The Art of Manliness Manly Holiday Gift Guide

by Brett & Kate McKay on December 8, 2008 · 36 comments

in Gift Guides, Travel & Leisure

This holiday gift guide contains manly gift ideas for men and boys. When selecting the items to be included, we didn’t want to re-create the typical men’s holiday gift guide full of digital cameras and video games. Those sorts of lists are a dime a dozen, and the items on those lists only last a year before you have to upgrade. We wanted to create a list full of manly, quality items that will last a lifetime. They’re the sort of things that you’d find in your grandfather’s house as a boy. We’ve selected gifts from every price range, so whether you’re a poor college student or a well-off CEO, you’ll find something to suit your budget. And we’ve provided links to where you can get additional information about an item. Do your research and call around to local stores to find the best deal.

And now for the list.

Gifts for Men

Men are notoriously hard to shop for. You can’t just buy body lotion or scented candles and call it good. And no man wants a bunch of crap that’s just going to gather dust in the basement. Men want stuff they will actually use, things that make like easier and more enjoyable. If you’re buying a holiday gift for a brother, father, or friend, hopefully you will find something on this list that they will love. If you’re a guy who’s sick of your wife buying you ties with Tabasco designs, perhaps you can print off the list and highlight some of your favorites.

For the Traveling Man

The Dopp Kit

The toiletry bag of millions of GI’s during World War II, it’s still an essential item for every man. A Dopp kit holds a man’s toiletries when he’s off on adventures and exploring the world.


Manly Suitcase or Man Bag from the Saddleback Leather Company

If you’re looking for a leather man bag or suitcase, there’s no better place to buy one than the Saddleback Leather company. Exquisitely manly and built to last, these babies carry a 100-year warranty. It’s a bag your brother will be proud to carry with him, a bag his descendants will fight over when he’s dead. It’s a gift a grown man will be giddy to see under the tree.


Field Notes

While on the road, a man needs something on which to write down their observations and experiences. A journal can be too big and the back of napkins are just too small. Enter Field Notes. Inspired by vintage agricultural memo books, these 3.5 inch by 5.5 inch notebooks are large enough to capture all your thoughts but small enough to keep in your back pocket. They’re like Moleskine’s more rugged and adventurous younger brother.


For the Armchair Historian

Archival Photographs

Many man apartments are Spartan affairs, devoid of too much decoration. Help your buddy spruce up their place with a cool photograph to hang on the wall. The New York Times offers reprints of very cool vintage photographs. The photographs are exhibition quality, printed on archival paper, and come with your choice of frame and mat.


Manly Historical Gift Baskets

Full of jams, soaps, and foo foo crackers, gift baskets aren’t typically very manly. But these gift baskets from Circa History break the mold. Offered on a variety of themes, from the Founding Fathers to World War II, the baskets dispense with the fruit and nuts and are instead packed with things like vintage book ends, DVD’s, mugs, photographs, and meaty books.


The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt’s life is an instruction manual on manliness. In Edmund Morris’ book, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, we see TR overcome adversity after adversity in order to become a paragon of manliness. Read about TR kicking his childhood sickness’s butt and then heading out West to become a rancher in the Dakotas. Finally, read about how Roosevelt set himself up to become the man who ushered in the modern U.S. Presidency.


For the Well-Groomed Man

Kent Men’s Military Bristle Brush

In business since 1777, GB Kent & Sons Ltd is one of the few hairbrush manufacturers left in the United Kingdom. Their brushes are known for their high quality materials and craftsmanship. During WWI, Kent made hundreds of thousands of brushes for the British Office of War to be included in every GI’s grooming kit. Now that’s a manly brush.


Merkur Safety Razor

Are your friends or brothers still shaving with some 8-bladed money sucking contraption? Help them discover the lost art of safety razor shaving. Hook them up with a nice safety razor, or a bowl and shaving cream brush. If your friend is already wisely shaving with a safety razor, buy him some quality, manly shaving cream.

