15 Under-$25 Self-Care Items That Will Get You Through the Holidays — and All Winter Long

published Dec 5, 2021
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Credit: Franke Chung

The holidays can be as rough as they are exciting, loaded with plenty of thrills, celebrations, and to-do lists. And while you might not feel like you have enough hours in the day to get everything done before the year is through, it can be helpful to take a step back from all the stress that comes with the end-of-year festivities and recharge. 

So while you’re stocking up on presents for loved ones and groceries for that beloved family recipe, set aside a little cash to create a self-care stash for the moments you need it most. Below you can find 15 budget-friendly items that can help you take a mental holiday and keep you merry all winter long. Best of all, these self-care wonders are each $25 or less, which means you can indulge in a little luxury without putting a major dent in your wallet.

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This sleep therapy machine from HoMedics is battery-operated and portable, which makes it perfect for traveling during the holidays. It’s small enough to fit in your carry-on and even inside a purse. You can choose from six natural calming sounds, including white noise, rain, thunder, ocean, summer night, and brook.

You can set a timer for 15, 30, or 60 minutes to help block outside noise temporarily, or play continuously to stay asleep through the night. “I suffer from insomnia and this has made an incredible difference in the amount of time it takes me to fall asleep,” one reviewer noted. “I also don't wake up as many times during the night.”

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Moisturizing before bundling up is key, and this rainbow-colored dream in a jar is a treat. Truly’s buttery formula helps keep skin hydrated and smooth — and though the scent is delicious, keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to fragrance. A small dab of this creamy butter goes a long way, and includes ingredients like vegetable collagen, shea butter, vitamin E, and fatty acids.

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was $16.95

You can rest easy breathing in the soothing lavender and chamomile of this spritz, which can be used as a room spray or as a linen spray for bed sheets, towels, clothing, and furniture. The scent from this spray packs a punch, too. One reviewer said, “I spray this on my sheets nightly when making up my bed and I can still smell it when I wake up in the morning!”

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Throw out that germ-infested washcloth, and give yourself at-home facial treatment with Sephora’s flexible silicone pad. The silicone bristles gently exfoliate while cleansing, and you can use it to both remove makeup and wash your face.

To use, add a few drops of your favorite face wash, lather with water, and sweep over your face in circular motions. The teardrop shape makes it easy to scrub around the nose and eyes. Wash the pad with soap and water and let dry in between each use.

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With all the travel and house guests that the holidays can be known for, there isn’t much room for alone time. No matter how hectic your day, you still have to shower — and these aromatherapy shower steamers can help you carve out some “me time” when it’s your turn in the bathroom.

Made with different essential oils and herbs, each provides a long-lasting fragrance, as long as you place it in the spot where the shower stream hits the lightest. This reviewer’s advice is helpful: “These things dissolve quickly if exposed to too much constant water. Placement is key and you may want to take a shower without using one for the first time and look where the water hits most/least and position accordingly.”

Be careful not to apply directly to skin, as these products can be irritating and are meant only for steam and inhalation.

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Craving a little aromatherapy to get you through the holidays? You don’t have to break the bank for it with InnoGear’s essential oil diffuser, which is compact and can produce mist for up to eight hours. Once water runs out, the auto shut-off kicks in and automatically powers off the device.

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If you have a diffuser but are still thinking up how to use it at its most potent, a variety pack of aromatherapy essential oils can help you take the guesswork out of the equation. This set, by Lagunamoon, features 16 diffuser-ready essential oils, including bergamot, ylang ylang, eucalyptus, and plenty of other soothing scents. You can make your room smell like a winter wonderland by trying out a seasonal blend, such as two drops of cinnamon, two drops of clove, and two drops of orange essential oil. For a warm and cozy smell reminiscent of sitting by the fire, blend two drops of cinnamon, two drops of frankincense, and two drops of orange. For a cleaner festive smell, mix one drop of peppermint with two drops of orange and two drops of bergamot.

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Fenty Beauty

Whether you’re using plenty of hand sanitizer or simply washing your hands a lot, hand cream can be worth its weight in gold — which is why treating yourself to a luxurious one might be top of your cold-weather preparedness list. I like this deeply moisturizing formula from Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, which starts out as a gel and quickly turns into a buttery and absorbent moisturizer. Stash one in your purse, another in the car, and stock up on a few to serve as stocking stuffers or last-minute gifts for people on your list.

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Sweet Water Decor

No holiday break is truly complete without the ideal candle. This one gives off a snug aroma guaranteed to keep you feeling merry and mellow all season long. Sweet Water Decor used notes of pine, orange, cinnamon, cypress, and fir to create a “warm and cozy” scent.

One customer raved, “‘Warm and Cozy’ is the perfect name as this scent is just that. I love how it burns clean and gives off just the right amount of scent.”

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This compact heating pad is great for relieving neck tension and soothing shoulder pain. Whether you’re staying in or traveling for the holidays, it’s easy to keep handy. Heat it up and wrap around your neck and shoulders; the heat holds well and distributes evenly, so you don’t have to worry about reheating for a long while. You can also leave it in the freezer to use for cooling and inflammation. And did I mention it’s lavender-scented?

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Sipping hot cocoa on cold days is better done wearing a comfy robe. This warm and snuggly option is made with material so soft that you’ll feel like you never stepped out of bed. It has huge pockets, so you can carry your phone and remote while you lounge around all day. When it’s time to wash it, set your machine to the delicate setting, and dry the robe on low to keep the thick fabric fluffy.

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Everyone needs a pair of soft and comfy slippers, and you won’t be taking these furry slides off your feet all winter long. The soles are sturdy and will keep you safe from slipping as you shuffle around on cold winter mornings.

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For beauty sleep all winter, add a sleep mask to your regular bedtime protocol. The band on Kitsch’s eye mask is stretchy and made from satin, to help avoid hair snagging or creasing. You can choose between blush and charcoal to comfortably block out light (and the world) for a restful snooze.

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You might need an additional step in your nightly skin care regimen when the weather becomes dry and cold — and if that’s the case, a hydrating mask can help soothe your skin. Glossier’s Moon Mask is formulated for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. Apply a thin layer at night as the last step in your routine for deep moisture all night long. One reviewer called the formula “So hydrating and it feels like a dream on the skin. Especially if you put it on cold. It just feels like you are enveloping your skin in a nice pillowy cloud. I love it.”

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Kari Gran
was $20.00

Chapped lips are annoying, but hard to avoid, especially in cold weather. This lip whip includes conditioning ingredients, such as avocado oil and vitamins A, E, and D, to keep lips soft and protected in dry weather. The peppermint flavor makes this a great stocking stuffer for candy cane lovers, but the cinnamon balm is great for winter, too. “I typically have very chapped lips all New England-winter long, but this year was amazingly smooth, thanks to the product,” one reviewer wrote. “It’s incredibly moisturizing without a heavy, gloppy feel. The scents are not cloying, and I find that a little bit of product goes a long way.”