Why is it that men are always the trickiest to buy for? I don’t know about you, but I spend most of December stumped when it comes to gifts for husbands, dads and brothers. But this year, I’m feeling confident…and you should too. Whether he’s into food, drink, gadgets or the latest hipster craze, I promise each and every one of the picks in this gift guide is 100% guy-tested and approved, and sure to be a hit with any man on your list.
Especially those steaks. Trust me on this…they’re unreal.
I know, I know, it’s a little bit hipster. But I live in Portland now…it’s my moral obligation to be a little bit hipster, no? One thing I know for sure: the next time I need a man gift, I know exactly where I’m headed.
(Also known as the “under $30″ guide). Because most of us have the highest of ambitions but the lowest of budgets, my list of cheap thrills for the holidays is here to help you keep that holiday credit card balance in check. Turns out, it actually is possible to give a thrill-inducing gift and stay under budget – who knew?
Who can’t use another tote? This one has the added bonus of a cross-body strap and a stylish, not-too-sweet graphic. And it’s made by a dear friend of mine! Chrysanthemum tote, Westmama Designs, $29
West Elm has a bevy of beautiful throws this season, but this one’s cuddly soft and comes in a rainbow of hues. Add your favorite paperback of the year, and give her an excuse to snuggle up. “Favorite” throw, West Elm, $29 (on sale for $19!)
I never seem to have enough cosmetic bags to throw into handbags, carry-ons and totes. This one reminds me of Chanel, but won’t make me cry when my lip gloss leaks. LeSportSac “Kevyn” cosmetic case, $25
If there’s a teen or tween girl on your list, I promise you, this is the gift to get her. Absolutely every color under the sun…so you can prove to her there’s more to makeup than piles of black eyeliner. Expert Mega Palette, Avon, $30
Bargain gifts for men are hard to come by, but this watch is infinitely more handsome than its pricetag allows for – I especially love the webbed strap, which gives it an urban edge. Military style canvas strap watch, Avon, $15
I’m basically obsessed with this stuff – it’s become my savior during these dry, windy winter days. Trust me, she’ll be addicted too. Blood orange body balm, McEvoy Ranch, $22
Chocolates are always a great bargain go-to, and these have a fun twist. Each flavor is modeled after a bigger, badder (much more caloric) dessert. Red velvet cake truffle, anyone? Ultimate Dessert Truffles, Godiva, $25
A classic holiday scent that’s festive, but not cloying. And I always love the packaging from Linnea’s Lights! Pumpkin soy candle, Linnea’s Lights, $21
Okay, this one’s a smidge over budget. But you get six single-glass bottles of wine for that price, custom grouped by region or selected by master chefs. For a budding oenophile, it doesn’t get any better. Mario Batali Selection 6-bottle wine sampler, Tasting Room, $33 (looks like you save $10 by signing up for their mailing list!)
For the friend/sibling/spouse who had an iPhone 4 before you even knew they’d launched, who can’t leave the house without at least three different high-tech devices in her bag, and who buys up every new gadget on the market before you have a chance to get him one of them for Christmas.
