Johnny’s Christmas Gift Guide for Men :: 2018 Edition

Christmas Gift guide for men by Johnny

Howdy Y’all! Johnny here. I’m back for my third year in a row of writing a gift guide for men. You’ll find gifts for the readers, travelers, businessmen, sports fanatics, and more here that I’m sure will delight. This guide will be ideal for significant others, Dads, brothers, cousins, uncles, male coworkers, friends… oh! And the person you may have a crush on ūüėČ This gift guide for men is broken up into six parts. I hope you enjoy and find this useful! Happy shopping!

Christmas Gift guide for men by Johnny

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

  • Wall Street Journal Subscription – Since Hoang-Kim is a journalist, I can fully appreciate and pay for good journalism. At $12 for 12 weeks and $38 afterward, it’s a bargain to get access to all of WSJ’s articles. Their best stuff is behind the paywall. Honestly, there came a point where I just got tired of getting excited about an article, getting one paragraph in, and getting blocked. Every boy becomes a man someday. That day is when he¬†subscribes to WSJ. I ¬†read the business section almost exclusively, but it’s helpful to understand the basic headlines guiding everyday readers based on the front page. Also, it doubled as a gift for Hoang-Kim because she was dying to read a WSJ article on Nathan Chen.
  • ESPN Watch App – Another one of those products I wish I had all fall during college football season. I only had the chance to enjoy the app when friends pulled up games on their phones during a dinner or after-work event. For $4.99/month, it’s high on my list come next football season. I wish I cared more about NFL or other sports. Too bad figure skating airs exclusively on NBC. It’d only be an even bigger value. P.S. I’m sorry if your other half decides to watch a game in the middle of a fall wedding reception.
  • Whoop – For the performance athletes, trainers, or health analytics nerds, this is an amazing device elite athletes use to track their recovery cycles and help actively correlate their recovery with performance. For those who are getting religious about their sleep, this is one of those tools going beyond what the Apple Watch can do and helps you prove your point. They boast some amazing statistics around lowering resting heart rate, reduced injury, reduced alcohol intake, etc. These are likely all done tracking some elite athletes, so your mileage may vary. Either way, anything reminding you to put the pint down and sleep more should significantly boost your well-being. A great start to my¬†gift guide for men.

Why So Many Books?! Who Reads Anyways!?

  • Who is Michael Ovitz? – For those of you who don’t know, don’t worry, because most people don’t. Michael Ovitz is the founder and force behind Creative Artists Agency, better known as CAA.¬†Michael Ovitz is the major power broker who helped Hollywood stars including Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Costner, John Belushi, and Barbra Streisand, as well as directors Steven Spielberg, Barry Levinson, and Sydney Pollack to name a few. He’s the legend who negotiated David Letterman’s move from NBC to CBS. Ultimately, if something significant happened in Hollywood, CAA either made it happen or knew about it. CAA completely changed how Hollywood worked and still seems to run a lot of it from behind the scenes today. He built a castle in one of the most cutthroat places in the world and then expanded globally.¬†I usually hate autobiographies and biographies, but after reading his memoir, I’ve found this genre of personal memoirs to be a new favorite. Anytime a book opens my mind to a new genre, it’s like a mental explosion. Definitely a must on my¬†gift guide for men.
  • Geometry of Wealth – It’s always funny when the author writes the sequel to a previous book that is really a prequel. This book is a pretty short and repetitive read on personal financial planning. What stands out to me about the author’s method is his simple square, triangle, and circle metaphors that make his tried and true ideas palatable and easy to understand. Really it boils down to working backwards from a life of meaning and then setting your financial goals accordingly. This is entry level stuff, so if you’ve got a bonafied financial planner, you’ve probably got this stuff covered. If not, read this and get started. Everyone wishes they started earlier because compounding is the fourth wonder of the world!
  • Bad Blood – I haven’t gotten a chance to read this yet, but by all accounts, everyone has said it’s an amazing piece of investigative journalism. It takes you deep into the details of the Theranos fraud, led by once lauded CEO Elizabeth Holmes. For those who love startups and the cynics, this book is for you. The line between startup marketing and fraud are always nuanced. Theranos raising billions, having the CEO outright lie to CVS and other strategic partners and investors, was an easy one to judge once the house of cards came down. I’m scared to open it and read it because I’ve heard I won’t be able to put it down. Enjoy.

