The temps are dropping in these parts and if they are also doing so in your neck of the woods (and you’re anything like us), you may well find that your pyjamas and/or sweats are playing an increasingly essential role in your evening wear. Perhaps you too have experienced a heightened appetite? Or, an increased hankering for red wine (especially when paired with pasta or pizza)? For us, these are clear signs that winter is setting in and that snow will soon need to be shoveled.
With winter just around the corner, and with our fellow cold climate denizens in mind, we thought we’d put together a list of gift ideas for folks living in potentially snowbound locations. This isn’t to say that one or more of these gifts would not be suitable for our warm-weather brethren and sistren but, framed in the context of chilly temps, we think they are especially stellar choices.
Before we get started, we also wanted to flag two prior posts we’ve written that may prove helpful here vis a vis gift ideas. First up, we’d highlight last week’s post about creating a “popping” gift bundle which could be a fun alternative for any popcorn lovers you know as they settle down to some winter movie watching. Second, in a bit of a counter-intuitive throwback, we’d also point to our summer round-up of places where you can order ice cream online. Yes, you’d be gifting a cold food in cold weather but, to be perfectly honest, in these parts, ice cream consumption may actually increase on a per capita basis in the wintertime. 😉 Too, winter is an ideal time to place an online ice cream order (any excuse, right?). Given current temps and the dry ice that makes shipping of frozen treats possible, we’d certainly have few qualms about letting a box of ice cream chill (literally and figuratively) out front until we got home at the end of the day. At any rate, some additional food for thought (ha!).
We’re almost ready to launch into our list but just have a couple of final words to the wise. In our experience, hats, scarves and gloves/mittens have historically been popular gifts among northerners when one doesn’t know what to give someone. Thanks to this cultural phenomenon, for example, we have a large basket full of all of those items in varying styles and materials, none of which we bought for ourselves. This is a multi-generational phenomenon; our parents’ have even larger quantities of each of these winter accessories in an even bigger basket. We’re not complaining - it’s great to be able to mix and match on snowy days, to change things up and to bundle up friends and family who come to visit as needed. That said, we’re not including these signature items on our list simply because you’ll likely find most of your recipients who live in chilly climes already have a healthy supply of such winter wear simply as a byproduct of growing up there. If, on the other hand, your recipient is newly relocated to colder climes, DO consider winter hats, scarves, gloves and/or mittens to be an unofficial part of this list. Now, to business:
SURVIVAL SKILLS: Ok, so this first idea - namely, a winter survival handbook - can either be given as a humorous gift, or as something eminently practical. For the person who struggles through winter every year, or the person who recently moved to a snowy city from a tropical climes, a handbook like Winter in the Wilderness might prompt a smile, or even a chuckle. For serious campers and outdoor enthusiasts, on the other hand, it might be no laughing matter, but something eminently practical and wonderfully handy.
FIREWOOD: Does your recipient have a fireplace? A fire pit? Give them a bundle of kindling for sure fire (ha!) coziness. And, if you fancy upping the ante even further, include the makings of s’mores with the firewood - a bag of marshmallows, chocolate bars, a box of graham crackers and a couple of sticks with whittled ends, primed for marshmallow roasting.
WOOLLY BLANKET: We’ve mentioned blankets before in the context of gift giving, but we couldn’t not mention wool blankets in this post of all posts, partly because the blanket draped over the back of our sofa is a must-have winter companion for chilly winter nights. We’d definitely highlight the Norwegian-based company Oleana as a top notch maker of wool blankets. Oleana does not make their products directly available online to US-based customers, but you can browse their catalog and call to order from a couple of vendors, including: The Nordic Shop and Chalet in the Woods. Also on our radar for gorgeous blankets: Woolrich which has their own online shop and Imperial Wool blankets which are available at places like Old Port Wool and Textile Company or Guideboat.
CLASSIC FILMS ACCESS: We’re big fans of the move to digital streaming - for one thing, it has opened up a whole world of foreign films and TV series we previously did not have access to. That said, what seems to be lacking (or only slowly catching up) is access to classic films from Hollywood’s earlier days. Many are not included with subscriptions such as Netflix or Amazon Prime but need to be rented separately (or in addition to these services). If your recipient has always been keen to delve into the classics but hasn’t yet had the opportunity, consider gifting them an Amazon.com gift card so they can rent the “oldies but goodies,” or a FilmStruck subscription. Pro tip: for a little guidance on some of the great films in Hollywood’s history, consider tucking in a print out of the American Film Institute’s top 100 films of all time. It’s a great place to start!