iPad sleeves are a dime a dozen. But this is one of the best, and my personal favorite. It works for men or women, is sleek and modern, and actually offers enough padding to keep your precious tablet safe. Leather & felt iPad sleeve, Graf + Lantz, $65
This dock lets you rotate your iPad 90 degrees without disconnecting, and the built-in speakers mean you essentially have a TV with surround sound. Rotating docking station, Acoustic Research, $110
These retro handsets are nothing new, but the Bluetooth version is. I especially love it in red, so I can imagine it’s a direct line to the Kremlin. Bluetooth headset, Off The Hook, $40
If your favorite geek hasn’t already pre-ordered the Steve Jobs biography, buy him the Kindle version and revel in the irony. Steve Jobs (Kindle edition), by Walter Isaacson, $15
A good iPhone cover is a rare breed. After staggeringly exhaustive research, this version from Chilewich is my hands-down favorite. Sturdy, stylish, and that nubby texture makes it perfect to hold on to. Griffin Chilewich Elan Form iPhone case, $40
Perfect for a musical geek, this gadget turns an iPad into a guitar amp and a recording studio, so they can (silently) perfect the bass line to “Smoke on the Water”. There’s a mic version too, for the budding Beyoncé in the family. iRig and iRig Mic, AmpliTube, $40
The most gadget-y of space heaters, this warms a whole room in no time…and looks cool doing it. Dyson Hot fan heater, $399
This point-and-shoot camera is the best of both worlds: retro styling and modern technology. In other words, you’ll look hip and so will your pics. Fujifilm X10, $695
Call me old-school, but sometimes I miss the simplicity of a boom box. This is the modern (much more stylish) equivalent. Jambox by Jawbone, $173
Why is it that men are so much trickier to buy for than women? I can’t explain it, but I can try to make the process a bit easier. Whether he’s metro or manly, there’s a gift here he’ll be stoked to see under the tree (or menorah, in my case).
Captain Scott is the male equivalent of Amelia Earhart – his trek through the South Pole is the stuff of legends. This book of photos from the infamous trip are guaranteed to indulge his inner explorer. Lost Photographs of Captain Scott, by David M. Wilson, $21
These natural leather belts are hand-crafted, and weather over time to a rugged patina. I’m so in love with them that the hubs and I both have one. Leather “Project Belt”, Wood and Faulk, $55
Get him to ditch his drugstore shades – these aviators will give him instant street cred, and the classic shape will work on absolutely anyone.Oliver aviator sunglasses, Guess, $65
Getting a tie for Christmas might not top his wishlist…until he sees this hip version from Pendleton. Just don’t mention your plans to borrow it. Grey mix Umatilla tie, Pendleton Portland Collection, $68
If there’s a bachelor on your list, I’m pretty confident his house could benefit from a candle that isn’t at all girly, but still masks the smell of whatever’s rotting in his fridge. Silver skull candle, DL & Company, $88
I generally steer away from Father’s Day gift guides, if only because…YAWN. Ties, barbecue accessories, maybe a retro-inspired radio…it just never changes. But, a friend dropped me a line to let me know she’s launched a new venture, and the timing was so perfect, I had to pass it on.
Richer Poorer is a new line of men’s socks. That sounds dull, I realize, but hear me out. Best men’s socks ever! They’re not cheesy or metro, just hip – and a vast deal more stylish than your dad’s old argyle versions (which probably have holes in them anyway). Plus, they’re extremely well-made, with a fine-weave cotton blend that feels soft but sturdy, nicely reinforced toes, and enough elastic that I didn’t have to pull these up once all day when I tried them out. What else could you ask for?
Oh, I know…a discount! How about 25% off your order with code PAPA2011, and free shipping on 2 or more pairs? Really, could you ask for an easier Father’s Day gift?
The sad thing is that they only come in men’s sizes…but since my feet are gigantic, that suits me just fine. I have a feeling, if you’re at least a 9 or higher, you’ll be stealing these from your dad’s dresser every chance you get.
this entire gift guide is dedicated to a dear friend of mine who is always more interested in reading wired than vogue, happily lines up for the latest “must-have” from apple, and never goes anywhere with less than 3 gadgets in her immediate vicinity. if you know a girl (or, for that matter, a guy) who fits that description, something tells me any of these goodies will make their eyes light up with glee on christmas morning.
i can pick great gifts for the women in my life blindfolded. but men? they’re an entirely different story. whether it’s a husband, a dad or a brother, something about buying for guys is just baffling, unless you want to go to the old standby of cologne, a watch or a pair of cufflinks.
i’ve left out the obvious choices…something tells me you don’t need to be reminded that a 52″ HDTV is high on his list. but if you’re looking to head off the beaten path a bit this year, here are a few that are absolutely sure to make just about any guy smile.