Christmas Gift guide for men by Johnny

Stylish & Comfortable. Guaranteed Compliments

  • The Softest Athletic/Lounge Clothes – If it’s a lazy weekend, you can find me in my blue Outdoor Voices pants and gray hoodie. If I’m going to the gym, you’ll find me in the same. This workout gear doubles as loungewear. It’s the definition of “athleisure.” It’s a little pricey for my taste, but if you’re into getting very high-quality clothes you’ll wear a lot, be comfortable, and be functional all at once, OV has got the gear for you. Definitely a must on my gift guide for men.
  • Waterproof Chukka Boots – Born and raised in Texas, land of hot and dry things, I never fully appreciated a nice waterproof boot until recently. Having spent a lot more time in places where it rains or floods regularly, I’d say having a pair that can be worn with your suit and peacoat are a must. My Sorel’s were battle-tested in the concrete jungles of New York City where HK and I recently walked 20 miles during a rainy weekend. Nothing gives me the heebie-jeebies more than dirty street water. Having these boots gave me a lot of security my feet would stay dry, warm, and comfortable on our city treks. I, unfortunately, did a bagel run in my Nike’s and was immediately met with cold, wet feet that made me replace them with boots immediately after I got back. These boots can be worn to almost any occasion except black tie affairs.
  • Run on Clouds Sneakers – Custom (I like the red and gold) or in the colors they offer, these are an easy way to stand out¬†and perform your best. These sneakers can blend into a business casual setting and give you some flare or you run a marathon in them. These are a compliment magnet. I get so many when wearing these out. They’re so light and comfortable, it’s hard to remember to take them off when I get home. If you’re looking to purchase any footwear from this¬†gift guide for men, make it these sneakers.
  • The Best Chinos Ever -I LOVE THESE PANTS. I really haven’t found chinos that fit me right and feel light like suit pants until now. Now I can feel extremely comfortable and dress business casual regularly. Button-down shirt tucked-in or not, these pants are for all work and after-work occasions. I’ll steadily definitely be buying two to three more pairs in the near future for myself. If the man in your life has athletic legs and hips, get these pants for him. It’s rare to find a pair this fitting.
  • Go-To Backpack – This has been my faithful daily companion I occasionally switch with my Ted Baker messenger bag depending on how I’m feeling. It’s a minimalist backpack that can be worn on the subway, cycling or walking around town, in high end coffee shops, and low-end ones too. I always carry a few things with me at all times like my laptop, headphones, notebook, pens, wallet, and any important paperwork for the day. This backpack holds up well for that use. It barely has any pockets for better organization, so if the person you’re gifting loves pockets and having each thing have its unique place, this backpack isn’t for him. For everyone else, it’s stylish, durable, and functional.
  • The Must-Have Sweater¬†– This sweater has kept me warm through and through. A great laying piece for hikes that‚Äôs relatively lightweight and good in cool to cold temperatures. Incredibly versatile and snuggle-worthy if you‚Äôre laying on his chest.
  • Luggage – Alert! Currently on major sale as of this post going live! Just got back from a whirlwind trip to NYC. This luggage is very durable, stylish, and has some extremely handy features you won’t find on other luggage. We also took them to PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The two features standing out are the locks for the zippers integrated into the bag and the stop/start wheel lock. We had to leave our bags in a deli because we checked out of our Airbnb earlier it the morning. Needless to say, I liked knowing we had a lock on the bag so discrete I barely noticed it until we needed it. The wheel locks are very handy when you’re standing anywhere with some grade. You don’t need to worry about your luggage rolling into the street or falling over anymore. As an avid traveler, it’s all these little features signaling you’re a pro vs. a once-a-year traveler. P.S. I don’t like luggage with battery packs since you have to remove them before takeoff. Little things like that become a hassle over time.

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. They were wrong.

