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21 Gift Ideas For The Man In Your Life (From Brian Henderson Himself)

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: How We Decked Our Halls For Christmas

I’ve been asked to make a gift guide this year, which is funny because I blatantly use Emily’s gift guides anytime I need to buy her something. Like every time. So now the tables have turned! It may not sound very romantic to use a gift guide for ideas, that maybe I should surprise her with something. Well, let me take you back to New York when we were in our 20s and I got her what I thought was a really great sapphire necklace, but in reality was a basic, needlessly expensive thing that was totally not her style at all. She was super gracious and said she loved it, but later admitted that it wasn’t really the best purchase. Now repeat that story for like four birthdays, and anniversaries. It took me a long time to learn my lesson. It’s not like she didn’t love the gifts, she loved that I put so much effort and thought into them, and she let me down gently, but I learned that I should just ask her for ideas rather than spend money on something that isn’t going to work. I have no sense of women’s fashion! Or home decor! Why am I acting like she’ll love this new thing I found when she probably saw it like two years ago? It’s an unrealistic expectation.

I always wished there was a way for me to read her mind and see what she really wants, and then, voila. The gift guides were invented and my life got much, much easier. I wish every husband had them, it would save a lot of stress.

So, while this isn’t a direct wishlist for Emily to shop from, it’s a bunch of things that I think are cool and maybe you could ask the guy you’re shopping for if he thinks they’re cool, too. You can always surprise him with a sapphire necklace, and maybe he’s dying for a sapphire necklace, but it might be good to get a little guidance.

Emily Henderson Briangg Products Copy

1. Crosley Nomad Portable USB Turntable, $130: I know I’m super late to this party, but I really want to get back into records. I heard an interview with Neil Young that convinced me that all the compression that goes into digital music is killing the depth of the sound. So this record player is here to help. It looks cool and is small enough to move out of pictures when Emily needs to shoot the latest, new credenza.

2. Grateful Dead “Dick’s Pick Vol 8” 5-LP Box Set, $140: And what better record to kick things off than one by my favorite band of all time. Have you heard the joke “What did the Deadhead at the concert say when his drugs wore off? “This band sucks!” Funny. I was told that one too many times in my life, but I’m still a fan, even though all my drugs have worn off.

3. 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Compact Drill/ Driver with Battery, Charger and Tool Bag, $99: I always wish that I were more like my friend Mike Kurtz. He’s super handy and super confident using all sorts of tools. He’s the guy we call to help build raised garden beds, or built-in bed frames. So when Mike Kurtz tells you that a brushless drill will save your life, you listen. I don’t even know what brushless means, but when I tried his drill, I felt like a god. So now I want one.

4. Cuisinart Glass Coffee Center, $365: We need this. Most nights I set a timer like an old dad, so we have a full carafe in the morning. But a lot of times I just want one cup in the afternoon, so this could do both!

5. Dublin Platinum Double Old Fashioned Glasses, Set of 4, $60: I think it’s time I had my own cocktail glasses. Don’t get me wrong, I love Emily’s taste in glasses, but when I have a Bushmills this Christmas, I don’t want to worry that the glass will break if I sneeze while holding it. I looked for a long time for a design I liked, and I’m sure there are better ones, but these ones seem unique enough without treading into “douche” territory.

6. BrewArt BrewFlow Beer Dispensing System with Kegging, $500: I’ve always wanted cold beer on tap at home. How cool would that be? To have a pint of draft beer whenever you want one? We were actually going to install one when we first renovated our house, but somehow it mysteriously got left out of the final plans. Hmmm… Well, now I can have a portable one! Yes, I’m a little worried that it would be too tempting to just constantly have a tap calling my name, but I can exercise restraint. Or maybe I could lock it in a gun safe or something.

7. JBL Clip 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, $40: Doughboys, The Oath, Dax Shepard, Off Book, The Daily… I listen to all these podcasts in the shower. It’s like having friends talk to you while you’re nude, it’s great. But as of now, I’m forced to tenuously balance my phone on the windowsill, crank up the volume, and pray that I don’t knock it off while scrubbing my armpits. But with this little clip on guy, I can flail around all I want and still have my friends in the shower with me!