Razor: $55

Badger Hair Shaving Brush

A brush helps hydrate the shaving cream in order to form a thick, rich shaving lather. Using a brush to lather up helps get the shaving cream up under each whisker which results in better, smoother shaves. Plus, it just feels nice on your face to lather up with a brush. Brushes are made either of badger hair or boar hair. Get badger hair. The difference between a boar hair shaving brush and a badger hair shaving brush is like the difference between ground sirloin and a filet mignon.


Shaving Cream

Most men lather up using some green goop from a can. These massed produced shaving creams smell like you should be cleaning the floor with them. Share the pleasure of shaving with natural shaving creams and soaps with manly scents like almond or sandalwood. They cost more than the drugstore variety, but last far longer.

For the Well-Dressed Man

A Tailored Suit

It’s not a gift you can surprise a man with; you’ll need his measurements and cooperation, of course. But a tailored suit will give your loved one an immensely useful gift, one he will use for years and years.


Shoe Shine Kit

A shoeshine kit makes the perfect gift; it’s something that no guy thinks to buy, but every guy needs. I have fond memories of my dad bringing out his wooden shoe shine box once a month to shine his boots and our family’s shoes. Buy a quality kit in a manly wooden box that has all the necessary accoutrements to keep your love one’s shoes shining like a sheet of glass.


White Cotton Handkerchiefs

To quote AoM’s fashion guru, Antonio Centeno, “A gentleman should always be ready to help a lady, child, or fellow man in need. Carrying a simple white cotton handkerchief in your back pocket is a habit that’s inexpensive, easy to pick-up, and allows you to come to the rescue in a potentially embarrassing moment. Oh, and the proper response when they thank you is to say, “You’re welcome, and please keep it.”


A Hat

Every man needs a good hat in their wardrobe. A hat can give a man touch of class and sophistication, impart personality, and add an interesting and unique accent to your outfits. If you don’t know what kind of hat to buy your bud or husband, make sure to check out AoM’s handy guide. If you’re looking for a place to buy a hat, go visit your local haberdashery. If you don’t have a haberdashery, try the Village Hat Shop.

Dresser Top Valet

My dad had a dresser top valet and when I was a kid I loved going through it. Full of old watches, tie bars, cuff links, and pocket knives, it was like a treasure chest of manliness. For some reason the dresser valet has gone out of style, but they’re still extremely functional and stylish. If you know a man who is constantly misplacing their keys, cell phone, or watch, a dresser valet can serve as a place to dump all those things so he’ll always know where they are. Newer dresser valets also include the convenience of charging stations for all your electronic gizmos and gadgets.


Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion

Most men these days just follow the latest trends, or pay no attention to their appearance at all. But if you want to be a well-dressed man, you need to focus on creating a wardrobe with classic styles that will never go out of fashion. In Dressing the Man, a man can learn how to mix patterns, what to look for when trying on clothes in the fitting room, what kind of jacket to wear with a straight-point collar, the history of the monk-strap shoe, the correct position for a bow tie, and what “business casual” really means.


The Leisurely Man


Every man needs a pair of shoes they can put on when they come home from a long day of work and kick up their feet in their favorite man chair. Moccasins are the perfect manly house shoe.


Classic Pipe

General MacArthur, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Twain, Gandalf the Wizard. What do all these men have in common? They were pipe smokers. There’s something about a pipe that makes a man look wiser and manlier. Plus pipe smokes smells a heck of a lot better than cigarette smoke. If you know a man who smokes, consider getting them a pipe along with some pipe tobacco.


Newspaper Subscription

A man is going to need something to read while wearing his moccasins and smoking his pipe. How about a daily newspaper? Subscriptions to a newspaper are a fantastic gift; they keep on giving all the year through. Every man should read a daily newspaper. Getting the news from your computer is nice, but there’s something about sitting down to breakfast with the world’s events spread before you. Order the New York Times for a more liberally minded man, the Washington Post for a more conservative guy. If you can’t afford a daily subscription, buy one for just the Sunday edition. They’re so large, there’s enough in that one paper for a man to chew on the rest of the week.

