i have no idea why, but men are just impossible for me to choose gifts for. every year, i spend at least twice as much time picking out gifts for the men in my life as i do the women. i'm not sure if they're really that tough, or if it's just that venus/mars thing, but i get a little sick of buying the standard cologne, tie or golf paraphernalia. so this year, i'm getting out of the rut.
one thing i know for sure is that the way to a man's heart is undoubtedly through his stomach. enter the custom chip & dip kit from route 11. for just $33, you can choose four bags of chips and two dips, and they'll arrive at his door fresh and ready for devouring in front of the televion during all of those christmas day football games. plus, you can choose crazy, boy-friendly flavors like habanero and dill pickle, or cheesy bacon dip (my hubs is totally drooling right now if he's reading this).
another surefire success is alcohol - i don't think there's a guy in the world that would turn down a six-pack. i love the idea of picking up his favorite spirit, and tying this keychain flask to the bottle...especially since the flask is only $20, leaving you plenty of room to splurge on that 21-year-old glenlivet.
the man bag is a tricky business - you want something functional, and probably semi-professional looking, but it has to be unquestionably masculine. this version by serious sporting goods designer filson is rugged but tailored, incredibly well-designed (think solid brass hardware, double layers of waterproof canvas on the bottom, and leather trim made from the same stuff they use for horse bridles), and will be a great lightweight option, since it's primarily canvas. and, since it's coming from a company that designs hunting and fishing gear, no worries about the "it's too metro" argument.
i love using gift-giving holidays as an excuse to equip the men in my life with things i think they should have. some might call it selfish, but i love it when people buy me things i'd never be able to justify buying myself. this 'bottoms up' hoodie by loomstate is a classic example. loomstate uses the most amazingly soft organic cotton, and this is a piece that will be a weekend staple for him for years to come - but i don't know any guy that would spend $170 on a hoodie, no matter how much time i spend giving them the 'cost per wear' argument. plus, really: wouldn't you rather borrow this than that threadbare fleece pullover he's had since 1983?
or, if he's past the hoodie stage of life, consider a classic cashmere sweater - i can't say enough good things about the cashmere from vince, and this v-neck style is classic enough to work for just about any guy.
watches always feel like a great gift idea, until you get to the counter at the department store, where you're promptly overwhelmed by the options. the truth is, i've tried a few times, and i've never been right yet. but if you have a guy on your list that's on the hip side of square, i think this teak watch by nixon is about as cool as it gets. plus, it's available from our friends at active endeavors, who give shoppingsmycardio readers that lovely 20% discount with code 'cardio', making this watch come in comfortably under $200.
if you're buying for a guy that's more geek than chic, the new ipod nano with video is probably the most obvious choice. i have to admit - they're pretty dang cool. i like the product RED version, but i'm guessing most true blue geeks are going to go for the plain silver model. but if you're looking for something a little more off the beaten path, i love these star wars USB flash drives from urban outfitters. they come packed with wallpaper, film trailers and clips from the movies - and he'll be the coolest guy in the computer lab when he's saving things to a storm trooper.
and if none of this fits the bill, aren't the boys always telling us that the godfather is the greatest movie of all time? even if they're dead wrong, this brand new annotated script is the ultimate guide to the ultimate guy movie. with stills, trivia, behind-the-scenes details plus a full script, he'll be doing his best brando impression well after new year's. pair it with the DVD box set, and this is one gift guaranteed to make you little miss popularity.