The hottest gifts to buy for the friend who’s always cold
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Updated Dec 9, 2022 4:34 PM
For some people, the holidays are far from the most wonderful time of the year, temperature-wise. While others are going on strolls to enjoy the crisp fall air or playing in the snow of a winter wonderland, these folks just don’t seem to be built to withstand the dipping temperatures. Just like bears, they seem to spend the last months of the year hibernating in the warmth of their homes, dreading the very thought of setting a single foot outside. You can convince them to leave their home, though, by giving them the proper gear to keep them warm and cozy. Here are some of our hottest picks for the best gifts for the perpetually cold:
Best for people with cold feet: Heat Holders Thermal Socks
When you’re cold, it makes sense to heat yourself from the bottom up, which is why everyone should have a pair (or six) of thermal socks. Heat Holders socks are made out of yarn that’s been developed in-house, and knitted to hold in warm air without cutting off your circulation. Yes, the socks will add some bulk to one’s feet, but that’s kind of the point. Nobody wants sweaty feet, but that shouldn’t be an issue since the yarn Heat Holders uses automatically wicks away moisture. The company says its socks are over seven times warmer than traditional cotton pairs, which is reason enough to stuff them in a stocking. — Brandt Ranj
Best for techie coffee and tea drinkers: Ember Travel Mug
Ember’s 12-ounce Travel Mug can keep beverages between 120 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit for up to three hours thanks to a seven-sensor heating system and built-in battery pack. One can set the mug’s temperature through an app or by using its touch-sensitive display. Ember bundles its Travel Mug with a coaster, which doubles as a wireless charging pad. The mug will keep beverages warm continuously when it’s on the coaster, which is great for anyone who works at a desk. And it will warm your heart to know there are also options if you’re looking for a more “traditional” 10-ounce coffee mug or 6-ounce espresso cup. — Brandt Ranj
Best shoes for winter walks: Volt Lava Boots
Volt’s Lava Boots take the concept of the Ember Mug (above) and extend it to your feet. The boots feature a rechargeable 8V battery that can power their integrated heating elements for up to 14 hours depending on whether they’re set to low, medium, or high. One can change between these settings by using the Volt app or through a controller on the shoes themselves. The best part about the Lava Boots is that they don’t scream “gadget.” Other people walking around won’t notice your high-tech shoes—in fact, the Lava Boots are actually pretty fashionable depending on your style. Looking for something more low-profile but still extremely comfy? Check out the 3V Camp Heated Slippers, which keep your toes toasty whether you’re on your deck or at your desk. — Brandt Ranj
Best hoodie: Chrome Merino Cobra Hoodie
Hoodies and sweaters may be one of the first things that come to mind when you think of warmth and comfort. A hoodie made out of wool is better. And a hoodie made of Merino wool is the best. The prized material is breathable, odor-resistant, totally biodegradable, and oh, so soft. Chrome’s Merino Cobra Hoodie features all the properties of this natural fiber in an all-black, classic design that will match any outfit. Your ever-frozen friend can wear it as a cozy garment indoors, or as an extra layer to insulate from the biting frost outside.
Best slippers: Glerups Wool Slip-On
Let’s admit it, satisfying feet is no mean feat. Sometimes they’re too cold, but overcompensate and they’re swampy. The solution? Enter the self-regulating wonders of wool. The Glerups felt slip-on (with 100% pure natural wool) naturally absorbs moisture while keeping your extremities warm. At the same time, they’re breathable—so just as comfy in the summer—and protect against odor. Available in multiple colors with either leather or rubber soles (the latter being better if you use them, like I do, to walk the dog and do other lite outdoor activities), they’re also available as a shoe and a boot, if a slipper isn’t your thing. — Tony Ware
Best for the couch potato: The Comfy Wearable Blanket
The Comfy looks ridiculous, but any semblance of pretension melts away whenever one puts it on. This is basically a blanket masquerading as a one-size-fits-all oversized hoodie. The Comfy is probably best recommended for at-home use, but it’s well worth a look if you’re shopping for someone who just wants to binge-watch shows all winter without freezing. The Comfy’s sherpa inner lining and microfiber outer lining are soft to the touch, which makes it easy to wear for hours at a time, while the centered pouch gives one a place to put their hands. The Comfy is objectively ridiculous, but it’s also ridiculously warm. — Brandt Ranj
Best heated blanket: Bedsure Heated Blanket
Bedsure’s Heated Blanket is an essential gift for anyone who wants to make it through the winter without being tempted to reach for the thermostat. The flannel blanket’s heating coils are arranged to provide even heating, and a large controller lets you adjust their intensity between 104 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit. If one falls asleep with the blanket on, the heating coils will automatically shut off after three hours to prevent overheating. Surprisingly, Bedsure’s Heated Blanket is machine washable, so it can be kept clean without a big hassle. The only difficult decision will be whether to get this blanket in a single-person throw size or one that covers the entire bed. — Brandt Ranj
Best space heater: De’Longhi Ceramic Tower Heater
A cold room can put anyone in a bad mood, which is why De’Longhi’s Tower Heater is such a thoughtful gift. The 1500W oscillating heater was very effective in our tests, appreciably raising the temperature of the bedroom we were in within minutes. One can adjust the heater’s settings by pressing buttons on its face or using its remote. The Ceramic Tower Heater’s safety features, which include an override that shuts it off if it gets too hot, a switch that disables it if it tips, and a timer, provide ample peace of mind. If anything, the space heater worked too quickly and effectively. We were also surprised at how quiet the heater was unless it was cranked to an ultra-high setting, which means it can be used in a living room without disturbing anybody. — Brandt Ranj
