It’s November ladies and gentlemen, which means the santas are in the stores and the lights are up at the zoo in my backyard. No, really, I live right next to the Cincinnati Zoo. Sometimes, the lions are my alarm clock.
Jealous? Yes you are.
But with all those wonderful Christmas advertisements going around, it’s time to tackle the tough side of our gift-giving lists. The male side. Search “Christmas Gifts for Men” on google and you’ll find a sad assortment of ideas clearly written by some misguided skymall executive. No man I know wants a traveling toothbrush sanitizer or another sad holiday-themed sweater.
So after lots of research and optimal price searching, I decided to gift the internet with a list of my own.
You’ll probably notice that this list is mostly free from any video games, movies, or cds. At least in my experience, when a man likes a certain film, band, or series of first-person-shooters, they tend to buy these things for themselves the moment they come out in stores. I laughed when I saw Halo 4 on Internet gift lists- I think every guy I know who’s serious about Halo raced out at midnight on November 6th to get their hands on it. For the most part, unless you’re buying them an old-school arcade game or a classic movie series you know they don’t have, try to be more creative with your entertainment gifts. Hence the absence of any lame “Beer of the Month” club cop-outs.
I’ve tried to find gifts for all price points, ranging anywhere from $5-$99. As this list comes from the perspective of an almost college grad trying to get by in a still-shitty economy, I certainly won’t be wrapping up anything too expensive this year.
Just a disclaimer: I’m not getting paid to write any of these reviews (but if anyone would like to start, let me know!). I’ve done my best to showcase products and companies that are genuinely awesome, affordable, and treat their customers and the environment right. I think companies with good business values deserve to be well-frequented, especially during the holiday season.
Stocking Stuffers for any man:
Perfect for any man with a smartphone, camera, tablet, or other handheld electronic device who wants extra security away from an outlet, this juice pack can hold enough charge for several devices or multiple charges. Simply charge the battery at home, then take it along wherever you go. It even includes an LED flashlight. Perfect for emergencies or long car trips. Find it on Amazon for $30.
What little boy didn’t want to be an astronaut? Whether they’re five or fifty, they’ll love these little packets of awesome. Freeze-dried ice cream= a three year shelf-life and major cool points. And surprisingly? It’s very tasty! Choose from three different flavors for $4 each.
Because it’s funny. And sadly, with boys, it’s probably true. Perpetualkid, $6.
These adorable plushies come from the totes-cool website shawnimals.com, which specializes in stuffed ninjas (including zombie ninjas!), mustaches, and adorable anthropomorphic foods. Search their website for just the perfectly sized friend for your recipient. I’ve had my mustache and ninja plushies for almost two years now and they’re still adorable (even after getting mauled by my cat). I think the ones pictured here would make excellent off-the-wall ornaments.
Awesome rubber key covers in a manly robot finish. Amazon, $6.
For the sexy nerd:
All I can say is, I bought this for my boyfriend a while ago and he still wears it for gaming, lounging, and the odd impromptu lightsaber-fight. It’s super warm and comfortable and should fit any guy from about 5’8”- over 6 ft., and the hood looks freaking badass. Just be careful, as your girlfriend may end up stealing it. Buy it on Amazon for about $60.
Seven very familiar shapes from a nostalgically awesome game team up to make one seriously sweet piece of furniture. A tetris-shaped light would be cool enough, but what’s really bangin’ about this lamp is that the pieces can be stacked any way you want: the LED light turns on when the tetriminos are put together, and stays off when the lamp is disassembled. Plugs into a standard outlet. Get it at ThinkGeek.com, $40.
For the sports fan:
“Officially licensed” team apparel tends to get a little expensive, so if you can afford to give your sports fan a hoodie of their favorite NFL, NBA, or MLB team, it makes a thoughtful and lasting gift you know they’ll actually use. Because unlike a jersey, they can keep wearing it even after their favorite player becomes a total douchemonkey and leaves for a better team.
Because man’s best friend needs to show his love of football too. Fanatics, $12.
