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Gift time is my absolute favorite time of year! Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and more all mean plenty of opportunities for me to spoil family, friends and our pets with presents galore! Nothing gives me more pleasure then watching someone I love delight in a gift specially chosen for them.
Of course, gifting isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’re gifting someone you’re not too familiar with (say extended family you’re meeting for the first time or a friend you haven’t known too long). You don’t want to go overboard, but you don’t want to miss the mark either.
Luckily, I’ve got lots of gifting ideas! Today’s guide is devoted to the wonderful men in our lives, who by and large are often the hardest to shop for! Unclear on what they want or too shy to ask for it I often turn to the NYC gift markets in Bryant Park and the Lower East Side for help. This year though I’m feeling pretty great about a lot of cool options I’ve come up with for the many men I’m gifting, from my boyfriend’s Dad, Uncle and Brother to my man himself and two male friends I adore.
This gift guide is a mix of the practical and the fun, like the ingenious f/POP bottle opener ($36 + 10% off with code CHEERS) seen on the camera strap in the image above. More on it below.
QUICK NOTE BEFORE WE BEGIN — when I was assembling these guides it did not occur to me that some items, especially from Etsy, may not be ready in time if ordered after December 10th or so. I came across a conversation about it one of my FB groups. So please note that if you’re interested in any of the Etsy items in this guide or all subsequent guides, be sure to reach out to the seller to make sure you can get the item by the 25th! My apologies for not realizing this sooner.
1 | In about 5 year intervals or so, men’s grooming items make wonderful gifts. In true Brooklyn fashion the men’s grooming brand everyone locally is talking about this year is Mappilim. I love this Travel Set ($29) with its uniformly sized and lettered bottles. A friend of mine who — no joke — took third place in the National Beard Championship a couple of years ago swears by their Beard Oil ($15), Beard Balm ($25) and Beard Softener ($27). His beard is pretty soft!
2 | For the man who likes to keep all his necessities in one place, this beautiful handcrafted Docking Station ($25) is a wonderful idea. It comes in lots of wood grains and stain options.
3 | The men in my life tend to be both very visual and very logical, and get a kick out of items like this Sound Wave Art ($69+). I absolutely love it for its unusualness and seller VoiceandSound has tons of options for both colors and size. In addition to phrases like “The Adventure Begins” in the product link, there are also tons of songs available in waveform. My favorite? Don’t Stop Believin’ ($39+). Expedited shipping is available in this shop right now.
4 | Another thing men love? Gadgets. I find however that men, especially those of a certain age like my Dad was and my boyfriend’s Dad is, appreciate mechanical gadgets over technical ones. A grand splurge to be sure, the The Mechanical Chelsea Deck Clock ($1,750) is a beautiful piece of time keep goodness. It’s one of many items in this guide from Best Made Co, a kind of found and bespoke mensware shop. If you’re in NYC they have a location downtown as well as a pop-up shop in the Elizabeth Street holiday market. I love wandering around their store to get masculine gift inspiration.
5 | You could use a plain ol’ bottle opener to open a bottle of beer…but if you’re a guy, that’s probably way too boring! Rather than the fridge pull (sigh), the marble kitchen countertops (double sigh) or their teeth (exasperated sigh!) I seek out cool designs that will instead encourage my men towards healthier ways to open beers, sodas, and flavored waters. First up, the Railroad Spike Bottle Opener ($20) is sturdy, sizeable and easy for large man hands to grip. Plus, it looks cool!
6 | For the cocktail specialist, I have gifted this Highball Wood Cocktail Muddler ($19) to more than one gracious host much to their delight. The usual feedback? “It’s awesome.”
7 | It’s hard to remember the hot days of Summer right now, but when warm weather returns your man is sure to appreciate having this Six Pack Cooler Tote ($20)!
8 | For active guys on the go a bottle opener can be a keychain item, but on our ever-growing keyrings it’s often the first to go. For that and many other reasons I absolutely love the f/POP ($36 + 10% off), a bottle opener that easily slides onto camera straps, climbing belts, messenger bags, and many other items men carry with them on a daily or activity-based basis. The opener is available in 3 sizes. I have the smallest one and it’s come in handy for more than just cracking open a beer after a long hike! The sturdy design is beautiful and both my boyfriend and I get tons of compliments on ours. Use the code CHEERS! via my link for 10% off. Also pictured at top of post.
9 | Here’s a practical item men are sure to appreciate. The GustBuster Classic 48-Inch Automatic Golf Umbrella ($31) is no ordinary umbrella. Thanks to magic (science) the umbrella has dual layers that allow winds to pass through it without this baby ever turning inside out. I’ve used mine down 5th Ave in Flatiron so many times and this umbrella has kept its shape while everyone around me saw theirs get blown inside out down this alley that’s so windy thanks to tall buildings and the angles of the Flatiron building that it can literally blow people backwards. But not this umbrella!
10 | Combining form, function and looks, the Bluetooth Tracking Tag ($40) is pricey but sure to please any forgetful man in your life who appreciates handcrafted designs. If you want something more wallet-friendly, the Tile 1-Pack ($25) or 4-pack ($70) are great options.
11 | Please your consummate outdoorsmen with the Audubon Field Guide Series ($398), delivered in this beautiful toolbox holder. Or, go for the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants (Eastern/Central North America) ($19) or the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants (Eastern/Central North America) ($21) so your guy can impress you on your next hike or camping trip together!
