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Brian’s “Cool Dad” Gift Guide: All The Things He’s Been Marketed, Bought, And Actually Really Loves

Here’s a fun fact about us dads (well a lot of us) – We hate shopping, but we love having cool stuff. We want to look good and have all the dope new clothes, but we refuse to go to a mall, or a boutique, or actually like, shop for stuff. We either rely on our spouses to pick stuff up for us like giant toddlers, or we just keep wearing the same thing we’ve worn for the past five years. Annoying right?

Well, lucky for us, the internet has gotten really smart and brought the mall to us. Every other post on my Instagram feed is some hot dude in a fitted jacket doing some cool outdoorsy activity. And it works! Yeah, it’s a violation of our privacy, and yeah it’s creepy to have a company look at all my browsing data, but damn I really want to look like that surfer dude who’s buttoning up his shirt while he puts his longboard away on his vintage Land Cruiser.

I’m kind of a sucker for the ads, but not all of them are winners. So I’ve put together my list of purchases that have actually proven to be winners, so you can spoil your giant toddler this holiday season.


Everyday Jacket

This one is a little pricey, but I haven’t taken it off since I got it. And I get a ton of compliments on it, which is a rare thing for dudes.

Tie Dye Beanie

I snagged this tie dye beanie and really love it. But honestly, the Parks Project has a ton of cool gear and the proceeds go to a good cause!

Tie Dye Socks

Speaking of tie dye, I like to show a little personality in my sock game, so I got these and will never go back from buying Bombas socks. They’re super comfy and have a little elastic that goes around the middle of your foot that makes them fit like a glove.

Puffer Vest

Emily had to really push for me to wear a vest. I never thought I was a vest guy, but turns out… I am. I like the throwback vibes of this two-tone vest.

Button Up Blanket Shirt

Big fan of blanket shirts. I mean, it’s a shirt made of a blanket. And this grey can match all the grey popping into my beard these days.

Weatherproof Jacket

For anyone in a rainy or snowy climate, this is a really great waterproof jacket that looks better than most.


I’m still a sucker for some Target deals. I have five pairs of these slim-fit chinos and I love them. See above photo for proof.


Also this is a really nice cardigan from Target.

And here are some more from my favorite boutique:

Sherpa Denim Jacket

Long Sleeve Crewneck T-Shirt


Every guy needs a good pair of boots to feel cooler than everyone else.


But don’t tell anyone that you can get a much cheaper version that still look good, it’s my little secret:

Boxer Briefs

A soft pair of comfy undies are always welcome.

Overnight Bag

And you can put it all in here for a night away.


Now for some quick hits for non-clothing stuff!

Bluetooth Turntable

I’m obsessed with this turntable. It’s great-looking, sustainably made, and it has Bluetooth so you can set it up on wireless speakers!

And store the vinyl here:

Wood Vinyl Records Storage

They are simple, work perfectly, and Emily likes them.

from: how i fell In love with cooking, and a man named matty matheson + four of his recipes reviewed

As some of you know, I’m obsessed with the chef Matty Matheson (check out this post for proof), and make his butter-basted steak recipe when I want to show off to friends. These two items are must-haves for getting rave reviews.


Le Creuset Skillet


And then to work off all the butter, I hit my bag. This is, no joke, the best purchase I’ve made in the past like, ten years. I was never into boxing, I’d either go for runs or drive to the gym, but the instructors and classes on FightCamp are insanely good and insanely fast. I was hooked within my first week. Great for busy days, or if you work from home – 20 minutes with Tommy Duquette are like an hour at the gym, I look like I’ve jumped in a pool with my clothes on. It may be a dude-bro thing, but an actual boxer yelling at me through an iPad makes me think I’m in Rocky. There are Bluetooth trackers in the gloves so you can count your punches and track your progress. Literally replaced a gym membership with this setup. It’s the best.

Hope this helps and that you can feel a little more confident (and less stressed) about getting your dad, your dude, a dude in your life a give this year.

