With the looming reinvigoration of the pandemic (thanks, Omicron) and a very cold winter starting to hit most of the country, it's looking like our socialization woes are making a hell of a comeback. And while we'd like to think we're being cautious enough with our tight social circles, marked by just a few loved ones and close friends, we also know it's better to be safe than sorry — and that means preparing to cancel indoor gatherings and put backyard hangs back on the docket.
Unfortunately (and as we mentioned), winter has just begun and, for large swaths of the country and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, that means extremely chilly weather with the potential for snowfall, freezing wind, and — at the very least — a swift drop of the mercury in our thermometers. That also means that shorts, t-shirts, pool parties, sunbathing and all those other warm-weather outdoor activities we love are off the table. But that's not any reason to simply give up and go into hibernation for the remaining colder months.
If you've never really hosted before, want to add to your current backyard setup or are looking to pick up some wardrobe pieces to keep you warm when you're braving cooler nights, we've got a list of ideas to get you started. As always, remember to stay safe and warm, keep an eye on that social distancing and try to keep your heads up as we all make it through this together.
These gloves are ultra-warm and versatile — they're just as good at holding a beer as they are a ski pole.
This is our pick for the best down jacket you can buy, so seriously, just get this.
Still looking for a parka? This is the Smart Spend pick in our parka guide.
Merino wool is good year-round, thanks to its thermoregulating properties, but it does some of its best work in the winter. Wool socks are a must-have.
These are not only for sledding, shoveling snow and keeping dry — they'll keep your toes from going numb when you're trying to catch up with your buddies.
These toasty clogs are surprisingly good house shoes and also work for hanging out in the backyard.
Your ears and head need to be protected in order for you to stay warm. This Carhartt beanie is stylish and easy to wear, but any beanie will do the trick.
A neck gaiter is a perfect piece to warm a part of your body that is usually vulnerable to the cold. Plus, it can double as a mask for outdoor hanging.
Mack Weldon base layers are going to save you when you're hanging out outside and not really moving around. These are some of the best bang-for-your-buck base layers out there.
If you've got an outdoor space, a patio heater is a must-have for entertaining.
This is an excellent pick for smaller outdoor spaces or as a secondary heater.
This is one of our favorite fire pits. Its unique airflow technology keeps smoke out of your face if you're huddled close.
String lights give any space a nice je ne sais quoi. These ones have the added bonus of solar power and they can be used just as easily in the backyard as they can at the campsite.
Keeping blankets around is a no-brainer, so pick up a durable insulated blanket like this one from Rumpl.
Pick up a few insulated mugs to keep for your guests or pick one out for yourself that you can take everywhere.
Hot hands (and toes) are a godsend when temperatures drop.
Not only is this coffee maker a great thing to help keep you warm in the colder months with a warm cup o' joe, but it was also made tough enough for job sites and, therefore, can handle the winter outdoors.
Think of these like quilted blankets you can wear as bottoms, as that's essentially what they are. Plus, if you want to get up and walk around, you can — which is far more difficult with an actual blanket.