First tier gifts: Father, son, husband
First step for buying a man a gift is to recognize that every male has his inner superhero—that fantasy brewing that he can save the day, that he is a burly lumberjack, a swashbuckling pirate, a rocket scientist. Find a gift to help him unleash that dream.
To further refine the gift selection process, when buying for the most important men in your life—your dad, your son, your husband—think about his favorite habitat. Where does he spend most of his free time? When he runs out of the office loosening his tie, where is he heading? And when he gets there (in reality or in his mind) what does he do there? Buy him something that will help him be more Superman, less Clark Kent. $100 is a good starting point for these most important men in your life.
A bushy beard and unruly chest hair can only keep a man so warm. That's why we suggest the waterproof and down-insulated Floodlight Jacket from Outdoor Research ($375, Pine Mountain Sports, 255 SW Century)—the perfect pick for cold, wet Pacific Northwest winters.
And to help his makeover into a modern-day lumberjack, how about buying him his very own chainsaw? The Husqvarna 435 ($279, Jerry's Outdoor, 61561 American Ln.) is a quality, all-purpose machine. A little bigger and more powerful than its predecessor and with a 41-cc engine and a 16-inch bar, your favorite tree feller will be able to clear trail and cut wood with ease.
Once the snow starts to really pile up, he'll be looking for ways to get out in it. That may mean a new set of powder-hungry planks, like the award-winning Wailer 112RP from DPS ($799, Crow's Feet Commons, 875 NW Brooks St.). At 112 underfoot, these easy-to-turn, cambered, rockered skis will have him shredding like a pro. A good way to give him some extra backcountry motivation—and treat yourself in the process—is to book a couple nights' stay at the cozy wood-fired yurts run by Three Sisters Backcountry ($45/night to $1,350 for an entire yurt over a long weekend, threesistersbackcountry.com). If he's more of a sledneck, book him a full-day snowmobile rental at Elk Lake ($250, elklakeresort.net).
Or, you can get him excited for the warmer months ahead. Replace that moldy cooler in the garage and help him keep his brews cold on next summer's river trip with the ultra-tech Yeti Tundra 110 cooler ($479, Confluence Fly Shop, 375 SW Powerhouse Dr.). It comes with a 5-year warranty and will keep cans of GoodLife Descender IPA cold for days! For the more fitness oriented, a new pair of running shoes is a good call ($120, Brooks Adrenaline 14, FootZone, 845 NW Wall St.).
Keep him connected with a fully loaded iPad mini ($300, Connecting Point, 514 NW Franklin Ave.). He can use it to research his next trip while he lazily props up his tired dogs on the most gorgeous wooden coffee table you'll find anywhere—a locally made piece from Natural Edge Furniture (prices vary, 135 NE Norton Avenue). A globe, or perhaps an oversized map of Oregon (prices vary, Bend Mapping & Blueprint, 137 NE Greenwood Ave.) is a classy way to add a touch of sophistication to his man-cave. Ditto for the mounted game (prices vary, Iron Horse Antiques, 210 NW Congress St.).
Second tier gifts: Uncle/best bud
These are the fellas who really matter— the ones who would drive to the middle of nowhere to jumpstart your car, are always ready with a high-five after your favorite team scores, and the best skiing, jogging and drinking buddies around. They are reliable and loyal, and they deserve a great gift this holiday season. Recommend price point: $25 - $100.
In the spirit of the "teach a man to fish" parable, why not hook your best drinking buddy up with a home brewing kit (basic starter kit, $76.95, The Brew Shop, 1203 NE 3rd). While you're there, take a look at the shop's extensive selection of local and global beers (locally, we recommend Ale Apothecary's artisan open fermentation brews like Sahalie, $21.95 or La Tache, $23.95.)
Keep your guy warm and looking good with a Volcom zip-up hoodie ($59) and a colorful Imperial Motion flannel ($64, Vanilla Urban Threads, 661 SW Powerhouse Dr.), both functional and ruggedly fashionable.
But enough fashion. There's not much that makes a man feel more manly than an axe, a functional and badass gift ($35.99, 36-inch Commander Single Bit Axe with Hickory Handle, Ace Hardware, 1538 Newport).
