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Stepping out of the 14th street subway station today was a sobering experience. Instead of a crisp autumn breeze or a warm ray of sunlight, I was greeted by hard rocks of freezing hail — the kind that stick in your hair, pelt you until you cry, and make you question every life decision that has led you to this moment. 

Every year around mid-November, I have a similar experience: a shift in weather so abrupt and violent that I feel personally offended. This shift signals the end of romantic foliage and long walks in sweaters. Now, there will only be slushy roads, gray snow, and piercingly frigid wind. 

Although we all love to romanticize winter in the city (don’t get me wrong, I love a good Bryant Park ice skating moment as much as the next girl), this time of year is undeniably hard. This is why I believe that making your personal space –– be it an apartment, dorm room, or house –– as cozy as possible is crucial for fighting off the winter blues. Here is my list of essentials to get you through these bleak months with warmth, love, and serenity.

  1. The Fuzzy Blanket

Look, I know I am starting off aggressively basic here, but nothing makes a chilly winter night better than lying under the Perfect. Fuzzy. Blanket. Starting November 1st, my personal fuzzy blanket becomes an extension of my body; it’s with me from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I highly recommend this one from Urban Outfitters. 

  1. The Right Pair of Slippers

Because taking that first step out of bed on a cold morning shouldn’t feel like punishment. This pair from Land’s End ought to do the trick. 

  1. The Tea Kettle

Nothing makes a gloomy day seem brighter than a steaming cup of tea. Experience the sweet delight of a milky English breakfast, a smooth mid-day Matcha, or a late-night chamomile blend all from the comfort of your own bed. This is my kettle because I’m of the belief that pink makes every activity slightly more fabulous. 

  1. The Quirky Mug

Now that you have your kettle, you’ll need a mug to match. And we won’t accept the banal white mug, because we won’t settle for mediocrity. My all-time favorite mugs have come from World Market and Etsy

  1. The Good Smell

We all have that perfect scent associated with the holiday season: the smoke from a crackling fire, pine trees freshly coated with snow, or cookies baking in the oven. For those away from their families during this season, emulating these smells with a scented candle can evoke those same feelings of comfort. For those of us living in dorms, try a non-flammable room spray

  1. The Seasonal Decor

Remind yourself of the good times to come with some small holiday decorations. Try a mini Christmas tree for the corner of your bedroom, a desktop menorah, some festive tinsel, or an advent calendar to count down the days of December. 

  1. The Snacks

After all of this redecorating, you are bound to be hungry. Curl up on the couch and watch a movie while eating some winter-exclusive snacks from Trader Joe’s. My go-to’s are the Jingle Jangle mix, the candy cane Joe-Joe’s (off-brand Oreos), and the Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies. Wash it all down with some Triple Ginger Brew or Spiced Cider. 

Winter does not have to be depressing. We can choose to make these next few months just as lovely and enjoyable as the warmer seasons. So, spring for the boujee blanket, go wild at Williams Sonoma, and buy every peppermint-flavored thing you can get your hands on. You deserve it! 

Happy Winter!

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Lily Crowell

Columbia Barnard '25

Lily Crowell is a first-year at Barnard College. She intends on majoring in American Studies and Human Rights. Outside of class, Lily loves dancing, reading, and trying new restaurants. Follow me on Instagram @Lilycrowell
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