For the Fix-it Man:
A utility knife that’s ultra-strong and folds into the shape and size of a credit card, so it’s easily storable in your everyday wallet. Yeah, this thing is pretty cool. Of course, it won’t saw through a metal pipe, but the stainless steel surgical blade is sharp, stylish, and incredibly durable. The newest version boasts a childproof lock and a built-in protective sheath. Iain Sinclair, $25.
Chances are your DIY guy already has a good amount of tools. Beware when buying the serious handyman a new powerdrill or set of screwdrivers, as he’s probably loyal to one particular brand. Try to focus on accessories to his toolbox he might not have- or even think about- like these LED safety glasses. With polycarbonate lenses, adjustable lights, and the dependable Craftsman lifetime warranty, this is a cool little gadget he never knew he needed. $20, Craftsman.
For the baby:
Yeah, I did the advertising for this one, so you KNOW it’s not only adorable, but a great, eco-friendly company too. Cutie Bees is an organic baby clothes company that makes its products from all-natural cotton that won’t make sensitive skin uncomfortable. If your friends are suddenly reproducing like rabbits and you have no idea what an appropriate gift for their mini-them is, you can’t go wrong with this $12 floppy eared snow hat. Plus, it will be WAY more creative than the dozens of diapers, onesies, and stuffed animals they’re bound to get from their other aunts and uncles.
Speaking of creative, anyone familiar with this blog knows that one of my favorite gift-giving sites is Perpetualkid. Their customer service is spot-on, their packaging is biodegradable, and their products are 100% awesome and unique! I love their stock of Fred and Friends merchandise, including this $12 hilarious pacifier.
For the young nephew:
If you haven’t been blessed yet with your own little pile of spawn, you are in the “cool aunt/uncle” territory. This means that you can get your siblings’/friends’ children the “fun” (read: annoying) gifts with no fear of immediate retaliation. Hence the pocket sized fart machine. Because what little boy doesn’t want to amuse himself with a bountiful arsenal of flatulence at his fingertips? Whoopie cushions are SO last year. Perpetualkid, $7.
Parents: want an educational game that’s not a total bummer to give to your kids? Bananagrams is faster than Scrabble and way more fun to play, yet still teaches spelling. The object of the game is to be the first to use all your letters to build a crossword grid using anagrams. It’s a great way to spend some time playing together on something other than a t.v. screen, plus it comes in a cool, portable banana carrying case. $15, Amazon.
For the teen son:
This docking station and speaker for iPod and iPhone looks sleek and delivers decent sound for a decent price (but won’t blow your eardrums out). Charges your device while you play your music and even doubles as an alarm clock. Its compact design allows for easier portability than the older iHome model and comes with a remote, so you know it’s male-friendly. Another benefit? A two-year replacement plan can be purchased with the speaker for only an additional $7, good news for parents who also bought their less-than-careful boys nerf guns. Get it at Target for $63.
Tired of yelling at your teenager to clean up his video games? Give him a stylish, modern media rack to store all his games, movies, and CDs. Atlantic, $20.
For the college-bound:
Real leather’s expensive, and let’s face it, he’s probably going to spill cheap beer on it at some point. But with this faux leather trucker jacket with knit lining he’ll look great AND stay warm while running all over campus. J.C. Penny’s, $65.
With Darth Vader going Disney, you’ll need to preserve the “original” storyline for future generations. At almost $90 for all six blu-ray discs, I’d relegate this to the “big gift” category. Still, when you consider the price of buying all the movies separately and the hours of extras and deleted scenes, it’s actually a pretty great bargain. Instead of avoiding his homework by watching lame Youtube videos, he can procrastinate by indulging in a pop-culture classic. Plus, all sensible college girls will think your son’s good taste in movie references is sexy.
For the young professional:
Small apartment living can be a challenge. It’s hard to devote lots of dedicated space to a cooking device you use 2 seasons out of the year. But what if you could fold that sucker to a slick 1 inch thick panel? Meet the Fold Flat Grill, the portable charcoal grill with enough cooking space to sear six juicy steaks, yet takes advantage of the compact size of a folding chair. Comes with a lifetime guarantee and serious awesome points. Hammacher Schlemmer, $60.