Another manly hobby? Butchery, followed by backyard grilling. A shiny, sharp Victor Knox meat cleaver is a must for clean, easy butchery ($70, Ginger's Kitchenware, 375 SW Powerhouse). Quality meat is another absolute necessity for the experienced griller. A gift certificate to Primal Cuts (1244 NW Galveston) will insure the best quality meats and allow them to choose their own barbecue adventure.
When you drop by Primal Cuts, check out the building's other business, Growler Phil's , that offers fills for Bend's most popular drinking apparatus, for $10-$30. Phil's has all the most popular beers, ciders and Kombuchas. We call this approach, two birds—one stone Christmas shopping.
Local artisans have picked up on the popularity of the 64 oz. re-sealable beer. See this hand crafted growler holder from Bend's own Nomad Leather ($65, shop online at etsy.com/shop/NomadLeatherNW or call (858)-232-0480), easy to carry on a bike, a hike or a walk home from one of Bend's dozens of growler fill stations around town.
If he's more of a brain buff than an outdoorsman, get him a full detail map (Bend Mapping and Blueprint, 137 NE Greenwood), more for display than functionality in the age of the iPhone, but framed, makes a great wall hanging. Another option is historic photos of Bend; the Historical Society has a variety of vintage images available for print (starting at $25, Des Chutes Historical Society, 129 NW Idaho). Add a nice frame (High Desert Frameworks, 61 NW Oregon) and BAM! You've just assembled a brainy and unique present.
Third tier gifts: Cousins and co-workers
For your cousins and co-workers, $25 is an appropriate amount to spend—and it is an amount that lets you buy something thoughtful and fun. Stay away from intimate gifts—like underwear (really, never appropriate for male just-friends to give each other), or steer clear of anything sentimental (unless, that is, some sort of sport memorabilia commemorating your shared favorite team). As a basic guideline, find simple gift ideas that encourage and emphasize your friend's manliness (i.e., anything to do with sports, outdoors, fish gutting, etc.).
A Meal Kit 2.0 provides a compact eight-piece mess kit that your gift getter will be thrilled to have the next time he heads out camping ($24.95 REI, 380 SW Powerhouse). And, when he heads out, let him know where to go. The U.S. Forest Service has a complete set of topographic maps of the region (63095 Deschutes Market; or, purchase online at fs.usda.gov/main/centraloregon/maps-pubs).
Guys also just seem to inherently love ninjas and knives: The Chef's Choice Knife sharpener is an important gift that will keep your friend from going dull ($35, Ginger's Kitchenware, 375 Powerhouse Dr.), and the Leatherman Crater C33x serrated knife ($18, REI) is a great addition to his camping equipment.
Humor, of course, is the most elemental way in which men interact. A more novelty gift, but great for summer time drinking, is the Chillsner ($29, Ginger's Kitchenware) an icicle-like attachment for beer bottles that helps to keep drinks cold.
Clothing is precarious territory, but picking out staples like a t-shirt (Cascade Cottons, 909 NW Wall) or hats (Obey is a good brand, starting at $30, at Vanilla, 661 SW Powerhouse) that are simple, functional additions to his life—and save him a trip to the store to buy it himself, which for 99.9 percent of men is a gift in itself. An even better bet is brewery gear (Crux hat, $14 and t-shirt, $15 available at the brewery, 50 SW Division). Willing to go out on a limb a bit? Belt buckles offer both a wisp of boldness and style (great collection at Cowgirl Cash, 924 NW Brooks; or, truly authentic at Big R, 3141 U.S. 97, Redmond).
Because most men clearly have evolved from monkeys, grooming tools also are important and relevant gifts: mustache wax (oregonwildhair.com) keeps the hipster male under control.
While art—or anything that really speaks to the soul—are touchy and tricky to buy for someone who you don't know so well, there are exceptions, like the sets of remarkable hand-drawn cards with various fish—from rainbow trout to steelhead—on sale ($8, Confluence Fly Shop, 375 SW Powerhouse).
Gadgets also are great. The 3-in-1 iPhone lens kit turns the simple camera phone into a one-man photo arsenal with a fish-eye, wide angle and macro lens, ($70, Simply Mac, 425 SW Powerhouse). Or, if all else fails: a six-pack. Of course, which brewery and which type presents its own bramble of choices.
ASK SANTA: Our Expert Solves Your Most Troubling Holiday Problems
Dear Santa, I'm considering giving my barista and mailman gifts. When I was a kid, and a paperboy, some of the neighbors would give me small gifts; usually money. It was really great. I don't want to give money, though. That just seems, well, crass. And for my barista, she's a few years younger than me, and I don't want her to think that I'm hitting on her. I just want to give a small holiday thank-you for being a nice part of my day.
