I am of the Leslie Knope school of gift-giving, because in my opinion there’s nothing more satisfying than finding the absolutely perfect gift for someone, watching them open it, and realizing you totally CRUSHED Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/whatever present-related occasion you celebrate. This is probably due to a lifetime of watching my mother legit start Christmas shopping on January 1st, so that by the time the holidays roll around she’s already got an arsenal of carefully-sourced presents for everyone she knows at her disposal (and also several options for the last minute shoppers in my family to buy from her and gift to one another).
Basically, I’m just trying to get on my mom’s level.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some gift ideas for the important people in your life, starting with gentlemen. Check them out below.
For the Salsero
This photo of Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe looking bawsed up in the back of of a Rolls Royce is iconic. Colón in particular put that whole old-school gangster who is hard-but-suave-as-hell look on the map, and it’s a classic that never goes out of style. Get this $28 tee from Peralta Project for the salsa-lover in your life.
For the Outdoorsy Nostalgic
Juniper Ridge bills itself as “the world’s only wild fragrance company,” and while I can’t verify that claim, I’m willing to bet it’s legit. The outdoorsy company hikes, climbs, and swims all over, collecting to bits of nature that capture the essence of mountains and meadows, trees and flowers, ocean breezes and desert air. Then they turn these bits into fragrances that will straight up give you a Proustian madeleine-moment. At least, that’s what happened to our Creative Director when he smelled a fragrance harvested from the Sierra Madre mountain range and swore it smelled exactly like his childhood neighborhood in D.F. Buy your guy an entire collection of products for $130 or peruse the store’s individual wilderness-scented colognes, soaps, incense and more.
For the Men Who Wear Jewelry
There was once a time in my life when the sight of a man wearing jewelry caused a similar amount of revulsion as I feel seeing dudes wear flip-flops at NYC bars. But now I’m dating a man who wears more jewelry than I do, so go figure. If you’re shopping for a guy whose jewelry game is better than yours, we recommend Han Cholo. Drawing inspiration from LA’s cholo culture, low rider car shows, and good ol’ rock n’ roll, the line of necklaces, rings, earrings and cuffs has amassed a following that reads like a Who’s Who of the music world (everyone from MF Doom to Beck to Snoop Dogg have been pictured wearing designer Brandon Schoolhouse’s pieces). The pyramid cuff pictured above clocks in at $70, and there are plenty of affordable pieces on the site. For the fancy among you, the brand also offers some pretty badass pieces in precious metals.
For the Tropical Dandy
For the rare breed of man who isn’t intimidated by a busy print, we recommend Nuyorican Sam Nieves-Velez’s line Mr. Nieves, which is basically all our tropical fantasies personified in the form of tailored shirts, shorts and pants. It may look overwhelming at first, but when taken individually the pieces are surprisingly easy to pull off if you keep the rest of the colors in the look muted. Nieves’ capsule collection debuted this summer to lots of buzz, and as we approach the dead of winter, its bright colors and patterns will help keep the hope of summer alive. Make purchasing inquiries here.
For the Sneakerhead
Is there anything better than the black and gold? Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenço‘s take on the Nike Blazer Low just launched this week and it’s fresh as fuh. The supple leather gets a metallic pop that takes the shoes up a notch without while still enabling them to work as a neutral pair that goes with everything. At $110, there is also a chrome on white option for those who prefer the crispy winter whites. Get ’em before they sell out — I kind of want a pair for myself.
For the Mezcal Lover
If you’re thinking of gifting a bottle this holiday, Vida is an affordable option that has gotten the stamp of approval from the mezcal experts in our office. Made in Oaxaca by Del Maguey, this $36 spirit is crafted the OG way: by hand, twice-distilled, and very slowly in wood-fired, riverside copper stills.
For the Altruistic Hypebeast
Project Pietà, which we featured recently, is a well-executed streetwear line with an unlikely story: it’s made in some of Peru’s worst prisons, by inmates. The ethical fashion project began as a way to provide prisoners with a marketable skill and a source of income — through their work, inmates receive shortened jail sentences and a third of Pietà’s profits. The clothing itself is made of high-quality, locally-sourced Peruvian materials (like organic pima cotton, alpaca wool, etc.) and its aesthetic skillfully references current streetwear trends made popular by the likes of Hood by Air and Alexander Wang. Project Pietà is available in stores in Miami and Los Angeles, and ships internationally from its online shop.
For Deadpan Comic
Design firm Object Solutions offers a treasure trove of gift ideas for fans of dry, ironic humor. The brainchild of inventor/DJ Ernesto Morales, this ambiguous art meets design meets consumption satire project is like a weirder, more awesome SkyMall. At Object Solutions, Morales creates bizarre products that solve neurotic #firstworldproblems that could have sprung from the mind of Larry David. Consider the “Full Body Moist Towel,” which is basically like a human-sized version of the moist towelettes you use to clean your fingers after eating a plate of ribs. Or as Morales describes it, “a personal, portable hygiene blanket.”
As our writer Barbara Calderón-Douglass put it, “One might view the videos as sketch comedy, others may see the critique of consumerism embedded in the sarcasm. Then there are those who want to actually buy the products.” Either way, they’re a great gift for someone with a left-field sense of humor. For purchase inquiries, email email@example.com.
For the Grill Master
If the endless parade of meats that is an asado Argentino is your guy’s idea of the perfect meal, get him Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, a cookbook by renowned Argentine chef Francis Mallmann. Filled with the tips and tricks Mallmann gleaned from watching gauchos grill during his childhood in Patagonia, the book’s photos and recipes will make your mouth water. His methods — which also include recipes and suggestions for grilling vegetables and fruits — will have you feasting like a king.