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Relief Is Here! Our Official Boomer Dad Gift Guide From A Beloved (And Trusted) Source, Jess’ Dad

From Jess: I thought I’d give you all a holiday gift this year…one more Les Bunge post! When I asked him if he had time to write a gift guide he graciously said, “No problem, gotta keep my fans happy.” LOL and eye roll. So I hope this post will bring you a fraction of the joy it brings him:) I’d also like to state for the record that HE got all of us those matching outfits. Ok, enjoy!

The older you get the harder it is buying gifts because you’ve been buying for roughly the same people over and over. How many scarves, sweaters, wallets, gloves, ties, or socks can you buy someone? It’s a problem to be sure. An editor at Emily Henderson Design was wondering if I might share my thoughts about this dilemma we all experience around the holidays for the older men in your life and I do not say no to this particular editor (not ever in her lifetime). Years ago I admired some new technology on a miter saw in front of my family. I didn’t want it I already had two perfectly fine mitre saws. Nevertheless, on Christmas morning there was this huge box and in it, that miter saw. I gave an Oscar-winning performance of excitement. I learned a good lesson that day. Know your person and truly listen to them. And I mean LISTEN, it has helped my gift-giving immensely. 

My favorite gifts on the receiving end did one of a few things. It made me look better (or younger), it made me feel better, it made my life easier, or it was just frickin cool. So let me see if I can’t come up with a few ideas that fit that bill. 

Palma Derby | Costa Mid Top Sneaker | ‘Federico’ Oxford

What items make me look better? Well, I’m a shoe guy. I am partial to Italian-made men’s shoes. Those Italian fellas seem to like soft leather in a very stylish design. Though I am not Italian you wouldn’t know when looking at my feet when I’m spending a night on the town. I am also very good at women’s shoes. I thank being in the womb with my twin sister for that. I have bought many women’s shoes as a gift. My wife, my girlfriends, my friend’s wives. Funny, at birthday parties not one man in the room got it when the presents were opened. Every woman in the room, however, did. Now that made me look better to a whole lot of women. It also got me invited to a lot of birthday parties. HA! Paul Green and Freda Salvador shoes were the most comfortable. Mercedes Castillo and Manolo Blahnik were the most stylish. Christian Louboutins are the sexiest (at least to me). I do not know how many male readers there are at EHD but that information is for you. Take note! Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack have an ample supply.

Back to the men, Magnanni makes some very fashionable dress shoes (all the shoes above). I say dress shoes as if I wear them only when I’m out on the town. To be truthful I wear them as everyday wear. They break in quickly and are quite comfortable. People have told me often that they always admire the shoes I wear. I don’t even notice because it is a habit of mine. But I gotta admit I like the attention. Sandro Moscoloni shoes are probably the softest leather of any of my shoes. The comfort they afford me does not take away from the style content. They look great. Again, people notice. Once upon a time in my life, a quite attractive woman told me that her mother always said a man with nice shoes is always worth a second look. Never forgot that. Ha!

Army Green Crocs

Before I leave the shoe department let me tell you a story. Recently, I was given a pair of Crocs. I said at some point in my life, “Never and I mean never would I wear Crocs”. But, as to not hurt someone’s feelings I put them on and went to the store. Did they make me look better? No (but maybe). Did they make me feel younger? No (but maybe). Did they make my life easier? NO (but maybe). Were they frickin’ cool? NO (but maybe). Do I see my confused state? Yes. They were not uncomfortable. They are easy on and off. They come in real handy for quick trips to the market or to and from the hot tub or garden. I could live with the army green color of my first pair. Wait, did I say first pair? Yikes. I guess I’m not in opposition to them any longer. Geez, even old dogs can learn something new.

Neat Diamond Cotton Pocket Square | The Blane Blue Polka Dot Pocket Square | The Chase Gingham Pocket Square

I am also a pocket square guy. I have found many all over this planet. I have found vintage ones in second-hand stores. One was actually a map of the USA. I have a Howdy Doody pocket square, not to mention a Roy Rogers one. When I buy new there is a company in Los Angeles called PSC (Pocket Square Clothing) they have a unique and fashionable outlook on the pocket square. I like their clothes also. Can’t go wrong there. 