A young aspiring businessman needs a watch that fits serious style in a budget-friendly package. Secured on a genuine leather band, water-resistant, and under limited warranty for 11 years, this Fossil-brand watch is classically cool. Fossil, $95.
No, not the X-Men character, but your dad will probably feel like a superhero in the popular Gold outdoorsman Wolverine boot. Waterproof, insulated, and slip-resistant, these are the perfect shoes for the serious workman or a weekend of camping. When it comes to winter boots, several of my menfolk won’t wear anything else. All-leather uppers and rubber soles, $90.
Every driver should have one of these babies stored away in their glove compartment and on their car keys. Show dad you care by gifting him the two-in-one ResQMe multi-tool, a small spring-loaded do-hickey that smashes windows and a razor that cuts through stuck seatbelts. It’s easy to use and it’s made in the USA! Buy it on Amazon, $12.
For the mancave:
Smoking your tobacco this way is cleaner, cooler, and so very, very relaxing. No mancave is complete without a well-built Egyptian-style hookah- and besides, it doubles as the manlier version of a scented candle. Prices vary depending on what size, color, and company you buy from, but quality products can be found for as low as $40, so do your research. I personally recommend a hookah with only one hose valve, as the double valves tend to give a less-than-full hit. Obviously, this gift is only for the smokers on your list.
For a cool twist on the typical shot, freeze these molds and enjoy a quick drink before smashing them in the driveway like the manly man you are. Or fill with melted candy for gummy shots! Fred and Friends, $9.
For the man who has everything (but a girlfriend):
Cleverly marketed to young frat boys everywhere, the proud owner of this ice mold can “take some shooters from the hooters” with style. Just freeze this ice luge up and fill with your favorite liquor for a delicious regression into infancy feeding. I can see this luge being a big hit at a bachelor party or college rager. At $17, this gift is for the single party boy who wants to stay that way.
Yup, it says woman in the title, probably because we females are all sick of stepping on your gross toenail clippings. Contrary to popular belief, carpeting is NOT the best place for all your unwanted body shavings. At just $5, use of this product may just help you get a girl to stay the night. Or maybe you just need to look into manscaping.
For the man with a girlfriend:
Whoever made these deserves a chocolate bar, because these little guys are cute and useful (a delightfully dangerous combination). No man wants clutter in his shower. Girlfriends, as Jenna Marbles confesses, like to “goo hoard” lots of it. Gift one of these four shampoo-touting, soap-holding shower-buddies, and watch in wonder as the battle of the bathroom is instantly (and cleverly) solved. I currently own one of these squids and they really are an awesome addition to my cephalopod-themed decor. Available for $35 in black, red, or blue.
Because you will be the best girlfriend ever if you enthusiastically spoil him. Victorias Secret, $48.
Ever been invited to one of those awkward office gift-swap parties and didn’t know what to bring? Forced to participate in an HR-mandated Secret Santa? For about $15 you can gift Chip from IT the most envy-inducing office product ever. I have one of these little guys chilling on my desk right now (in orange, of course, though it comes in blue and green as well). The only “con” that I’ve found about the design is the body doesn’t stay firmly attached to his toilet bowl, so when you go to reach for a piece of tape just be sure that you hold him in place. The fact that it combines functionality with poop-humor makes it a win in any corporate-minded male’s mind.
Appropriately listed after the toilet-shaped office supplies, a $12 box of delicious chocolate covered bacon is a manly gift for any lucky coworker on your list. I’ve also taken the liberty of finding you the perfect non-sappy giftcard to go with it:
For the pet-lover:
Because pet furniture should be stylish and perhaps slightly hilarious too. Perpetualkid, $42.
Instead of your typical collar clasp, this dog collar closes with a seatbelt-like button. Muttropolis, $25.
Want to save even more money this holiday season (and give your loved ones awesome, one-of-a-kind-presents)? Tune in next time for handmade gifts!