*On second thought, maybe introducing Grace to the UFC was a mistake*
Last year it really felt like the sky was falling. The economy was in free-fall, big institutions were melting away every five seconds and I think gas prices actually hit 25 cents a gallon for a few weeks there.
This year I think we’re all a bit less panicked, and more reflective. If you read my guide last year, you’ll remember that I am all about encouraging you to think about gift-giving as a chance to give the man in your life something that enhances their experience with the things they love. It’s really all about them, but what does that mean? If he wants nothing more than Left 4 Dead 2, and you’re still totally sick of him playing the first Left 4 Dead- just get him the thing he wants. He’ll really appreciate it – guys are pretty simple – give us things that you know we like, and you win – try to get too creative/fancy, and think about something that sounds good to you, and you might lose.
The other thing you’ll notice is that my guides are completely biased toward my own personal taste. I hope you don’t think you have to get him what I like, but it will show you that most guys are pre-occupied with a few different things at any given time, and they’re usually pretty obvious about what they are. At least, if you’re willing to find out.
Here are a few clues as to what your guy likes:
It’s these “things” that usually give you the best clues as to what he likes and will be really happy. Even if it’s not a perfect fit, he will be happy to know you tried, and it will be ok. [Unless of course that "thing" is fantasy sports, in which case you should probably just break up with him/file for divorce now. Happy Holidays!]
CLICK HERE for AC’s full guy’s guide after the jump!
So here are some of the things that look cool to me this holiday season:
The thing that’s cool about basic accessories for guys is that we use them every day, and we almost never think about getting new ones. Until we get one new thing, then we start noticing how old everything else we have is – it becomes a sort of chain reaction.
For example, a new wallet can totally distract you from a lack of funds and make the few bills or cards you’ve got seem much more important. The Brixton wallet for anyone who has a boyfriend/husband who is a secret or not-so-secret rockstar. It’s even got a guitar pick in it! Very cool. I also like this more classic but still hip basic wallet by RVCA.
And because wallets overstuffed with bills/papers are the worst, you’ll often want to pair it with a nice money clip. You could go classic with a simple black tumi, or flashy for the Lamborghini lover in your life.
Also, you can never go wrong with a cool pair of cuff links. Here’s a set from Etsy (AC knows about Etsy?!) that manages to be steampunk, yet your dude won’t feel like he needs to be wearing a bowler hat or waxed mustache to wear them. He doesn’t even have to know what steampunk means (I wish I didn’t). If you’re dating or married to a senior citizen who used to make mixtapes, these might be more up their alley.
Let’s face it, we could all use a drink these days. Hell, I’m drinking right now. I’ve probably been watching too much Mad Men. And while this bullet-shaped Martini Shaker is more 30’s than 60’s, it looks slick and is actually one of the better shakers on the market. Now despite the pathetic pink color, this thing would be awesome in a glass of scotch after a hard day. And if he’s got absolutely no class like me, he’ll probably think something like this rules.
If he’s into gadgets, you’ll never go wrong with a Kindle. I’ve had one for two years and i love it – it’s really best for commuting and trips – I use it at home, but love it the most on the road. Now if he’s REALLY outmoded and still likes “physical objects” (freak) here are some recent non-fiction reads that look great:
Ok this part of the guide definitely shows my age (I’m 32), and I’m the “old guy” among all the people I work with who are mostly in their mid-20’s. Nothing re-enforces this like the fact that I actually “buy” music. These idiots have practically convinced me that it’s irresponsible NOT to steal it. (Also the fact that I get these archaic things known as “albums” that have more than one song on them.) The music industry is so beyond screwed – EVERYONE torrents music, TV, everything. It’s insane.
Maybe you’ve heard a thing or two about the Beatles this year. So rather than keep the hype going, I’ll just say that their music really has held up since it was recorded. This year they’ve re-released their entire catalog (remastered, of course) in a variety of formats, but I think this is one of the coolest. You also won’t go wrong with this one. One note: the USB version is the stereo edition of the Beatles catalog, and the CD one (that I’ve listed) is the mono edition (you can also get the stereo version on cd). If you don’t know which one to choose, you’re not alone. But here’s an overall safe bet – if your guy will listen to this on speakers, go mono, if he’ll listen on headphones, go stereo. If both, go stereo.
Clearly I have a thing for box sets. Here a couple more fun ones:
So I love music, and love to listen to it on headphones. In fact, I own way too many pairs of them. But if I had to pick just one pair of all-purpose headphones, I’d probably go with the Bose Mobile In-Ear headphones – I have the non-mobile version of these, and love them. But I kind of wish I had these (they came out after I’d gotten mine) because they go so well with the iPhone. They’re really comfortable, and they sound great.
I’m also rather pitifully obsessed with Apple products (so cliche). But there it is. Here are a couple fun ones. On the low end, the new wireless mouse looks awesome, and can definitely spice up any Mac (that has bluetooth capability). Cool for a desktop or even a laptop when it’s on a flat surface. On the high end, there’s always the AppleTV. This is good for those guys who actually buy or rent tv shows on iTunes, because now you don’t have to watch them just on a laptop or computer, you can wireless route it through your TV. The added bonus is it will also play your iTunes music through your stereo like an Airport Express.
Obviously this section is something of a personal favorite, as you can see above the types of hardships I have to endure in order to play video games while Grace is around. [Note: I'm assuming that he's already got an Xbox360, PS3, or Wii. If he doesn't, just go ahead and get him one already! I personally recommend the Xbox360, but the PS3 is great also (plus it doubles as a blu-ray player). The Wii is a ton of fun as well, but the game selection is more limited, and the graphics are not as powerful, but the motion based controls are so much fun that it pretty much makes up for anything else that it lacks.]
One accessory that you might both agree is cool is a pair of gaming headphones with a built-in microphone. An added bonus of these is that they come in full 7.1 surround sound so in many cases they will give him a way better sound experience than his tv or stereo. And it’s wireless so that’s one less cord for him to leave on the floor. [While this will definitely make him look like more of a loser than he already does, it has the huge benefit of sparing you from the sounds of shooting guns, horrible screams, explosions, and car crashes dominating your living room. Sadly there will be no way to block the sound of him talking to his dorky friends. One step at a time.]
Here are some fun games that came out this year.
For most systems:
-The Beatles Rock Band (note: if he already has Rock Band or Guitar Hero, you don’t need to get him the new instruments, although they look pretty amazing)
-DJ Hero (for this one you’ll need the turntable)
-Modern Warfare 2
-Assassins Creed 2
-Need for Speed: Shift
-Left 4 Dead 2
-New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Lastly, I want to stress that although I’ve listed a whole bunch of products, some of the best gifts are not things you can necessarily buy in a store, but provide some fun and memorable activity. Remember above when I was talking about enhancing the things he already loves? My big three recommendations are:
So that’s all I’ve got! I wish you and yours happy holidays and a happy new year!