warm thank-you present for a friend who hates winter
December 4, 2010 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Thank-you present for a friend who's always miserably cold in a state that's already been clobbered by winter?

I want to get a thank-you present for a very dear friend who has virtually held my hand for the past three months as I've gone through a personal crisis. I was thinking at first that I'd get her flowers. But the other day she was telling me how much she dreaded winter, how demoralizing it was to have already had heavy snowfall. She's quite thin. She's a runner who will run no matter how cold and snowy it gets. She's a professor whose semester is ending and a disciplined writer who doesn't take holidays from writing. She has two small kids.

Creative or practical ideas for a warming present for a friend who has provided me with vital emotional warmth? I'm happy to spend $100.
posted by pittsburgher to Shopping (41 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
SmartWool socks! They're the best, warmest socks ever, especially if you're sweating in cold weather. They're also really expensive, so it's a great luxury gift that most people would never buy themselves.
posted by decathecting at 11:49 AM on December 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

If yo u go to RunningWarehouse, they have an excellent selection of winter running stuff - coats, gloves, etc. Runners can almost always use more tech (running) gear.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:49 AM on December 4, 2010

Aside from Smartwool, how about a nice throw blanket? You can never have too many around the house, especially with kids.

The one under which I am snuggling RIGHT NOW is a sort of mini-down comforter, and I love it ever so much.
posted by Madamina at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2010

More blankets. More socks. And then even more blankets and socks. Plus some hot cocoa. And socks. (Brightly coloured, happy socks.)
posted by jeather at 11:55 AM on December 4, 2010

Silk or very-thin-wool long underwear. Seriously.
Smartwool socks are also great.
Scarves she can wear indoors make a huge difference too - eg silk or knitted depending on her personal style.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:56 AM on December 4, 2010

I would want a Snuggie because I secretly want one but would never buy one for myself because I think it's ridiculous.

I also want to Nth the Smartwool socks suggestion -- those things are fantastic, and while they're not crazy expensive, they're substantially more expensive than a normal pair of socks.
posted by J. Wilson at 12:01 PM on December 4, 2010

Cozy throw blankets -- fleece or down.
Cashmere wrap or socks.
If you know what size bed she has, you could get a mattress warming pad.
posted by scody at 12:08 PM on December 4, 2010

Look through Warmers. Wonderful when paired with, say, handwarmer friendly gloves. (Or buy a pair of nice gloves and sew on a small pocket for the warmers.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2010

A sun lamp?
posted by amethysts at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2010

Albus Dumbledore said once that he always wanted socks and nobody ever gave them to him. Not a bad idea there. I am big on the things-to-keep-warm front. I love winter but only if I'm well stocked for it. Also, these are on my wish list right now, and Bean in general makes very good slippers, which might be a lovely thing to slip into *after* running.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2010

Argh, forgot the glove link.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:14 PM on December 4, 2010

My wife hates the cold - I start hearing about how terrible winter is at the end of September. Battery powered socks, or just regular smartwool socks, have gone over well as gifts in the past.
posted by notsnot at 12:15 PM on December 4, 2010

A Google will get you a number of sites selling wool clothing from a Finnish company called "Ruskovilla." Quite wonderful wool whatnot. They make a lot of children's stuff too -- I would want to get a balaclava for everyone in the family and call it sorted, present-wise. If you have small children a present for them is a quite delightful present for oneself, and the little balaclavas are very handy to have.

Also: silk glove liners. These Lands' End ones worked great.
posted by kmennie at 12:16 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

From Ms. Vegetable: I actually love fingerless gloves inside in the winter.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:21 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

This may be a little weird depending on your relationship, but I have a friend who swears by nipple warmers.
posted by Duffington at 12:22 PM on December 4, 2010

She also should know that mittens are a LOT warmer than gloves; even if she wears a pair of thin gloves inside a bulky wool mitten her hands will stay a lot warmer.

Hands, feet, neck, head are main places where we lose heat, so:
-rugs + slippers in the house,
-good wool socks, never cotton or acrylic (wool can be thin and breathable, doesn't have to be the super thick kind)
-mittens rather than gloves when possible
-wristwarmers - refined lightweight Parisa wristwarmer (these are more suitable for formal work outfits and they really go keep one warmer); there are lots of handknit ones on etsy etc which are bulkier -- eg medium-bulk wristwarmer example,-keep neck covered -- turtlenecks, scarves indoors,

silk, wool, angora, alpaca are all very warm.
cotton and acrylic are not warm
synthetic fleece is warm but is not suitable for eg socks, since it will make your feet sweat
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:24 PM on December 4, 2010

Also - "thrummed" mittens are the warmest, if she is often outside in serious winter. How to make thrummed mittens explains.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:26 PM on December 4, 2010

2nd-ing fingerless gloves. Not the usual kind with the flip-top mittens, which have fully covered thumbs, but the kind that are cut off all along the hand so all your fingers and thumbs are free for writing/typing. I have some like that extend up the arm like old-fashined long gloves, which is cute (and warm.)

