2010 gift guides: ac’s guide for guys


Can you believe it’s gift-guide time again already? Seems like it was just yesterday that I was staying up until all hours of the morning putting together the gift guide for last year. It also makes me seriously wonder how Grace and all of the editors do this sort of thing every day. I still remember years ago watching Grace work and thinking, “That’s gotta be pretty easy — all you do is surf the web and link to pictures of things that you like.” So when I first said I’d write a gift guide for how to shop for your boyfriend/husband who may not be as excited about textile design as you are, I really had no idea what I was getting into.

I spent a couple of hours surfing the web researching and found about four or five things that seemed good enough to write about. Grace looked over at my laptop and said, “That’s all you’ve got? You need to find like 20 more things.” During those same two hours, I think she’d written about three days worth of content.

The point of this story? There is no point. I’m pretty much just babbling now. Maybe it’s time I just started talking about gifts.

Before I do, let’s just get a few things out of the way. Here are three gadgets all guys should have if they don’t already:

  1. A video game console like the Xbox360, PS3 or Wii — he just should. Believe me, we all work hard enough in our lives that it’s nice to have a device in the house whose sole purpose is to provide fun. I use all three, but if I could only have one, I would choose the Xbox360.
  2. A GPS device. Forget about printing out directions or trying to use Google Maps on your phone; it’s way better to just have a thing that knows where you are at all times and can tell you how to get where you want to go. It’s pretty amazing to be able to get in the car and literally do ZERO advance thinking about what route you’re going to take to drive somewhere. This should also eliminate a large percentage of in-car arguments* about the best way to get somewhere. Let’s put it this way — Grace and I own one and we don’t even have a car. That’s how great it is. I like the TomTom with traffic updates (although the user interface takes some getting used to), but the Garmin Nuvi is great, too.
  3. A good smartphone. Which one? I don’t know. I’m an iPhone person, so I’ll basically just have the newest one at any given time. It’s not that they’re the best; it’s just that I’m a sucker. A new one comes out and my mind basically goes like this: “Wait, the new iPhone lets you both answer AND hang up calls? How could I not buy that???” Anyway, the iPhone may not be his thing, and there are a lot of good ones out there — Android, Blackberry, Windows 7 — they all look cool. If you have no idea where to start, just find out what phone his best friends have, and get the newest version of that one. This will hopefully have the secondary benefit of him having a slightly newer and cooler version than his friends, and you getting the credit for it. Not only does he have a better phone than them, but also a better wife/girlfriend — it’s a win–win!!

*But not all of them‚ especially if you have a wife who’s an obsessive iPhone Googler and enjoys trying to second-guess computers, satellites and other advanced technology and saying things like “That doesn’t seem right . . .”

Also, these three gifts have already been so overhyped this year that there’s not much left to say about them:

  1. The iPad. What else is there to say besides “get one”? It’s amazing, and I love it more each day. Is there going to be a new one next year that’s better? Certainly. Welcome to the world of being an Apple customer. You now own a product that’s about to get much better in the next generation. Also, please don’t try to justify an iPad as something that’s for anything other than being an amazing toy. Yes, you can do work on it and be productive and all that but really, it’s a toy.
  2. eReaders. I’ve been suggesting the Kindle for the last few gift guides, and now it has finally gotten to a really good price point. There are also some strong competitors out there, such as the Nook and a few others, but I still think Amazon makes the best eReader on the market. (Side note: If he already has a Kindle, it’s ok to get him an iPad, but if he already has an iPad, you probably don’t need to get him a Kindle.) The Kindle is great for actual book readers, not just gadget hounds. It’s a great device to travel with, and it’s easy and fun to hold for reading books.
  3. Motion-based gaming accessories. In particular, the Kinect (for Xbox360) and the Move (for PS3). Believe it or not, I’m not rushing out to buy either of these. From what I can tell, the technology is really great, but the library of available games isn’t quite there yet. I’m sure there are fun things you can do with them, but I’m waiting until there are more cool games available for them, which will probably be next year. So stay tuned for the 2011 gift guide when I’ll recommend all the hot technology from 2010!

CLICK HERE for the full guide (50+ ideas) after the jump, including ideas for gadgets, accessories, food, books, TV, music and more!

