The Best Christmas Gifts for Men

Every year, there is a lot of chatter about what to buy for the men in our lives. Be they husbands, boyfriends or Dads, men can be hard to buy for! Now, I know each guy has different tastes, but I know we can do better than ties and golf stuff, right?! Following my post on The Best Stocking Stuffers for Guys, I put together this Shopping Guide to the Best Christmas Gifts for Guys that involves both gifts my husband has asked for in the past, or currently has on his wish list, plus a few ideas of my own. 

Gifts guy

  • Bluetooth speaker – my husband asked for (and received) the UE Mini Boom for his birthday. He did his research on options and hit on this amazing bluetooth speaker that we use either in our office or move around wherever we want some extra music! Since it’s bluetooth, you can play from your phone or any bluetooth-enabled device. 
  • Car Tech Toys – there are a lot of toys you can buy for cars, depending on your guy. Whether it’s accessories for the car itself or, in my case, tech gadgets. Our top recommendations include the Portable Smartphone Mount, which clips onto your vents!, an extra charger (variable depending on your car) or an audio cable so you can play music or podcasts or get audio directions directly from your phone 
  • Cards Against Humanity – even for non-gamers, this entirely inappropriate game is perfect as a gift! Bonus: you can give expansion packs in future years!! They make great stocking stuffers ;)
  • BBQ Rotisserie – you can buy a brand-specific rotisserie for your BBQ, but they are super expensive. You may find a universal rotisserie like this one works for you. My husband got this last year and though it doesn’t fit as snugly as a super expensive option would have, it still works. We roast TWO chickens at a time on it!
  • Home Brew Kit – my husband wants to brew his own beer, but space has always been an issue. He recently discovered the Box Brew Kits which are not only super amazing looking, but don’t require a lot of space. If you don’t want to give a DIY kit, I highly recommend a selection of craft beers! You could even invest in a couple of growlers and pre-fill them with a local beer. 
  • Clothes – when it comes to clothes, I like to buy something that will actually get worn, but is nicer than what my husband would typically buy for himself. Wether this is a nicer pair of jogging pants (like Lululemon) or a great sweater (Banana Republic has the most flattering ones in a variety of styles!) or a new fleece jacket or something of that kind. 
  • Pedicure – because, have you seen his feet? Well, he may deny he needs it, but team up to get him to go with another guy pal if you think that will get him there. Trust me, he’ll thank you. There are salons that offer men’s pedicure options.
  • Tickets & Gift Certificates – this one is really personal. Does your guy like sports, theatre, movies, music, trips? Is he a foodie? Scour sites like Groupon for deals, or grab tickets to a coveted event and wrap it up in a larger box. If you have kids, secure your babysitting as part of a “date night” package.

Here’s hoping these gifts are a hit with the guy in your life!

The Best Stocking Stuffers for Guys

Buying gifts for the men in your life can be difficult, without adding in the pressure to make those gifts smaller to fit in a stocking. If your husband (boyfriend / brother / dad) are as hard to shop for as my husband, here are some tips on stocking stuffers that have been a success for us in the past! Unfortunately, I cannot share this year’s list, since my husband is known to sometimes read my posts.

My goal with a stocking is to give useful items that go beyond your typical deodorant & bath products and specialize on inexpensive but high end alternatives. Yes, you can add in the deodorant or socks or boxer shorts, but most people can come up with those ideas on their own. This is how I make my husband’s stocking special.

