The Best Gifts for Handling Cold Snaps

By Gary Cutlack on at

So what's happened here is that it's turned cold like the Daily Express said it would back in June, and you're looking on the internet for something to fix it and make you warm. That's beyond current technology, sadly, as Elon Musk cannot yet locally direct warming heat rays from space for 99 cents (92 pence) a shot, but we do have the next best thing; items to buy that make the cold fun, or at least more bearable and doable.

Mind you, it might've warmed up by the time they arrive and you'll be looking up Dyson fans by then instead. Life, eh?

Snow Chains for Shoes, £7

Don't be the person on the local news who slips one way, windmills, slips the other way, touches the ground, slips the other way, folds over nearly backwards, flips forwards then hits the ice with a sickening thud that the newsreader wasn't expecting to make the final edit. Put these things on your shoes and stride around in the ice like the Selfish Giant, confidently helping old ladies across the road and overtaking the unprepared masses. Film them falling over and sell the footage to BBC Midlands Today.

Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug, £80

They actually did it. They put technology in a mug in the hope people might pay £80 for one cup. It keeps tea warm in perpetuity (AKA for an hour until the battery dies), although the maker has missed a trick in not charging extra to have it work with coffee as well. So it keeps coffee warm as well. What incredible times we live in, especially as the product listing features the staggering technical boast of: "...included Charging Coaster."

Breville Sandwich Toaster, £30

You won't believe how hot these things get cheese. You won't believe how hot cheese can even get. This is ideal for heating you up on cold days, especially if you suffer from a cold mouth roof. The burns on the roof of the mouth of the person you give this to won't heal until at least the summer either, so you won't have to buy them any Easter eggs as they'll still be eating nothing but soup that's been frozen in ice cube trays. Double win.

Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug, £21

Oh yes, not just any old reusable cup, but one that ensures your expensive, Christmas-themed, extra sugary, whipped cream-topped, cinnamon-sprinkled, entire-daily-calorie-intake, post-commute, probably chai in it somewhere pick-me-up stays warmer for longer -- letting you nurse every bit of warmth out of the liquid. It's not just a coffee, it's an essential internal warming fluid and needs treating as such; and possibly even categorising as a business expense.

Jump Leads, £35

BE THE HERO. An old lady left the lights on on her purple Ford Ka. She got talking in the Post Office and now, well, the battery was 9 years old and now she's stuck with a car that won't start. Most young people are no help as all they can think of doing is installing the AA app and seeing what it says, or looking on YouTube for "car not start hack."

But you, with your jump leads, can magically conduct electricity from one vehicle to the next, like a Walter White science hack that gets the drugs bus rolling again and saves the day. Don't just keep them in your car, either. Get a second set of leads to keep in your rucksack. Patrol the streets. Get a costume. Save lives.

20,000 mAh Car Jump Starter, £80

The next generation of the above, having all the car-starting superpowers as leads, but with the added benefit of not having to talk to other car owners as all the power comes from within at a maximum output of 800 amps; enough to kick start big old lumps. As long as it is charged. The battery offers plenty of restart blasts per charge, and can, perhaps even more importantly for people likely to have a mobile on them that costs more than a secondhand car, be used to charge phones as well.

Min/Max Thermometer, £12

Oh, you like talking about the weather, do you, now it's more interesting because of winter? Get your boring weather friend one of these, then -- they track and compare the highest and lowest temperatures, for that double weather small talk buzz. You can say how warm it was, then say how cold it got, making conversation easy.

A smart heating system, £120

Only joking! Although you can sort of get warm by being very angry at how much money you've wasted on buying the decade's stupidest tech innovation.

Shameful Firelighter Cones, £9

There's nothing sadder than watching a young person trying to light a fire. Half an hour of huffing, puffing, blowing, starting again, getting more paper and, Jesus, just let me do it. No, don't tip beer on the wood, that'll only make it harder. Make life easy for a young person by buying them some firelighters, only to ensure they're not too humiliated by the suggestion that they have not -- and probably never will -- master the art of fire, get pretty modern firelighters cones that can pass as decorations. They can take a photo of them for Instagram, too.

Cheap Plastic Sledge, £15

The problem with the UK is is doesn't snow for ages, then when it does we are never prepared. So we hurriedly get prepared and... oh, it's melted. It's all mud and rain again, just as we were nearly prepared. Fortunately, the humble sledge is yet to be technologised by some men with nice shirts from America, so any lump of plastic will do. If it breaks in half an hour that's fine, as it usually all melts within half an hour anyway. Buy one now, even though it's probably only raining, and save it. Then you can strike while the pathetic sprinkle is out.