The fiancee peered over my shoulder one night the other week and commented - why do the girls get a friend-shopping gift guide? I navigated over to the ‘For The Boys‘ post, packed with fifteen incredible gift ideas for guys, and he shook his head, stating they were clearly geared toward ladies buying for their men. I wrung my hands a few times and lamented – do guys really buy other guys stuff? Well, I guess for one thing, guys will buy their dads and their actual brothers gifts. And in some cases, they might also pick up a gift for their brothers from other mothers (said in the most anglo-voice possible), particularly if say, your girlfriend or wife is exchanging gifts with another couple, the male counterpart you happen to be pals with as well. Anyway. It all boiled down to him also pointing out guys sort of kind of maybe get the short shrift on this blog…admittedly the majority of my gift ideas are geared toward my fellow gals, and thus I conceded that maybe it would be worth it to create the dude-oriented counterpart to my ‘One Is Silver & The Other’s Gold’ post of yesteryear (last week). So here it is. 15 MORE gift ideas for guys, all under the $50 mark, all guy-approved. And if all else fails – buy him a six-pack of his favourite brew.
For the King of the Grill: Tabasco Spice Caddy – $34.50
If he starts drooling at the idea of rack of hot sauce-glazed ribs, he’ll dig this metal caddy containing seven flavours of the world’s most legendary hot sauce. From the original spicy pepper to more mild fare like garlic or sweet & spicy, he’ll have all the fixin’s to make his very own finger-lickin’, tongue-burnin’ meal.
For the Grand Gamer: The Walking Dead on XBox 360 & PS3 – $29.95
Over the last few months I’ve had the privilege of playing this episodic video game alongside my fiancee, inspired by Robert Kirkman’s wildly popular graphic novel and television series of the same name. The story is actually a prequel to the action of the Rick Grimes gang, wherein you play a convicted criminal named Lee that awakens to a forgotten, zombie-infested world. After earning rave, rave reviews by hardcore gamers and novices (like myself) as the ‘episodes’ were released for download, this storytelling-based game where every decision impacts future outcomes is finally available as one complete game on PS3 or XBox 360. Whether he’s a Walking Dead fan or simply a video gamer, he will absolutely flip out for this stunningly rendered, amazingly moving game.
Famous Canadians Scarf – $40 @ North Star
It’s a guessing game and a super-cozy, Canadian-made winterwear accessory in one. This acrylic scarf features the names of some of our most famous compatriots from all walks of life, including sports, entertainment, politics, and humanitarians. Available in both black and gold and grey and white, it’s a cool slice of Canadian that also rocks as a conversation starter with the ladies.
For The Desk Jockey: George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight Bobblehead – $24.99 @ The CBC Shop
Who doesn’t love Strombo? It’s rare that a pseudo-newscaster (particularly in Canada) can unite the masses, but how else can you explain the fact most of us can actually spell (never mind pronounce) The CBC’s earnest-yet-quick late night talk show host’s last name without missing a beat? If your bro is a big fan of The CBC’s signature lifestyle show, then he’ll dig this quirky bobblehead featuring Strombo in one of the ultra-recognizable red chairs that dominate the set. Gift it to your coworker for a Secret Santa choice – but make sure you order before December 17th to guarantee holiday delivery!
For The Hipper-Than-Thou: Shut Up & Play The Hits – $22.99 on DVD @HMV
Get ready for a whole lot of hipster in one neat little multi-disc package. This documentary zeroes in on popular indie-dance group LCD Soundsystem in their final days, including their farewell Madison Square Garden Concert last year. Aside from pulling back the curtain on a still much-lauded industry, this three-disc set also includes interviews with frontman James Murphy and hipster / music writer extraordinaire, Chuck Klosterman. A total must for your brother that always has the edge on the new music out there.
For The Cartoon Hero: Building Stories by Chris Ware – $36.30 @ Indigo.ca
They’ve got 3D movies, so why not a 3D reading experience? Enter Chris Ware’s fantastical build-your-own graphic novel in-a-box about the residents of an apartment building in Chicago. As you piece together the elements, the story unfolds across 260 pages and 14 individual pieces. It’s an abstract yet involved way of storytelling that is utterly different from anything you’ve ever read, or done before. It’ll capture the attention of your sixteen-year-old comic-book-reading nephew and fifty-five-year-old nostalgia lover alike.
For The World-Weary Traveler: Dopp Kits – $45 each @ Izola
These military-inspired totes are perfect for packing up all of his manly essentials – from shaving cream to deodorant – in a heavy-duty cotton canvas wrapper. With water-resistant lining, a sturdy zipper, and a vintage feel, this is the kind of thing that doesn’t feel too ‘light’ to gift to a fellow guy, nor will it go unused. If he’s a mighty traveler, he’ll appreciate the thought and pack it up as soon as it’s unwrapped.
