Top 10 Manly Christmas Gifts for 2013

Are you looking for manly Christmas gifts for your husband, son, or grandfather? For the fourth year in a row, I am featuring the Top Ten Manly Christmas Gifts that men want but don’t ask for.

Like last year I have an improved list with more information on knives and how women can choose the right knife for the man in their life.

Manly Christmas Gifts

* If you received this post by email, you’ll want to click “Always Display Images” in your email client so that you can see the manly gift images.

When your man gets back to work after Christmas and someone asks, “So what did you get for Christmas?” let him say something more than “Oh you know, a couple of new shirts and a tie.”

Below is a guide for Manly Christmas Gifts for your husband, brother, or grandpa. Seriously, you can’t wrong with the following ten gifts. They’re all winners. So here we go:

10) Timeless Thermos for the Outdoors

This one “Manly Christmas Gift” has a backstory:

I was fly-fishing in Montana during October. It was fun, but it was cold. I was catching monster trout, but my body temp was diving.

Our fishing guide pulled out three timeless thermoses from his bag. They could have been 100 years old. They were beautiful. He offered us coffee or, get this, hot chicken broth to drink from these old beautiful thermoses. I don’t drink coffee, so I reached for the chicken broth. Wow. It warmed me from the outside in.

I admired the fly fishing guide’s amazing collection of thermoses. “They just don’t make them like that anymore.”

Stanley Thermos

Well now they do. Check out this beautiful thermos from Stanley for only 24.99.

9) Whiskey Decanter

Is it a coincidence that both babies AND college fraternity boys drink from the bottle? Let’s kick it up a notch for your man. Let him pour his scotch libation from a decanter.

Nothing says Christmas like Laphroaig flowing from crystal. I recommend this decanter with matching glasses.

8) Old School Shaving Razor

This is a big hit every year. If you want your man to feel like a total stud, get him this manly Christmas gift. It’s an old school shaving kit just like your grandfather used to use. Real Badger hair brush. Soap bowl. Cool stainless thing to hang your razor up to dry.

Still not convinced? Check this out. Soon-to-be-Saint John Paul II used a razor just like this:


By the way, the badger hair brush will smell like a wet animal the first several times he uses it. It’s okay, the smell goes away after a few uses. It’s all part of the manly appeal. He feels cool, you get to pet his clean, smooth face. Everybody wins.

Here it is at amazon: old school shaving kit.

7) Pipe and Tobacco

Pipe smoking is something wonderful to experience in the winter. Just ask Sherlock Holmes.

Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, Vincent Van Gogh, Gandalf, and Santa Claus also concur.

Famous Pipe Smokers

Plus, everyone loves the wafting of a little pipe smoke on a cool winter day. This pipe model can hold a filter, which will keep your man healthy if he so chooses.

I once made a rash vow to God not to smoke tobacco and I’m bound to it – so I can’t smoke a pipe tobacco anymore. However, I do smoke tobacco-less blends and I love the tar out of it (pun intended).

6) Kindle Fire HD from

Studies shows that the amount a person reads usually correlates with his income level. When your Kindergarten teacher told you that “readers are leaders,” she wasn’t pulling your leg.

If you want to grow spiritually, practically, or economically, you need to read…often!

Check out the new Kindle Fire HD. It’s 139 right now at amazon. That may sound like a lot, but when you realize that you can get almost all of the great English classics and spiritual classics for either $0.99 or FREE, then you’ll save lots of money in only a matter of months! You can also get the great spiritual classics.

It’s easy to use – even Grandpa can use it since you can make the text bigger and it will robotically read all your books through its built-in speakers.

Explore the Kindle Fire here.

5) A Nice Leatherbound Pocket Bible

About 30 years ago, people starting making lame paperback Bibles. If it’s the inspired, inerrant Word of God, at least wrap it in real leather and gild the page edges…

Here is the one you need to get him. It’s Douay Rheims (Catholic, yet old school language), but it’s only Psalms and New Testament published by Baronius. It fits perfectly into the side pocket of a suit or blazer. I carry it in my sports coat, and it holds up to use. It’s absolutely beautiful and has a ribbon to mark your place.

Baronius NT

Did I mention that it’s only 12.99?

Oh, and please buy him the black leather version. If you buy him a white Bible, you might as well throw in ballet lessons.

Baronius also makes an impressive real leather Family Bible. I’ve done a lot of research and this is the one that every Catholic home should have. Baronius makes wonderful Bibles.

4) An iPad Cover that Looks Like an Old Book

I like using my wife’s iPad, but if it looked like an old book, it would feel more traditional. Here’s the solution.