Gadgets

So we covered the iPad (3) and the GPS (1) already, but we didn’t cover one of my favorites, which is the MiFi (2). Basically, it’s a portable Internet hotspot that gives you Wi-Fi wherever you are. It can support up to five devices at once (laptops, phones, iPads, Kindles, whatever), and it has the added value of letting you get Wi-Fi-only versions of other products like iPads and Kindles. If I were getting one today, I’d go with the new one from Virgin Mobile which has no contract and a reasonable monthly rate, and you can start and stop your plan as you go, which is pretty cool. Another device that I’ve been eyeing is this Universal Remote (4). And when I say eyeing, I’m not kidding, I’ve basically just been on my laptop on the couch staring at pictures of it. Then I look over at our two dirty, busted-up remotes, and I scowl in disgust. By this point, I usually start talking to them, saying, “Why can’t you be more like him?!?” as I point to the picture of the nice remote on my laptop. Now it’s time for Grace to walk into the room and say, “Who are you talking to?” I think it’s best if we end the story there. Lastly, the new iPod Nano (5) is great for a guy who works out (or keeps claiming he’s going to). And apparently someday, you’ll be able to turn it into a fancy watch.

Accessories

Maybe it’s all the Sons of Anarchy that Grace and I have been watching, but it seems hard for me to believe that a guy’s wardrobe is really complete without a leather jacket (1) (Warning: this link autoplays sound). They’re comfortable, fun to wear and they give you (and sometimes other people) the illusion that you are a bad-ass. In my case, I probably need more than just the jacket to accomplish the full effect, which is why I’d need to add these gadget-friendly gloves (3) into the mix, as well. They’re the kind of gloves that frankly seemed like a complete joke to me two years ago and now seem like a great idea. You can also never really go wrong with nice versions of the basics like a wallet (6), watch (5), money clip (3), or Dopp kit (2). I really like the Dopp kit because it’s made to be ready to handle the inevitable spills/leaks of shaving cream/contact solution or whatever else you carry — the leather absorbs the liquid and just looks cooler afterward. I’m a fan of any object that can transform my natural messiness into something stylish. Frankly, I didn’t know that was possible. I’m also loving this Embassy Pen (last photo in the group above), which was designed for the State Department. It’s heavy, it writes well (it uses the same cartridges as the Fischer Space pen, also a nice gift), and I think I could probably rob a bank with it if I wanted to. Who’s going to argue with a guy wearing a leather jacket and gadget gloves who’s wielding a screw-top pen?!?

Food

After a hard day of whatever it is guys do all day, we definitely need something to eat. My personal solution to this problem is a special strategy I like to call, “Wait until I’m starving and cranky and then start bothering Grace by asking her what we have to eat in the house.” It worked out pretty well until she developed a counter-strategy called, “I already asked you what you wanted when I was ordering groceries and you said ‘whatever,’ so find your own food, dumbass.” After a few rounds of this, we joined forces to create a new, more cooperative strategy called, “Is it your turn to order delivery, or is it mine?” Really effective stuff.

But I’ve heard rumors that there are guys out there who enjoy preparing their own food, so here’s some ideas for them. A molecular gastronomy starter kit (1) for guys who want to be the next Wiley Dufresne (and if they do, I want to eat in their restaurant!). Obviously they’ll also need a really sharp knife (4). Little known fact: a chef’s knife is excellent for cutting the plastic-wrap off a microwave dinner. A meat smoker (2) is great for having parties featuring an assortment of smoked meat (or in my case, for going to parties thrown by other guys who have smokers). If the guy in your life really looks forward to his espresso each day, he may get into having a cool-looking machine (4) that will let him make his own. Or he may prefer a homebrew kit to help him make his own beer. For me, I’m liking these Scotch Bars (3), the perfect combination of candy and whisky, which are two of the most overlooked food groups, as far as I can tell.

TV Shows

And what meal would be complete without something to watch on TV? As I mentioned, our big find this year was Sons of Anarchy, which was going into its third season. We’re pretty good at discovering great “new” TV shows that have been on for years and then telling everyone about how great they are. Last year our big find was Dexter, a show that had only been on the air for about three years. Design*Sponge, bringing you hit television recommendations from 2006! In any case, I still find watching TV in full season packages to be the best (although the full SERIES is better still). In fact, I’d prefer that all new shows I like didn’t air every week, but instead just put out the full season of episodes all at once in a complete package. How has anyone not done this yet?

