I don't know about you guys, but every year around this time, I start sweating about what the heck to get the hubs for Christmas. He's one of those, "I don't really know what I want" kinda guys, which completely eliminates all shortcuts when it comes to my finding presents for him. I'm guessing that wrapping up a big, bountiful box of socks and underwear for the man you love isn't acceptable anymore, unless you're, like, eight. So you gotta get creative. Or take a few notes from this, the MyBrownBaby Fresh 2010 Holiday Gift Guide For Men. I found some awesome pieces, either made by people of color or sold in black-owned stores. Take a look and if you're so moved, support these businesses as you look for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for the men in your life.
Okay, so yeah—I have a thing for cuffs. I think they’re the epitome of cool, especially when they’re attached to the arm of a boho hipster with an affinity for geek chic. I know. That was a lot. Think Common and Pharrell. Or your man. This leather beauty is one of the many goodies created by Urban Heirlooms, totally one of my Etsy obsessions. There, you’ll find eclectic handmade leather goods—key fobs, wallets and clutches, messengers, belts, key necklaces, and more—crafted from recycled and new materials, all with rich colors and textures beautiful enough for us to buy, and manly enough for our guys to wear. Cuffs start at $65; other great leather goods start at $35, at Urban Heirlooms.
Thorocraft Xanders boots, by Sir & Madame
This Chicago-based, husband-and-wife-owned boutique boasts a lofty motto: “Classic With a Twist,” and Sir & Madame definitely lives up to the hype. For the fellas, I’m loving the one-pocket button downs, the cashmere varsity shawl cardigans, the aviators and the Han Cholo jewelry line carried by the store—all sexy swag. Thorocraft Xanders boots, $230.
I absolutely can not stand bulky, cloppy canvas laptop bags. At. All. They completely ruin the lines and take all manner of style away from the boys. But I do recognize that your boo would rather slow-drag with a porcupine than carry a man bag, so I conducted an exhaustive search for a laptop bag that’s the perfect combo of stylish and rugged, and came across The Brooklyn Circus shop, a funky men’s boutique with lots of hipster gear that you can feel confident putting under the tree. There are shoes, hats, jeans, polos, varsity jackets and polos—lots of great finds. Dig this plaid and cognac leather laptop; it’s handmade by Amish artisans, and the leather is treated with natural oils, beeswax, and vegetable-based dyes to help it “age with dignity.” It’s a perfectly dignified place for his laptop, for sure. $260 for the Billykirk Padded Laptop Flight Bag.
Of course, if he had his way, his office would be painted white, with a light from WalMart, a chair from IKEA, and, if he was feeling especially Nate Berkus, a picture of the family might find it’s way to his desk or something. He doesn’t have to work that way, though. You can bring a little life to his space with a piece of artwork. A framed, signed piece of fine art photography is a perfect option: it’s usually small, so it’s not overwhelming; it’s reasonably priced; and it’s an impressive, thoughtful gift. I found photographer Fahd Husain on Etsy at Painted Negative, and promptly made myself at home, gazing at all of the dramatic, distinguished photos he’s offering up. I thought this piece, Nocturne, was especially mystical, with its deep contrasts and compelling composition. Stunning. $75 for 9 by 18-inch photo on matte archival paper, exclusively at Painted Negative.
With the NFL playoffs right around the corner, tickets to a pro football game would make you the envy of the women and the ruler of men. Or at least earn you enough cool points for a few nights of control over the remote, and maybe a minute or two of quality alone-time away from the kids or something. Hey, I dreams big. If his home or favorite team sucks rocks and doesn’t make it to the playoffs, don’t fret: The NBA season is just heating up. Splurge and get tickets in a section as close to the court as you can afford, and let him take his best buddy instead of you. He’ll love you long time. Trust. Get tickets at Ticketmaster.com.