Your Top 3 Manly Christmas Gifts

Like last year, the top 3 Manly Christmas Gifts are Knives. The knife is the most popular manly Christmas gift – year after year. I tried to think of something that would knock it out of first place. I couldn’t do it.

A man without pocket knife…woe is he. You can use a pocket knife to cut string, pull out splinters, slice apples on a picnic, etc. Growing up, my dad always carried a knife in his pocket. And if a thug jumps you, you’ve got something rather than nothing.

You can slip a knife into his Christmas stocking and he’ll be thrilled when he discovers it. It will be the first time in a long time that he had a toy to play with on Christmas morning. If you have a son who’s coming of age, you should slip a Swiss Army knife into his stocking. If you get your husband a knife for Christmas, he can use it all morning to open up Christmas gifts, toys, cards, and packages. He’ll be happy to use his new gift all morning.

I’m recommending three knives this year depending on your need:

1) A Fancy Gentlemen’s Knife for the pocket of his suit or slacks
2) An Every Day Carry Knife for the pocket of his jeans and khakis
3) Swiss Army Knife for your 8-18 year old young man

3) The Fancy Gentleman’s Knife

I call it the “gentleman’s knife.” It’s the very nice wooden or bone handled knife.

This is a knife that he only carries for special occasions. Think of it like this, this isn’t a knife that you wear in your jeans, you wear it in the pocket of your slacks or suit. It’s the kind of knife that is passed from Grandfather to Father to Grandson. An artifact. An heirloom. Usually, a manly-man won’t buy himself this knife (he buys useful knives for himself as tools – see knives below), but he loves to receive a fine knife like this as a gift.

It’s the perfect manly Christmas gift and I  recommend this for your dad or husband. Ladies, think of it as the closest thing to masculine jewelry.

I like this nice Hen and Rooster with Burl wood and Damascus blade. It’s a beautiful tool.

If Hen and Rooster above is out of your budget, go with this nice Case knife with Smoothed Bone Handle 40.26:

case knife bone

Case is the old school man’s knife brand. Your grandpa probably owned one like this at some point in his life. Here it is at

2) The Everyday Carry Knife

This is the knife that a man carries in his pocket every single day. With this knife he opens mail, cuts string, cuts tags off clothing, removes splinters, and all the other odd jobs suited for a knife.

My one criteria for an “every day carry” or “EDC” is that it have a pocket clip that keeps it from falling out of your trousers at the baseball game. The other important thing about an every day carry knife is that it be lightweight. You don’t want to carry a heavy lump in your jeans pocket. The pocket clip also keeps the knife high in your pocket so it’s comfortable whenever you sit down or drive.

I recommend the Kershaw’s Ken Onion Tactical as your every day carry.

1) Swiss Army for Younger Men and Boys

If your man is a gadget guy then he’s probably a fan of the multi-tool or Swiss Army.


These are the knives that have many, many other tools attached: bottle opener, saw, tweezers, toothpick, pliers, etc. The Swiss Army knife if perfect for a boy’s first knife (age seven). If he’s reached the age of reason, he should have a knife.

PS: Whatever you do, don’t get the FRENCH Army Knife:


PPS: If you want your man and/or boy to get out into the outdoors and use their knifes, then check out our new Catholic apostolate for boys: The Troops of Saint George! He’ll learn how to use a knife, start a fire without matches, and prayers in Latin. It’s legit.

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  • Philip Francis

    Dear Taylor

    I am so glad you have taken guns off the list.The knives are great. St |Peter had a sword. And may I recommend and eleventh present: tickets for the Wintershall Nativity Play: it’s worth crossing the Atlantic for

  • Howard

    In my family, we have a number of superstitions that are observed merely as a matter of tradition (though I think my maternal grandfather actually put stock in them). One of them is that you must never simply give a knife as a gift, because it will “cut” the friendship; instead, a small token payment, typically whatever is the smallest coin the recipient has on him, is required.

    By the way, Smith & Wesson make a number of good EDC knives.

    Also, how about adding a good whetstone to the list? Most of these knives are shipped dull and they certainly will need resharpening if they are being used.

    • mary

      or a box of bandaids 🙂

    • A.D. Hopkins

      Smith & Wesson also makes a very good .357 revolver.

  • Shane

    Was thinking more along the lines of video games and jerseys..this seems to be somewhat of an older mans list..I’m 32 and wouldn’t want anything on that list

    • Howard

      A few things on the list would be OK, but yeah. I would have no use whatsoever for a pipe, and an old-fashioned razor is only good if I want to slit someone else’s throat.

      There isn’t anything universal about this list. Heck, it doesn’t even include a ratchet set, something every man needs, with most men needing several sets.