Some shows he may enjoy:

If he missed them the first time around, you can also get him the full series of these highly addictive shows:

Here’s another pro tip for gifts for TV (and movie) fans  – think about what his favorite shows are, and go to IMDB and find out who is/was the head writer/creator of the show to see what else they’ve written.  For example, if he liked the West Wing, he’ll probably like Sports Night, which was also written by Aaron Sorkin.  (He probably won’t like Studio 60, but what can you do…).  Sons of Anarchy led me and Grace to The Shield, because we wanted to see more of what Kurt Sutter had written.

Comics

Speaking of TV shows that are actually new, did you know that The Walking Dead (a.k.a., the official Zombie TV show of Design*Sponge) is based on a comic book? And that a lot of cool movies from the past few years including 300, Watchmen, V for VendettaSin City and a lot more were also based on comic books? And that if you get him one or more of these he’ll probably be happy about it?

Yes, I know that From Hell was not a cool movie, but it is a cool comic book (same guy who did Watchmen), and it’s the true story of the Jack the Ripper investigation.

TV Gadgets

There are some very cool new products that came out this year for the guy who loves both television and gadgets. Now I know it may be hard to find a guy like that in your life, but if you do know one, I’d recommend one of these guys:

  • Roku — Let’s you play almost anything that’s available on the Internet (which by now is most things), and anything that’s on your computer. It also supports Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus and Amazon Video on Demand, plus a lot more.
  • Boxee — This one is also gaining interest from some of my techie friends. There are tons of new apps, a fun interface and the device itself is really cool looking. It’s newer on the market and seems like it is evolving very quickly. It also supports Netflix, Pandora and Hulu Plus (but not Amazon). I’ve downloaded the software to my computer and have been enjoying playing on it for a while. Fun stuff.
  • Apple TV — This one is for the guy who wants to have Apple in every area of his life — it integrates well with your iTunes library and it supports Netflix. It doesn’t integrate with much else, but it is small, cheap and it works really well (at the few things it tries to do).

Subscriptions

One thing you’ll notice I kept mentioning in the TV gadgets section was Netflix. It’s one of my favorite things, as they’ve expanded into practically every device around (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Xbox360, PS3, Wii, laptops, desktops and Windows 7 — plus I’m sure they’ll be on Android soon enough). I use it all the time, and they keep growing their catalog of stuff that’s available to stream (some of their stuff is DVD only). You can give a streaming-only subscription for like 8 bucks a month, and there’s no limit to how many shows or movies you can stream. Pretty great.

I’m a fan of subscriptions in general. Anything that comes to your house every month that you don’t have to think about it is a-ok with me. (For those of you playing at home, yes, I’m lazy.) There are LOTS of cool “of the month” clubs for all tastes (a quick Google search will show you just how many). Grace’s Mom got me the Beer of the Month (1) club for my birthday one year, and now I don’t remember that year at all — thanks Elaine! Threadless offers a monthly t-shirt club (2), which seems pretty cool. And for the gamers, GameFly (3) is a great option that can help him keep his video-game budget under control. It’s like Netflix for video games, and it lets you test out all the new games without having to buy them. He can keep them as long as he wants, or purchase them directly from GameFly (for a discount).

Also, if you notice that he tends to buy certain magazines only at airports, that’s usually a good sign that he’d like a subscription. He’ll never get it for himself, but he’ll be psyched to have it.  Random idea that combines tech and magazines: complete magazine libraries on hard drives. Great for the National Geographic or New Yorker lover in your life.

Books

Even though I’m mostly converted to digital books on the Kindle or the iPad, I still enjoy actual books, too. Here are a few from the last year or so that I’d recommend:

  • The Big Short — A fascinating look into a few people who saw the financial collapse coming before almost everyone else. From the author of The Blind Side.
  • The War for Late Night — This is a behind-the-scenes look at what really happened with Leno, Conan and NBC. Bill Carter is a great writer and he does a great job at giving a full picture of what went on.
  • LZ – ’75 — On the road with Led Zeppelin in 1975, from the author of Hammer of the Gods. I’m not saying there’s debauchery and gossip. Why would I say that?
  • Take Your Eye Off the Ball — This book is great for casual or serious football fans. It provides a ton of insight into the strategy behind what’s going on on-field, which can, quite frankly, be confusing.
  • Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records — Another personal favorite. I’ve been listening to Superchunk for (gulp) 17 years, and I was glad to finally get Grace on board this year. These guys have run the best label in indie rock, and they remain truly independent. Also, some of the great indie bands of the last few years are all on Merge (such as Spoon and The Arcade Fire).

