16 Items We Bought This Year and Will Buy Again
The staff of Reader's Digest shares some items that they are glad they bought this year.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.
The items we love
The way to know that you’re getting the best bang for your buck is to read the customer reviews before you add anything to your cart. If people loved it—or hated it—enough to take the time to write a customer review, you know that the item is worth buying (or not). Well, we’ve gathered up some products that the staff of Reader’s Digest gave five stars. Read on to see if you could love any of these items as much as we do. Also, make sure to check out these Amazon products with practically perfect reviews.
Gradient Color Rainbow Puzzle
“I haven’t done a puzzle since I was a kid. So I was a little worried about it. But it wasn’t as hard as it looked, in part I think because the sorting was made easy with the letters on the back. The price was amazing for a 1000-piece puzzle and the quality totally surpassed my expectations. I thought my family would come together to do this, but I had such a good time that I’m actually happy to be able to say I did this all by myself. My mom asked me what I was going to do with it when I finished. I thought I’d be putting it back in the box, but then I decided to frame it. I call it my COVID wall art.” —Courtney Murphy, Creative Director. Here are more of the hardest puzzles you can buy on Amazon.
CRZ Yoga High Waisted Leggings
“I live in leggings. I actually can’t remember the last time I put on jeans. I refuse to spend close to $100 on leggings from Lululemon and my sister told me that these feel just like their Wunder Under leggings so I decided to order them. They’re super comfortable and supportive without being too tight. The waistband hits at the right spot and I love the length. I’ve ordered them in Melanite, Savannah Red, and Black, and I asked for the Lunar Gray color for Christmas.” —Morgan Cutolo, Associate Editor. Thinking about holiday gifts? Use this list of the top gifts ordered on Amazon as inspiration.
Dimmable LED Strip Light Kit
“None of the closets in my home are equipped with lighting, so I purchased these LED strip lights. Not only are they easy to install (one-person job), but they are even better and brighter than I thought. I installed them on the inside of the door frame so you just see the glow of the light and not the strip itself. Looks super professional. Up next are under counter lights.” —Thomas Dobrowolski, Global Rights Manager. Here are some other odd but useful home items you can buy on Amazon.
All In Favor V-Neck T-Shirt
“If I hadn’t watched fashion bloggers break down their favorite buys from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I would have passed this T-shirt right by. I’m so glad I didn’t! Not only is it super soft, as the bloggers noted, but it drapes beautifully and seems to go with absolutely every outfit. It’s the wardrobe staple I didn’t know I needed—and I’ve now bought it in every single color! And bonus: It’s only $25.” —Aviva Patz, Digital Deputy Editor. Have too many clothes? Here are some of the best closet organizers you can buy.
Imane Solid Wood Folding Adirondack Chairs
“The chairs and the firepit ended up being my work-from-home office this summer and they’ve allowed us to entertain—COVID-safe—outdoors through our election party and my November birthday. With enough firewood, we should be able to make it through New Year’s and maybe even inauguration!” —John Hastings, Digital Managing Editor, thehealthy.com. Here are some other items you can buy from Wayfair to create the perfect outdoor oasis.
Dyson V8 Vacuum
“It makes me feel old, the fact that I am obsessed with a vacuum, but it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Cordless, small, light, powerful. The attachments are great for cleaning everything from the blades on your fan to the small nooks and crannies of the couch. Plus you can use a 20% off coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond!” —Nicole Fornabaio, Social Media Editor/Designer. Here are some other dependable vacuum cleaners you’ll be glad you bought.
Mario Badescu Facial Spray
“I have sensitive skin, which means my skin tends to react to the temperature outside and indoors. Whether it’s summer or winter, I love to use this facial spray because it’s gentle on my skin and provides much-needed hydration and itch relief. I spray it on after using a gentle facial cleanser in the morning and evening, and sometimes in between when I just need a gentle burst of hydration.” —Lizette Borreli, Senior Editor. Check out these sleep products people can’t stop buying.
Meggie 2 Piece Living Room Set
“I moved into a new home seven months ago (at the height of the pandemic) and needed a lot of stuff. I was nervous about buying furniture from Wayfair, since I couldn’t sit on it first or see it upfront. But all the stores were closed last spring and I had no idea when they might open again, so I thought it’s either Wayfair or live in an empty home for who knows how long. I browsed Wayfair’s extensive offerings and fell in love with the Meggie two-piece living room set (in a gorgeous shade of teal). It’s comfortable and beautiful. Everyone who visits remarks on how pretty it is. And Wayfair delivered quickly and I easily set it up with no hassle.” —Nancy Coveney, Research Editor. Making an order from Wayfair? This secret perk can save you big bucks.
