Winter Comforts
August 13, 2017 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Looking for some ways to make my home extra cozy for my significant other during the winter/the holidays this year.

In a few months my amazing SO will be moving across several continents to live with me in the Midwestern US. It has been many years since he has experienced a cold winter and/or a traditional holiday season. I've seen some posts about things you can do to make the transition easier when moving in together, but a little more specifically I am looking for ideas about how I can make my home (soon to be ours) a little more cozy/warm/welcoming for this winter and holiday season.

I always have his favorite foods on hand. I intend to have closet and drawer space available in all parts of my home. I've requested that he help me pick out some sheets and towels before he gets here so that they can be freshly appointed when he arrives.

He will arrive just before Thanksgiving but we will be traveling until I'm not very concerned with decorations necessarily but want to make sure that he is comfortable and welcome (and hopefully not incredibly overwhelmed with the weather).

Some things I've come up with (but would *love* more suggestions)

I plan on purchasing some new warm blankets for the living room.
I'm hesitant to buy him a coat/gloves without his input.
I've considered warm socks/slippers.
I recently purchased some lovely winter candles that I will save.
I plan to have ingredients stocked in the bar for things like hot toddies, spiked cocoa and mulled cider.

My question becomes, what kinds of things would you like to have this winter, in a new city, in a new (to you) home that would keep you warm and comfortable until we can out in the spring and do some real exploring?
posted by AnneShirley to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have humidifiers for the house already?

He might find that his skin is dryer than he's used to, so some good body wash and lotion (in some kind of scent that's appealing to him) might be nice.

If he's moving across continents, I assume he's not bringing a car. Will he be buying one when he arrives? If not (at least, if not immediately), can you get him a gift card for a local taxi group or Uber so he doesn't feel dependent on you for rides? If so, can you help with the stress of buying a car and making sure he has all the cold weather necessities he may not be used to?

The cheaper SAD treatment lights are not that expensive - having one on hand and spending some time together with one might not be a bad idea. The alarm clock lights that simulate the sun rising can also help deal with the dark of winter.

Have you had your house evaluated for insulation efficiency? A relatively cheap inspection and some insulation/replaced seals can save you money and make the house so much more cozy.
posted by Candleman at 10:56 PM on August 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm a fan of slipper socks.
posted by rhizome at 11:12 PM on August 13, 2017

Merino undergarments (e.g., from Ibex) are amazing for increasing coziness. I bought a pair of merino fleece pants from them last winter that are just unbelievable.
posted by praemunire at 11:52 PM on August 13, 2017

I'm in Australia, and winter is finally on the way out. These are the things that I would appreciate/do appreciate during winter (we don't have central heating, so whilst winter can't kill us, it is super depressing sometimes).

- A house without cold breezes. Still cold is way easier to deal with than moving cold. Decent insulation, door snakes, curtains, close fitting windows.
- Electric throw rugs and electric blankets. If no electric blanket, then a hot water bottle.
- People who accept that I am cold, even though they aren't.
- Exercise and getting outside. I greatly appreciate people who drag me outside for a walk. I hermit myself inside when it's cold, but exercise is great for my mood, helps me keep warm and getting outside is also good for me.
- Real sheepskin ugg boots. Other warm things made out of real wool, mohair and silk.
- On hand medicine for colds and flu.
- A kettle for tea. And filling up hot water bottles.
- Port.
posted by kjs4 at 12:00 AM on August 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

A hot water bottle for warming the foot area of the bed or a heated mattress pad. Or a cat who likes to sleep on feet.
posted by janey47 at 12:32 AM on August 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Electric blankets -- one for the bed (I prefer them as mattress pads) and a "throw"-sized one for the sofa

Good wool long underwear as mentioned -- argh, electric blankets are a repeat too -- also putting in for cold medicines, weatherstripping... I had the aforementioned inspection done a few years ago and got 2 1/2 floors insulated and now no longer avoid the first floor in winter; it made a huge difference, even though I am a heat pig, not to be trusted with thrifty folks' thermostats