Music Box Sets

Speaking of indie rock, there are a couple great collections by two of the best names in indie rock from the past few years, Merge and Matador. If he likes classic rock, there is also a cool collection of rare AC/DC called Backtracks and a new one of Bruce Springsteen about the making of “Darkness on the Edge of Town” — one of his classics. Besides rocking, all of these collections attain the out-of-touch trifecta of an outmoded audio format, old music and gratuitous packaging for storage. Design*Sponge, bringing you the cutting edge technology of 1982!

Desktop Speakers

If you’re going to get him one of those box sets (and you should), he’ll definitely need something to listen to it on. My personal, top-of-the-line, no-joke recommendation are these amazing speakers by Joey Roth (1). The sound is just unbelievably good, and they are seriously powerful. They were a ridiculously generous surprise anniversary gift I got from Grace this year, and I love listening to them every day while I work. Also great, and not as expensive, are the Harman Kardons (2), which sound great and as an added bonus, they look like they’re from the future.

The Koostik (3) is another cool option, which unfortunately is for iPhones only, but it was too good to pass up. It’s a wooden storage device that turns an iPhone into a desktop (or dresser-top) speaker. And it sounds good, too.

Headphones

If his idea of a good time involves blasting obnoxiously loud music or video games, he will likely not turn down a nice pair of headphones. A cool, new player on the market this year was from Marshall (2), which made a set specifically designed to both sound great and feel good after hours of listening (a feature most manufacturers seem to forget about). If he prefers a smaller and more mobile option, he can go with the in-ear headphones offered by Thinksound (1). Very affordable and very cool. And if he’s a video game nerd like me, who also happens to enjoy great sound (which means that he likes to play his video games loudly through great speakers), it probably means you spend a lot of time listening to gunshots, battles, engines or sports games — loudly. If so, it’s worth getting him a pair of hi-definition video game headphones (3). Frankly, the sound is probably better than his speakers (unless he has a sick 7.1 surround-sound system), and they are compatible with all gaming systems. They’re amazing.

Video Games

Did someone mention video games? Well, it’s about time. There really aren’t many jokes I can make about video games, since I play so many of them. Basically, the joke is on me. Here’s what’s good this year:

For Xbox360, PS3 & Wii:

For Xbox360 & PS3:

For Xbox360:

For PS3:

Of all these games, Heavy Rain was easily my favorite. It was like a movie: a dark and twisted psychological thriller/whodunnit that you really lived inside in a way that was totally new. It was the most creative video game of the year.

Experience Gifts

As I mentioned last year at the VERY bottom of the gift guide, gifts that are about experiences are some of the very best. The big three were Lessons, Tickets, and Time. They remain sure-fire favorites.

Well, this year I found out about a few places that specialize in these types of gifts. In particular,

These guys will let you give a guy a helicopter tour, a NASCAR drive, a kayaking lesson and a LOT more. Very cool stuff here.

I wish you the best of luck shopping this year. Happy holidays and a happy new year!

Caitlin Kelch

Somehow the idea of giving the Marshall headphones makes my daily bump into the HUGE Marshall stack now housed in our bedroom more endearing. Thanks for the tip!

stephanie

that is without a doubt, the best ( i don’t usually think gift guides for guys are very good AT ALL) gift guide for guys i have ever read!
it was real, and on target and had so many things i would actually buy!
i will now be a loyal “AC for d*s” reader in the future. go ahead, write about anything. i will read it. THANK YOU!

Clare

My husband and I loooove our Harmony remotes! We have the 670 model, and haven’t found a reason to upgrade to the newer, fancy screen models.

Susan

Thankyou, thank you, thank you again!
Your suggestions are da bomb.

~ Susan

kelly

Haha! I second what Kate said. All the gift guides for guys I see are maybe great for your fabulously gay male friend, but my husband would be so bummed if I got him a cute plaid bow tie and leather satchel for xmas. He wants comic books, graphic novels, and blu rays.