8. Ceramic Car Coating: For the guy who has a vintage car, or just hates paying for car washes, I recommend ceramic coating. It allows you to just wipe off dirt and water spots, and it blocks UV so the paint will stop fading.

9. The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches, $19 and Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book, $13: There are few things I love more in this world than a good sandwich. I will travel a good 45 minutes out of my way to get a great Reuben or Italian sub. But it’s so hard to get the recipe right for something so simple. I mean it’s just meat, cheese and bread right?  I can make a pretty great sandy, but I could always use some help. Maybe someday, between the two of us, Emily and I, will open a Soup & Sandwich restaurant!

10. Katz’s Seasonal Subscription, $450: And of all the sandwiches that I’ve had, the corned beef Reuben at Katz in NYC is still my favorite. It’s literally the first place I go whenever I’m in town. But LOOK!! You can get a year-long subscription delivered to LA! I can make my own delicious sandwiches all year long! But seriously, Emily, LOOK!!

Emily Henderson Brian Gg Fashion 1

1. Levi’s Type III Sherpa Lined Denim Jacket, $129: Did you guys know that we got a vintage Chevy truck for my 40th bday? It’s like my third child, I love it so much, and my wife is amazing for indulging my mid-life crisis. But I need help living up to how badass it is, so this will make me look badderasser. I’ve been in love with sherpa jackets ever since Jordan Catalano wore one in “My So-Called Life.” I tried to copy his style back then, and I’ll keep doing it until I’m an old man. Catalano Fo Lyfe!

2. Vintage 1992 Grateful Dead Kind To Your Mind Tour T-Shirt, $139: Are you sensing a theme? Every guy loves a vintage T-shirt of their favorite band.

3. Skull & Rose Socks, $18: Socks. They’re so hot right now.

4. Reversible Bonding Jacket, $268: I feel like guys get hosed in the “in-between” department for jackets. They’re either lightweight or super heavy. A nice middleweight jacket is a secret weapon. I like this soft jacket. Or maybe I just like the guy wearing it. I mean, look at him! Yowza!

5. Bellroy Hide and Seek Wallet, $90: I’ve been accused of having a “Costanza” wallet that makes me lean to one side when I’m sitting because it’s so big. This would help. Although, I bet you that within a few months, I’ll have collected enough random cards to shove in this thing that it’ll become a Costanza, too.

6. Signature Zip Lined Hoodie in Bering Sea Heather, $120: I always need a good new hoodie. This one is a good mix of young dad, with a little skater/surfer in there. As long as it’s as soft as it looks, I am sold. That’s the hard thing about shopping online, you can’t feel the fabric. But this one looks super cozy.

7. Hanes Men’s 4 Pack Slim V-Neck T-Shirt, $21: Every guy looks good in a classic white V-neck. Trust me. I used to hate my hairy chest, I was self-conscious about it, so I was a “tight-neck-T-shirt” guy. But around 30, I said screw it and let that chest hair fly! And I think it made me feel more confident and comfortable. That’s a lot of psychology for a shirt. Sorry.

8. Nike Challenger Running Short, $40: Now these are for the post-New Year guilt workouts. And they’re controversial ’cause they’re kinda short, but I have to say, can we put an end to guys running in workout shorts that are so big and long that they almost trip on them? Hey dudes, you got nice thighs, let’s see them a ‘lil bit. Don’t be afraid. A 7-inch workout short is the perfect size, not super baggy, but not short enough to risk a popper-outer.

9. Men’s Jeffery Fashion Boot, $45: Every guy needs a good pair of boots for the winter, even if he’s “not a boot guy” you should just force him to try it, because it instantly makes you feel tougher and cooler. I’m actually wearing these boots as I’m typing this, and I feel pretty tough and cool, they’re legit. And I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on them. And no, I’m not promoting Target because Emily works for them, I’m doing it because it’s crazy that they’ve made boots that look like $300 for only $45. Trust me. Get these, they’re dope.

10. Mustache Wax, $10 and The Hand Made Pocket Comb for Beard and Mustache, $8: Did your husband grow a big gross mustache for Movember? I have a huge, disgusting mustache right now, and it’s kind of becoming a thing. But I can’t trim it because of a play that I’m acting in. So I use this wax to keep it in check. And a little comb. Otherwise, I literally chew on it at meals.

