Sudoku, but with colors instead of numbers). It’s challenging for kids and adults, but still relaxing. You can play alone or together. I’m not much of a board games person, but I really enjoy this. Plus it’s pretty to look at.
Sudoku with colors? I could get very into that.
I bought an electric kettle for myself a couple years ago based on your praise of them — I love it so much. And for candles, I highly recommend Black Dog Candles (blackdogcandles.com), handmade, independent, woman-owned, Louisville KY-based (she will ship anywhere), portion of proceeds go to local animal shelters. They make my home smell so good; I light one every day. Selecting which one to burn and lighting it is a tiny ritual makes me very happy indeed. :)