Clare

Oh, and if you already have a meat smoker, check out the Stoker temp controller. It can tweet and you can control it with your phone! It’s like the ultimate meat+gadget combo gift.
https://www.rocksbarbque.com/

Molly

Thanks for putting this together! I’m totally getting that universal remote for my husband!

Bette

Impressed.I just ordered Theatre tickets. OK, OK, I know thats really just a gift for me.but…..

Catherine

I agree with everyone else; this is the first “gift guide for guys” with items my husband would actually want. It’s wonderful! I just wish you’d posted it a week ago.

Off to investigate gadget gloves and Heavy Rain… Thank you!

Kate

I’m having a really hard time. This is our first Christmas together as a married couple and he said he didn’t want anything! So I’m trying to request his wishes… it’ll be a dead giveaway if I spend any $$ on him with our mutual accounts. Trying to think of something crafty and hand-made, but nothing is coming to me! sort of frustrating! Any ideas?

Sarah

Best guys gift guide hands down! Reminded me of so many things my husband has mentioned wanting throughout the year that I totally forgot about. Thank you!

Ashley

I was just starting to fret over gifts for my dad and brother — this is great! Thanks!

sarah

totally just got the whiskey chocolate bars + will probably get the headphones. thanks so much AC! what would we do without you? guys are the haaaaaardest to shop for.

Maria Valdivieso-Pakozdi

Grrreeeeat guide! thanks soo much for this! I have all my men covered! husband, father and father-in-law!

dani

yep. spot on!

i just ordered the ps3 for my husband for christmas and many of the other things he already has or desperately wants!

Courtney

Already bought and wrapped my Christmas gifts, but the experience options will be great for an aniversary present! Thanks!

Nicolette

What?!? PS3 all the way!! Built in Blueray player and FREE online gaming!!! {Note: I skipped immediately to the comments to champion for the PS3. If my house was burning down, I think it would be the one thing I grabbed, ha ha ha.}

Lauren

AC, great post!
My husband is really hard to shop for. He doesn’t have many specific hobbies or interests and most lists for guy gifts are not dude enough. AC, I love the tone you added to D*S! Please post again… maybe some manly DIY projects or dude insight!

Kristina

Special props to AC for including experience gifts. Husband and I recently made a pact to prioritize spending our money on experiences over objects. We had world travel in mind, but day outings are great, too!

Caitlin

Thank you Thank you! Last year I totally scored points by following your advice, Awesome suggestions this year too! I hope he doesn’t discover my secret shopper… he thinks I’m so savvy:)

Newly Domesticated

my husband has a lot of this, so I can vouch that it’s man-approved. I think men can always appreciate a great bottle of bourbon they’d never buy for themselves.

amya

YAY! Laugh out loud funny! Dad is getting the 30 for 30 set this year! Thanks, A.C.!!!

sara @ the by & by

Thanks so much!!!! My boyfriend is dead-set on making my life difficult and is refusing to tell me what he wants for Christmas – this is perfect!!

Brad

It’s pretty clear you’re an iPhone owner, or you’d know that the GPS on other smartphones is worlds better than the kind you can buy. Google Maps for Android offers 3D view with streetview of turns and destination, route caching (so you can run it even if you don’t have a cell connection), and turn by turn voice navigation. Heck, it even integrates traffic. Plus the maps aren’t constantly out of date or require paying to “upgrade”.

Personally, I’ve not touched my Nuvi since I got an Android.

Shelly

Wow..I think my dh would love ANY one of these..thanks for the suggestions! I am off to eye that universal remote a bit more!

FinderMaker

GPS device is an amazing gift– can’t believe we lived without one for so long. Totally eliminated 100% of directions-based in car arguments; now all of our anger, when warranted, gets mutually directed at the lady in the box (who seems to be constantly re-CAL-culating, in an exhausted tone!). Great gift guide!!!

Aaron

Nicolette,

Ha! I love the PS3 as well (it’s also the best and cheapest blu-ray player you can get), but I give the Xbox360 a slight edge because I prefer their controllers, interface, and multiplayer options.

Happy holidays.

AC

Aaron

Hi Brad,

I was aware of the Android built-in GPS. my friends have it and they mostly like it. However, I wasn’t going to suggest that people get one specific type of smartphone for the sake of one specific feature. And my tom-tom integrates traffic and updates with no upgrade fees.

