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10 products that will spark joy during hard times

For when you need a little bit of extra cheer.

Items that bring joy Credit: Homesick/Nectar

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As much as you might try to stay positive, most of us would agree that the year 2020 did not have a lot going for it. And while the holiday season is just around the corner, we still have to contend with the tiniest window of daylight and temperatures so cold you can see your breath in the wind—not to mention the global pandemic. If there’s ever been a time to treat yourself to a mood-boosting gift, it’s now. Here, 10 products to shop that are guaranteed to make these dreary cold, shorter days at home actually enjoyable.

1. This candle to take you to your happy place

Credit: Homesick

If you're sick of feeling homesick, Homesick candles are your saving grace.

If you’re feeling a little lonely these days, transport yourself back to happier times with Homesick’s line of incredibly heart-warming candles, which we chose as some of our favorite candles to buy this year. Each state boasts a scent evocative of its landscape and culture (apple pie and pumpkin patches for New York, anyone?), boasting a burn time of up to 80 hours.

With over 5,500 reviews on Amazon, these candles have gotten users all in their feels: “I got this as a surprise for my boyfriend. He moved to my state from Texas for college. When I surprised him with the candle and he smelled it, he actually got very emotional and started crying because he said the smell instantly brought back so many memories of home. I don't know how they did it, but Homesick Candles managed to replicate the smell of home so well in this candle that it took my boyfriend back home immediately. Definitely worth my money.”

2. This journal full of funny prompts

Monica Sweeney
Credit: Castle Point Books

Joy lives right inside your head—this journal will help you channel it on rainy days.

It’s often the monologue in your very own head that brings you the most joy. Jot down whatever comes to mind at the end of a long day to release all that pent-up aggression (or snark!) you weren’t able to convey during the workday. This best-selling journal prompts you to take stock of small details that bring you joy and make you laugh, while also reminding you that you’re doing far better in life than you think you are.

One reviewer who called the book perfect says, “The positive and inspirational messages are spot-on, and given in easy-to-read relatable chunks. Think 'things your best friend should tell you, but maybe doesn’t' meets a page-a-day calendar, with a ton of humor thrown in. It's not your typical dry self-help book—far from it. Yes, beware, it's laced with profanity, but that’s part of its charm.”

Get "Find Your F*cking Happy: A Journal to Help Pave the Way for Positive Sh*t Ahead" by Monica Sweeney on Amazon for $10.49

3. This ultimate spa day essential

Credit: Nectar

Sensory overload is just what the self-care doctor ordered.

If it’s been a minute since you soaked for so long in the bath that your skin turned pruney, you’re way overdue. Treat your body and mind to Nectar’s glittery gift box filled with invigorating pinkberry marmalade cupcake soap, sugar crush bath bombs, fruit smoothie sugar scrub, and more, all crafted to keep your skin feeling buttery soft. With a five-star rating, customers say the products induce a sense of calm, while the beautiful, festive container works perfectly as storage once you’re through with the products.

Get the Sweet and Bubbly Spa Gift Set at Nectar USA for $79

4. These cozy Ugg slippers for happy feet

Credit: Ugg

Wearing slippers with personality is the ultimate way to feel both cozy and cool.

Sitting around the house in loungewear and slippers is the comfiest thing you can do for your bod, but staring down at the same dull colors can be a bit of a drag. Turn your feet into veritable disco balls with these uber cozy sequined Uggs lined with plush genuine shearling, a sheepskin collar, and rubber soles for traction. They come in lilac for an elegant feminine vibe or black for a more mysterious, edgy look. If you prefer something more understated but equally comfy, go for the wildly popular OG Scuffette slippers, which have thousands of rave reviews.

5. This smart picture frame for photos of your loved ones

Credit: Nixplay

Feel connected even when miles apart.

