In a society where more is usually better, my gift-giving philosophy is actually one that doesn't rely on large quantities of gifts.
Instead, I think the holidays should be used as an opportunity to give something special to the people on your list, and not just a lot of mediocre somethings thrown into a cart because they were on sale.
And I think the best gifts are the ones that are thoughtful and well-suited to the people receiving them.
From the packaging, complimentary accessories, and thrill of surprise in unwrapping something not seen before, these gifts forge a unique experience for the recipient.
Alternatively, this guide can be used to find a great gift for Number One (hey, we all deserve a little treat this time of year).
I really love the idea of giving a gift that is exactly what someone wants even when they've never heard of it before.
You get to pat yourself on the back when you've selected something that is unique and unexpected, but still a perfect match for the giftee because you know that person so well.
So I've chosen a few unique goods that I think will make awesome and surprising gifts this holiday season.
And as many of you guys are entrepreneurs yourselves, I know you'll appreciate the fact that my choices are made by small companies, crafted with care and passion.
These glasses are amazing!
I wear sunglasses whenever I'm outside, regardless of the season.
But one thing that kind of bugs me is the way some of my heavier pairs start to fatigue my face and make the bridge of my nose ache after a few hours of wear.
The all-bamboo (minus the lenses of course) construction of these glasses makes them incredibly light.
When opening the package, I was actually worried a mistake had been made during shipping and they'd sent me an empty box.
And speaking of the box, even the WoodyGlass packaging is cool!
These sunglasses come in a meticulously crafted bamboo box, complete with a branded drawstring bag and cleaning cloth to ensure they stay crystal clear.
As another fun bonus, the all-bamboo construction means that not only are they comfortable to wear all day, but they also float! So you can rest assured that any boozy days spent on the boat won't result in losing your favorite pair of shades.
I highly recommend the model I got, the Oxford, which reminds me of the classic RayBan Wayfarer (except practically weightless).
Who said getting underwear for Christmas was a bad thing?
Well, maybe it's every 10-year old's holiday nightmare, but I'd be thrilled to find a package from Mr. Berries under my tree!
These boxer briefs are made in the USA and are absolutely fantastic!
Now, this may be a little too much information, but I think you guys will agree with this:
I absolutely hate putting on a great-fitting pair of underwear in the morning only to have them stretch out like a saggy diaper by midday.
This isn't an issue with Mr. Berries. The first time I wore these, I showered and put them on in the morning, went about my day, slept a solid 7 hours, and they were still in perfect shape when I woke up the next morning.
They're also really comfortable and don't ride up like every other brand.
Not to mention they've held up great without losing their shape or wearing thin at the backside despite consistent wear for the last six months.
And if nothing else, with a founder named Steven Morningwood and a motto of “Life takes berries”, they earn extra points for adding humor to the mundane task of buying underwear.
Judging by some of the comments on my Testosterone Series and Cologne Guide, it's clear you guys are aware of the fact that the chemicals found in many grooming products and fragrances can lead to some hormone disruption.
I've had those same concerns and for a long time resorted to making all of my own grooming products.
Now, I'm all for DIY grooming products, but they tend to be messy and time-consuming to make and use.
It's just hard to beat the convenience of buying pre-made products.
But if you're looking for safe, natural products without the fuss, Sam's Natural has your back.
I've had the pleasure of using some of these products recently and can say with full confidence that, although completely natural, they are just as effective as the chemical-based alternatives.
With the deodorant, while I noticed a little more wetness compared to using a typical antiperspirant, I had no body odor whatsoever.
To really put this deodorant to the test, I wore it for a day, showered, reapplied, and then put the same shirt back on to wear for another day.
After 48 hours in the same shirt and using a natural deodorant as my only defense against BO, my shirt was completely odor-free.
The body oil goes on smooth and absorbs extremely quickly with no greasy residue. It leaves behind only the fresh, earthy aroma of bay.
The knuckle wax is a real treat. It's only been cold for a couple weeks, but pumping the heat in my poorly insulated apartment had my hands dry and cracking.
A daily application of this product completely solved that problem.
Get 10% off orders over $20 until 1/31/16 by entering the code IRON&TWEED10 at checkout!
An unfortunate and often overlooked fact about coffee is that it is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet.
That means that our beloved morning brew, when grown conventionally, is laden with pesticides and herbicides.
For that reason, especially if you drink multiple cups (or even pots) of coffee per day like I do, it's important to choose an organic option when possible.