Stocking stuffers man

  • A small puzzle or game. I know my husband likes to fidget, so a brain teaser or even high end putty can help him relax. If you are a gaming family, there are smaller options out there like Bananagrams or even expansion packs for well-loved board games
  • Premium food & drink items – like spice rubs, hot sauce, locally-made jerky or his a local craft beer. Last year I found a mini bottle of bourbon maple syrup that was a great addition! For Vancouverites, my husband’s favourite jerky is from the Jerky Baron.
  • An ornament of his very own, since let’s face it, most of the ornaments are not ‘his’. I’ve given R2D2 and the flying spaghetti monster ornaments in the past.
  • A magazine that suits his interests. For my husband, that was always Sci-Fi, though you have endless choices in this department!
  • A gag gift – because that’s what makes stockings fun! Last year I gave sriracha candy canes, though apparently Ianiv secretly wished for the hot cock boxers.
  • BBQ tools are a common theme for us, either a spice or rub or a tool that may need replacing. We seem to need a new brush every year or two!
  • Good quality chocolate and candies! Aside from a favourite chocolate bar, my hubby gets some premium chocolates and a bag of assorted candies from our favourite local candy store
  • Scratch & Win tickets are a must for us! It’s the one time a year we indulge in these and it’s so much fun!
  • Touchscreen gloves are so amazing. I love the ones I received last year! If you want basic gloves, they come pretty inexpensively, though higher end options would make a good under-the-tree gift

I hope these gifts hit home with you!

Remember, even though these gifts are for the grown men in our lives, it doesn’t mean they have to cost a fortune! My rule of thumb is that if the gift is expensive, it should be given under the tree, no matter how small it is! Santa is not getting credit for my thoughtful gifts, thank you very much. ;)

See also my Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Her, a great list to share with these men in our lives!

Home Offices Are Necessary

Ianiv and I have been working from home in some capacity for about 9 years now. We both left our ‘corporate’ jobs to start our own company and also work with local start-ups in Vancouver, him as a software developer and me as a marketing & blogging & social media consultant. Our roles have varied through time, but through it all we’ve always required a place from home in which to work. 

When we lived in our small apartment in Kitsilano, our “office” was our living room, him on one side of the room and myself on the other. It worked and we fit an amazing amount of furniture into such a small space. But we both found that it was hard to ‘stop’ work when the day was over, since our computers were always within sight. The laptops often traveled to the couch with us. 

IMG 0107Damien ‘working’ at Daddy’s desk

When we purchased our current house, which had 3 bedrooms and a ‘den’ on the third floor, we set up two separate offices. I took the top floor with the window view while Ianiv took an office on the bedroom level. Since we had our two boys, we’ve had to merge offices. Since my office space was larger, and actually contained a couch at one point and a spare bed at another, it made sense to use the upper floor. 

We have shared this office space for a couple of years now and it’s served us well. We are currently looking to  build a custom desk to minimize the ‘stuff’ and maximize our space, which has been my motto for the past year (see my Pinterest board for my inspiration ideas). But I will say this – I am so glad our office is high up. 

When you have kids, they naturally want to be with you. If one of us is up here working, we can (mostly) ensure that the chaos of the kids stays far away from the work space. Sometimes little feet come running up for attention from the other parent, but mostly we try to avoid that. Though the noise does travel, the physical space acts as a boundary both for us (mentally) as well as for them. I find it much easier to get into the headspace of work in a dedicated office, as well as to mentally release from work when I leave. 

If you also work from home, how do you manage the work / life balance as well as the physical space issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

The Skeleton that Started an Obsession

For Hallowe’en this year, Ianiv put together an animatronic skeleton. We purchased a skeleton from Costco that fit our requirements (had to have a jaw that could be made to move), tore off the back of the skull and dislocated the jaw to put in the electronics necessary for the animatronics. Ianiv recorded a series of jokes and funny sounds that triggered every 15 seconds. It was a big hit, especially for Damien.

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Many months later, Damien still is obsessed with skeletons, wherever he sees them. Although he’s been known to say “skeleton,” he refers to them as “ah ah ah”, if you can imagine that done in an evil voice. One of the recorded sayings was an evil laugh, which was Damien’s favourite. For months later, he would point to the door and use his “what happened?” sign, saying “ah ah ah”, asking where the skeleton went. 

Ianiv has since printed a picture of a skull for his bedroom.