12 | Another item I notice men always love to get as gifts? Patent art. Here we have the patent art for the Sailing Wheel ($21+), blazed onto wood for a beautiful display piece. It comes in many sizes and designs. The Sailing Vessel ($21+) and Guitar ($21+) are two of my other favorites.
13 | Straying further into the hipster zone, or at least the trendy over classic zone, these stylized Star Wars Art Posters ($60) featuring preview-style designs for Episodes IV-VI are a great gift for movie lovers, Star Wars lovers, or design lovers. There are tons of movies available in the shop and right now you can get 20% off your order by following them on Instagram!
14 | By and large, men love knives. Though I can’t explain it men can spend hours talking about the shape, design, edge and handle of knives. I suppose it’s the same way we feel about shoes? Anyway, The Wakui Knife ($298) comes highly recommended as a gift.
15 | Speaking of things men love that I don’t quite understand, the Exotic Meats Jerkygram ($40) is one of the most popular gifts a White Elephant Gift Exchange I do each year, coveted by both men and wives/girlfriends alike to gift to their men. I’m not a jerky fan but luckily this store offers lots of themed crates and gift boxes for men, along with stocking stuffers.
16 | I love gifts that have a historical bent to them. Recently at a local estate sale out in the Hamptons, all the men in my party were thrilled and delighted by an antique personal radiator for sale (this one to be exact). Basically a hot water bottle to you and me, the worn brass and tarnished appearance delighted these guys and left three of them very disappointed when our guy who spotted it bought it. I knew I’d been exposed to a great gift idea! On Etsy I ended up purchasing this French brass version for someone special, and here’s another option that would also make a great decor piece.
17 | I usually think of candles as something men tolerate but my boyfriend is a fan of them for the bathroom and the man cave to keep things smelling fresh. He absolutely loves these Leather & Teak ($16) and Whiskey & Cola ($16) scents from USA-manufactured small business Craft + Foster! Also, interestingly, our animals adore the Champagne Blush ($16) scent — the kitties roll around like we gave them catnip and then everyone quickly settles down in a calmly relaxed state. Pet present perhaps?
18 | While we women tend to have a thing for sparkly objects (at least I do!) men tend to like subtle shine and sheen. It’s no wonder coppers and brass tend to be among their favorites. These Brass Tinder Boxes ($18-$38) are great little carry-alls that fit in the palm of men’s hands.
19 | Most of hate wasting things unnecessarily and men seem especially prone to disliking it. So the Wall Hanging Perpetual Calendar ($55) is a great gift idea for the man who always asks what day it is, but hates annual or daily calendars for being too wasteful.
20 | Not just your average dart set, the The Monochrome Belgian Dart Set ($148) is so named because the lines of each target ring date back to 18th-century Belgium according to the product blurb. Is that true or BS? I have no idea but it makes me laugh and I think it would make a great party point for your games!
21 | Man or boy? Now they don’t have to decide with this animal-safe game sure to inspire hours of friendly dares and betting, the Rubber Band Gun With Animal Targets ($22).
22 | If your man is a bit of a slacker when it comes to pet care, you can both be delighted by this Water Garden Deluxe ($100), a self-sustaining fish aquarium.
23 | For runners or men on their feet all day the Handmade Wooden Foot Massager ($32) is sure to be a pleasing gift! I also am tempted by the design of the Handmade Wooden Rope Back Massager ($24).
24 | My boyfriend and I often nervously joke that our winter running gear is too black to be seen well at night. I’m curing that problem by gifting him a nice, bright blue Men’s Running Supernova 1/2 Zip Jacket ($80).
25 | Another great safety idea that’s both stylish and functional, the Lumos Smart Bike Helmet ($159) is a brilliant bike helmet that has not only gyroscopic brake lights on it; it also has remote control turn signals that go on your handle bars! I have seen these on a few people around NYC and think they are such a brilliant idea. Literally and figuratively! Unfortunately bike deaths are often attributed to riders not wearing their helmets and drivers not seeing the rider — this helmet goes a long way towards solving both issues. The only negative? Heavy, it is not comfortable to wear for more than an hour or so. Here’s a great and seemingly unbiased review. For more comfort, the LIVALL MT1 Smart Bike Helmet ($130) is getting good design and fit reviews.
26 | In the winter, biking or running or cross-country skiing and similar activities requires both good grip and yet non-bulky gloves. The Men’s Winter Outdoor Gloves ($14) are a great solution with zippers for easy on-off. I also like the Unisex Outdoor Gel Touch Screen Cycling Gloves ($18) because they have bright color bands on them for better night and early-morning visibility.
27 | Wrapping up this gift guide are socks. Yes, socks! Although my boyfriend was very specific in mentioning not wanting socks on the family wishlist email this year, he did pull me aside later to say, “Although I really like the winter running socks you got me last year…can I have some more of those?” Those would be Stance’s Skull Frame Socks ($25, not pictured). This year my Mom, Sis and I are getting him three new pairs including the Mineral ($21, left above) and the Stoney Ridge Snow Socks ($38, right above).
What kind of gifts do you like to buy for the men in your life? You can see more gift guides here, and many more coming up this weekend!