What is a Man?

Give the man in your life 3,000 years worth of manly wisdom. This book contains a collection of poems, essays, and excerpts from great literature about manliness. It’s one of those books you can pick up, flip to any page, and be guaranteed to come away uplifted and edified.


Fountain Pen

The ball point pen has taken the throne of the daily writing instrument of choice, but every man needs a pen for those occasions when a bit of panache is needed. This is where the fountain pen comes in. The nib on a fountain pen allows for more handwriting flourishes. So the next time your dad signs his checks, it will look like he signed the Declaration of Independence. The heftiness of fountain pens also make them very masculine. You might consider getting some books on penmanship along with a fountain pen. Most men these days have atrocious handwriting. Perhaps the fountain pen will inspire him to improve his handwriting for all those thank you notes he’ll be writing after Christmas.


The Outdoorsman

Pocket Compass

If you know a man who spends a great deal of time outdoors, get him a nice pocket compass so he’ll never lose his way. Sure, GPS may be easier and more accurate, but batteries die and satellite connections can be disrupted. That’s when having a compass comes in handy. Get him one that he’ll pass on to his grandkids. You might also consider getting a book on orienteering if your buddy has been out of practice in using a compass.


Flint and Steel Firestarter

Starting a campfire is manly. Starting a campfire without matches is even manlier. Most matches don’t work when wet. Flint and steel will always get a spark even in a downpour. Give this to a man, so they’ll never be caught without a fire to keep them warm at night when they’re reconnecting with Mother Nature.

Fishing Lures

If you know man who enjoys fishing, consider getting him a few of his favorite fishing lures. Many fishermen have their preferences when it comes to lures, so make sure you know what your man likes before you buy anything. If you know someone who fly fishes, get them a fly tying kit.

Lures: $4-$20

Fly tying kit: $70

Cabela’s Big Game Poker Set

This is one manly poker set. Every chip has an image of either a moose or a buck. This is a perfect set to take on a drive in camping trip with the bros. It has everything your friend will need to have a low stakes poker game under the light of a kerosene lantern while smoking a pipe with his friends.


Hunting the American West: The Pursuit of Big Game for Life, Profit, and Sport from 1800-1906

If your man is an avid outdoorsman, he will surely appreciate this book put out by the Boone and Crockett Society (an organization that Theodore Roosevelt founded). Hunting the American West contains an intriguing narrative of the history of hunting in the American West based on primary sources of men who were actually there. The book is also chock full of illustrations and images straight from the 19th Century. It will definitely make any coffee table manlier.


Pocket Knife

Every man should carry a pocketknife. If your loved one has not been initiated into this manly tradition, it’s time to help him along by giving him a quality knife. Don’t go with something with a fork, saw, and pizza cutter. Get something traditional that he’ll be able to carry comfortably in his pocket. We just released our own AoM pocket knife that we’re quite proud of, so check it out!


Svea Stove

This is a piece of classic backpacking equipment. Despite fancier model stoves out there, this one is still a bestseller. Its compact, rugged construction will ensure that your camper will be using this for years to come.



In order to make a fire, a man is going to need wood. Ladies, while your husband won’t be able to fell a full grown oak tree with a hatchet, he will be able to split logs for kindling. It’s small and lightweight. so it’s ideal for all kinds of camping adventures.


Gifts For Boys (or the Boy in You)

Most boys these days ask for electronic gizmos like iPads, cell phones, and video games. The problem with these sorts of things is that they only last about a year. By next Christmas, your son will be bugging you to buy the more expensive upgrade. And they don’t inspire the kind of creativity and imagination that make boyhood playtime so memorable. This list contains timeless toys that can provide your sons and nephews hours of entertainment for years on end. What’s great about several of these toys is that they provide a father/son project with which to bond with your little buddy.

