14 Things You Need for The Perfect Winter Staycation

No need to leave home when you can create a vacation vibe with these top-rated products.
No need to leave home when you can create a vacation vibe with these top-rated products. / Amazon / Homedics / ROYAL CRAFT WOOD / TURBRO Suburbs; Justin Dodd, Mental Floss (background)
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For the most part, winter is a drag. It’s cold, oftentimes dreary, and by January, the lack of daylight hours can have us all champing at the bit for some kind of escape. Traveling can be a much-welcomed form of reprieve during this frosty time of year, but if you’re staying home because of work, family needs, or pandemic-related reasons, that’s OK. You can still find sweet release right from the comfort of your own couch; all you need is a little staycation.

Transforming your home into a vacation paradise worthy of the ’gram isn’t that difficult. With the right stuff (think: puzzles, bath bombs, and good books) you can while away the hours during the worst kinds of weather and still find your happy place. Below are 14 of the best products we think will make your winter staycation all the better.

1. Murder Mystery Jigsaw Puzzle; $19

Best products for a winter staycation: Murder Mystery Jigsaw Puzzles
Murder Mystery Jigsaw Puzzle / Uncommon Goods

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled staycation with an important announcement to make: There’s been a murder! Fortunately for you, this puzzling whodunit is just of the make-believe variety. Don your best Sherlock Holmes hat and get to work over your staycation on this 500-piece puzzle. Apart from the pieces, each 4.7-star-rated kit comes with a story—you can chase after clairvoyants in one or track down a missing will with the other—which will help you put the whole thing together, literally.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

2. Fred Purr Tea Cat Tea Infuser; $13

Best winter staycation products: Fred Purr Tea Cat Tea Infuser
Fred Purr Tea Cat Tea Infuser / Fred/Sur La Table

Craving a warm cuppa? Don’t just go for your usual Lipton’s during this staycation. Give loose-leaf tea a try instead with this adorable kitty cat infuser, which has a 4-star rating on Sur La Table. All you have to do is fill this silicone feline and place it inside a mug of hot water. The paws will hold firm to the rim, proving cats really do have nine lives after all (and maybe then some). The brand offers other animal-inspired infusers too, including ones shaped like a llama or manatee.

Buy it: Sur La Table

3. Sophie Faux Fur Throw Blanket; From $69

Best winter staycation products: Sophie Faux Fur Throw Blanket
Sophie Faux Fur Throw Blanket / Anthropologie

Soft to the touch and available in seven colors, the Sophie faux-fur blanket will feel like a wintertime essential once you have it draped over your bed or sofa. Made from Oeko-Tex certified materials (meaning it’s eco-friendly), it’s thick and heavy and has a velvet-like lining under all the faux fur for an incredibly sumptuous feel.

Buy it: Anthropologie

4. Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan; From $49

Best winter staycation products: Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan
Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan / Barefoot Dreams/Nordstrom

During winter staycations, comfort is the name of the game. Whether you’re rocking pajamas all day long or putting on “hard pants” and nice blouses to run errands, this stylish cardigan from Barefoot Dreams will serve you well. Available in eight shades and in sizes up to extra-large, this lightweight number is surprisingly cozy and versatile. Nearly 4000 Nordstrom shoppers swear by it, too, and give it a combined 4.7-star rating on the site.

Buy it: Nordstrom

5. The Curious Reader Journal for Book Lovers by Erin McCarthy and the Team at Mental Floss; $20

Best winter staycation products: 'The Curious Reader Journal for Book Lovers' by Erin McCarthy and The Team At Mental Floss
'The Curious Reader Journal for Book Lovers' by Erin McCarthy and The Team At Mental Floss / Weldon Owen/Amazon

No matter how much you adore a certain turn of phrase or passage, chances are you don’t want to underline things or make notes in your favorite tome. This interactive companion book to The Curious Reader: A Literary Miscellany of Novels & Novelists (penned by Mental Floss staffers!) can be a great way to spend the time during your winter staycation, as it’s filled with book-related prompts, trivia, and more to help you get the most out of your reading experience. Take it from us, your paperbacks and hardcovers will appreciate that you spared them the red-pen treatment.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Cake Socks; $16

Best winter staycation products: Cake Socks
Cake Socks / KEAZA/Amazon

Wool socks are cozy, sure, but if you want to have some fun on your staycation, give these fuzzy ones with a 4.3-star rating on Amazon a try. Packaged like little cupcakes and knitted with color-blocked patterns, these cuties will make a sweet addition to your sock drawer. As they’re made with moisture- and odor-resistant fabric, they’ll also keep your feet dry in case you accidentally step in snow someone tracked in from outside.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Portable Projector And Accessories; From $22

Best winter staycation products: AuKing Portable Projector
AuKing Portable Projector / AuKing/Amazon

If you love going to the movies but don’t want to leave your house right now, an at-home projector like this one from AuKing is the next best thing. It has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon and offers 1080-pixel resolution for ultra-crisp images, along with a ​​2000:1 contrast ratio and up to 55,000 hours of LED lamp life. It can project images up to 170 inches and its compact size makes it easy to mount or carry to other spots around the house, in case you want to mix things up.

To really drive the cinematic experience home, grab a projection screen (the one included here was made with 16:9 screen formats in mind) and a digital AV adapter, which can output video content from your laptop or other compatible device to your projector, for added flexibility.