11. Orbit Glasses, 40: This one’s more for Emily than me. The amount of time she’s spent watching me look for my glasses in our house is astounding. And the amount of new curse words I’ve made up while looking for said glasses is also flarking astounding. There’s nothing more frustrating. So until I get Lasik, I think we should try this out. Oh, I’ll just be going to put that right on my gift guide—I think it would be awesome to be given Lasik for a Christmas present. But also terrifying. Please don’t write any horror stories in the comments, I’m already terrified.

And there you have it. Hopefully, this gave you some ideas on what to get the men in your life and if not, go for the sapphire necklace, I guess.


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3 years ago

Hopefully, this gave you some ideas on what to get the men in your life and if not, go for the sapphire necklace, I guess. <-This one. Wish there was an affiliate link so you could get credit for it. ?

3 years ago

My carwash place does the ceramic coating – too fancy for my kia, but they had some fliers about ceramic coating for home finishes (glass shower doors, counters, etc). I would love to know if anyone has tried this, and if it’s worth it?

3 years ago

This is a great guide! And those Old Fashioned glasses are on sale right now btw!

3 years ago

FWIW, I bought my husband the same/similar drill a few years ago and he tells me how much he loves it every time he uses it. (Which is a lot… he’s a handy guy).

Kat L
3 years ago
Reply to  Erin

I got my husband one last year – also a handy dude – and it’s probably his favorite tool. And maybe his favorite gift I’ve ever given him! He has a nice full size drill but it’s heavy and can’t get in to tight spaces. And with two drills, he can now have two bits going at the same time – no annoying switching bits back and forth in the one drill. All of that to say that even if the handy person in your life has a large drill, don’t think they can’t use or don’t want a small one!

3 years ago

O. EM. Geeeeee! Emily Henderson is married to a Dead Head and a mustachioed thespian. Lucky lucky gal!

3 years ago

This is a great list, Brian. My husband loves those Faherty jackets, they are really high quality.

Speaking of high quality… I hope you already own Grateful Dead Cornell ’77 box set! If not, you should add it to your list!

3 years ago
Reply to  Meredith

Brian!!! ….This is a killer list! Thank You. But you really stole my heart with Dick’s Pick Volume 8. ❤️!!! Crazy Good!

3 years ago

Great list!!! My favourite was the Levi’s jacket and the reference to “My so called Life” lol

3 years ago

Laughed out loud multiple times, you’re a hoot!

3 years ago

I loved this, so funny! I can attest that the Marine Layer hoodie is as amazingly soft as it looks. My husband splurged on one several years ago. He then lost it and missed it so much I ponied up for a new one for his birthday.

3 years ago

Brian, some ladies really, really, love hairy chests.

3 years ago

I laughed so many times reading this. Friends that talk to you while you’re nude, badderasser, flarking (yay for making up words!)…love it! Thanks for a great list and the laughs..

3 years ago

I just read the list for the writing. It’s very excellent.

3 years ago

Ha, I particularly love how you’ve described Mike’s advice, and, of course, Jordan Catalano FTW ?

3 years ago

Brian Henderson is a deadhead?!?! As if we needed another reason to love you even more Brian!! You’re just missing the bottle of red whiskey from the list 😉

3 years ago

Flarking is my new word; I’m going to use it all the flarking time from now on. And GREAT list from an actual Guy Dad. More Brian!

3 years ago

Brian’s commentary is so good! I couldn’t stop laughing. We definitely need from him!

3 years ago

I’ve learned I have a few things on common with Mr Henderson.

We both are deadheads.
We both listen to Armchair Expert podcast in the shower.
We are funny.

Cris S.
3 years ago

I took a bite right as I read the words “popper-outer” and almost choked to death. Off to send this list to my husband to see if anything resonates…

3 years ago

Your living room is gorgeous! What color is your beautiful white walls?

Jeffrey C
3 years ago

Emily, you never need to worry about Brian’s status as a straight man based on these selections lol. So readers, if the man in your life is gay, I can safely say about half of these are winners and you might skip the rest.

3 years ago

It makes me so happy to know you married a Dead head. Love all of his picks.

3 years ago

Great gift guide, and I have to admit that the denim jacket is pretty cool, but I will forever be thankful that my husband decided to forego the midlife Chrysler for our adopted daughter (We adopted her at just about your age). She is our fourth child.