Nixplay smart picture frames are having a moment, and it’s not hard to see why: The slideshow-like screen makes it easy to display your fondest moments anywhere in your home. It operates as a pseudo-social platform in that you can share photos and photo albums straight from your phone or social media accounts with up to five other frames, so you and long lost loved ones can stay connected. Our senior scientist Julia MacDougall says there’s lots to love about the Nixplay: “There are a veritable cornucopia of photo display options and settings that you can adjust, including the time each photo is displayed, the pattern in which the photos play, whether the frame focuses showcasing only the most recently uploaded photos, the type and time duration of the transition from one photo to the next, and so much more.”

Get the Nixplay Smart Digital Picture Frame 10.1 Inch from Amazon for $179

6. This burrito-inspired blanket

Credit: LetsFunny

Warning: you might get hungry every time you wear it.

Going out to eat might be off the table at the moment, but you can still look (and feel!) like a total snack in this best-selling novelty blanket, which has over 1,400 reviews. It comes in four different shades of “tortilla” colors to represent your preferred level of doneness and seven sizes for your preferred coverage. Even better, it's lined with thick flannel fabric.

The blanket brings so much joy it even inspires hilarious reviews from five-star customers: “Perfect couch blanket. Love this lightweight throw for watching TV on the couch while eating tacos. Very soft and easy to wash when you get hot sauce on it. Does not smell like a tortilla, do not attempt to eat.”

Get the LetsFunny Burrito Tortilla Wrap Blanket from Amazon for $16.99

7. This cute single-serve coffee maker

Credit: Keurig

A perfect cup of coffee goes a long way in boosting your mood.

Steeping a pot of coffee or fiddling around with a French press can be time-consuming—and we all know every minute feels like hours when you need your caffeine fix, stat. Enter Keurig’s solution to all your coffee needs: You can save up to three programmable preferences like strength, size and temperature ensuring a perfect time-saving cup each time and you can brew up to nine cups before having to refill the reservoir. There's even an over-ice feature allows you to enjoy iced coffee year round. With over 400 reviews, customers say it’s their favorite iteration of the Keurig machine yet: “I love my new coffee maker. I can taste the difference. I love that I can get a strong, hot cup of coffee in a few minutes.”

Get the Keurig K-Supreme Plus Coffee Maker from Target for $149.99

8. Our favorite Bluetooth speaker: JBL Flip 5

Credit: JBL

Turn up the volume to drown out bad thoughts.

Let the good times roll with this portable Bluetooth speaker you can use just about anywhere to fill the silence at home on uneventful days—whether you’re listening to jazz in the tub or a comedy podcast while tidying up. Our experts listed the JBL Flip 5 as the best portable speaker money can buy right now for its compact design, extended battery life given its size, and unbeatable sound quality (especially bass levels).

Get the JBL Flip 5 Portable Bluetooth Speaker from Amazon for $89.95

9. This oversized plant for a breath of fresh air

Costa Farms
Credit: Costa Farms

Nature is healing even when it's right in your living room.

Turn any room in your home into a veritable beach with this mini palm tree that’ll instantly bring the outdoors indoors. This mini palm tree thrives on humidity, making it ideal for turning your bathroom into an oasis. With 300 reviews and a 4.6-star rating on Wayfair, reviewers say it’s an instant mood booster: “I was missing my favorite place, California, and ordered this palm to cheer up my home office. I could not be happier! It brings me so much joy to see this little guy, who is not so little by the way. Great buy!”

Get the 40'' Live Majesty Palm Tree in Planter from Wayfair for $50.99

10. This calming indoor fountain with 10,000 reviews

Credit: Homedics

Create your own little sanctuary with this zen space-saving fountain.

As Amazon’s number-one best-selling fountain with nearly 10,000 reviews, both the sight of water streaming through your home and the gentle sound of each drip will inspire a sense of calm. It features natural stones and three tiers creating a surprising decorative element. At eight by seven inches, it doesn’t take up too much space, so you can place it wherever you need some extra good vibes like your WFH office.

Get the Homedics Relaxation Indoor Tabletop Fountain from Amazon for $24.99

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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