HOT SAUCE COLLECTION: A blizzard raging outside? If your recipient is a lover of heat (we’re talking culinarily now), keep them toasty warm with a sampling of hot sauces. This is a gift basket that can typically be made by visiting a several local food stores and/or BBQ joints and picking up a selection of sauces. Failing that, the internet tells us there are a range of hot sauce bundles that can be sent to any gift recipient with a few clicks of the mouse button. If the online route sounds appealing, you may wish to check out the hot sauce offerings of the Bay Area based Heat Hot Sauce Shop.
WARM (AND COMFORTABLE!) FEET: We’re not usually sock givers but we make an exception for Darn Tough socks which we discovered at Cambridge Clogs, a local gem of a shop that specializes in comfy footwear, stockings and socks. At the time, we purchased a selection of socks from different makers and all were comfortable and have been put to good use. That said, the Darn Tough socks stood out from the pack when it comes to the golden sock trifecta of comfort, warmth and durability. Whether hiking about town in snow boots, or curling up on the sofa, Darn Tough socks (available for men, women and children alike!), will stand your recipient in good stead. Word to the wise: treat yourself to a pair while you’re at it - we strongly suspect you won’t regret it. 🧦💪
HOT COCOA: Some years back, we experienced a gustatory epiphany when we tasted L.A. Burdick’s hot chocolate for the first time. After years of experiencing watered down or mediocre cocoas, we were under the impression that the chocolatey beverage of our dreams was an unattainable thing. One sip of Burdick’s dark chocolate version though and we thought to ourselves, “THIS is what hot chocolate is supposed to taste like!” Each little bag of their hot chocolate comes with a wee whisk to make individual cups of chocolatey cheer super easy to prepare. As well, you can choose from dark, milk and white hot chocolate. Looking to give a gift to a chocoholic living in wintery climes? Boom. Gift sorted.
SNOW CONES: For a trip down nostalgia lane, give your recipient a snow cone bundle. Lock in some flavored syrups, paper cups (reusable silicone cups are also available!) and fun straws (or straw spoons) and, come the first snow, a tasty celebration will be had. Homemade snow cones are a great way to have fun with the first, fifth or tenth snow of the winter season. We think the makings of snow cones are especially great gifts for snow newbies, and families with young children. Pro tip: when making your snow cone, be sure to pack the snow in - if it’s too fluffy, the syrups usually melt it too quickly.
SNOW CASTLE KIT: This is another gift we think is especially great for snow newbies, families or romantic couples: brick molds to help construct a snow fort or igloo - the snow equivalent of sand castle making molds. Of course it’s possible to make snow structures without molds, but we venture to suggest that a little bit of equipment and the right snow conditions can be combined to make something truly spectacular! As to where to source snow equipment? You may wish to start your research with L.L. Bean’s snow/sand castle mold kit or Paricon’s snow castle kit on Amazon.com.
SOUP RECIPES: When we think of winter foods, our minds first jump to Bolognese and red wine and, if your gift recipient does not have an appropriate ragu-making pot and/or long wooden mixing spoon, that’s definitely a fab gift idea. That said, soup is definitely right up there on our list of edible winter warmers and, when we happen (as we inevitably do) to come down with a winter cold, there are few things better than a hot bowl of soup to soothe a sore throat or warm our tummies. Expand your recipient’s soup repertoire with: Book of Soups: More than 100 Recipes for Perfect Soups from the Culinary Institute of America, Twelve Months of Monastery Soups, Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match or The Soup Bible. If you fancy pairing your chosen cookbook with something, pick up some fresh herbs and spices - or, if you’re going all out, consider an immersion blender, a kitchen tool that makes creamy/pureed soups super easy.
Why sign up for a free Little Birdie Me account?
- No more unwanted gifts! Create a gift profile to let folks know what you like (and don't like!) to receive.
- Link to existing wish lists, registries, Pinterest boards - and more!
- Keep track of the gifts you give, and budget for gifting events.
- Follow family and friends' gift profiles to make your own gift giving easy peasy.