Thanks,
Aaron

Post-College Working Girl

Great gift guide! Where was this when I was looking for a birthday present for my boyfriend! I’m totally inspired for next year, I already got Christmas locked DOWN this year. 13 days from the date, I’m proud.

Margaret

Sweet! A gift guide with things my husband would actually LIKE to receive! LOL. Have bookmarked a bunch of ideas…

bonus: this gift guide was cracking me up!

Grace

Wow what a comprehensive list. I would like to get the Roku but I have a quick question, I heard that you can also watch internet TV if you already have the Wii, although I haven’t tried it before – does it work the same? I’d ask my husband but then I don’t want him to be clued on! Thanks.

Amanda

When my boyfriend and I move in together, I’ve already decided that I’m buying the universal remote, not just for him … but I’m a geek when it comes to techy stuff too :)

This year I bought him a BluAnt; a bluetooth car kit. (Add this to your list, in with the gps & smart phone! … as long as they have a car, heck maybe not even then!)

I never heard of these Boxee thing, it’s intriguing …

Maren

Really excellent guide, but it’s reminding me why I hate buying for guys (my husband included) — everything they like is so expensive! There is no dudely equivalent to the “nice bath products” or “pretty earrings” gifts you can do for women. Sigh.

Cara

I look forward to this one every year!
Love the guide.
We don’t have cable, so missed out on Sons of Anarchy, it looks perfect for the man on my list.
(He had a helicopter flying lesson for our anniversary and loved it, and the universal remote is maybe the most brilliant thing we’ve ever bought.)

Niki

I’m loving these gift guides! Just bought my friend a Garmin Nuvi and seriously thinking about picking up the Logitech remote for myself. Thanks!

Kate

Wonderful guide! Great ideas and good reading.

P.S. Grace, you’re a lucky girl!

éadaoin

I just bought the Joey Roth speakers! I’m a designer and my boyfriend is an audiophile. I bought them for him but I will love them just as much I think! Thanks for all the suggestions!

Tami

These are gifts for a very narrow age and socio-economic range: urban and up to age 32. Disappointing.

hrhkat

these are all really great gifts but I am still having an issue as to what to buy my boyfriend. First off, most of these things while amazing are a tad out of my budget, im looking for something under the 40 dollar mark. All I got for him as a scarf….yeah, a scarf….I need something else! Second, he doesn’t really play video games, he doesn’t even own a tv (i know right?!) which means we watch all our shows at his place online. He just bought himself a new leather jacket, and i don’t want to get him anything else thats made of fabric. He cant cook, so any kitchen gadget is out. He does like to go on hikes and do nature-y stuff, but he doesn’t like to camp or fish. He’s a doctor so he doesn’t have a ton of time to do much, but he does love to dance to crazy kind of techno-y music. He doesn’t need new headphones, and he cant blast music because he lives with roommates. I also want to get him something kind of romantic and/or sweet, to show i care about him. I know im so screwed lol if anyone has any ideas I would be so interested in them, anything really, I have a pretty open mind haha.

Pip

Nice guide, but one thing I didn’t noticed was shaving stuffs. Did I miss that? My experience is that men really like to have good shaving equipment. And they like to talk about it. A really high quality old school razor, or state of the art trimmer.
I get the impression they feel good when they have good shaving gear to work with.
I would like to note that I disagree with the videogame-absolutely-must-have mention.
Its okay once in awhile, but having a videogame console around the house can be a timewaster and laziness distraction factor – we spend so much time in front of screens (computer, etc) already, I’d rather leave the videogame stuff to the teenagers.
I agree with the dvd/bluray stuff. Always a good choice.

grace

hrhkat

are dvds and books out? those could be good options- and you can watch the dvds together online. you could also consider some nice hiking accessories like a new fleece layer or great water bottles/filters, head lamp, compass or a swiss army knife. (or a great book on local hikes you could take together! you could plan an afternoon based on one of those hikes and bring a nice romantic lunch to have outside)

if he loves to dance you could do something homemade like a mix cd combined with planned night out on the town to go dancing together.

grace

debe loughlin

000000 thanks so much -I live with 4 men ages 27 to 88- and have been stumped for gift giving this year you hit all the bases and I am good to go shopping- thank you so much! -

Annie

Great guide – I appreciate that the list goes beyond electronics. My man is an old soul, and this is helpful!