Best for cold sleepers: Eddie Bauer Portuguese Flannel Sheets
It can be hard to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold, especially if you’ve got poor circulation, but that’s exactly what Eddie Bauer’s Portuguese Flannel Sheets are designed to prevent. The sheet set is made from double-brushed imported cotton and comes in nine styles. Each set includes a fitted sheet, top sheet, and a pair of pillowcases. Eddie Bauer offers its flannel sheets in twin, queen, full, and king sizes, too. The only downside to these sheets is that they may make it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. — Brandt Ranj
Best jacket: Oros Atmos Jacket
OROS used materials developed at NASA called SOLARCORE to insulate its hooded Atmos Jacket, and we can vouch for its incredible insulating properties. Traditionally, jackets needed to be thick to create a large enough buffer between you and the elements to keep you warm, but that’s not the case here. The jacket was surprisingly thin and light while still providing ample warmth and comfort. Plus, much like the Lava Boots, the Oros Atmos Jacket looks perfectly innocent. It’s only when you put it on that you notice a difference. Oros says the jacket is designed for temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it an ideal top layer for winter months in many parts of the world. — Brandt Ranj
Best for campers and commuters: Hydro Flask 16oz Insulated Cup
Hydro Flask’s Insulated Cup is a double-insulated stainless steel mug made from proprietary materials that allow it to keep beverages hot for several hours without requiring any fancy technology. The cup is available in over a dozen colors and three sizes, but we’re partial to the 16-ounce option as it’s the equivalent of a medium-sized coffee or tea from popular cafes. The leakproof lid creates a tight enough seal that Hydro Flask’s Insulated Cup can be stored in a bag or purse without spilling all over the place. The fact that this mug can be cleaned in a dishwasher is the icing on the cake. — Brandt Ranj
Best for the cook: Fuego Box Spicy Box of Awesome
Sometimes you want to be heated from the inside out, which is why a Fuego Box’s Spicy Box of Awesome is the ideal gift. The box comes with three hot sauces, jalapeño and garlic rub, and Himalayan ghost salt. The site also offers a subscription service that sends between one and three hot sauces to the recipient’s door every month. Sauces can also be purchased a-la-carte and each is branded with a heat level from one to four peppers, so you know whether the bottle you’re picking is mild or extra hot. One of our favorite parts about the Fuego Box is that sauces are sent in a wooden crate, which makes it a lot more fun to open before you get to the gift itself. — Brandt Ranj
Best for the backyard: Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
We’ve all sat around a fire pit that didn’t provide enough heat unless you were close enough to be pelted with eye-watering smoke, but Solo Stove’s Bonfire fixes all that. The fire pit provides ample warmth while keeping smoke to a minimum thanks to a unique design that catches ash in a pan rather than letting it smolder at the bottom of the pit. We’ve seen the Bonfire 2.0 in action, and the results were impressive—there was still some smoke, but not nearly as much as we’d experienced on a traditional fire pit. Solo Stove’s big innovation with this iteration of the fire pit was building it with a removable ash pan, which can be lifted (once cooled) to dispose of ash in one fell swoop. It’s the type of convenience feature that’ll make whoever you gift it to much more inclined to bust it out more frequently. — Brandt Ranj
Best for cold hands: Öjbro Karg Glove
You can find gloves and mittens in any of its multiple formats (fingerless, convertible, etc.) for myriad prices, but investing in a high-end pair is absolutely worth it. Öjbro Vantfabrik has a wide range of knitted products, but their four-layer Merino wool gloves and mittens are really something. They’re designed in Sweden with Nordic winters in mind, which means they can keep your hands warm in the coldest climes. Their mittens are even called Varning Varma Vantar, which translates to “warning, warm mittens.” If your friend isn’t a fan of having their hands reduced to tongs, you can always give them a pair of four-layer gloves with mobile-friendly material lining on the index finger and thumbs.
Best for dry hands and chapped lips: Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment
Let’s face it, there are parts of your body you just can’t put Merino wool on. And since frosty air really does a number on your skin, it’s important to bring out the big guns when it comes to dry hands and chapped lips. Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment is a great low-budget solution both to prevent and treat the whiplash from wintry winds. Its versatile ingredients allow you to use it on most of your body. It also acts as a protective layer to help a healthy dermis stay healthy, while healing already damaged skin.
Best blanket: Brooklinen Cashmere and Lambswool Throw Blanket
If you couldn’t coax your friend outdoors with four layers of mittens, it’s okay. You can still treat them to the perfect gift to stay inside: a throw blanket. For the most luxurious of choices, go for the Brooklinen’s Cashmere and Lambswool Throw Blanket. This irresistible wool-and-cashmere combo is as soft as butter melting on a steamy piece of oven-warmed bread. If your friend is planning to hibernate on the couch and watch their favorite shows, this will keep them company while you’re outside making snow angels.
Best personal heater: Ostrichpillow Heatbag
If your friend constantly talks about getting a dog that will double as a warm cushion in the winter months, but their landlord doesn’t allow pets, gift them the next best thing. Ostrichpillow’s Heatbag is literally a squishy, energy-radiating pillow your friend can put their arms around. It won’t bark or wag its tail when they come home, but its clay interior can be reheated an unlimited number of times. Plus, it’s soft to the touch, and its memory foam shell will help conform to every weird sleeping position they adopt. The bag can also be used for physical therapy—heat it in the microwave and place it on sore muscles or strained joints for slow relief.
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