Hurrah! It’s that time of year again – we’re all far too cold, counting down the days ‘til we can sack off work and drink our way through re-runs of early 2000’s BBC sitcoms. Ace. There’s only one problem when it comes to Christmas – what to buy the men in your life. Whether that’s the other half, the brother, dad, or the guy from Sales you got in secret santa (nightmare) we know just how tricky it can be to get Christmas gifts for him that don’t come in the form of an M&S multi-pack of socks. So behold, the TQS Men’s Christmas Gift Guide. You’re welcome. Oh, and be sure to stick with us ‘til the end as we’ve a giveaway worth £400 featuring many of our top picks. MERRY CHRISTMAS.
Drinking is probably our favourite bit of Christmas. Sure, we might ‘indulge’ in drinking at the weekend, but that’s nothing compared to the marathon of indulgence everyone is encouraged to partake in on December 25th. Champagne for breakfast? Sure, why not? Lulu does it every day. Wine at lunch? Yes please. Continued drinking from lunch ‘til you fall asleep after playing Trivial Pursuit? Be rude not to. This is why drink makes an excellent gift choice – and we love hunting out something a bit different when we’re Yuletide booze shopping. Last year we were all about flavoured beer – and this year we’ve seen the rise of honey beer (try the Co-op for a decent one). It’s all about taking the usual and making a bit special.
Brands know this too – with the big guns like Gordan’s collaborating with design brand Conrans on a series of bottles covered in 100% cotton fabric labels in bespoke design prints. (£14.99 – £20.89, bottom left).
Absolut have also done something a bit special, creating a line of vodkas with a different design on each one – if you’re after a gift that’s completely unique for the vodka lover, you won’t go far wrong with this one. (£21.50, top centre)
Our favourite, though, has to be Barcardi Oakheart – a smoked, spiced version of the classic. It’s an absolute cracker and perfect for the winter months. Gift a bottle of this but be sure they invite you round for a glass or two by the fireside. (£18 – £23, right).
And why not try Kopi the morning after to sort out that hangover before round 86 of charades begins? Post subscription clubs have been massive this year (just look at Graze or Glossybox), and we can see this one being a popular gift for him choice too. Get swanky gourmet coffee delivered to his door for as little as £7 a month and he’ll thank you all year long. Perfect for waking you up after all that gin if nothing else…
Don’t sigh and roll your eyes – gadgets can be ACE, in the right hands. We’re not talking those useless USB helicopters you end up panic buying your Uncle on Christmas eve – we’re talking useful bit of kit that they’ll not only love, but actually use. We’re pretty sure that the new iPad Mini is going to be at the top of about a million Christmas lists, so you’ll want to deck it out in the best tech and accessories – which is where we come in.
Our top picks? First up, a Tivizen Dongle from Humax. Don’t let the name put you off – this is a great idea. It plugs into your iPad / iPhone, and allows you to stream the picture from your Freeview box direct, without the need for 3G or WiFi. So basically, if you want to finish watching The Apprentice but also want to mong out in bed, this’ll let you do that. The word you’re looking for is genius. (£59, top left)
Next, you’ll need to make sure it’s protected. We’re not usually massive fans of phone and tablet cases (they always remind of market stalls) – but when they’re done right, like the guys at Case-Mate do, they can look pretty stylish. Their range includes swanky leather cases, over-the-top and aching cool 3D cases, as well as a line endorsed by Fergie. Really, if you’re going to go somewhere else after all that there’s no helping you. (Various prices, from £15, middle bottom). We’ve also recently developed a slight obsession for radios – or rather, DAB radios and docking stations that look like radios. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for modern technology, we just reckon it’s even better wrapped up in vintage design, like the Roberts Revival range of radios. (£160, bottom left).
And if he’s been really good, we’re also loving the Fujifilm X-E1. If you want all the features of a state of the art camera, wrapped up in design even The Sartorialist would be proud of, you need to get your hands on one of these. (From £749.99, bottom right)
And just before we head into the film section of our guide, we’ve got to show you this. Remember how much fun Scalextric was as a kid? Well they’ve just brought out a Skyfall version. We can’t get over how brilliant that is. For the kids, and the big kids. (From £44.99, top right).
If we tried to fit in every single film we wanted you to pick up this Christmas, this guide would literally never end. You know our forte is film, and that’s why we recommend you spend some time over in the film section of TQS. There’s an endless amount of film reviews, top film lists and interviews to get some inspiration from, and if that’s not enough, our Academy Awards endorsed collection of alternative movie posters will make the perfect present for any film fan.
One gift idea we did come across for a film/music lover is Sonic Edition: working with the world’s best photographers, Sonic Editions offers limited edition, rarely seen before prints of the greatest film stars, musicians, cult heroes and cultural icons that have been specially selected from archives across the world. High quality photographic prints available to the public for the first time in four sizes, mounted and encased in hand made wooden frames, Sonic Editions prints start at £69 and all prints can be purchased at their website.
And just as we’ve got your film covered, we’ve also got your men’s fashion down too. Our series of Fashion Finds, which launched this year, throws a spotlight on up-and-coming designers and brands that will set you apart from the fashion pack. Our top picks for gifts for the stylish are MKI, for their cosy oversized jumpers, Olivia Streatfeild-James and Mike Hazard for their illustration, and Bundy & Websterfor backing new talent. Grab any of these for your fella and you’re on trend for a winner this December. (All various prices).