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Our Scandinavian (And Easy, Mess-Free) Holiday Living Room Reveal + How I Finally Figured Out My Biggest Styling Problem… And Solved It

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2 years ago

These are great recs. I see why it’s hard to buy for my guy (40) now, though, after reading your post. He has ZERO interest in being or looking cool. In fact, I think if I mentioned casually, “hey, these are cool” he would decide to not buy it. Gah!

Annie K.
2 years ago
Reply to  Lauren

My partner’s the same! And maybe worse? I’ve taken to giving away things from our home for his gifts, and he loves that.

The one success I’ve had in the last couple years was getting him a map from Raven Maps (along with wooden hangers). They’re beautiful and detailed, and the teeny tiny writing makes it fun to search out particular towns. Highly recommend! And Emily, they’re in Oregon!

2 years ago
Reply to  Annie K.

Annie K., you’re a genius, madam! I will be giving away/regifting/getting rid of things in our house for the bulk of my husband’s Christmas gifts. So simple, yet brilliant! And kills two birds with one stone. Thank you!

2 years ago

Great list, Brian!

If you need a warm and comfy BATHROBE to lounge in, guys love our wool/cotton blend robe:

And we also have men’s WINTER SCARVES that’d go great with the jackets on your list:

Happy holidays!

2 years ago

Brian Hendo! You are cool, for real! 💥
I like all.the.things. Many are priced out of my reality, but they’re easy on the eyeballs, useful and sick (in a good way). Clearly the cool style runs in your little family, coz each and every item is stylish, earthy and collected. I just made a tie-dyed purchase too, so I’m glad to see your beanie and socks.😍

Cris S.
2 years ago

Legos. There are very few men that don’t turn into thrilled little boys when they get a box of Legos. And the great thing is the company has expanded their offerings so that if someone is into cars, they have cool cars, if they are into architecture, they have cool buildings to build. Star Wars? Check. Guitars or other musical instruments? Check. TV Shows? The Beatles? Harry Potter? Gaming? Check, check, check and check. Outside of Legos, guitars, books on Legos or Guitars, and a shirt, in our house the gift that goes over best is a cash gift card. My husband hoards them and then buys… Legos or Guitars.

Roberta Davis
2 years ago

Do you have anything for guys who don’t like to shop AND don’t like to look stylish? lol Lots of nice ideas here. Love the record rack!

2 years ago

Tie dye beanie reminded me of something I thought I’d throw in here. Clothing company called “Chnge” has tie dye beanies as well + the most ethically produced stuff I’ve ever seen + also sustainable + completely transparent + proceeds go to various good causes (again, fully transparent) + huge range of sizes in their clothing (I believe up to 4XL in most things).

2 years ago

I am super tempted by that weekend leather bag but scared of the leather. A decade ago I got him a cool leather briefcase he’s never used because it’s just too damn heavy. Is there a cool canvas/fabric weekender? He’s been using my Vera Bradley and would probably appreciate this as a gift. Or is this leather magically light?

2 years ago
Reply to  Victoria

Leather briefcases are so surprisingly heavy. We’ve definitely made that mistake in the past, too.

2 years ago
Reply to  Victoria

I bought my husband a couple bags from Filson and they’ve held up well. First I got him a messenger bag and then when he was on crutches last winter, I got him a backpack. Both are great quality with simple lines. I also have a Timbuk2 overnight back that is fantastic but it’s like 10 years old so I don’t know if they make it anymore.

Annie K.
2 years ago
Reply to  Victoria

My very picky husband loves his Fjalraven duffel. He’s had it for a couple years now and it’s doing good – lightweight and attractive!

2 years ago

Things I would actually buy! Brian, please do a stocking stuffer list so I don’t have to do any thinking this year.

Alexina Alonso
2 years ago

I have been so hoping you would write this!!! 🎉🎉🎉

2 years ago

Finally- a list of items my husband (and newly graduated from college son- he loves Howler Brothers!) would like. Thank you!

2 years ago

this list is sooo helpful! it’s so hard to buy for my guy (40) who says he wants nothing and needs nothing. i disagree. he needs new shoes, and that spellbinder parka and those target boots are IT. thanks brian hendo!

2 years ago

The bro-ness of this post wafted right through my computer screen ffs.