Revlon One Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Brush
“My hair is really wavy and it can get pretty frizzy if I don’t do something to tame it, but I also hate spending time on my hair. This tool is so easy to use and [my hair] consistently looks like I got it professionally blown out. My hair has minimal frizz, it’s the softest it’s ever been, and it will hold for days. When styling I like to use this heat protectant that prevents damage and also repairs.” —Emma Taubenfeld, Editorial Assistant. Here are 50 amazing beauty products to give as gifts (or keep for yourself).
JAM Hang Up Portable Bluetooth Speaker
“Too often have I arrived at a social gathering with only a lone iPhone speaker playing barely audible music, nary an aux cord or Bluetooth to be found. So, I bought this super portable, super affordable JAM Bluetooth Speaker to keep clipped to my backpack: It’s loud enough to fill most regular to large-sized rooms and is still audible over the chatter of a reasonably sized group. I also promptly lost the entire backpack it stays clipped to, so not only would I buy it twice, but I have bought it twice.” —Caroline Fanning, Associate Editor.
Sterilite Stack & Carry Ornament Storage Box
“This is the best Christmas ornament organizer I have found (I now have three of these). I love that it’s hard plastic so nothing gets squished, it’s clear so I can see a preview of what’s inside, and the hinges that hold on to the top of the other layer actually snap confidently into place (I’ve had others where that was a problem). The cardboard dividers create the right amount of space for most ornaments. This goes out of stock often so I may need to grab another while I still can.” —Mae Lander, Digital Photo Editor. Here are some other clever ways to store Christmas decor and ornaments.
Paneled Wood Barn Door
“I took over our formal living room for my home office when we moved into our house two years ago. It didn’t have any doors, which wasn’t a problem when the kids were at school all day. As we moved into hybrid schooling this fall, I quickly realized I need a door! I ordered this barn door from Wayfair. I love it because it has a solid wood core that makes it more soundproof than manufactured wood and has a beautiful gray color. The only downside is the dogs know how to open it with their noses and are in and out all day!” —Anne Fritz, Senior Digital Editor. Here are the 50 best gifts for dog lovers.
Women’s Hannah Chenille Textured Clog Slipper
“Since we’re working from home, I hardly wear shoes anymore, so I bought myself a cushy new pair of Dearfoams slippers. I quickly realized one pair wasn’t enough, so I bought two more pairs in different colors and now I have a wardrobe of slippers and can choose a pair to match my outfit!” —Jody Rohlena, Senior Editor. To go along with your cozy slippers, here are some stylish tops to wear for your next video call.
Hydrangea Garden Melamine Dinnerware Collection
“I love eating outside, but I had never gotten around to buying a good set of outdoor plates. It seemed silly to spend a fortune on something I’d only use a few months out of the year, so I picked up a plastic set—which promptly fell apart. That’s when I found these melamine plates at Macy’s. Not only are they super durable, but they’re also really affordable. This 12-piece set, which usually goes for $142, is often on sale for more than half off, and I got an even bigger discount with an extra promotion, which brought down the price to just $54. With their pretty hydrangea pattern, they look like the real deal and would be at home in any dining room—but they’re unbreakable, dishwasher-safe, and perfect for family dinners on the patio. I’ll definitely be adding to my collection soon, since I can’t wait to entertain at home again in a post-coronavirus world.” —Dawn Yanek, Digital Editor.
Baby Foot: Original Exfoliation Foot Peel
“Before COVID, I regularly got a monthly pedicure. Nine months into the pandemic and my feet were looking and feeling less than cute. I’d heard of the Baby Foot exfoliation peel that basically works like an at-home foot peel using fruit chemicals. Now seemed like the ideal time to give it a go (since no one other than my family would see my feet during the extensive peeling process). I ordered a peel for me and my mom, and we tried it together. We soaked our feet, taped on the booties, and watched a rom-com before rinsing the product. Pro tip: soak your feet for at least 15 minutes before putting on the plastic booties—the water helps activate the product. Five days later, and boom: my feet were shedding dead skin like crazy. After two weeks of peeling, my feet look and feel like new. Not a callus or a rough patch to be found. My mom had similar (maybe even better) results. Going forward, I’ll be using Baby Foot twice a year, regardless of how many professional pedicures I get.”—Megan Wood, Commerce Affiliate Marketing Editor.
YETI Rambler Tumbler, 20 oz.
“My cat likes to drink out of my water glass, plus I’ve been looking for a solution to my habit of throwing my water bottle in my bag without first making sure it is securely closed. The 20 oz. Yeti Rambler addressed both problems: Cat is thwarted, and since it is cup-shaped, I am less likely to throw it in my bag on the way out the door—although the MagSlider Lid is pretty secure and I have carried the tumbler in my bag in the upright position with no spills so far. It fits perfectly in car cup holders and I can enjoy drinking my water out of a cup again rather than from a water bottle while at home—and on the road.” —Lorraine Burton, Managing Editor. Now that you’re in the mood to shop, check out these Amazon products that you’ll definitely use every day.