Tomahawk and Throwing Knives

Hatchet and knife throwing were some of my favorite activities at Scout camp. I would literally spend hours trying to perfect my throws. Nurture your son’s inner Davy Crockett with some throwing knives and a tomahawk. Also, if you have no idea about how to throw knives or tomahawks, consider getting an instructional book and/or DVD. This is an awesome activity you and your son can do together.

Daisy 1938 Red Ryder Kit

Every boy wants an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle after they see A Christmas Story. I got mine the Christmas I turned 10, and I never shot my eye out. My friends and I would take our guns out to the fields behind our houses and imagine we were on big game hunts. We didn’t make any kills, though we did stun a few squirrels. Sadly, many over-protective parents would never think to give their son a BB gun. Instead they give them video games that keep their kid cooped up in the stale safety of their house. Don’t be one of those parents. Give the boy the gun, teach him proper safety, and let him go on some adventures.


Fire Truck Pedal Car

Instead of getting your son one of those motorized cars that only requires him to push a pedal to move, get him an old fashioned pedal car that will force him to move those little legs of his and get some exercise. Pedal cars are toys from a bygone era. You might have seen photos of your old man sitting in one on Christmas day when he was kid. This Fire Truck Pedal Car is made of a solid steel frame, so your son and your son’s son will be able to play with it for years. It also just looks cool.


Lincoln Logs

Named after President Abraham Lincoln’s fabled childhood cabin, Lincoln Logs were invented in 1924 by the son of famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The original slogan of the toy was: “Interesting playthings typifying the spirit of America.” Your son can spend hours building small frontier houses or large military forts. Get on the floor with him and give him a lesson about our pioneer forebears while you build together.



Yo-yos make great stocking stuffers. I remember one Christmas as a boy I got a nice cedar yo-yo from a family friend. I really didn’t know how to use it, but my dad busted out his old yo-yo from when he was a boy and showed me how to tie the slip knot around my finger and how to do the basic yo-yo throw. After that, he showed me a few tricks like “walk the dog” and “rock the cradle.” You can find yo-yos at most toy stores for about $4. Get a book of yo-yo tricks to go along with it.


60-Piece Standard Unit Blocks

Let your son’s imagination run wild with a set of plain wooden blocks. Watch him build the highest tower ever constructed by a four-year-old only to “blow it up” using block hand grenades. Because they’re plain wooden blocks you don’t have to worry about plastic chemicals or lead paint.


Books for Boys

Boy Scouts of America : The Official Handbook for Boys (Reprint of Original 1911 Edition)

The modern version of the Boy Scout Handbook has nothing on the original 1911 version. It’s full of outdoor skills every boy should know as well as sections on how to live the good life.


The Dangerous Book For Boys

The Dangerous Book for Boys is all about recapturing Sunday afternoons and long summer days. Its vintage look harks back to a simpler time when boys would actually go outside and play. Your son can learn how to build a treehouse or how to make a periscope. Interwoven between the fun how-tos are information every boy should know, like facts about the moon and history’s greatest battles.


Classic Boy’s Literature

Fill your boy’s head with tales of adventure and danger with a set of classic books. It’s better than him sitting in front of the TV while his brain turns to mush. Make it a part of your evening routine to sit down and read a good book to your son. It will be a memory he’ll cherish for the rest of his life.

$5 each

Now it’s your turn. Got any manly Christmas gift ideas? Share them with us in the comments.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris December 8, 2008 at 9:37 am

Brett, excellent post! A great list of man gift suggestions! Keep up the great work on your site.

2 CoffeeZombie December 8, 2008 at 10:38 am

Ha, the boys section of this list reminds me of when I was younger, my friends and I would find reeds in the woods that were just the right flexibility for us to make bows out of (given some fishing line). We never managed to actually shoot anything, though, since our arrows tended to not have stabilizers…

Regarding the pocket knife, you may want to not get that for a man who travels a lot. I’ve lost a few of pocket knives due to the TSA (at the least they could give you the option of mailing it ahead of your or something…grrr…). Whenever I have one, I get so used to carrying it in my pocket that, as I’m grabbing my keys to go to the airport, I grab it, too. I usually don’t realize it until it’s too late.

