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Over the past several years, the typical suggestions comprising men's holiday gift guides — the long, redundant lists stating that the special man in your life wants nothing more than exorbitant shaving equipment, grilling necessities and truthfully, not much else — have gone from helpful to passe, the butt of several viral copy + paste Twitter jokes.
In honor of the happiest season of all, we spoke with several men about what they *really* want this holiday season — this time, without a whiskey stone in sight.
While the top items on 23-year-old Thomas’ Christmas list include the ever-elusive “validation from my parents” and “a sense of purpose in life,” the financial analyst says a new record player could help fill part of the void left by his lack of existential fulfillment and healthy familial relationships this holiday season.
“It opens someone up to new experiences!” Thomas, a passionate music fan, explains of the gift.
“You can engage with it on a lot of levels and it’s easy to just get whatever you want out of it,” he continues, taking care to note that one can “support artists by buying vinyl as well."
Beyond helping small musicians through purchasing records, Thomas says the vinyl player’s aesthetic, too, makes it a gift truly worth giving.
“It also just looks and feels cool as hell in a home,” he explains, adding that “it’s great for hosting. Much better to spin something than hit play on a phone.”
Victrola's Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player retails for $49.98 at amazon.com.
For social media editor Angel, the best gift he could receive is simple — re-acquiring the attention span to read a God damn book.
“I want to be able to like, read, just like, read a whole book without stopping,” the 26-year-old quips, noting that he hasn’t “read an entire book since high school.”
“Whenever I try to read I find myself scanning the words but not actually retaining the info and then I have to go back — or I retain the info but second guess myself because I feel like I’m not getting a clear enough picture of what I’m reading about,” he explains.
It seems his chronically-online reporting beat has only exacerbated these issues, making it hard to process anything longer than a tweet or bite-sized news graf.
“Being a social media editor in news has COMPLETELY destroyed my sense of time and attention span,” he elaborates. “When your job makes you read and think in terms of headlines and concise grafs under 280 characters it makes … 280 pages feel like a marathon.”
Though singlehandedly returning Angel’s attention span to its pre-Twitter levels may prove a nearly insurmountable challenge, the reporter says an Amazon Kindle probably won’t hurt his noble cause.
“1.) It’s a screen 2.) I hate holding books 3.) It’s easier on the eyes in more environments 4.) I can do other stuff on it I think?” he says — noting that despite this stellar review, he’s “never touched a Kindle before.”
Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite retails for $139.99 at amazon.com.
There are only two items on 26-year-old Chandler’s list of holiday must-haves this year — hot boys and weed.
Considering the business development professional has a long-term boyfriend, making the first option wholly moot, upon first glimpse, it may seem as though fulfilling Chandler’s other Christmas wish may be equally implausible considering the varying legality of cannabis across the United States.
Enter CBD products. Largely legal in all 50 states, the substance is a great way to make the holidays merry-juana and bright — sans potentially committing a felony.
“It’s the best gift because it makes you happy and never breaks your heart,” he says of why he loves CBD. “Good ole Mary’s always there for ya.”
A four-pack of NewAge's Hemp Oil retails for $29.95 at amazon.com.
As a nearly retired father-of-one, there is only one item on 64-year-old Howard’s Christmas list: “Peace and quiet.”
“Sometimes guys want to be left alone,” the Title Insurance Agent explains. Yet you don’t need to drop $10,000 on an all-expenses-paid island retreat to give the Howards in your life the gift of a *truly* silent night.
A good pair of noise-canceling headphones, he says, will do the trick. “How do you put a price on peace and quiet,” he says. Touché, Howard. Touché.
Apple's AirPods Max Wireless Over-Ear Headphones retail for $479 at amazon.com.
Hello Fresh Subscription
When initially asked what he wants for Christmas, Jake, 25, couldn’t help but take a jab at the long and redundant ghosts of men’s holiday shopping content past.
“Obviously all men want ornate shaving tools and ultra-niche cocktail-related items that get used once every 3 months,” he jokes.
But beyond the cliches, there is one present Jake says would make him (briefly) swap his signature Grinch-like scowl for a genuine smile come Christmas morning — a HelloFresh subscription.
“I hope the fat bearded Coca-Cola mascot gives me the confidence and self-compassion to follow
through with the care strategies I start and make them stick,” he says, referencing the partially-debunked legend of how Santa Claus came to be. “But I'll settle for 6-month meal kit subscription.”
Part of the rationale behind this holiday pick, he says, are that meal kit recipes provide a unique opportunity to experiment with different cuisines and flavors —sans the commitment of buying large quantities of ingredients.
“I really like food,” he jokes. "And the meal kit thing would let me try a bunch of different foods — Like a bunch more different foods in an amount of time than if I was getting full-sized groceries.”
Hello Fresh's varoious meal plans retail starting at $58.95 at hellofresh.com.
Highland Duds' Mountaineer Flannel retails for $128 at highlandduds.com.
From the East Village to Mt. Everest, set out on a new adventure in our ultra-soft cotton flannel. Ready for breezy days and cool nights, this long sleeve button down is perfect for layering and designed for an ideal length that looks great tucked or untucked. Yarn-dyed cotton and available in classic plaid tones, the Mountaineer bundles the warm nostalgia and crisp detail of a perfect holiday gathering. We’ve included slimming seams along the back for a clean, versatile, and always comfortable fit that’ll keep you going ‘til you make it back home. 30% off through 12/19 with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve if ordered by 12/19.
A Weighted Blanket
Though 26-year-old Tony would “love cuddles to not be alone” this holiday season, let’s face it — finding a girlfriend is hard. Enter a weighted blanket. Offering cozyness and warmth, the self-care staple is the perfect gift for the perpetually single men in your life.
“Helps anxiety and sh**t,” explained Tony, a professional actor. “Love that. Feels like someone’s hugging you.”
YnM's Weighted Blanket retails for $39.50 at amazon.com.