2011’s Top 10 Manly Gifts for your Husband, Father, Son, or Grandfather…

Last year, we featured the top ten gifts that men want but don’t ask for. This 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.

Like last year, we reminded all the ladies that Christmas ties are just okay. Polo shirts, sweaters, and dress shirts are also very nice, but they are nothing to brag about. The problem is that we men don’t often tell you what we want – either because we’re too proud or we’re just too busy to make a list.

So 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 presents.” Seriously, you can’t wrong with the following ten gifts. They’re all winners. So here we go:

10) Old School Shaving Razor
If you want your man to feel like a total stud, get him this gift. It’s old school shaving just like your grandfather used to do. Real Badger hair brush. Soap bowl. Cool stainless thing to hang your razor up to dry. I have one of these and I love it.

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.

9) Pipe and Tobacco

Pipe smoking is cool. Just ask Sherlock Holmes. Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, Vincent Van Gogh, and Santa Claus also concur. Plus, everyone loves the wafting of a little pipe tobacco on a cool winter day. The pipe model featured on the left 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 anymore. But I hope the best for all your men. Perhaps I will enjoy their second hand smoke.

8) Boots
Nothing says, “Heh, I’m an effeminate pansy,” than all these metro-looking “trim” loafers that young men wear today. (I’m not talking about dress loafers or penny loafers, I’m talking about these kind of loafers.) It gives all new meaning to “light in the loafers.” I pity these young pups as they prance around in “outdoor slippers.” The only things these shoes are good for is walking around the mall.

Moreover, wearing tennis shoes and basketball shoes with your jeans isn’t nearly as cool as wearing leather boots. Boots communicate strength and longevity. Everyone knows that women swoon for a man in boots, be they soldiers or cowboys. Just trust me on this. Brown boots and Levis – that’s a winning combination.

I recommend cowboy boots that look like cowboy boots but have hard rubber souls (like the Justin’s in the box to the right).

I wear some like these just about every day. If he insists on wearing laces, these boots are also pretty B.A. – also made by Red Wing.

7) Kindle from amazon.com
I love the Kindle and it’s basic model is now only $79 bucks. The great thing is that you can get almost any classic book for free or $0.99. Any of the great English classics. You can also get the great spiritual classics. I got tons of St Alphonsus Liguori texts for free. Imitation of Christ? Free. Huckleberry Fin? Free. If he likes to read (and especially if he likes techy stuff), get the Kindle.

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.

And don’t forget, both of my books are also available through Kindle.

6) 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 every day in my sports coat, and holds up to use. It’s absolutely beautiful and has a ribbon to mark your place.

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

5) A Nice Durable Rosary
Rosaries aren’t merely for old ladies. Real men pray the Rosary because real men love the greatest woman who ever lived: the Blessed, Glorious, and Immaculate Mother of God, Mary Most Holy. A man needs a real Rosary. Wood. Heavy. Unbreakable. I’m sorry to report that these are unavailable in stores. You have to make it for him with your own two hands. Get wood beads and tough cord that won’t break. Get a nice heavy crucifix and put it together. My daughters made one like this for me. I could lift a child with it – it’s that strong. Also, if you use real paracord, it won’t ever knot or tangle.

4) A Gun
Every man should own at least one gun. A Colt 45 for a revolver. A semi-automatic handgun (I prefer any 1911 model for .45 ACP and Glock in .40 cal). A trusty deer rifle (I like 270 Wby and 30-06). A shot gun for ducks and doves (12 gauge side by side or pump-action). Owning a firearm is a rite of passage. Ever male needs a sidearm.

You’ll eventually need a gun safe – especially if you have kids. If you just have a handgun that you want keep away from children, I recommend the mini vault featured to the right.

3) Beer Homebrewing Kit
My wife got me a homebrew kit for Christmas four years ago. My life has never been the same since. I now make almost all the beer that we consume. I make Irish Stout, Pale Ales, IPAs, Oktoberfest, Porters, Amber Ales, Christmas Ale, etc. My brother and I just finished an “Iron Mash” competition in public (like Iron Chef America) using surprise ingredients. It’s great fun and very rewarding. For parties, I have kegs out, which contain my own beer. A real conversation starter. I have friends come over and we brew together. It’s all about making alcoholic beverages…and it’s legal.

2) Meat Smoker
Fire. Smoke. Meat. Cheese. Enough said. Get him a meat smoker from Masterbuilt.

I got into meat smoking in March of 2011. I’m making brisket, pulled pork, ribs, smoked chickens. Shoot, we even smoked a turkey. It’s great fun and it tastes great. Best of all, when daddy smokes, mommy doesn’t have to cook dinner. So it’s fun for me and it gives mom a night off.

Smoking meats is one of those things that sounds complicated but it isn’t that difficult. It just requires time and care. It’s also a skill that can be passed down from father to son.

1) Pocket Knife (Four Types of Knives to Consider)
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.

To help you out, I’ve classed pocket knives into four types, so you’ll need to think about the man in your life and then choose which would be best suited for him.

The Gentleman’s Knife
I call it the “gentleman’s knife.” It’s the very nice wooden or bone handled knife. Often it has the wavy stainless Damascus blade. This is gift 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. 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 Christmas gift and I really recommend this for your dad or husband. Ladies, think of it as the closet thing to masculine jewelry. In the box to the left, I’ve featured a really nice Hen and Rooster with Burl wood and Damascus blade. It’s a beautiful tool.

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 movies. 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 pocket. The pocket clip also keeps the knife high in your pocket so it’s comfortable whenever you sit down or drive. My every day carry is the Sog Trident – it is a bit big (3.5 inch blade), but I love it. It’s light and has the pocket clip. If you want to go smaller, I recommend the Sog Flash (click here to see it).

Honorable mention for “every day carry” knives – Kershaw’s Ken Onion Tactical and Spyderco’s Tenacious:

The Hunting Knife
The hunting knife is 100% practical. I think that a good hunting knife needs strength, rubber grip (because animal blood and fat make a knife slippery), and a gut hook. There is no better knife than the Buck 278 Folding Alpha Hunter with rubber grips and a gut hook (used for skinning animals). I’ve done my research and this is the best basic hunting knife. It is made so well. I own it and it opens and closes so smoothly. It also comes with a carrying case for your belt. I’ve featured this knife in the box to the left.

The Multi-Tool or Swiss Army
If your man is a gadget guy then he’s probably a fan of the multi-tool or Swiss Army. These are knifes that also 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). For a more mechanical guy, the Leatherman is the classic. The Leatherman comes with a leather case the he can wear on his belt. I wore one of these during college.

If your man doesn’t have any good quality knives, I’d get him two. I’d him the nice gentleman’s knife and the Sog Trident.

So there you go. I hope these are helpful. If you have any other ideas, or if you think I’m a complete Neandrethal, leave a comment below.

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