Cyndy

This is terrific and surely not for a small demographic! My husband is getting the Remote and my 17 year old son is getting the Koo Thingy to go with his new IPhone. Sadly, 46 year old men still play video games. Sorry, Grace:)

Martha

hrhkat – If he can’t cook, and you can then I would suggest the following as I’ve made them before and they go over amazingly well!

-personal sized meat pies, or veggie
-home made bits and bites or spiced nuts in big jars – adding in some nice microbrews

I know you said no more fabric items – but smartwool sock are amazing for hiking! Amazing! I worked at an outdoors store for a long time. Putting them on your feet is the perfection! An they don’t get so smelly because they are merino. Perfect.
-Hiking guides for trails near the city you live in are also great. Find some undiscovered places that you can get to easily. I know we have lots of these guides in for Toronto, so I’m sure they’ll have them in the states.

Liz

this is awesome! Between the video games, gadgets, and 15+ years love of Superchunk, AC could be my husband! I just ordered him the Matador box set – BTW they’re running a special thru 12/16, use code Matador21 to get 21% off. hohoho.

christine

Oh man, my BF & I are so addicted to West Wing now. We’ve been Netflixing the entire series for almost a year…

Nicole

I think the best gift I ever gave a boyfriend was the “year of pie” — aka a pie of the month club, where he redeemed his monthly pie coupon for whatever pie he wanted. He got delicious pie all year and I got practice baking (am now pie expert). Win-win!

Susan

ac,
help! thnx to you an xbox gaming console and some games will be santa’s surprise for my 25 year old son living in boston. i’m stuck on whether to buy the 4gB or 250gb. what wld u recommend? the boys spend a lot of time indoors either watching sports or gaming.
many thnx ac!

Sarah

This only confirms that my guy is impossible to shop for. Already has more kitchen gear than I can fathom, a crazy wine collection, tons of music, tons of comics, great sound system that he spend a lot of time putting together. Has no interest in video games or sporting stuff. We don’t sit in front of the tv to watch anything. We already borrow from each other’s libraries. He wouldn’t accept a smart phone from me, because that’s way too much money. Last year I knit him an amazing cashmere scarf and he loved it, but I can’t be a one trick pony. AAAAAHHHHH!

Aaron

Hi Susan,

If you can swing the cost of the 250G, that’s great, but the 4G should be fine to start with. If they need more hard drive space later down the road they can upgrade their hard drive later (on their own).

Your son is going to go nuts!

:)

AC

Bristol Belle

What great insights! I’m in awe of such a brilliant list and can imagine my man would be thrilled by just about anything here. I’ve just ordered Sports Night and am checking out if I can get the Embassy pen shipped to the UK. Thanks you so much!

Susan

Yes, I am going to score B.I.G. thanks to you, AC … I have the last 2 years and he believes his Mom knows what’s going on (will never divulge my secret source). haha.

S
Happy Holidays to you & yours!

amy

WOW! What a great list. It is so comprehensive. I feel like there is really something on it for everyone. WELL DONE!

Aaron

Hi Grace,

About the internet TV on the Wii – I actually haven’t tried it, but I am aware that there are some features that will let you do that. I know you can use it to stream Netflix (as well as on the Xbox & PS3).

Short answer is you CAN do it, but it won’t be the same, or as robust of an option, as the Roku.

Good luck!
AC

jess

thanks for another years worth of awesome gift ideas and humor! I wanted to back up the comment about From Hell—the movie is indeed mediocre at best, but the novel is pretty amazing. Eddie Campbell (the illustrator) has a beautiful style.

megaroo

I clicked on one of the adventure links and got the boyfriend a day of Zip-lining in East Texas!!! I am SOOOOO getting girlfriend points! Thanks A.C.!! You saved me!

Cricket

I once bought my boyfriend a class to get his scuba diving certification and he loved it.

AMY

These are great ideas, BUT what about guys who are tech retarted like my husband??

kristina

I always LOVE AC’s posts, most of all I love the pictures of you two. I keep coming back just to see that picture of you guys.

