Blankets to put you in the comfy zone
Author Lucy Maud Montgomery, of "Anne of Green Gables" fame, loved a good blanket.
"I like to hear a storm at night," she wrote. "It is so cozy to snuggle down among the blankets and feel that it can't get at you."
Congresswoman Barbara Jordan once mused that the world would be a better place if at 3 p.m. every afternoon, we all took some cookies and milk to a blanket for a little nap.
Blankets may be simple squares of woven material, but they can also be emotional touchstones. The one we slept under as a child. The one that soothed us during storms. The one that wrapped a child, a pet, a grandparent, a friend.
And that makes blankets nice gifts. You'll find them in every price range, so here are some suggestions:
Pendleton's national park series is a good place to start. Commemorate a family trip, dress up a sofa, give a present to an outdoorsy friend, or drift off to dreamland yourself with one of these blankets. The wool is brushed to a soft, fluffy nap for extra loft, and each blanket comes with a tag noting authenticity of the design along with an interesting park feature. Yellowstone, Glacier, Rainier, Acadia and Olympic are among those included.
Travelers might also like Pendleton's Meridian Crossing reversible blanket, with a contemporary, crossed-lines graphic design inspired by navigational markings.
Got an art lover on your list? Think about one of the company's limited-edition blankets designed by glass artist Dale Chihuly. His exuberant vision is translated in boldly hued wool, and each blanket comes with a signature patch.
If you prefer a lightweight blanket, Coyuchi has some nice options. Made of washed organic Turkish cotton, the blankets are perfect for hot sleepers. Choose from pleasing neutral colors like Riverstone, Midnight Blue, Alpine White and Blush. Also here, a mid-weight French organic linen blanket, with a quiet striped pattern inspired by vintage Peruvian blankets.
The company even offers a subscription program called Coyuchi for Life; get new linens at a discount every six, 12 or 24 months, and the old, returned ones are recycled or upcycled.
If you sleep better under something heavier, Bearaby has blankets woven of soft, pliable Tencel -- a tree fiber -- in 15-, 20- and 25-pound weights.
Want something super luxe? JG Switzer offers English lamb's wool and cashmere blankets trimmed with silk, in relaxing hues like Champagne, Raven and Snowy White.
A nice whipstitch trims the Alta reversible blanket from Peacock Alley. The blanket is made of combed Portuguese cotton and acrylic, in quiet color pairings like white/linen and pearl/flint.
Garnet Hill has a couple of beautiful wool blankets that are plush but practical. From Eileen Fisher Home, there's a windowpane-patterned merino wool blanket, and from Pendleton the Eco-Wise wool plaid or striped blanket. Both can be popped in the washing machine on the cold setting, and tumbled dry.
Sherpa fleece is the hot fashion material this season, and the trend has found its way into home decor, too, on upholstery, soft furnishings and bedding. Target has a squooshy blanket that's modestly priced and comes in dark green, blush or gray, as well as a Made by Design sweater-fleece blanket in heathered gray or navy. Pottery Barn has one with the Sherpa material on one side and a crisp black-and-white gingham cotton on the other, so you basically have a coverlet and blanket in one.
Want to make your own blanket but don't know how to knit or crochet? The Bernat Alize EZ Wool is a pre-looped yarn that lets you create your blanket -- or any craft project -- without needles, hooks or really any know-how. There are loads of colors, in soft, chunky, machine-washable chenille wool blends.