If you have a man in your life—whether it be a dad, uncle, brother, or boyf, shopping for him during the holidays is like, really difficult. It’s not like shopping for women, where you can get away with candles, artisan chocolate, flowers, and anything sparkly. Sh*t, you can even buy us fuzzy slippers and ugly loungewear and we’ll likely be psyched.
But every year, the men (at least in my life) prove increasingly difficult to shop for. So I asked my husband, Kyle; brother, Geoff; and father, Fran about their must-haves and wants this holiday season and why. For reference, Kyle is a 35-year-old almost-hipster construction superintendent (don’t ask) who enjoys a nice glass of Scotch, reruns of The Office, and beard grooming. Geoff is a 26-year-old director for a large poultry corporation, nearly failed out of WVU for being too cool and burning several couches, and insists Saturdays are for the boys. My dad, Fran, is a retired 60-something who lives on a lake, is a long suffering Jets fan, was born and bred in New Jersey, and looks like a better-groomed version of Anthony Bordain, RIP.
If you’re looking for holiday gifts for him, look no further than the fruits of my own
nagging labor. Shall we?
A Couch-Approved Cereal Bowl
Oddly specific, but Kyle mentioned this one because he enjoys eating meals in the comfort of his underwear on the couch (ew). These bowls have indentations so your S.O. can comfortably hold them while eating cereal or soup or whatever the f*ck he’s managed to microwave for himself without spilling it all over himself. Cool.
A Subscription To MasterClass
Geoff mentioned these online classes by Gordon Ramsey, the mean British chef that yells at everything. Geoff says, “I want to learn how to cook fancy things, but I also want to work up a sweat and get nervous pretending Gordon Ramsey is over my shoulder, and could call me an idiot sandwich at any moment.”
Sounds practical, plus, if you buy a man this subscription, he has no excuse NOT to cook for you. Win-win.
Trips And Vacays
Fran says, “If someone bought me airline tickets to go on a trip, I think that’d be a great gift. Maybe I want a trip to Germany. Then I can go to the Porsche test track and drive around. That’d be very nice.” Alright, well, for those of us not in a position to send the men in our lives to Europe, perhaps pieces of a trip—like a night at a hotel or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant—would be in order.
A Utilitarian Pair Of Boots
Geoff and Kyle mentioned these, for good reason. Kyle says, “I don’t want them to show too much dirt, but they also need to be steel-toed for when large objects are falling or people try to kick me.” Geoff, who spends some days in an, um, animal processing facility, says, “I just need them not to show too much blood.” This is getting weird.
Experiences are probably better options for those in your life that have, well, everything already. Dad says concerts rule because they let him relive his glory days, like when he used to hang out at Pink Floyd concerts (yeaaaaaah buddy) or see Bruce Springsteen in his prime before he got ALL old and sweaty (respect, tho).
A Good Beard Trimmer
Kyle says this is all about the lady’s preference (thanks, honey), and being a well-groomed man so as to not embarrass anyone or scare your mother-in-law is important. “If you’re a man without a beard, are you even a man?” Like, yes, but I understand the sentiment, even if it is a little chauvinistic. But yes, get the beard trimmers, but add in some nice beard oil and comb, too, so the gift feels more complete.
A Shearling Bomber Jacket
Kyle says these jackets aren’t just warm, but they’re “really f*cking cool” and “they remind me of Tom Hardy, and Tom Hardy is the f*cking man.” Alright.
A Nice Watch
“I bought myself a nice watch. I didn’t need it, but your mother convinced me to get it. It’s not a Rolex or a Patek Philippe, but it’s fine.” Per Fran, watches are always a nice, practical gift for the dude in your life. These days, you don’t have to spend hundreds on one, and there are super cool options, from FitBit watches to hipster-approved craftsman-style pieces made from assorted woods.
Every Flannel Shirt
“Because,” say both Geoff and Kyle. That’s easy enough, considering J Crew, Woolrich, Banana Republic, and every other store, ever, sells flannel. Plus, they work well dressed up or down, and you can search for options that are warm AF, which will come in handy during the beastly winter ahead.
A Good Knife
Every man wants a good, cool knife for, uh, utilitarian projects and other things. Kyle says, “it’s in case the boots don’t do the trick.” For the record, a classic Swiss Army Knife is a WONDERFUL gift if he doesn’t have one. Other than that, cool wood-handled pocket knives are awesome.
Wireless Bose Headphones
For the man who travels a lot, these are a great option. Geoff says they would successfully “block out the sounds of children screaming and seniors hacking up lungs on long flights.”
Piano Or Guitar Lessons
If your dude is musically inclined, not only will these keep him busy so you can wear sweatpants and ignore him, but he may also earn some skills. “If a jabroni like Billy Joel can pull Christie Brinkley just cause he can play piano, adding music to my skillset can’t HURT my chances of wooing Emily Ratajkowski.” Thanks, bae.
“Bottom line, I’m at a point in my life where I really like gift cards. Let me buy my own sh*t,” says Fran. Although YOU may feel like it’s a bit of a cop-out, getting the dudes in your life gift cards along with a few ACTUAL gifts is a great way to go. Maybe $100 to R.E.I. so he can get some weird camping stuff you know nothing about, or $50 to Home Depot so he can pick out a great snow blower. Whatever.
Liquor And Wine
When I asked all three men if booze was a good gift, the answer was “obviously.” So, if you notice he loves indulging in a particular brand of bourbon, or ALWAYS orders Spanish reds when out to eat, or just loves craft beer, go ahead and put a big fat bow on it. You know it’ll go to good use.
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