Torey

AC, the best things about your gift guides is that they help a girl understand how men think. Based on your recommendation last year I got a dreadfully boring financial book (Too Big to Fail) for my husband. Well let me just say that book was the big hit of the holiday. He LOVED it. Who knew?

verhext

Ha, my husband would LOVE if I got him a cute plaid bow tie and leather satchel for xmas (as Kelly said), but bummed about most things on this list. Oops. I like a lot of them, though.

Eric Comstock

I think this is an awesome list. There is one more gift idea I would add and that would be a Jack Spade Computer Field Bag. I just got one and I absolutely love it. It’s perfect for carrying around Macbook Pro.

Janet

Thanks so much AC. Now it’s hard because some of the stuff I was debating on – is one here – so that didn’t narrow it down. But overall great.

Question about Kindle? It’s not compatible with free ebooks from many libraries correct? A nook or a sony ereader would be a better idea (if that is of interest to you)

Lauren

Every year I pick something from AC’s guide with success! This year I did my shopping before the guide… but still managed to buy 2 things he recommended- Netflix subscription and the Thinksound headphones! I think I’m finally getting the hang of this! My husband still talks about how great the Beer of the Month club was.

Aaron

Hi Janet,

From what I understand, you are correct about the Kindle’s compatibility with Free eBooks from libraries. I don’t get eBooks from the library so I’m not certain how that works (although it sounds pretty cool).

However, there is a very large number of eBooks available for the Kindle online at no charge.

But if that is a concern then yes, the Nook or the Sony would be a good choice.

Good luck!

MK

This has seriously saved my butt. I’ve been searching online nonstop for ‘gift guides’ and they were all lame. This is perfect, many thanks! (PS, I’m signing the bf up for GameFly, he’ll love it!)

hrhkat

Great ideas grace and martha!!! I actually brought up the idea of us going on a weekend hiking getaway. We live in santa barbara, and there is many beautiful places to go hiking here. I was thinking about a book, but I think a dvd would be better. I love royal tenenbaums but its not terribly romantic haha. The idea for the merino socks is actually probably something he would love, He did say how he wanted socks, but every time someone asks for socks I almost feel like they are bullsh**ing me lol. I think I will do all three, socks, dvd and hiking trip with packed lunch….I would do the mix tape, but he is picky with his euro dance music and I would be terrible at finding something he liked considering I love to dance to hip hop. Great ideas! this is why I come to design sponge, because I know I can always squeeze out valuable information! thanks!

Laurissa

I think you’re in trouble for next year AC, there won’t be anything left to give.

meg

As the lucky wife of a homebrewer, a BIG thanks for including a real home brew kit, not the worthless Mr. Beer.

To those who think the GPS on the phone is just as good, consider this: the GPS never goes into roam. I live on a country’s border; drive 5 minutes and I’m out of the service area and into very expensive data roaming. Plus the GPS comes with the nice suction cup thing to stick it to your windshield.

Pip

Thanks for that link to the shaving gear in a previous gift guide!
I think fancy shaving stuff looks good in a bathroom too.
The e-readers are really awesome presents. And can be conveniently shared.
My boyfriend is a hard-core book person, and this certainly would be handy, and save alot of shelf space and money from buying books that are only read once.
Great for reading e-comics too and magazines (as mentioned in the article).
Very nice and practical for travelling, commuting, loungeing.
Hmm….I wonder if its good to keep in the bathroom….just a thought.

sam

i just wanted to thank you for this amazing gift guide. i just purchased the remote control and the pacific boxset for my husband for his birthday (on the 26th!).

db

amazing – i want all these gadgets for myself (husband can use them too!)
great list!!!

amy

Thanks for a great guide. I am interested in getting that Heavy Rain PS3 game for my husband. He does not, however, have the PS3 Move. But, it’s something I know he would love. Any words of wisdom on what I need to buy. Thanks in advance.

Aaron

Hi Amy,

He doesn’t need the PS3 move – the game came out before it existed. I think all that label means is that it’s compatible with it. Either way, nothing to worry about. Good luck with the gift! It’s an amazing game – read more here: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/106/1067755p1.html

Happy holidays!
AC

Leezabit

Re: GPS vs Smartfone

For those of us who have reached the age (ugh) requiring reading glasses, seeing the print/graphics on smartfone screen is nearly impossible without grabbing those nasty reading glasses (which can be a real pain while driving). Getthe GPS!

Zak

as a budding musician, those marshall headphones are look great. Where can you get these

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