How our readers improved Wirecutter in November and December 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, we present a final round of your great questions and excellent comments, with a special focus on a few things that could help make the final weeks of the year a little more comfortable, starting from the new popcorn- decorating ideas to mix up your Christmas stocking routine. Thank you for staying with us, sharing your wisdom, asking good questions, raising concerns, and holding us accountable. We appreciate you. Take care of yourself this holiday season. We will see you again in 2021.

Good questions

Video: Michael Murtaugh

What’s the best popcorn filling? We’ve shared a few of our favorites in our post on the best ways to make (and flavor) popcorn, but asking our readers the question sparked a delicious swarm of recommendations. On the other side Twitter, Facebook, and comments on our position, you offer a wide range of toppings as essential: Old Bay seasoning, M & M’s peanut butter, furikake, pot, vinegar powder, malt vinegar, cheese powder, Trader Joe’s Everything But the Elote seasoning mix, parmesan, shichimi, cumin, lemon pepper, li hing mui powder, nutritional yeast, buffalo sauce, Tajín Clásico seasoning, original Flavacol, smoked paprika, ramen seasonings, Sour Patch Kids, caramel, sriracha – and, of course, salted butter .

Your suggestions got me thinking about creating popcorn seasoning variety packs for my loved ones, perhaps to pair with separate but simultaneous movie viewing.

What about individual hot pots? On our overview of everything you need to prepare a hot pot at home, commentator chufuious asked if we could suggest some outfit for a less common hot pot approach, given some of the challenges we’ve all faced in 2020. Editor-in-chief Marilyn Ong put this together detailed answer:

“That’s a great question. We haven’t tested any individual jars, because depending on the size of your household the costs can really add up, but we definitely recognize that this may be the best for some people. Here are a few options I’ve found that might work (although because we haven’t tested any of these, we can’t fully guarantee any): set of two metal pots with containers underneath to contain fuel; or a pot of sukiyaki which looks more traditional but is aluminum with a fluoride non-stick coating (we would be concerned about the duration of this coating). Or you can reconstruct a configuration using a small camping stove like this with smaller pots that you have at home (or individual donabe jars like this). And you will need fuel. These Sterno ethane fuel cartridges seemed to be the best choice to keep the liquid at a boiling temperature. (We suggest you boil your broth on the stove first.) Good luck and let us know how it’s going!

a fuzzy tree skirt under a decorated Christmas tree.
Photo: Ben Frumin

What’s the best Christmas tree skirt? On our christmas decorating supplies list, commentator padraigin asked if Wirecutter would cover the tree skirts this year, adding that it was difficult to find one that was “generous in size”. We never put tree skirts through our rigorous comparative testing process and therefore have no official choice to recommend, but several staff members have shared their own solutions. At least as far as our personal experiences go, neither of us could guarantee a perfect tree skirt currently available, but we still have a few ideas.

Editor-in-chief Ben Frumin offered this faux fur skirt as a perfectly usable option. Ten years ago, senior writer Jackie Reeve quilted her own tree skirt to solve this problem once and for all: if you make your own, you can guarantee it will be just the right size. Several staff members use large festive tablecloths as tree skirts. Outside of the context of the pandemic, we will add that it may be worth browsing through thrift stores that specialize in selling real estate or home furnishings, to see what kind of vintage options you could. find it inexpensively.

Blanket you inspired

How to buy a used office chair: A lot of people have made the switch to working from home this year, but there is a second phase of transition underway now as people try to make their home offices more comfortable and ergonomic in the long run. Good office chairs tend to be expensive, but in response to a flood of questions and interest from readers, senior writer Melanie Pinola gave some advice on how to buy good used office chairs. (Mélanie recently gather some advice on how to get hired for remote work, too, for those who may be looking right now.)

Excellent contributions

Shout-out to WilliamF! to assemble a video demonstrating how to remove the drain tank handle and cover from our premium dehumidifier, the Frigidaire FFAP5033W1. Cleaning is not an urgent priority for dehumidifiers the same way it is for humidifiers, but these tips on how to open the tank should help if you are prone to deep cleaning. (If you want to clean the inside of your dehumidifier’s drain tank, we recommend using a few drops of detergent and a bottle brush to access every nook and cranny.) In addition to the extensive utility of the video, I love the kid’s chatter in the background. Multitasking at home is definitely one of the themes of 2020.

Shout-out to Sarah! for sharing his own round of gear to keep in the car while driving in the winter. We have a list of basic recommendations for emergency tools and supplies, but Sarah suggested some thoughtful additions, as well as some organizational tips in the second paragraph.

Shout-out to SirWired! for share a family tradition on our guide to christmas stocking ideas which puts a spin on the usual Christmas stocking experience. SirWired suggested placing Christmas stockings along elaborate tangled “spider webs” of yarn throughout your home, ideally along roundabout routes and intertwining with other strands at every opportunity. Getting rid of your own thread (loaded with your freebies) would become deliciously chaotic under such conditions, I suppose. For more details on how it works and what inspires the SirWired family, see SirWired article on The Billfold. If you are looking for a way to remix Christmas morning for your household this year, this might be a good option. Sounds like fun.




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About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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