Rice Bow Tie | English Satin Point Bow Tie

What makes me feel better? Well, frankly, when I get complimented on my attire. I own a few bow ties with matching pocket squares made of goose feathers. I have one black one and one white one. I have never worn either of them without a multitude of compliments. They are quite extraordinary. They are handmade by a company in South Carolina called Brackish. I am gonna get a colorful one this holiday season. It’s amazing how many different colors they come in. And, though I’ve mentioned it before, I always get complimented on any kilt I may be wearing from Utilikilt. They are a Seattle-based company. Just love them. 

The Classic Straight Leg Jeans – Joe’s | Blake Slim Straight Jean – Hudson

Also, let me say a sure winner every time is a pair of jeans. Usually, old men like me find a brand that we prefer and buy nothing else. That’s certainly true for me. I wear two brands. One is Hudson and the other is Joe’s. Both are available at Nordstrom. The Joe’s brand is more of my everyday wear. They fit a little looser and are easier to work in while still looking fashionable enough. The Hudson brand fits a little slimmer and seems a little dressier. I wear the “Blake” in the Hudson brand. They fit me well (my butt looks pretty good in them). Both brands have a stretch waist (best invention ever). There is nothing worse for me than going into a clothing store and trying on jeans for hours. I’m sure that is why most men find one or two brands and stick with them. Find out what your guy likes. Also, find out what you like them in. Sometimes that’s enough to get us to change. If you tell us we look great we cannot resist (compliments will get you everywhere).

Revive Shoe

Wait, another shoe I found that I thought was really cool. One of my female clients was wearing a pair of shoes that were quite attractive on her. Seeing that I’m a shoe guy I had to inquire. They are from Kane Footwear. They sort of resemble Crocs because of the holes but are anything but. I can say that because I bought a pair for myself. They are comfortable. They give you great support which I need because I walk a lot. Plus they look great. Gotta admit I feel kinda hip in them( don’t worry it will be short-lived ). Ha!

Second Day Hair Cream

There’s another product that I’ve been using for 15 years that helps me look my best. It’s called Second Day. It is a hair cream made by Unite. I am lucky to have a full head of hair (thanks, Dad) but when I wake up it’s pretty scary and all over the place. Second Day takes care of that. Also, my hair is rather thin so it helps that issue too. Nothing worse than looking like one of the Monkees pop group at 73. Yikes!

Wood Magnifying Glass | Gold Magnifying Glass

Most things that make my life easier are also pretty frickin’ cool. So this is a twofer. I have a paintbrush magnifying glass by Cyan Design. It’s not only coolio but unfortunately helps me immensely (getting old is a full-time job). It was one of the best gifts I have ever gotten.

Pantry Wooden Bread Bow

I also own a bread-slicing knife by Farm Pottery. After getting used to a baguette a day living in Paris earlier this year, it comes in real handy. I’m still doing a baguette a day. Found a great bakery in Sonoma called Baker and Cook. Back when I used to frequent bars regularly I would walk in and my drink would be waiting for me. Now, I walk into a bakery and my baguette is waiting for me. Don’t know if that’s good or bad.

Herb Harvest Strip Tool

I also just came across an herb stripper made by Bare Bones. It’s a simple gadget but saves time in the kitchen. Shockingly, I have gotten into gardening…sort of. Must admit there is something about having your hands in the dirt that I didn’t understand before. Amazing!

Garden Hose and Holder

Because of that, I bought a cool garden hose and a hose holder from Garden Glory. Mine is called “Night Rider Kit “. It’s kinda expensive but really good looking on the front of my house.

my girl, babe.

