6 Cozy Staples to Have a Sleepytime Tea Bear Winter

published Dec 11, 2023
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how to be like the sleepy time bear
Credit: Photos: Target, Shutterstock, SSENSE, Burrow; Illustration: Beth Underwood for Celestial Seasonings; Design: Apartment Therapy

I am not a winter person in the traditional sense — I’ve never been downhill skiing and I haven’t owned any snow pants as an adult. But that doesn’t mean I hate winter: I appreciate the excuse to recharge from a social summer and stay in more often, I thrive with a book and a pot of tea by my side, and I delight in the chance to get unabashedly cozy and spend time at home.

If only there was more encouragement out there to embrace this slower pace of life in the wintertime. Shouldn’t there be some kind of hygge mascot everyone can look to for inspiration? Ah, but there is — and its name is the Sleepytime Tea Bear. 

You’ve surely seen this little guy before, either on the box of Celestial Seasonings tea in your cabinet or in one of the many memes about this beautifully unbothered bear. The Sleepytime Bear wears an expression that shows he knows complete peace. He is fully content to sit in a stuffed green chair and revel in the warmth of the fireplace. He doesn’t know anything about “FOMO” or “winter sports” or “work” — he is simply a cozy icon and he is who I channel all winter long. 

Although the Celestial Seasonings illustration is mostly a state of mind, if you really want to lean into having a Sleepytime Tea Bear winter, here are a few staples to help you do it.

A Comfy Reading Chair

I’ve long been on a quest to find the perfect reading chair, and I have arrived at the end of my journey. This velvet armchair from Burrow comes in a small range of colors, including midnight blue and graphite gray, but personally I opted for the jade green — it’s what the Sleepytime Tea Bear would want. The cushions are made with three layers of foam for extra-cushy comfort, and the seat is wide enough to sit perpendicularly with my legs over the arm if I so choose.

Sleepytime Tea, of Course

This is not sponsored by Celestial Seasonings — I just like this tea! It was always a staple in my home when I was growing up, and by habit I’ve kept buying it for myself for years. I steep a bag an hour or so before I want to head to bed and it soothes me into a sleepier state. If you never want to run out, you can buy this pack of six boxes from Amazon, or you can pick up a box at your local grocery store. And if this blend isn’t your cup of tea, you can brew a mug of whatever your favorite is instead. The main point here is that you pour something hot into your favorite mug and get toasty on your couch or armchair. 

A Big Teapot

Look closely at the Celestial Seasonings illustration and you’ll spot a classic tea pot on a table beside the bear, accompanied by what appears to be a cup of tea, a muffin or scone, and a jar of jam. To me, the key here is the ability to sip on multiple cups of tea (and nibble on some baked goods) without having to leave your cozy spot. The solution? A teapot big enough for a few refills. These are great things to thrift, as a few old china teapots usually make their way into the aisles of secondhand shops. I personally own this gorgeous glass blown teapot from Fazeek, and I love the spherical ball lid and its elegant frame yet hefty size. This glass vessel from Target is a great option for less, while this blue-and-white pot from Williams Sonoma is a pretty option with a more classic look.

A Cozy Lounge Set

Total comfort is the name of the game when embracing a Celestial Seasonings inspired winter, so a lounge set is a nonnegotiable. You can slip into your favorite well-worn sweats and a secondhand sweatshirt, a luxe cashmere set, or, my personal favorite, some soft but breathable matching pajamas. Brooklinen may be known for their bed linens, but they also make PJs, and this baby blue long-sleeved set with red piping is cute and cozy. Looking for the oversized shirt look that the tea bear wears? Try this Victorian nightgown from Amazon or this flowy, striped set from Nordstrom.

An Old-School Radio

I haven’t had one since high school, but recently my boyfriend has turned me back on to the merits of a radio. He’ll play it as background while we work or sometimes sleep and it’s unexpectedly soothing. The Sleepytime bear obviously agrees, as there’s a baby blue radio perched on his side table. If you want to match his color scheme exactly (understandable), this one from Walmart is a suitable option, although I’m eyeing this classic brown box radio from Target for just under $40.

A Crackling Fireplace (Real or Fake)

If you live in a home with a fireplace, you’re all set — just light a flame underneath those logs, sit back, and relax into your reading chair. If not, you may have to get a little more creative. In the winter, if I’m in my living room and not watching something on TV, you can bet it’s streaming a crackling virtual fireplace. If Netflix had its own version of Spotify Wrapped, “Crackling Birchwood from Fireplace for Your Home” would be my top play of the year. There are also hundreds of creative options on YouTube, or you can opt for a more tangible but miniature fireplace, like this light-up ornament (I have one and it’s one of my favorite small things) or a tabletop fire pit.