3 A. Fischer December 8, 2008 at 10:51 am

$100 for a hatchet is really steep! There is really nothing about an axe or hatchet that needs to cost much over $50. Basically you want a good hickory handle and and a solid high carbon steel head and you have something that you can give to your grandkids.

The Gränsfors Bruks axes are nice but expensive for what they are. I know people buy their log shaping tools more

Having used a couple different axes and hatches in teaching camp craft to kids in Northern Minnesota I prefer:

Snow and Nealley tools from Maine ( I like their Hudson Bay axe the best (24″ handle but if you want a smaller hatchet the Penobscot Bay kindling axe is great at only 18″ both have a 1-3/4lb head). These lighter axes are good for hauling around canoeing or camping but if you want one for the house/shed/barn the 3-1/2 lb single bit axe is great for wood splitting. They also have the benefit of being hand made right in good old Maine, USA.

4 Brett December 8, 2008 at 10:59 am

@A. Fisher-

Thanks for the tip. It was admittedly quite late at night and I was getting rather bleary eyed when I picked the hatchet shown. The Snow and Nealley tools look very nice indeed, and I’m all for finding good stuff made in the US of A.

5 AK December 8, 2008 at 11:04 am

Aw man I want Lincoln Logs…. :(

6 Abraham December 8, 2008 at 11:06 am

If you go with a pipe, here’s the tobacco I’d recommend. It’s mild and tasty–and way cheaper than anything you’ll find at a tobacco shop.

7 Jim December 8, 2008 at 11:18 am

Something that I’ve always wanted is called (I think) a Silent Butler. It’s basically just a chair with an extra piece on the top to hang your coat, and possibly a drawer to hold some items (akin to the dresser top valet above).
Sadly, the only thing I’ve found online that comes close is more like a coat rack than a chair:
Hopefully you get the idea, and perhaps someone could post a better link.

8 Max Elliot Anderson December 8, 2008 at 11:22 am

I grew up as a reluctant reader. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that girls and boys hate to put down. My web site is at and my Books for Boys blog is at

I also have a short story in a new book called LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS, published by Darby Creek Publishing. It’s a Junior Library Guild selection. I’m also featured in an article in the 2009 edition of Children’s Writer Guide.

My other books are all ranked by Accelerated Reader

Max Elliot Anderson

9 Jim December 8, 2008 at 11:31 am

Of course, had I just searched for “chair valet”, I would have found exactly what I was looking for. I guess the term “silent butler” refers to something else entirely.
Here’s a link to the google image search I used:

10 tamara piety December 8, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Great list! On subscriptions might also want to think about The Economist, The Week, The Nation (for the liberal/progressive) or the National Review (conservative), and the Poetry Review (for the artist). Of course Esquire and Vanity Fair remain guilty pleasures of some of the men I know. Also, fyi, good fountain pens can run into the thousands of dollars. But they do make your signature so much more impressive! And all the accessories that go with them are also good – ink cartridges, bottled ink, ink wells, etc. Check out Farney’s in Washington, D.C. for some ideas.

11 Foster Karcha December 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm

A great list for men of all tastes and ages!

I still remember the long hours I spent wondering around with my BB gun.

12 Manic December 8, 2008 at 3:25 pm

I’m getting myself a Harmonica.

Inexpensive and an easy instrument to learn.

Especially when listening to the Blues.

13 Nick December 8, 2008 at 6:09 pm

I really liked “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” so I bought it for my little nephew. However, if the boy is more in the 12+ age bracket, you ought to (read: MUST) get “The American Boy’s Handybook.” It is a classic; an utter paragon of awesomeness. Seriously excellent. It’s part artifact of Americana, part DIY handbook to keep a boy busy throughout the year (it’s organized by season; it goes without saying that this boy spends a great deal of time outdoors) and all manly. Totally worth the investment.