Hot buttered rum; pre-mix the necessities, and liqueurs to spike hot cocoa (Godiva's milk chocolate one is so good I usually end up eating it plain with a spoon and mild shame, or dipping bananas in it)

An industrial-strength thrifted parka if you have a place where he will be doing snow shovelling and any other outdoor chores. Once you have shelled out $$$ for an ultra-toasty parka that looks nice, your first instinct is not to use it as a chore coat. Thrifts often have very good, very warm 1970s/80s parkas going cheap because of the dated styling. I have a military one; it says NATO EXTREME COLD in it and it is just the thing for winter scut work like removing branches that came down in a storm or whatever

Quality cozy hoodies, and, thermal-weave long-sleeve henleys. American Apparel used to do a bang-up job with those and I bought a huge lot of them on sale, and it changed my winters. I pop one underneath almost everything and am magically rendered warm. LL Bean's "river driver" shirts with the cotton inside and wool outside are also a good call. Ditto flannel anything, but buy gently used or from a place with a good return policy as non-pilling is a bit of a pain to find

Hanna Andersson likes to sell matching family pyjamas, especially around the holidays. If you feel he would not find it too twee, matching pyjamas to hang out in might be a nice thing

A thick, sturdy robe. Ikea's are not the absolute thickest going or anything, but they wash/wear well, are soft, do not make you feel like you are wearing an added thirty pounds of fabric, and are an excellent value for the price

Friends willing to visit. I live in an area where everyone pretty much hibernates for the winter, and the first sign of spring is actually socialising regularly. When I have been able to put together a mid-winter dinner party, the house becomes magically warmer
posted by kmennie at 12:52 AM on August 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a towel warmer that I inherited from a really cool aunt. It is electric, and is really is great in the winter.
posted by chocolatetiara at 5:06 AM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

You're seeking the Danish concept of hygge, which has become a cottage industry in the US. Fortunately you're already hitting most of the marks! I'd reiterate kmennie's recommendation of friends visiting to create a welcoming and convivial atmosphere for him. Another thing I'd recommend is a pine-scented oil diffuser (or whatever cozy sent you like).
posted by ejs at 10:14 AM on August 14, 2017

Glerups slippers and Darn Tough socks!
posted by GoldenEel at 1:24 PM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I imported a chileno to the subarctic - wasn't too prepared at the time (just stocked up on hot chocolate and got him a decent beanie), but as it got colder some hits were/are:
- a decent thermal mug
- a basic flannel shirt and a pair of wool socks from the hardware store for just kicking it
- this combo (compression leggings w/shorts) for running. after initially raising an eyebrow at me for suggesting it, he soon got why all the dudes work out in that gear here
posted by speakeasy at 3:16 PM on August 14, 2017

Meh I don't know how to link stuff on the phone. Pic is here
posted by speakeasy at 3:22 PM on August 14, 2017

Massive thrifted & cleaned parka yes! That will suffice to get him through the first week until he can determine what kind of proper winter coats he'd like. And nice gloves.
posted by travertina at 5:43 AM on August 15, 2017

seconding heated mattress pad and hot buttered rum!

we used to make a HBR batter with butter and spices to keep in the fridge and last winter discovered a shortcut that is just as good- rum+ pimento/allspice dram (we have one from Bitter Truth) + slab of butter in a mug topped with hot water= awesome easy hot boozy drinks.

My transplant to Chicago insisted he didn't need a winter coat...until he did. We ordered one from L.L. Bean, yes it was expensive but he still uses it more than a decade later, and it is always warm enough. Down insulated gloves and merino glove liners also helped the transition.

And I used to like fluffy slippers but have moved to boiled wool from Haflinger (based on Sweet Home advice), and they are so lovely and cozy, and nice in both summer and winter.

And good flannel sheets can make a huge difference as well!
posted by lettezilla at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2017

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