Gifts for Men: My Favorite Things

by Michael on November 27, 2010 · 0 comments

The season for gift-giving is here, with “Cyber Monday” around the corner. Later I’ll be offering some tips and gifts to help you to buy for that new girlfriend or crush…but first, I want to help you with some ideas for you, or a buddy, or a male relative. Or perhaps you’re a woman who’s wandered in here and needs some help with a holiday present for the boyfriend. Manly gifts, you get the idea.

The way I’m going to go about it this year is to borrow a page from Oprah’s book and offer my favorite things. It’s the stuff I’d want for Christmas, if I didn’t already have it. Every testimonial is unbiased and based on my true experience. The links are to the product pages at Amazon, and I do get a small amount of money when you buy there. (So please do.)

Kodak Zi8 Video Camera

Kodak Zi8 video camera

About two months ago I treated myself to a Kodak Zi8 pocket video camera, and so far my only disappointment is that I didn’t get one sooner. If you’ve been looking at Flip cameras, this is Kodak’s version but with the added features of an SD card slot for removable/extra storage, and a mic input for superior audio. The Kodak also sports video stabilization (beware of a video camera that doesn’t), and a large viewing screen for its size and price.

Since getting this little beauty, I’ve been videoing everything in sight: sporting events, parties, and I’ve even been acting as cat paparazzi. In fact, I’ll be bringing you some video posts right here, courtesy of this little gem.

Wool Overcoat

BGSD 3/4-Length Cashmere Blend Coat

I’ve gone over the 6 items of clothing every man should own, and if you’re missing one or two, it could be the rare occasion when clothing is acceptable as a holiday gift. Even better, drop some heavy hints that you’ve got your eye on a kick-ass overcoat.

Once the weather turns cold, I turn to my black wool walking coat [another pre-Christmas sell-out—here’s the similar BGSD Three Quarter Length Cashmere Blend Coat] to keep me warm and resist light moisture. A walking coat runs to about the knee and will give you a more sophisticated look. If you want to stay casual, go for a classic pea coat like this one.

Iron Gym

Iron Gym pull-up bar

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: value for money, the Iron Gym is the best piece of fitness equipment I own. If you have a standard-size door with a standard molding above it, pull-ups with an Iron Gym will help you to mold your body. It’s also useful for push-ups, giving you a hand grip and a bit more range of motion. Read my full Iron Gym review for more of what it does and doesn’t do well.

Best of all, it’s cheap: the basic Iron Gym can be had for under $30, and the “Xtreme Edition” Iron Gym was $38 last time I looked. That would be a “stocking stuffer” price, if you could fit it into a stocking.

Every Man Jack Grooming Kit

Every Man Jack Products

[Note: Amazon seems to have sold through their entire stock of Every Man Jack grooming kits. Instead I recommend The Art of Shaving 4 Elements of The Perfect Shave Starter Kit, or choose from the entire line of Every Man Jack products here.] I’ve had the pleasure to sample a few Every Man Jack products, including their face lotion, shave gel and body wash, and they’re all not only superior products, but the Every Man Jack line is made without a lot of the more questionable ingredients out there, like sodium laureth sulfate and phthalates. There are scented and unscented versions of most of their products. I have a particular soft spot for their shave gel—and that soft spot is my beard.

The perfect introduction to Every Man Jack might be the Every Man Jack Beginner’s Luck Kit, which includes shave gel, body wash, face lotion, body bar and face scrub along with a dopp kit for travel. They’re available from Amazon in citrus and signature mint. If you’d rather sample their stuff a la carte and in person, you can find a full line of their products at Target, which should give you a clue about their value.

Apple iPhone

Apple iPhone 4

Oprah declared the iPad her all-time “favorite thing,” and I hope to be getting one myself at some point, but until then, my number-one favorite is the device that started the revolution in mobile phones, the iPhone. Yes, there are other options, like the hundreds of Android phones, but few offer the sheer simplicity of an Apple device. In addition, there are so many more apps for the iPhone, from versions of the latest console video games to business apps and navigation programs.

My iPhone has bailed me out on many occasions, provided all the directions and info I needed on vacation in Kauai (did you know Hawaii has almost 100% 3G coverage?), saved me from boredom with news and articles, and has been the go-to for movie-night choices. If you don’t want or need a phone but want most of the other features, you might consider an iPod Touch—in fact, you can use Face Time video chat with wi-fi on the Touch, bypassing the cell providers entirely!

What are your favorite things? If I get enough, I might compile another list of reader picks.

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