Buy them: Mdbebbron Projection Screen; Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter; AuKing Mini Projector

8. TURBRO Suburbs TS17 Compact Electric Fireplace Stove; $90

Best winter staycation products: TURBRO Suburbs TS17 Compact Electric Fireplace Stove
TURBRO Suburbs TS17 Compact Electric Fireplace Stove / TURBRO Suburbs/Amazon

Blustery winter winds might be slapping at your door, but even on the chilliest days of the season, you’ll stay nice and toasty when you’re nestled up near this electric fireplace. Perfect for folks who don’t have a built-in hearth of their own at home, this 4.4-star-rated item offers up to 4777 BTUs of heat with overheat protection and can recreate the look of a real crackling fire without all the smoke and soot that typically comes with it. Whether you’re in the mood for fireside snuggles or just want a charming backdrop to your next Netflix binge, this easy-to-use appliance is worth grabbing.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Patchwork Board Game; $25

Best winter staycation products: Patchwork Board Game
Patchwork Board Game / Mayfair Games/Amazon

This two-person game captures all the fun of creating a quilt without the exacting needlework and precision that often goes into making a real one. Designed to only take about 15 minutes per session, Patchwork lets you collaborate with your loved ones on which type of fabric to use via each tile, and use buttons to pull all of it together, revealing a pretty work of art.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bath Tray And Accessories; From $18

Best winter staycation products: ROYAL CRAFT WOOD Luxury Bathtub Tray Caddy
ROYAL CRAFT WOOD Luxury Bathtub Tray Caddy / ROYAL CRAFT WOOD/Amazon

Staycations are a golden opportunity to luxuriate in simple pleasures you might not have the time—or, let’s be real here, the energy—to do after a 40-hour work week. If the idea of settling into a nice, warm bath and soaking for as long as you’d like makes you giddy, consider grabbing a bath tray ahead of your next break.

The fully adjustable tray featured here offers plenty of room for you set up a candle and read from a tablet as you suds up, and if you really want to take it to the next level, don’t forget to pop a bath bomb in the water before you slip in. Don’t have a tub that’s big enough for baths? Cleverfy’s popular aromatherapy steamers are like bath bombs for the shower and are packed with soothing essential oils for a spa-like experience you can have at home.

Buy them: Cleverfy Aromatherapy Shower Steamers; Bubbly Belle All-Natural Bath Bombs Gift Set; Royal Craft Wood Bath Tray

11. Vibes Hi-Fidelity Ear Plugs; $24

Best winter staycation products: Vibes Hi-Fidelity Ear Plugs
Vibes Hi-Fidelity Ear Plugs / VIBES/Amazon

Treat yourself to what perhaps might be the best staycation item of them all: a good set of ear plugs. These reusable, silicone-tipped ‘buds are like a one-way ticket to relaxation, as they come with a pocket-sized carrying case and are designed to reduce noise levels by up to 22 decibels. All that background noise that’s been bugging you lately—be it from dogs, your neighbors, or heaven forbid, even your family—will simmer down to a gentle murmur if you want it to, which is all the more reason to give these 4.3-star-rated plugs a try.

Buy it: Amazon

12. What to Watch Streaming Decider Dice; $18

Best winter staycation products: What to Watch Streaming Decider Dice
What to Watch Streaming Decider Dice / Uncommon Goods

Having trouble deciding what to watch while you’re bundled up under some covers? During this staycation, you can get a little extra help with this dice set, which can help you discover your next favorite flick or series. Whether you’re in the mood for a serious drama or a sci-fi adventure, there are 216 possible combos that can come from every roll, so you’ll spend less time grappling with streaming fatigue and more time enjoying entertainment with the whole fam.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

13. Homedics SoundSleep White Noise Sound Machine; From $18

Best winter staycation products: Homedics SoundSleep White Noise Sound Machine
Homedics SoundSleep White Noise Sound Machine / Homedics / Amazon

You don’t have to be at the beach to hear the soft, lilting sounds of the waves hitting the shore. With this 4.6-star-rated sound machine (which has amassed 56,000 reviews on Amazon), all you have to do is set a dial, turn up the volume, close your eyes, and let the dulcet tones soothe you into a gentle slumber. And if the beach isn't quite your style, don’t worry: This device offers other options to choose from, including a babbling brook, a roaring thunderstorm, and even a summer night. Consider it the cheapest outdoor adventure you ever went on, right from the comfort of your own domicile.

Buy it: Amazon

14. RENPHO Eye Massager with Heat; From $52

Best winter staycation products: RENPHO Eye Massager with Heat
RENPHO Eye Massager with Heat / RENPHO / Amazon

Embrace comfort during this staycation—and indulge your senses in the process—with this innovative eye mask from RENPHO, which has a built-in heating function, so you can achieve total relaxation as you unwind for the day. Fully adjustable and able to reach temperatures up to 107° F, this fan-favorite on Amazon (which has a 4.4-star rating on the site) even offers built-in speakers and you can connect it via Bluetooth to crank your favorite tunes. No matter how you use it, one this is for sure: you’ll never want to head back to the office (or the real world) once you’re done using it.

Buy it: Amazon

A version of this article was originally published in 2022 and has been updated for 2023.