Dog Puffer Jacket

If you have a dog in your life (I have a new one, Babe!) Blueberry Pet actually makes a puffer jacket for dogs. Who knew?

two of my other girls, martini and olive (since they lay olive-colored eggs)! they’re best friends

Chicken Feed

If you have chickens in your life (I have five, yikes again!) I got a subscription for chicken feed from a company called Grubbly Farms. It’s easy and shows up every month. Quality is unmatched.

my airstream, dorthea.

Frigidaire Stainless Steel Ice Maker

If one of your recipients owns an RV, there is a tabletop ice maker that is great. There are many brands. I have a Frigidaire. I own an Airstream and would always have to buy bags of ice when I got to the campsite. Not anymore, the first thing I do is plug in the ice maker. All set for the duration. It’s really nice to have. Also, when I have dinner parties or the like I’ll set it up on the patio with the drinks so people can serve themselves. Really cool and makes my life easier. Yay!

Boxer Briefs

Now, not to get too personal but all men need underwear (with the exception of the Scottish regiment). Boxer briefs are the best invention of the modern man’s wardrobe. How we did without them is beyond me. I have tried several different brands over the years. The winner is the Calvin Klein. They are soft and silky feeling. They provide great support and really last. They sort of make you look like an athletic type also. Who doesn’t like looking like a jock? Even an old man like me.

I hope I was able to give you some ideas. I’ve always been of the opinion that “outside the box “ is always better than “dull in the box“. 

Krazy Klean Toilet Cleaner

Before I go I would like to give you all a gift, I live in a part of the country with hard water. One of my issues was always having a ring around my toilet bowl. I found myself cleaning that thing almost daily. If I had guests in my home I knew when they used my facilities they thought they were in a gas station on Route 66. It was annoying. I then stumbled on a product called “Krazy Klean“. I think I saw the ad on TikTok. Here was this person who said she hadn’t cleaned her toilet in a year. Really!? I got suckered in and ordered some. The instructions say you must clean the bowl thoroughly with a pumice stone. Then you drop this cartridge in the tank and you’re done. I did that six months ago and have not touched my sparkling toilet since. It is amazing. Who knew that I could get excited about a toilet bowl cleaner? Certainly not I.

Plant Paper Toliet Paper

And, as long as we’re in the powder room let me tell you about another product. I was at my niece’s wedding. Upon using their restroom I noticed the toilet paper was different than the usual. It was beige in color and had a different and soft texture. When I left the venue the next morning I went into their gift shop to see if they sold the bathrobes that were in the rooms. I liked the burnt orange color and I could use the robe at my hot tub. I then noticed that they also sold the toilet paper by the box so I bought both. When I got home I googled the brand “Plant Paper“. The website explains a lot of things I didn’t know about toilet paper. I was sold on this ecologically and environmentally safe product. I promise you, you’ll like these two bathroom products. 

I didn’t mean to end this gift guide in the crapper it just sort of happened. I hope it was ok. 

me a few weeks ago in the blue lagoon!

One more thing, don’t forget about you. I went to Iceland recently to witness the Northern Lights,  Merry Christmas to me. So do something nice for yourself. You are the one person that you can buy for and not need a gift receipt. Ha!

during a bunges’ christmas card shoot circa 2014. never not explaining the very important facts of life to them. ha.

 I hope all of you have a fruitful and satisfying Holiday Season.

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2 months ago

A Les Bunge post is always a gift in and of itself!

2 months ago

This is quite the special trove of information. I started off pinning some of the unique recommendations for family members and dear friends, and then segued to pinning useful items for myself. God bless Les!

2 months ago

The garden hose holder is a cool idea. I love the antler design!

2 months ago

Bravo! You’ve entertained and been helpful all at once again!

2 months ago

What a guy that Les! Some great ideas here from a way cool dadio.

2 months ago

What a hoot! Such unique gifts, sprinkled with Dad life advice. Glad he’s an invited contributor I imagine a cup of coffee with Les would be an experience in itself.

2 months ago

This was amazingly helpful! I have two pairs of shoes in a cart as well as the pumice stone (I saw someone clean their oven with a pumice stone and I think it being on a stick would be helpful : ). Much thanks to Les!

2 months ago

The best!! Loved it.