  • freddy

    Once again, Taylor, you’ve dressed up what looks like your personal wish-list with the word “manly” and floated the idea that somehow men don’t know how to ask for stuff. Well maybe *you* don’t know how to ask (Although this looks like a pretty big hint — do you e-mail the link to this page to your wife?) but trust me, men generally know how to ask for what they want. And, seriously, what an embarrassing list of selfish greed! I don’t grudge anyone their personal wealth, but to post this on a blog dedicated to Catholic thought is terribly tone-deaf to the many, many of us out here who would have trouble affording the $40.00 knife, let alone the $67.55 for the bar set, $108.00 shaving set, or $80.00 ipad cover! And your continued whining for a pipe is, well, unmanly; but perhaps you have to watch a loved one die of emphysema to realize just what a bad idea that particular gift is. Anyway, if I were Mrs. Taylor Marshall, I’d seriously consider giving you a copy of “Evangelii Gaudium.”
    Maybe next year you could grace your readers with a list of what you *gave* instead of what you *craved*.

    • quisutDeusmpc

      frankly freddy,

      i have ambivalent feelings about your criticism. i’ve known plenty of men who know how to ask what they want, who ask for power tools that run in the hundreds of dollars while their children end up with long underwear, a coat, or a cheap toy or their wives receive a crock pot or a vacuum; or better yet ask for a $250 tattoo while their children receive cheap shoes for Christmas. So the class warfare rhetoric cuts both ways.

      In addition, post-clerical child abuse scandal, I believe there is a hyper-critical psychology that has descended with regards to anything clerical – not that this is a bad thing after the hyper-clericalism that pervaded the Church 1920-1960’s. This may be nothing more than former Anglican/English country gentleman/parson (I’m thinking here of the mass media portrayal in “The Quiet Man” of late 19th / early 20th century Episcopal/Catholic country clerics) turned Catholic priest under the Anglican ordinariate, meets 21st century fall out of the post-clerical sexual abuse/radical secular egalitarian cultural climate. Clerics are also people with personal lives. Their every waking moment need not be Divine Office, Mass, or preparing for one or the other and leftover time is weddings, funerals, etc. Presumably they are allowed to enjoy a stiff one after a long day or to keep their coffee warm in a Thermos.

      Presumably if we knew what you did for a living and had an opportunity to point out the inconsistencies in your life, we would be able to pick it to pieces to suit our fancies, as well. But you don’t put yourself out there, do you? You just criticize those who do.

      • freddy

        First, I was not aware that I was engaging in “class warfare.” I would be equally dismayed if Taylor were espousing the “manliness” of power tools or tattoos!
        Second, I have no idea where you’re coming from on the “clerical” issue. As far as I know, Taylor is not a cleric; he is a husband, parent & professor. And again, as far as I know, his list is not *for* clerics, just “manly” men. To be honest, if Taylor had titled his post something like “Great Gifts for Priests” I’d have no problem with it. The implication that this is stuff *he* wants, stuff *real* *manly* men want, and women readers should be taking notes, is part of what bothers me.
        Finally, I agree with you that writers of public blogs must be thick-skinned as they will certainly attract criticism. But if you feel it necessary to criticize me based on what I do for a living rather than on my words, fine. I’m a homemaker, mother to seven, and I homeschool. I like chocolate a little too much and read too much sci-fi. Sometimes I get cranky.
        Have fun.

        • dfwfireman

          Freddy, you appear bitter and bored. Leave the adults alone here, ok ?

    • Howard

      ‘Anyway, if I were Mrs. Taylor Marshall, I’d seriously consider giving you a copy of “Evangelii Gaudium.”‘

      Also a bad idea. If your idea of a “gift” is something that the recipient won’t like, but that YOU THINK WOULD DO HIM GOOD, do everyone a favor and don’t give the gift. Don’t give your co-worker with bad breath Listerine. Don’t give a hygiene-challenged neighbor a bar of soap. Don’t give your wife kneepads so that she can polish the floor in greater comfort. Don’t give a Bible to your atheistic cousin. Just don’t.

      • freddy

        Sorry, Howard, but you seem to have completely missed the point of my comment.

    • Joe

      With respect to emphysema, you can’t get it from pipe smoking unless you’re doing it wrong. Pipe tobacco, like cigars, is not intended to be inhaled when smoked. Mouth cancer is a risk, but even so the only studies I’ve found are on heavy pipe smokers (2-3 times a day) as opposed to the majority of pipe smokers who rarely smoke more than once in a day.
      Otherwise, some of your criticism may be partially valid but please spare us your self-righteousness.