—Paying It Forward.
That is generous of you. And, let's admit: a bit selfish. I mean, nothing wrong with that, keeps you in good service. Santa appreciates a plate of cookies and glass of milk/whisky, after all. (Nudge, nudge: I think you forgot to tip dear old Santa last year, pal!) Yes, a small gift, and a brief card should be sufficient for your mailman, maybe even that guy who works the front desk at your gym and, yes, your hottie barista. Really, anyone you are on nodding terms with—and see on a daily basis—a small gift can make a big difference—for you and them. Give something generic, like movie tickets to Tin Pan, a six-pack of 10 Barrel (although that can be dicey; your mailman may be Mormon), a $5 gift certificate (preferably not from Starbucks). Nothing too personal, and keep the note short, simple and plain. No hearts over the "i"s. Just "wishing you a merry holiday season" is sufficient.
Dear Santa, Santa, what's up! I'm a funny guy. Yeah, I'm that guy! Well, you already know. Remember those rubber cookies I left out for you last Christmas? Yeah, ho-ho-ho, right? Anywho! I love giving out novelty gifts. Like bacon soap and beer-holding-trucker-hat. But some guy—really, this jerk at work—told me that it's insensitive. What gives?
How old are you? Novelty gifts are not appropriate for anyone who can tie their own shoes. (And, note to Mr. You-Know-Who-Naughty-Are: Whoopie cushions are never funny!) Especially when you leave them at the bottom of the chimney for Santa to land on. Really, novelty gifts are a waste of money. Buy something nice. Or, buy a gift certificate and let the person decide what tickles their fancy. Or, buy a Steve Carrell DVD. Now that shit is funny!
Dear Santa, Unlike my brother (a money-grubbing hedge fund manager), I don't have piles of disposable income. With the holidays fast approaching, I need to know—what's the deal with re-gifting? Is it okay? Or is it more likely that I'll be outed and disgraced? Sometimes it's easier to pass that gifted bottle of champagne on, you know? Please advise,
Here's the deal: No, regifting isn't really acceptable. But it's analogous to using your mobile phone while driving—we all know you're going to do it, so it's more a matter of reducing the damage (i.e. not getting caught). To help sort this out, I put a call into my brother, who's not a hedge fund manager, but is in finance. His nonprofit, Money Management International, did a study and found that 58 percent of Americans think regifting is acceptable. And 25 percent think that it helps save money during the holidays (14 percent see regifting as recycling—yet another way to justify the somewhat shady practice). If you're going to try to pass that sweater on, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Is there a card attached (or stuck in the sleeve?) that could easily incriminate you? Go over the item carefully and remove ALL evidence of the previous giver. Equally important, don't trade within in the same social circles. And if you opened or used the item, don't even try it. Good luck.
GIFT GUIDE: Stocking stuffers and tips for him
Guys are both difficult and utterly simple to shop for. Difficult because they tend to be self-sufficient and buy what they need. Easy because they are simple creatures, entertained and pleased by simple distractions.
A few tips to consider: Unless this man is your soul-mate and partner, never buy anything too personal. It just makes men squirm. Also, avoid anything living (like plants) or breakable (like a glass vase). Be practical. Find him something to get him outdoors, or power tools to build a dog house. An easy rule of thumb: Could this gift help build or destroy something? If the answer is "yes," you're probably on the right track. (Yes, thinking Neanderthal can help provide guidance.)
A few stocking stuffers to get started:
1. Patch kit (available at Hutch's Bicycles, 725 NW Columbia St. or 820 NE 3rd, $3)
2. Picky Bars, locally produced, gluten-free (available at Strictly Organic, 6 SW Bond or 450 SW Powerhouse, $2.50)
3. "Touch" gloves, keep your hands warm while still being able to operate your iPhone, (available at Pine Mountain Sports, 255 SW Century, start at $24)
4. Stormy Kromer's hat (available at Crows' Feet Commons, 875 NW Brooks, $48)
5. Fair-trade, organic coffee benefitting Bend's Renegade Roller Derby (available at renegadesor.com, $15-30)
6. Dinosaur ornament (good selection at Newport Market, 1121 NW Newport)