2 months ago

An enjoyable read!

2 months ago

Always love a Les post! Love the pocket square sources, too. I actually use them as handkerchiefs, and would love to pick up a few new ones for my dad. Along with that bread bow!

2 months ago

Merry Christmas Bunges!

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago

Two words – Love Les!
Brilliant as usual. 🏯

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

The emoji was a Christmas tree it landed as z Chinese pavillion?🤣

Jen A
2 months ago

It feels like Christmas today getting a blog post from #THELESBUNGE. What a treat. I have bought from your recommendations in the past and I will again now. Also, “I didn’t mean to end this gift guide in the crapper” – literally spit out my coffee when I got to that. Going to be smiling to myself all day laughing about it. Thank you for taking the time to write this and for putting so much of yourself into it. Lastly, you don’t need products to make you look cool. You are, inherently, cool already. Very, very cool.

2 months ago

We love Les! 👏👏👏 Who wouldn’t want their man to look like that?!

E E Deere
2 months ago

Best gift guide ever! Les is charming.

2 months ago

What a journey he took us on with the Crocs!! 😂
Love a Les post.

2 months ago
Reply to  Anna


2 months ago

This was one of the best gift guides I’ve ever seen, thank you for keeping it real 🙂 I think the countertop ice maker is genius! Happy Holidays!

2 months ago

Please do a post on your Iceland itinerary. I’ve been wanting to do the same thing.

2 months ago

This was such a delight and full of good ideas! More Les!

2 months ago

I mean, seriously, can anyone else even imagine having a dad as cool and fun as Les Bunge?

2 months ago

omg he is the cutest.

2 months ago

The best guide yet! So many cool and unexpected ideas – and what a treat to read.

2 months ago

These are my favorite posts! I just love your dad’s earnestness and humor, Jess. You’re so lucky.

2 months ago

I’m sooo down with the toilet bowl cleaner. Sign. Me. Up.

2 months ago

What an absolute delight!

2 months ago

Les Bunge is the coolest.

2 months ago

He’s a national treasure. Thanks for all the insights, Les!

2 months ago

Jess had promised me that we were going to hear from Les this week. Is there anyone reading this blog that wouldn’t want to put Les on their party invitation list ?
As usual he was informative and humorous.
I would love to know more about Babe and the chickens!!
Again, thank you Les for coming thru for us
and letting us know what presents would be appreciated by men in our lives. I do want that toilet
cleaner for myself!!!

2 months ago

Hi Jess-Gosh I love your Dad! He really is living his best life, and he’s pretty cool! 🙂 I want to give that Iceland trip as a gift to myself in the hopefully near future! It’s a MUST SEE/MUST DO bucket list thing! 🙂

2 months ago

Can Les be a regular contributor? I would love his takes on just about anything!! A man of style and substance! I think his tastes are too $$ for my budget but everything he listed is probably is exactly what my father would want!

Elizabeth Sims
2 months ago

The bread bow is the perfect gift for my partner, and didn’t even know they exist!! Thanks, Les!!

Mary Rachel
2 months ago

Hooray for more Les… a gift in and of itself! Excellent ideas along with being thoughtful and fun to read (as always). Putting magnifying paint brushes in cart now! 🙂

2 months ago

Les, you are trulio coolio.

2 months ago

Wow I’ve seen hundreds of gift guides in my day, but this one was actually GOOD and helpful! Thanks so much!

2 months ago

Hello Twin Brother
Very good story 💕💕Always

Sarah F
1 month ago

Fun writing 😊 Is it weird I want to use some of these things? Like toilet cleaner and hose holder.

1 month ago

Had me smiling already at “No problem, gotta keep my fans happy.”

1 month ago

Yay! I love a Les post, and lots of great ideas in here too. Thanks!

1 month ago

Lol Jess I hope our dads were at the blue lagoon the same day.

1 month ago

oh man, several great recommendations here and you can’t beat Les’s writing style. love these!! thanks

1 month ago

A post from Les Bunge is always a present in its own right!