Red Coffee is organically grown by family farmers in Peru at elevations between 4,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level, the optimal altitude for growing the best and most flavorful coffee beans.
After harvest, the coffee is washed, sun-dried, and then roasted to a crowd-pleasing medium roast.
I most often drink this coffee black, but it definitely pairs nicely with cream and sugar (as I've established by stealing the occasional sip of my wife's brew).
I drink 32 oz every morning to prepare for my 6 am workout and then sip on this productivity elixir throughout the day.
Give the gift of gains!
Or keep them for yourself, of course.
If you're looking to make the most of your winter bulk, there's no better legal prohormone available.
In 8 weeks I dropped a couple pounds of body fat, gained a few pounds of muscle, and dramatically improved my strength, all without any side effects.
This is the supplement you want if a quality physique is what you're after.
I know plenty of guys who would appreciate Super Mandro so much more than a cheese and sausage gift set people give when they don't know what to buy you.
Packages and Subscriptions
For many, the process of opening gifts is as much about the experience and excitement as it is about the actual products.
Instead of doing the heavy lifting, you can let the experts at these companies curate a package any guy is going to love.
Did I mention you won't have to mess around with gift wrap, tissue paper, or bows?
I've written about Bespoke Post in the past and my opinion stands unchanged – these guys rock!
You can select just one box or opt for a subscription and give the gift of awesome monthly deliveries.
If it were my one and only job to come up with themed gift boxes, I would come up with pretty much the same ones they offer.
There's something for everyone, including packages to assist with crafting cocktails, grooming, and upgrading your wardrobe.
My newest box from Bespoke Post, called Frost, included a pair of cashmere-lined, touchscreen leather gloves, Fisherman's Friend cough drops, and a white pine hand salve.
And since this box arrived just as the local temperatures dropped below freezing, it was perfect timing to give the items a thorough testing.
The gloves are so soft that my callused palms can barely detect the feeling of this leather. They're actually softer than another pair I've had for several years and the color is as beautiful as it is versatile.
If you've never tried Fisherman's Friend cough lozenges, be warned. These things will knock your socks off!
The menthol kick from these cough drops will clear up even the worst congestion on the spot.
Finally, the hand salve smells amazing! It has a piney scent, but not like a cleaning product. It's more like pine sap mixed with natural wax.
Being a heavy duty product, it was a little difficult to get out of the jar, but once I used my fingernail to scrape out a portion and warm it in my hands, it spread evenly and provided a bulletproof moisture barrier!
Get 20% off new subscriptions until 12/31/15 by entering the code JOIN20 at checkout!
With beverages like coffee, beer, and spirits, the trick to picking out the notes and flavors is to have a selection of samples in front of you so you can make direct comparisons.
For example, it's really difficult to compare a bourbon you're drinking today with one you tried a month ago.
This is the very reason why I was so excited to try Flaviar.
They send you a selection of five spirits as well as tips and instructions on having a successful tasting.
With five examples at your fingertips, you can identify and compare the different characteristics, learn some terminology, and become a more educated drinker overall.
For this particular selection, I had my wife serve me up a blind taste test with these fine bourbons and one bottom-shelf option I already had on hand.
I'm pleased to say that I identified the cheap bourbon right away, describing it as mild and nondescript.
One surprising thing that really stood out to me was the difference between the various mouth feels.
One bourbon I tried seemed to coat my mouth and felt very oily.
The very next one almost made me choke because I wasn't expecting the overwhelming dryness. It was like inhaling alcohol vapor.
All in all, it was a fun and unique experiment.
If you know a man with a beard, you won't find better gifts than the items available from Beardbrand.
The packaging is masculine with an elegant simplicity and the products are made from natural waxes and oils to help keep your skin and body healthy.
You can order individual beard care products such as beard oil, wash, and softener as well as mustache wax all in a plethora of manly scents.
You can also score some top of the line grooming tools such as Italian acetate combs, barber sheers made of Japanese Steel 4034, and boar's hair brushes.
If you don't want the responsibility of piecing together a beard care kit, let Beardbrand do it for you.
They have great preassembled kits in three different price ranges, so you'll find something for every budget.
Need more ideas?
I really love writing gift guides.
It's a chance (ahem, excuse) for me to research and try out interesting products that I would otherwise talk myself out of buying.
I hope this helps make your holiday shopping experience merry, bright, and simple!
All the best,