For The Leader of the Band: Pick Punch – $24.95
If he’s the one to bust out an acoustic guitar by the bonfire or invite you over for a jam session, he’ll definitely think this gift rocks. Use the Pick Punch to cut old pieces of plastic (and other materials) down into perfectly-formed picks to strum along with. You can also splurge on the accessories that make this any music lover’s new creative outlet, including sanding blocks to get the edges nice and smooth, starter packs of materials, and stamps to put a custom touch on your pick.
For The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up: Unofficial Lego Taxidermy Kits – $28 each @ David Cole Gift Shop
I know many a guy who still has a hankering for Lego – which in and of itself has made an impressive showing on topping various toy lists this holiday season – so indulge his inner man-child with one of these quirky ‘taxidermy’ kits available in deer head, fox, and bear finishes. Despite the perspective of these photos, these 60-ish piece kits actually create relatively small pieces that can fit in the palm of your hand, making them a swell addition to his man cave once he’s done constructing his masterpiece.
For The Winter Warrior: Shared History Provincial Toques – $24 each @ Drake General Store
Retro-flavoured toques like these 70s-inspired toppers are the type of thing guys will glance at on one another, give a cheery mittened high-five too, and ultimately respect. Designed right here in Canada, snap up one of four designs to keep your head nice and warm whether you’re hitting the slopes, fishing on the lake, or even just digging out the driveway.
For The Text Addict: Juice Pack Reserve – $35 @ Mophie
If he panics at the site of a red battery bar on his mobile, then this is the red gift to cure his fears. Lightweight, compact, and easy to string onto your keychain, this juice pack is designed to boost up your iPhone or iPod charge on the go. Of course, it’s rechargeable – simply plug it into a USB port to always have the power you need, when you need it.
For The Pop Culture Historian: The John Lennon Letters – $32.99 (List)
If he appreciates the classics, he’ll dive right into this new title, featuring personal letters written by the entrancing Beatlessinger to his family, friends, and lovers. Each of the 300+ scraps of paper reveal insight to who this man was behind his immense fame, as contextualized by editor Hunter Davies. I have to say, if you saw the biopic Nowhere Boy a few years ago and were curious to learn more about that side of Lennon, the human side, this is a really good place to start. It works great for older boy-gifters too: if you’re a baby boomer searching for a gift for your music-loving brother, this is an ace choice.
For The Party Boy: Set of 4 Canada Shot Glasses – $9.99 @ The Bay
Like I said at the outset, when in doubt, opt for a six-pack of beer – or a bottle of his favourite liquor, alongside this patriotic set of shot glasses. The Bay has been rolling out some pretty fantastic national pride paraphernalia since they landed the Olympics contract a few years back, and these glasses are right up there. The retro vibe and clean style align for a perfect party-starting bar accessory.
For The Darkest Knights: The Dark Knight Trilogy on Blu-Ray – $37.99 @ Future Shop
Few, if any, guys haven’t taken in Christopher Nolan’s masterfully dark and majorly lauded take on Batman, which spanned three films, eight years, and one very heady performance by Christian Bale as the caped crusader. Now all three of them are available in one limited-edition gift set on Blu-Ray or DVD. Bask in Gotham City at its finest (or worst, depending on how you look at it) and marvel at the unique flavour of each film. He’s already got it on his wish list, so why not buy it for him?
For The Aw Shucks Square: Home Root Beer Brewing Kit – $24.99 @ Amazon.ca
Sure you’ve sampled your buddy’s home brew, bathtub liquor, or puckering wine, but what about upping the taste level by gifting him with a fool-proof, alcohol-free brew kit instead? Go for a shot of retro flavour and fun with this Root Beer Brewing Kit – containing all the ingredients and tools you’ll need to concoct multiple bottles of the good stuff. A cool choice for your hipster buddy that rarely drinks but wants to get in on the brewing action, or for your underage little brother.
There you have it! Upon further discussion and an informal survey among my peoples, it should be said that guys buying guys gifts is a somewhat rare thing, in part because it’s just so damn painful to find something that doesn’t feel too femme, costs too much, or is too hard to track down. Luckily, these gifts all strike the cord between cool factor and caring, and at a great price point. And they were vetted by the fiancee – so you know they’re awesome. Best of all, I’ve got a sweet prize to gift out to a lucky bro (or his ladybro) that have hopefully found inspiration in this post: you could win a Strombo Bobblehead!
1) Leave a comment by December 19th with your favourite bro gift featured in this list!
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around December 20th to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Like The CBC Shop on Facebook to stay in touch with all the latest Canadiana store updates, and leave a comment (you’re not under obligation to mention the CGG).