14 Michael December 8, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Pretty good list, although there’s a few omissions. I humbly submit:

A Straight Razor
There’s nothing quite as manly as shaving with a miniature machete except, perhaps, shaving with an actual machete. Sure, it takes a little practice, but well worth the investment. Gives the best shave of a man’s life.

Beard Grooming Kit
For those that don’t like close shaves why not a beard grooming kit? Perfect to keep a man’s facial hair in check.

The Bible
Find a good leather-bound copy of the Bible. Ever wonder where TR got all his manly knowledge from? I can tell you it wasn’t from reading Vanity Fair. For two millenia this book has been the guide for manliness. As that paragon of manliness Theodore Roosevelt himself said, “a thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education”

The Iliad and the Odyssey
The Bible for the Ancient Greeks. Homer’s Achilles is about as tough a man as you could ever get, while Odysseus is the cleverest man. Both epics contain valuable lessons for the modern man one the role of duty and honor, and the dangers of pride that haunts every man.

Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, or other Martial Arts lessons
What better and more manly way to get in shape than by active sparring and violence? The man you know may not have had the time go for the lessons he’s been wanting, but if he gets a gift certificate for them, he just might be guilted into going.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

15 Susan December 8, 2008 at 9:26 pm

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


16 Dan December 8, 2008 at 10:31 pm

I was just looking into a wooden blocks set for one of my sons. Manly men should know how to create things, and blocks are a great way to build your little man’s imagination.

Show me a 4-year-old that can sit in a room and build wooden skyscrapers, and I’ll show you a kid that will be abe to build real ones as a man.

Great post.

17 Umbratikus December 9, 2008 at 6:15 am

Excellent gift list. I just added a few things to my own personal wish list. Where do you find this stuff?

18 Veronica December 9, 2008 at 11:51 am

Great gift guide. Especially the shoe shining kit and the pocket knife. My dad had (has) one just like that, so I have those same memories of him pulling it out and shining his boots. I also agree that every man should carry a pocket knife. The first time my mom asked my boyfriend for his pocket knife to cut something and he replied that he didn’t have one, you would have thought the man had three heads. She just couldn’t believe it, LOL. In her words, “EVERY man should carry a pocket knife!!!”

He got one from her last Christmas.

19 Ida December 9, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Thanks for the gift ideas. I especially liked the yo yo!

20 Scott King December 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm

You guys are number one! I’m so glad it is official that we knife owners are manly men. Every guy needs a knife for Christmas.
Scott King

21 Mike M. December 9, 2008 at 7:09 pm

The Washington Post? Conservative?

Beg pardon, but to any good conservative, the Post is barely fit for lining bird cages. The Washington TIMES is the premier conservative paper in the country.

Now, as to other gifts…

A good flashlight is most helpful. I like the Surefire Executive E2 and Aviator models. A bit expensive, but you’re buying quality.

Flying lessons can be nice, too. Certainly it’s something every man would like to try. Costs around $100-$150 for an introductory flight.

As to pocketknives, I prefer the Victorinox Executive…compact and quite versatile.

P.S. Get the U.S. Naval Institute version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at
It’s the only complete translation.

22 Phil Cucchiarelli December 9, 2008 at 9:17 pm

How about a magazine subscription for Men in training…

23 Chad K December 11, 2008 at 11:34 am

Also for those Vintage Photographs, you can order photos from the US National Archives:

24 Kaity Rose December 11, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Thank you so much for this post! I have been going crazy for the past few weeks trying to find the perfect gift for my boyfriend. This was so helpful. Thanks Brett!

25 DELBERT COVER December 12, 2008 at 8:54 am


26 Dee December 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm

The fountain pen I love. I learned to write using those lovely knibs but the saddleback suitcase at $15 a bag these days- not going to happen, maybe for ship travel but not AA or even Jet blue.

OOh loved the Treasure Island Classics too.

27 Sean December 13, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I have a Saddleback Leather briefcase and cannot say enough good things about it. It is by far the best non-pipe related purchase that I have made in years. I use it everyday and I am quite sure that it will outlast me.

