What does holiday season-prep look like in 2020? Find the most stylish cards. Prepare your brain for awkward, socially-distanced office Zoom bashes. Match your kippah to your face mask! And do scope out the best gift guides when shopping for the people you care about. Chances are, that includes a man or two.
But does a gift guide for Men™ look like in 2020? The gender binary has never been bendier in e-tailer shopping, thank goddess. So, at the risk of gendering a power drill that’s just trying to live, I decided to ask a bunch of choice dudes one simple question: what are the best gifts you’ve received?
The following men are entrepreneurs, artists, and parents; soccer fans, stoners, fashion junkies — you name it. Some had a few recs, but most had an admittedly hard time recalling material presents past. In the category of intangibles, “Life…thanks, mom” was a stand-out, as was, "My surprise 21st Bday. Best gift, because that memory will be with me forever." Aw.
Make what you will of that bite-sized Pew study. Personally, I found the men's emphasis on #feels, instead of the material, to be reassuring. Keep that in mind as you pour over the following gadgets and gizmos — because it really is the thought that counts. That, and cool-as-hell pocket synthesizers.
Tiki Double Old Fashioned Glass Set
Who it's for: Aryan is a comedian with a love of all things retro. "My best gift recently has to be from my roommate," he says, "They got me a set of Golden Girls tiki mugs and it's amazing." Bar cart swag is a classic move for holiday presents, and this glass tiki-ware set is a chic take on the kitsch classic.
Libbey Tiki Double Old Fashioned Glass Set, $, available at Amazon
Who it's for: Scott is a tech-savvy musician who is always in-the-know on cool gadgets. Like pocket synthesizers. "The retro-style ones look cool," he says, "but this one is a way better gift." Not only does it have multiple real synthesizer engines and a wavetable, but it also has FM, subtractive synthesis, and physically modeled strings.
Teenage Engineering Teenage Engineering PO-14 Pocket Operator Sub Bass Synt, $, available at Amazon
Hand Delivered Flowers
Who it's for: David is a filmmaker with a sweeping imagination and appreciation for life's aesthetic joys. "As a man, (even a gay one) I don’t ever get flowers," he says, "My friend Sherise sent me some for my birthday. She lives in Spain so getting live flowers from her (even though they were obviously through a local vendor) felt like the distance was cut between us."
Urban Stems The Prism, $, available at Urban Stems
L'ombre dans L'eau Eau de Toilette
Who it's for: Nathanael is a Paris-based artist and model with a wonderfully eclectic wardrobe. That he suggested this Diptyque fragrance makes so much sense — it's layered with a dynamic array of scents, like rose petals, fruit trees, and blackcurrant.
Diptyque L'ombre dans L'eau Eau de Toilette 1.7 oz., $, available at Bloomingdale's
Fanny Pack with Bluetooth Speaker
Who it's for: Varun is the owner of cutting-edge supper club Turk's Inn, in NYC, which means he's a very busy bee. "I can bike and bop at the same time," he said of the musical fanny he was gifted, "and it's an essential beach companion."
Sandstrom Fanny Pack with Bluetooth Speaker, $, available at Amazon
Who it's for: John is the founder of Visiting Aid (a very cool simplified caregiver portal), as well as the man behind the aforementioned 21st B-Day quote — and frankly, there's never not a great time to be gifted a cake. John's had his face on it, but the culinary legends of NYC's Milk Bar bakery are also experts at whipping up unique confections.
Milk Bar Birthday Cake, $, available at Milk Bar
Who it's for: Mike, a musician who loves two things: Jerry Garcia, and posting really good memes at 2:00 a.m. He says this artisanal, all-ceramic bong is the best gift he's ever received because "it rules" (which is shorthand for, "the quality is excellent; it's lead-free and even the grommet is high-grade silicone"). Shoppers can also can pay it off in increments, which is appreciated.
Summerland Chongo, $, available at Summerland
Vibrating Penis Ring
Who it's for: Christopher is a whip-smart marketing student with an open-mind, and a great sense of humor. I gifted him this vibrating penis ring a few weeks ago, and was so happy when he said it's one his standout gifts. "It's really good!!"
Satisfyer Satisfyer Rocket Ring, $, available at Adam and Eve
Who it's for: Matthew
gave his close-minded job the middle finger is going through a career transition (like so many of us during Covid-19) and is taking time to figure out what he really wants to do – so his husband gifted him painting supplies. "I really liked that gift," he says, "It shows that he listens to me when I talk about my interests, and bought something he thought would help me pursue my creativity."
Falling in Art Falling in Art Beechwood Tabletop Easel Set, $, available at Amazon
Who it's for: Mikhail is a lowkey furniture designer and avid soccer fan. He's also a Pisces, which is why the following statement makes so much sense. "I had an ex-girlfriend who always bought me stuff from my favorite soccer team. She got me a scarf one year and it was amazing."
WaveOfVintageScarves Arsenal Scarf, $, available at Etsy
Indoor Hydroponic Garden
Who it's for: Mohammed is a very nurturing godparent to my cat, and a very logic-minded dude. So it makes sense that he'd cite this hydroponic garden, gifted to him by his fiancé, as one of the best gifts he's received.
AeroGarden AeroGarden White Harvest Indoor Hydroponic Garden, $, available at Amazon
USB Flash Drive (with Personalized Messages)
Who it's for: Paul is an experimental electronic musician, and one of my most detail-oriented pals. 'The best gift I ever received," he says, "was probably a USB flash drive that contained voice messages from my friends and relatives (my GF knew that I have a thing for collecting audio recordings)."
PicturesOnWoodLV Glass USB Flash Drive, $, available at Etsy
Who it's for: Jakob is a budding photographer in Malaysia who says one of the best gifts he's ever received was a Mamiya M645 from his wife – an essential tool for exploring his creativity. Find a used one online!
Mamiya Mamiya M645, $, available at eBay
Wireless ANC Earbuds
Who it's for: Dylan is an actor, activist, and avid biker. He says his sister gifted him a pair of wireless ANC earbuds, which is great when you're constantly on-the-go.
Cleer Wireless ANC Earbuds, $, available at QVC
Vintage Lone Star Beer T-Shirt
Who it's for: Kevin is a psychedelic country musician who comes from a family of Texas ranchers. "My wife, Sherry, got me a vintage Lone Star Beer shirt," he says about one of the best gifts he's ever gotten. Check out shops like eBay and Etsy to find a vintage piece with character.
Beerhistorythreads Lone Star Beer Work Shirt, $, available at Etsy
Moleskine Photo Book
Who it's for: Andrew is a fine woodworker who appreciates good craft, so it makes sense that he brings up this Moleskine photo album, gifted to him by his girlfriend. The iconic brand was beloved by Hemingway and Picasso alike, and now it's collaborated with MILK to create online, customizable photo books.
Moleskin + MILK Moleskine Photo Book, $, available at MILK
Who it's for: DAD! AKA Ernie. As a 73-yr-old dude who loves gardening and carpentry, he says something as simple as this kneeling pad "was one of the best gifts I've gotten. I have one for inside and outside work."
TOUA Kneeling Pad, $, available at Amazon
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