It’s the time of the year when I take stock of who’s on my holiday list: who gets a gift, a gift and a card, just a card, or merely a passing wish for a warm holiday season. Which brings me to the task of shopping, and the hardest folks to shop for – men. Ya gotta balance interesting, playful, practical, humorous — things that speak to their inner geek or a treat they wouldn’t get themselves.
Women, we’re easy. There’s a standard repertoire of gifts that make us happy: champagne, a spa pedicure, dinner out where we can dress up a bit, new bubble bath, smelly candles, nice picture frames with photos of loved ones included, gourmet cheeses and dark chocolate, a relaxing massage, a hand-written letter, a clean house, tickets to a show or movie we like…you know the drill.
These 10 gift ideas are aimed more at the Brother-Spouse-Significant other audience than Grandpa Joe, but to each family, their own. I present 10 unique finds to get you started shopping:
1. Bacon Necktie: $19 from Amazon. The world of bacon accessories is astounding: bacon bandaids, bacon candy, pork books, bacon cuff links. You name your bacon product and you can find it. For the men in your life who wear ties with some disdain, this noose, er, necktie, may lift their spirits.
2. Hans Solo Frozen in Carbonite iphone Case: $17 on Etsy. C’mon, this is classic Star Wars. How cool is it to have Harrison Ford’s face of pain on the back of your phone?! This will get you bonus points. If your guy is into Star Wars, this lightsaber corncob holder is pretty kick-ass too.
3. Mustache Bandaids: $10 on Bezerk. It is Movember after all, when men grow out their facial hair to raise funds that support prostate cancer and testicular cancer initiatives. If you’re nixing the facial hair, there’s always the option of a beard hat. Especially if you live somewhere really, really cold.
4. Of-the-Month Club: Prices vary – From Of the Month Club. There’s something for everyone: mustard, beer, hot sauce wine, nuts, bagel, flowers, fruit…Not convinced? Here’s an interesting article on the rise of specialized of-the-month-clubs. The best part of these clubs is the joy of a package each month!
5. Ninja Knife Magnets: $18 from Cool Material Shop. My family is big on stocking stuffers, and these would fit perfectly– both in the stocking and in the category of stocking stuffer. They’re not big enough to wrap but area a little humorous something that makes for a conversation starter.
6. Star Trek Pizza Cutter: $30 from Space.com Store. In elementary school my sister and I raced home from school to catch the 3.30 pm episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, followed by Duck Tales. With the return of Star Trek via lovely Chris Pine, a new generation (ha!) will come to appreciate the Enterprise. Okay, so maybe I just really want this.
7. Gun and Target Alarm Clock: $23 on Amazon. Few people enjoy being roused from their slumber. BUT, wouldn’t he find it a bit easier if getting up involved shooting a target? With settings from one shot to five (easy to hard), this could also improve his reflexes in case of a zombie apocalypse. Just sayin’ – we watch a lot of Walking Dead in my house.
8. Craft Beer Home Brew Kit: $50 from RedEnvelope. I actually bought a beer making kit for my dad, and he enjoyed making, tasting, and naming his brews. I enjoyed sampling. I’ve tasted beer brewed at home from guys aged 23-65 years old. My dad’s Knights of Columbus group has an annual taste off, and plenty of my peers pick it up as a hobby. Heck, DC Brau’s was started by two guys brewing in their basements and now it’s a thriving business!
9. A Book from GQ’s Best of List: Prices vary, list from GQ. Sometimes the men in my life enjoy the books I read, but usually our tastes for pleasure reading are quite different. Rather than giving them YOUR favorite book, take a tip from the GQ guys. Their Best of 2011 list published last December list includes 21 options, and I presume a 2012 edition will emerge soon. You also can’t possibly go wrong with purchasing everyone you know a copy of World War Z by Max Brooks.
10. Mini Guitar Cast Iron Skillet: $16 from Lodge.
A cast iron skillet is a gift for life. Why not spice up cornbread and muffins by adding a touch of the arts to his cooking? Forget Le Creuset; the Lodge has a variety of other skillet, cooking, baking and grilling items – including those in bright colors – and they’re less expensive.