Christmas is always the best time to get stocked up on basics too – underwear and socks are staple gifts, but that doesn’t mean they have to be dull. Take BAM bamboo clothing, for example – how cool are you going to look when that guy from IT opens your secret santa gifts and it’s pants made out BAMBOO? Brilliant. And no, it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a tree – they’re actually some of the softest underwear and socks we’ve ever felt. And it’s a great ethical choice if you’re buying for the fashion and environmentally conscious. Double win. (From £12) Equally as exciting are the range of Burtonwode boxers, whose designs aren’t for the faint of heart. Want boxers that exude confidence? These are the boxers for you. (From £26).
Accessories are always a great gift too – and a perfect stocking filler if you’re looking for a little something extra. We absolutely love the thinking behind Thin King – a stylish, chic card holder that’s ideal if you’re out on the party season and don’t want to carry around every single store card and receipt you’ve stuffed in your wallet over the past 6 months. Bulging pockets are never a good look so do us all a favour and pick one of these up. They’re available in a plethora of colour so there’s bound to be one to match your guy’s taste. (From £30).
One last thing, it’s not really fashion but you do wear it so this seemed like the most relevant section for Find Me A Gift’s amazing dressing gowns. We’ve already ordered this Doctor Who TARDIS-inspired robe but if the guy you’re buying for isn’t as much of a geek as us, they also have some other wonderful creations including: Superman, Rocky & The Joker.
You know, there’s more to buying grooming gifts for men than just running round the Boots three for two aisle, clearing the shelves like you’re on one of those time trials on Supermarket Sweep. Look beyond the high street and you’ll find ace products that he might not have discovered before.
We got our first The Bluebeard’s Revenge products last Christmas – it was the first time we’d ever used a proper shaving kit, complete with brush. It was a revelation, and we’ve never looked back. There was a stigma around the shaving the old way over the past couple of years, but things seem to be coming back round to Doing It Properly, and we can’t wait. These shaving sets make ace presents and can really save your skin from years of misuse. (Various prices, gift sets from £19.99, top).
We’ve also been loving Rehab London recently – if the bloke you’re buying for has oily skin, you need some of their oil control moisturiser in your life. You’ll never see a shiny forehead again – think of it as a gift for yourself. Made from natural botanical ingredients and essential oils, it’s gentle on skin, but gets the job done too. (From £8.95, bottom). And then of course, there’s the old faithfuls – Dove have released a Men+Care kit that’s a great way to beat winter damage to your skin (£13.99), and Lynx have a range of gift sets that can’t fail to impress the gym-goer or teen you’re buying for. (From £5.50).
We’ve got to admit – sport isn’t an area we’re too well versed in. But fear not, TQS-ers, we’ve two ace Christmas gifts for him recommendations for the sports fan you might be buying for.
First up, Savile Rogue – possibly the best thing to happen to football. If you’re looking for a gift for the football mad, but can’t stand the thought of actually committing to putting him in those awful synthetic shirts, we’ve the solution for you – beautiful, understated and ultra stylish cashmere scarves that come in team colours. It’s a brilliant idea – he can show off his support, but do it in a way that doesn’t cause fashion offence off the terrace. (From £16.95, top)
Another project putting something new into something classic is Urban Golf: an indoor golf operator with three London locations offering a virtual golf experience in state-of-the-art simulators where you can play a round on the world’s top golf courses. Pretty cool, right? (From £10, bottom)
And lastly, something we can all get on board with this Christmas – giving to charity. There’s loads of cool gift ideas in charity shops. We loved the black winged mug and the Queen Vic tins we found on the Cancer Research UK site. New project One Good Atom is making limited edition charity t-shirts (right), the first for mental health charity Mind. It’s design is miles better than most of the stuff that comes out of charity projects, so well done them.
Finally, one of our favourite ideas this festive period: Give As You Live. Give as you Live has signed up over 2,200 retailers who will give a proportion of a shoppers online spend to charity. These retailers include the likes of Selfridges, Liberty, and Amazon as well as everyday sites like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis; so far £2.9million has been raised for UK charities. There’s no cost to you, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get involved. And after all that, if you’re still stuck, take a look at more at Buyagift.co.uk.
One last thing, making sure you don’t get caught out by the post this Christmas, Castle Cover have put together this handy postal guide to ensure your relatives and loved ones receive their gifts (hopefully from this guide!) on time.
Right, since you’ve been ace to us this year, and because we love you so much, we thought we’d put together a little giveaway for you. Wait, what are we talking about – this ain’t a ‘little’ giveaway – this is a stonking, earth shatteringly large giveaway, worth over £400! Impressive right? Well, it’s all thanks to the brands who’ve donated some pretty special prizes, so make sure you check them out too. So, what do you win? Deep breath…
- A leather iPad 3 case, courtesy of Case-Mate
- A BAM Bamboo clothing gift set, including a pair of boxers and two pairs of socks
- A Thin King card case
- A Lynx Dark Temptation Gift set – £9.99
- A Dove Men+Care gift set
- A The BlueBeard’s Revenge gift set
- An Olivia Streatfeild-James original printed tee – wolf design
- A Mike Hazard original sweat – Lana Del Rey design
- A special gift from coffee subscription service Kopi
- A Tivizen Dongle from Humax
- An extended flyboarding experience worth £100, courtesy of BuyAGift.co.uk (who have plenty more gift ideas for him)
- A £50 Urban Golf voucher
How to enter:
Follow TQS on Twitter and leave a comment below (making sure to leave your email address or Twitter handle) saying which gift for him from the main guide you think would make the best gift! Good luck, and Merry Christmas!
(T’s and C’s – only one entry per person, UK entries only, winner will be picked at random on Friday 14th December)
By Jamie McHale & Martin Carter