Also, flannel sheets.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:33 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

A selection of specialty hot teas and cocoas--the kind that are so fancy that she would never buy them for herself.
posted by chicainthecity at 1:01 PM on December 4, 2010

A concept I learned about on one of the MeFis this week, a thrummed hat and mittens.
posted by rhizome at 1:35 PM on December 4, 2010

Electric mattress pad warmer and a lap desk, if you can figure out what size her bed is. This guarantees that she will always have one warm place in her house that won't totally kill her heating bill. You can turn it on before bed and turn it off when you get into bed. It's changed my whole approach to winter in New England.
posted by jessamyn at 1:48 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I love my electric mattress pad - it makes cold winter nights sooo much cozier!
posted by platinum at 1:49 PM on December 4, 2010

I have some microfiber blankets that are crazy warm, but a microfiber robe would be awesome too
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:58 PM on December 4, 2010

Heated mattress pad is the most amazing warm thing ever. Depending on the size of her bed though it might be over your budget.

I really recommend Old Friend slippers. They are so comfortable and soooooo warm. The name also goes pretty well as a friendship gift.
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:24 PM on December 4, 2010

I second hand warmers, with the note that you can also get a pair of reusable ones that will last her for years.

Other possibilities that I agree with as great: knee-high (for warm feet and warmer legs) wool socks, wool mittens, wool hat.
posted by mandanza at 2:25 PM on December 4, 2010

I would want a Snuggie because I secretly want one but would never buy one for myself because I think it's ridiculous.

Oh god, do I ever agree with this -- although my understanding is that the Slanket is a better product (see comparison here). So embarrassing but secretly want one SO BAD.

I also would like to defend flip-top mittens, as many of them in fact also have a little flip-top on the thumb for additional dexterity (as a smoker, I know from flip-top mittens).
posted by naoko at 2:45 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

My partner just bought me an electric throw blanket. I love it soooo so much. I can use it at my desk, on the couch, or in bed. Some folks love the electric mattress pad, but I like the multipurpose use of my throw. It's a throw size and not twin or queen, which would be too big to lug around.

I also have some fingerless gloves from Etsy - they go down to my knuckles but keep my hands and fingers surprisingly warm while typing.
posted by barnone at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

those heat warmer packs that you stick in your pocket!

I have no idea what the name of those things... maybe someone from a colder climate could elaborate...
posted by p1nkdaisy at 2:59 PM on December 4, 2010

Yep, Slanket beats Snuggie hands down. I love mine. Or you could get a fuzzy fleecy bathrobe if Slankets seem too gimmicky.

I've heard a lot of good things about Icebreaker's cold weather gear.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:08 PM on December 4, 2010

How about a hot water bottle and a really cute or pretty (/warm/snuggly/luxe) cover for it? Here are many options on etsy.

HWBs are just about the most awesomest things ever.
posted by hansbrough at 3:15 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I love my Nuddle blanket. Also my LLBean Wicked Good slippers.
posted by palliser at 4:35 PM on December 4, 2010

I live in Maine. I love my hot water bottle, flannel sheets and electric blanket. I also love cozy socks and pretty much anything in fleece.
posted by theora55 at 4:43 PM on December 4, 2010

A vote for the hot water bottle from the North Atlantic! When your feet hit it under cold cold sheets * mmmmmm * you are warm all over in no time! Have never been without one since spending a winter in an old unheated pub in Nottingham. Of course it's not a sexy gift and you'd need to pair it with some kinda nice cover/cosy.
posted by henry scobie at 5:27 PM on December 4, 2010

nthing anything meant to warm the feet. Warm feet=love.
posted by Ys at 7:05 PM on December 4, 2010

Speaking as someone who's perennially chilly (long underwear from October through May, usually, and I live in the SF Bay Area, not exactly known for its harsh winters), Smartwool merino long underwear and a merino Buff. And if you really want her to feel warm and cozy, a wool (preferably merino) haramaki — it's amazing what a difference keeping one's core warm makes as far as feeling chilly goes.
posted by Lexica at 8:13 PM on December 4, 2010

A seriously warm winter hat. Think of Marge Gunderson as a role model.
posted by exphysicist345 at 10:51 PM on December 4, 2010

I hate winter too.

She needs:

Ugg Boots or sheepskin moccasins for her sore, cold feet after those runs. This would be my number one want for winter. You can get outdoorsy ones too. In winter, sometimes these are my footwear of choice every single day. One day this last winter, I wore my sheepskin moccasins out, I was that desperately cold and my feet were that sore. Do it.

Failing that:

Cashmere socks.
A pashmina scarf.
Heated mattress pad.
Hot water bottle.
Silk thermal underwear.
A travel voucher to take a weekend somewhere warm.
A bathroom heater.
posted by shazzam! at 4:21 AM on December 5, 2010

I recommend warm socks or fingerless gloves (_do_ make sure they go past the wrist for ultimate comfort) from Sock Dreams.

If you know her size, some flannel lined jeans might be welcomed.

Fully supporting some exotic tea

or hot cocoa
posted by DisreputableDog at 8:50 AM on December 5, 2010

This Cashmere/Silk Hoodie is warm and well-reviewed and comes in some nice colors. I would wear it all day every day if I owned it. At $69.50, it's definitely well-priced for a silk/cashmere sweater.
posted by kate blank at 9:32 AM on December 5, 2010

As someone with Raynaud's disease, I adore HotHands hand warmers and foot warmers.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:16 PM on December 5, 2010

Thanks so much, everyone! Y'all are awesome! I'm going to go with Smartwool socks, pretty wrist warmers from etsy, and a Slanket (for the reasons noted above: she might secretly covet one but would never buy one for herself.)
posted by pittsburgher at 6:00 PM on December 5, 2010

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