Home-improvement gifts

Not everyone has time to shop around (not to mention most people have no desire to shop in stores at all right now) and look for the newest items on the market that could appeal to the loved ones and colleagues on their gift-giving lists. (Or for themselves, because let’s […]

Not everyone has time to shop around (not to mention most people have no desire to shop in stores at all right now) and look for the newest items on the market that could appeal to the loved ones and colleagues on their gift-giving lists. (Or for themselves, because let’s be honest, we look at holiday gift guides and deals for ourselves just as much as for others.)

And given everything that has happened in 2020, everyone needs a bit (or a lot) of self-care after this year. With that in mind, here is a helpful list of suggestions for the best gifts around for maintaining a happier home this winter.

Courtesy of Hastens, Google, Whiled, and Aarke

Aarke: The simple power of sparkling water is that it is both refreshing and fulfilling all at the same time. Aarke has designed a more sophisticated approach to the countertop sparkling-water maker with a complete stainless steel enclosure. The newest release this fall is the Carbonator III, which provides a more luxury experience with a stainless steel precision nozzle, a more efficient carbonation system, a damper-controlled lever to allow for a more controlled release of pressure in the bottle, and a new valve with a quieter, more sophisticated sound when the water is carbonated. SRP: $219.

Branch Basics: Wellness comes in many forms, and having a clean (and sanitized) home is a good place to start. The starter kit from Branch Basics includes all the soapy necessities for one household, and it has become something of a cult favorite, with more than 2,500 five-star reviews online. The single, multipurpose concentrate formula is a one-hit wonder for every cleaning purpose in the house, from laundry to countertop spray to dish soap to hand soap and even body wash. This stuff is strong enough to clean up a greasy stove and safe enough to wash a baby with, and it’s designed with the chemically sensitive and allergen-prone in mind to keep everyone at home healthy all around. SRP: $59.

Google: On the eve of the holiday shopping season, Google dropped the newest version of its popular TV streaming dongle: Chromecast. Powered by new software called Google TV,  the upgraded Chromecast is supposed to give users a more intuitive “home screen” to help them navigate their various video-streaming services and apps. And with Google Assistant, owners can now use their voices to change channels as well as perform other tasks, like bringing up the weather report on-screen. While the latest model is a bit pricier than previous generations, the new Chromecast does offer some competitive qualities, like access to HBO Max (not available yet on Roku) as well as integrations with other Google products for the home, such as the Nest thermostat. SRP: $50.

Hästens: If we’re all going to be spending more time at home this winter, upgrading your bedding is a worthy investment. Few come close to offering the longtime comfort and luxurious feeling of Hästens bedding and linens. Pillows and duvets from the Swedish brand, founded in 1852, are made from top-of-the-line pure goose down, with its own built-in ventilation system that helps the feathers breathe. And these comforters are designed to transition well from summer to winter: The down insulates and holds warmth for your body, while allowing moisture to evaporate and providing more delicate support. SRP: $1,850.

iRobot: Some people will tell you the smartphone changed their lives. For others (including myself), it was the emergence of the Roomba, not only cleaning up dust but also cutting back on the exhaustion and back pain that comes with vacuuming regularly. The S9 is iRobot’s most powerful robot vacuum yet, with up to 40 times the suction power compared to previous models and advanced sensors for cleaning deep into corners and along wall edges. The S9 is also the smartest yet. Much like Amazon, Google, or Apple devices, it will respond to commands through an embedded voice assistant. SRP: $900.

Whiled: A spinoff of the popular newsletter Girls’ Night In, Whiled is creating home goods designed for downtime or a perfect cozy night in. The brand’s first collection is a set of 500-piece puzzles, all printed on 100% recycled paper, based on works by contemporary artists, with shades of surrealist and abstract inspiration from the likes of Chagall or Picasso. Sunny Side Up, by Portland, Ore., illustrator Lan Truong, stands out not only for its pop art–like construction, but also how it evokes the simplest but perhaps most beloved of weekend rituals: brunch. SRP: $37.

Vellabox: From just a small flame, a candle can provide an abundance of comfort and restoration to your mood. Vellabox is an artisan candle subscription service, offering three options for a monthly delivery of candles that provide between 25 and 75 hours of burn time. All of Vellabox’s candles are made with lead-free and paraffin-free wicks; use phthalate-free fragrance oils; and are made of 100% soy, coconut, or vegetable-based waxes. SRP: Starts at $10 per month.

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