      • freddy

        Joe: how, precisely, was I “self-righteous” in my comment? I pointed out that Taylor’s premise (that men don’t know how to ask for “stuff”), his list (of some fairly pricey stuff for the average Catholic family), and his definition (that certain things are, of themselves, “manly”) are flawed and would benefit from some re-thinking. I never compared anything to my own behavior or desires. As far as *you* know, I may be disgusted with the greed in my own life, trying to do better, and finding Taylor’s post, shall we say, less than helpful.

    • windjammer

      Not to be unkind….but

      1) How do you say “Scrooge” aka “Sourpuss” aka Get a life!
      2) It’s Taylors blog. Don’t like it then leave it.
      3) Everytime I see responses like yours I am reminded of the phrase..
      “Wimps using big words to hide small weenies”
      4) With pun intended….”Get a Knife!”

      Merry Christmas.

      • freddy

        Thank you for your kind words, windjammer. Taylor Marshall must be so proud to have real “manly” men like you to defend him. I’m a girl, btw, so thanks for the laugh. And my kitchen’s chock full of knives, but my favorite is the 8 inch bread knife.
        Merry Christmas! And be sure to tell your mommy to send your letter to Santa early so you get everything you want!

        • dfwfireman

          Put Mommy and Daddy back on the computer, mm K ?

    • dfwfireman

      This comment is embarrassingly whiny. Yo, Bro… Do you need a hug ? Seriously !

  • Lurker

    Can anyone explain the purpose of the 3 different shaped blades on the Case knife? I’ve always wondered.

    • Three blades: Wood carving, meat/food carving, and cheese. I’d be happy to be corrected on the last one (“cheese”). That’s how I’d use the Case knife.

  • Andrew Medina

    #8 is great, save money on the blades and it’s a better shave. Also, I think the Bible is a great idea for some one your know has mentioned maybe needing a pocket edition of the Bible. This is a “Catholic Man” list and it’s a good one.

  • swordcrossrocket

    I’d actually recommend a plain Kindle E-reader over the Fire if just for reading. You’ll enjoy reading it in direct sunlight, it’s lighter, and the battery life is better. Plus, it’s easier to get distracted by the net and games with a Fire. The Fire is better though if you like books with full color illustrations. I’d really like an EDC myself, but it would be ornamental. I usually keep box cutters handy for any minor cutting work, and it’s not like I camp or need to cut twigs or heavier things.

    • Good rec. I like the EDC. I don’t usually carry an ornamental. However, I’ve noticed that the EDC does wear out my nice suit/slacks pockets.

  • Patrick Coffin

    Love the list Sir Taylor. No conceal carry ideas? (Oh, for a burnished wood-handled Colt weighing down my stocking….) Sword: handy revolver of the first century.

    • Dr Taylor Marshall

      Last year I had “biometric gun safe” but it was not so popular. So I dropped it from this year’s list. Also, our European friends don’t appreciate my love for sidearms.

    • Sword comment. Amen.

      • Patrick Coffin

        You back on the show. January? Come, let us strategize as to topique, monsieur.

  • Grace

    I was surprised not to see the Spyderco knife on your list under knives. Don’t get me wrong….the Swiss Army knives are all my husband had before. But after seeing a few awesome YouTube reviews about the Spyderco, it’s the only knife he uses on a daily basis. It’s such an awesome knife, I asked for one, too….only mine is purple and his is black!

  • Bernie

    Thanks, Taylor, for the great suggestions! I’ve already picked some for gifts for the guys in my family. Pipe, pocket knife, leather bound Bible, old fashioned razor, whiskey decanter… hmmm, you sound suspiciously like a good ol’ “G.K.Chestertonian” who ain’t afraid to enjoy life!
    From a retired homeschooling mom proud of her (manly) menfolk

  • Joe

    Well I sent this to my wife and told her it was a list of things NOT to get me for Christmas…

  • Dave Jr.

    Personally I like this list Dr. Marshall, and let me say that I am one who also liked your suggestion of a gun for a man that you posted I believe in 2011. There is nothing wrong with some of the items that men were once known for using. Nearly everywhere we go, political correctness has so strongly run amok that most people under the age of 35 have no idea as to what are true gender roles. Thank you for your strong theological teaching and I hope that this post has taught some of the younger guys as well as to what was expected of a man just a couple of generations ago.

    • Thank you Dave. We need to return to the biblical concept that men and women are different and that this is great and beautiful mystery to celebrate.

  • janelle

    I am giving my hubby the DVD on St. Augustine. The book Confessions of St. Augustine is heavy reading. This will be a good companion piece to it.

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  • Tom in South Jersey

    Dr. Marshall, I’m pleased to say that my loving wife presented me with a beautiful hand carved Watson style pipe this year. Merry Christmas to your family and everyone else out there in the blogosphere.