  • AirPods – I might as well make this and ode to AirPods. I’ve convinced at least 5-10 people to get AirPods. First, they don’t fall out. The headphones that come with your phone fall out more often because something tugs on the wire. I’m not just a man anymore. I’m a man with AirPods in my ears all day either on calls, listening to a podcast during commutes, or music during a workout. Once you get AirPods, you’ll never go back to wired. It’s the only expensive product I’ve lost and re-bought because they’re actually worth it. FYI, they’re a lot harder to lose than you think too. The first thing I thought of when putting together this gift guide for men. Get them for you and yours and you won’t regret it. I promise. *Small caveat for any ears it doesn’t fit in. Sorry.
  • Voice Activated Speaker – I can’t wait to have one of these in our living room. I love having ambient sound around the house. It’s helpful to have a voice-activated speaker that’s also a good speaker (ahem…Alexa). Usually, I’m playing music or a podcast is playing in my headphones. I’m in my own world. That’s good and bad. Sonos is known for their ability to sync speakers across rooms to reduce that horrible echo you get typically when you’re playing the same channel. Finally, you can get Hi-Fi sound synced up all over the house. Getting one is just the start.
  • Nintendo Switch – I watched a grown man play with this while waiting to board a plane at Love Field Airport and it reminded of my days running around with a Gameboy Color. I’m pretty stoked gaming is mainstream now and more importantly, it’s acceptable for professionals to whip out their Nintendo Switch at an airport. Dare I say it, I am jealous. The ability to play console quality games-on-the-go is a godsend. You can play games like Resident Evil, DOOM, Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Odyssey on the go. I’m constantly impressed by Nintendo’s ability to zig when the Xbox and Playstation are zagging.

Crazy Rich Asians (maybe) gifts

  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones – If you haven’t picked up on it now, I like high-quality sound and comfort. If I’m just listening to music to focus when making powerpoint decks or writing business outlines, these are my go-to headphones. Hoang-Kim got them for me as a birthday gift after I’ve ohh’d and ahh’d over these for years, but told myself I’d never spend this much on headphones. They’re a life changer. The noise cancellation is unparalleled, making flights significantly better. I basically don’t go anywhere without them now. They hold a charge really well, so I can go a week or more without recharging. As someone who has to plug in two to three things daily, I can really appreciate something holding its charge.
  • Peloton – this one is for the crazy rich Asians (or fill in whatever race) reading this. At a whopping $1,995 + $39/month or a more flexible $58/month 39 month financing and $39/month, this gift isn’t for the faint of heart. Both for your wallet or the person starting spin classes. Either way, I’ve heard enough great things about this equipment to recommend it. It’s on my major wish list. I imagine myself losing 25 lbs and lowering my resting heart rate after becoming a Peloton-head. If/when we get this in our home, I’m sure you won’t hear the end of it from me. My jawline will thank me one day and so will his if you get this for him.
  • The Best Fitting Suit – I got this in 2016 and it’s is my go-to. I got the midnight navy and it works for so many occasions. If you’re looking to up the style game of any man in your life, this suit from this gift guide for men is a must.

A Few of All the Other Things…

  • Fortnite V-Bucks – On the opposite end of the mindful vs. mindless spectrum in this gift guide for men, Fortnite is a guy’s dream. It’s not just a game. It’s a place to hang out with friends. Get him enough V-bucks to buy something unique he’ll be able to brag about. I’m sure there’s something he’s had his eye on, but is embarrassed to tell you or would feel stupid if it showed up on his credit card statement.
  • French Press or Cold Brew Coffee Maker – If he’s like me, he probably spends too much buying coffee at some special roasted and brewed place down the street. This post is for me as it is your male counterpart. Buy him one of these or both so you can whip out either depending on the season. You can’t go wrong with a French press and the right roast and grind. I have limited cold brew knowledge. I just know you add water to the concentrate. I had one barista forget this and I swear I saw sound waves in the air. The fun of having these at home is you can experiment until your AM best friend tastes just right. Plus, it’s not an overly expensive option on this¬†gift guide for men.
  • Jackson Skates – So this gift listing isn’t really about the skates, unless your other half and you enjoy ice skating a lot. Really, it’s a prompt to think critically about what gear you need to buy your partner to get him bought into something you love. Kim loves figure skating. She did it competitively for 11 years. More importantly, she brings me skating fairly often in the winter, but I’ve always had to rent skates. I like skating, but it’s always been a mental hurdle to pay for admission and rental skates. She got me my first pair of skates and now I couldn’t be more excited to go skate all the time. Just this week I dragged her to skate 3 days in a row to break in my new ones in. Something clicked. With winter sports, having the right gear is the biggest impediment. Now I feel like I belong on the ice!

I hope this gift guide for men is helpful and you choose a gift any man in your life would be more than happy to receive. Please feel free to check out 2017’s gift guide or men or the one from 2016. Good luck!

Christmas Gift guide for men by Johnny