10 things you should buy before the year ends
Grab these top-ranked products before 2020.
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They always say it’s better to give than to receive, so with the holiday season and colder weather approaching, it’s time to prepare to shell out a few extra bucks on those special gifts to wow your loved ones and keep them warm until spring. But who’s the easiest person on your list to shop for? That’s right, the one staring back at you in the mirror. So while you’re off budgeting for all the gifts for your mom, dad, brother, sister, or anyone else special on your list, be sure to set aside some cash to treat yourself to something that’ll help ward off the cold and entertain yourself indoors until spring.
1. A gaming system that’ll keep you entertained on-the-go
Back in my day, video gaming consoles were meant to be played indoors, tethered to the wall outlet. For as long as I can remember, there were also handheld gaming devices meant to mimic the entertainment of the plug-in consoles, but they were little more than a substitution for an actual console.
Enter the Nintendo Switch with its ability to provide as complete a gaming experience as any other legitimate console. It has the ability to untether itself, creating a second life as a handheld device to take with you wherever you go. The home console also breaks down into two smaller controllers, requiring only two additional controllers for four players to fully experience a multiplayer game like Mario Kart 8. This is definitely going to be on everyone’s wish list this year, so you should grab one now before they sell out.
2. These wireless earbuds that connect to all your Apple devices
As someone who has personally destroyed dozens upon dozens of wired headphones by having them get caught on any number of objects, these wireless Apple Airpods are a miracle cure. No more snags, no more accidentally dragging your phone off of surfaces and smashing onto the floor with a twist of your head. Apple Airpods seamlessly connect to all your Apple devices and deliver incredible audio to your ears without wires, and they’re the best truly wireless earbuds we’ve ever tested. The latest model charges without a cable and lasts for over 24 hours of continuous use.
3. The only kitchen appliance you’ll ever need for winter (and beyond)
New kitchen gadgets can be exacting. They can heighten the in-home cooking experience and make preparing meals a bit more innovative. Unfortunately, having too many can absorb precious kitchen cabinet and counter space. The Instant Pot Duo isn’t our favorite multicooker (that would be the Instant Pot Ultra), but it's the best-selling one on the market, and the one that seems to sell out each year. It combines multiple culinary tasks into one handy appliance. Use it to saute, slow cook, pressure cook, and more. Heck, you can even use it to make your own yogurt. If you’re planning on warming your bones from the inside out this winter, this multi-cooker is perfect for those soups and stews you’ll be craving.
4. The best suitcase money can buy
Whether you’re looking to travel in style or you just need a large suitcase to fit everything you need for extended trips, this suitcase is perfect for your winter getaway. Away has crafted the best suitcase to check on your next flight, with a tough, yet lightweight exterior to ensure its contents will stay intact, a compression interior for the over-packer in all of us, and, of course, complete range of roller motion with 360-degree spinner wheels. With nine colors to choose from and a lifetime guarantee, it’s no wonder this suitcase is one of the best pieces of checked luggage we’ve ever tested.
5. Possibly the greatest blanket of all time
September ends. Cold weather approaches. First you start closing your windows at night. Then you remove that pile of blankets from storage and start with one that’s not as hefty. A couple weeks go by and it’s towards the end of October and you add another covering to help trap your body heat. A few more weeks go by and suddenly it’s mid-November and you’re sleeping in a tangled web of quilts and throws and blankets. If only this shuffle could be avoided, right?
Enter Anthropologie’s Sophie Faux Fur Throw Blanket and finally winter has met its match. This luxurious piece of cozy goodness is perfect for curling up on the couch or cuddling up in bed, that is if you’re okay with the struggle of getting up from its warmth. One reviewer simply referred to it as “actual heaven,” which is to say it just doesn’t get any better. Choose from an array of colors and prepare to face the cold like never before.
6. Our favorite cast iron skillet
I know, I know. Pots and pans are sort of hard to get excited about. Maybe you inherited a frying pan from a family member or got a cheap, old skillet at a thrift store years ago. These work, sure, but are they really what you want in your cooking arsenal? We suggest opting for best cast iron pan we’ve ever tested, a 12-inch pre-seasoned skillet from Lodge. Versatile and durable, this pan does it all, from searing and grilling to braising and frying. Use it in the oven or on the stove top. You can even throw this skillet on the campfire for a true kitchen experience in the middle of the great outdoors.
7. These cult-favorite boots that prevent to wet feet
No, the cure wet feet isn’t some potion you rub on your toes. Rather, it’s just good old-fashioned duck boots manufactured in the USA. Maine sees its fair share of nasty winter weather, so it’s no wonder L.L. Bean himself designed the Bean Boot back in 1912 to keep feet dry and warm all winter long. Slosh through slush and mud season with impunity and style with the peace of mind that these ultra-popular, coveted boots will last year after year.
- Get the 8-inch Men’s Bean Boots at L.L.Bean for $139
- Get the 8-inch Women’s Bean Boots at L.L.Bean for $139
8. This wearable tracker to keep tabs on your fitness
For me, the onset of cold weather means I'm less likely to be active since I can't do the actives I actually enjoyable. Hiking, walking, or swimming become are nearly impossible to do now, and it’s not easy to motivate myself to hit the gym when it’s cold and wet outside. One trick to gaining motivation is turning it into a game and tracking my progress, and the best way to do so is with the Fitbit Charge 3. It’s the best fitness tracker we’ve ever tested and is designed to help you set goals and (hopefully) reach them regardless of the seasonal conditions or the lack of sunlight. This model can track your sleep, connect to weather apps, display text and call notifications, and comes with impressive-battery life (a week off a single charge), so you’ll be able to keep up with your fitness goals for the rest of the year and into 2020.
9. A classic candle that turns your home into a pine forest
One of my favorite holiday hacks is adding pine tree air fresheners to an artificial Christmas tree. You get the best of both worlds: The inviting aroma of a Douglas Fir, but no pine needle clean up. If you want the pine scent to flow through your entire hime, I would recommend Yankee Candle’s Balsam and Cedar scented candle. It offers up to 110 hours of burn time and packs a punch, delivering a blend of pine balsam, cedar wood, and juniper berry scents that resemble an actual pine forest as opposed to the phony odor of most pine-hemed fragrances. It’s also one of the most popular candles that Yankee Candle offers, with more than 1,000 reviews on the site, and it’s a perennial favorite around this time of year for anyone who wants their pad to smell fresh and festive throughout the holidays.
10. An alarm clock light that eases you into and out of slumber
I have a tumultuous relationship with sleep. I’ve always had a hard time convincing my mind and body to turn off at night, and once it’s time to rise and shine I’m smashing that dang snooze button a dozen times before peeling myself off my mattress. The Wake-Up Alarm Clock Light by Phillips helps ease those tensions that I’m all too familiar with. The clock can be programmed to mimic a sunset for the necessary wind down time right before sleep, then 20 to 40 minutes before your alarm goes off the same light eases back in from dim to bright for a sunrise simulation that reviewers say makes it easier for them to get out of bed. The sunrise portion can even be accompanied by one of five nature sounds for that waking up after sleeping under the stars feel.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.