As a pipe smoker and a fountain pen user, I agree that these would be wonderful gifts as well. My only reservation is that I find these items, especially the pipes, to be very personal and like to pick them out myself. Therefore, it might be best to give one that is in a low price range that will serve mainly to open the door to these two hobbies.

28 McLain December 13, 2008 at 4:45 pm

You forgot Power Tools. But depending on the manliness of the reciever, they may already have the basic necessities of tools. So get the tools that no one ever has when you need them. Allen wrench set, edging bits, wood carving set, welding kit, even a new toolbelt is appreciated.
Otherwise great article. Enjoy every one

29 BobSled Bob December 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Find a local shooting range and sign up your young man for a firearm safety class and have him coached to shoot a .22 rifle.

30 Jane December 19, 2008 at 8:34 pm

This will definitely help this Christmas…..I love the Flint and Steel Firestarter!

What about a ‘multi-tool’ like a Leatherman eg: knife, screwdriver, bottle opener all-in-one. Very useful and manly… though I guess not something to take to airports… See their site:

A sharpening stone to go with a knife. My dad always sharpened the kitchen knives himself. Definitely one of the ‘manly arts’.

There are also some books on how to survive in dangerous situations eg: “SAS Essential Survival” eg:

A Winter Driving Course if you live in snowy areas. Some schools have gift certificates. Probably everyone should take a course like that but a man might find it interesting since some of them are conducted on closed circuits. Also a great incentive for a teenage son to improve his driving skills….

For the car, if you live with snow: a portable car booster – about 75$. Ensures you will always be able to start the car in the cold if the battery fails. Plus, a man with one of those will always be able to help others with battery problems….

More for boys (or men with sons, nephews): a book on how to make elaborate paper airplanes. Some have very elaborate and impressive designs. This is definitely a cool part of guy culture.

Kites might also be good for younger boys. What could be more fun than flying a kite with dad or uncle?

Oh, almost forgot:
the specs to build a bike-generator to run your TV (about 50$) . Check out David Butcher’s fabulous site:
(note: ‘Buy Plans’ is on upper left of page)

31 Todd Davison December 23, 2008 at 2:46 pm

That is a great list, very much enjoyed the read. I am a knife maker so it was a great pleasure to see pocket knives on the list. There are a lot of young men these days that do not know the feeling one gets from caring a nice slip joint knife. Something your grandfather probably would of felt naked with out. It is time we got back to teaching and showing our young ones the responsibility of caring and how to care for a knife again. I hope you all have a safe and joyful holiday season. Best Regards.
Todd Davison

32 Angelia Sparrow December 25, 2008 at 10:01 pm

The Boys’ Book of How to Be the Best at Everything has afforded my sons a great deal of pleasure. Everything from how to make a whistle from a blade of grass to how to ride a unicycle.

And I strongly approve all the books. I would include Edgar Rice Burroughs on the list, too. Tarzan or John Carter.

My husband is getting a Dopp kit for his next Christmas.

I definitely recommend the pocketknife. Being on the macho side of female, I carry one and have had need of it half a dozen times in the last two weeks. Everything from a stubborn bit of tape at a gift exchange to a crown-capped bottle to a semi-trailer lift gate that needed some electrical work.

33 Roman January 21, 2009 at 4:56 am

Great post with nice gifts!
I actually got handkerchiefs for Christmas. But now I don’t know what and what not to use them for. Are there any guidelines?

34 tuesday April 20, 2013 at 1:21 am

19 April 2013

…just goes to show how truly timeless your manly gifts for men/boys blog was/is. Excellent suggestions and gifting ideas for young and old alike. I’ve relied on this post on not one, not two, not three.. but four occasions over the last 5 years..(and counting).

Well done and carry on!

35 Danielle December 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I just ordered my husband like 6 things off your different lists. I am so excited!!!!! I cannot wait until Christmas morning. I even got him a gift certificate to fly in a biplane!!!

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