As seen in the February/March issue of American Craft magazine...more
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The Elusive Man Gift
As the American Craft editor with the best beard, it falls on my broad, hairy shoulders to highlight some of the best handmade gift ideas for men, or as I like to call them: man gifts.
Man gifts are tough. Even just last week, at Thanksgiving, my mother kept inquiring as to what I wanted for Christmas, and nothing came to mind – a problem, it seems, that plagues even the manliest of men.
From my years of man gift giving (and receiving), I've found that good man gifts tend to fall into two categories: gifts that men can use (or use up), and small, nice accessories that perhaps men wouldn't (or wouldn't think) to purchase on their own. Allow me to make a broad generalization: men value functional, well-crafted items. There's no need for too much glitz or glamour, but inherent beauty and interesting form never hurts.
How about scarves, ties, and jackets? Textiles from Fritelli and Lockwood are always in fashion, and the classic patterns and designs are sure to bring smiles to all recipients.
Accessories can make or break an outfit, or so I've been told. Belts and buckles from Erica Gordon are finely-crafted for everyday wear. And for those who need something to put that three-piece suit over the top, a tie clip or a handsome pair of cufflinks, such as these recycled subway token cufflinks from Uncommon Goods, add handmade charm to formal attire.
How about something for that overworked man in your life who doesn't take enough time for himself? Nothing says "take a load off" better than a hammock. Traditional rope hammocks, like those from Outer Banks Hammocks, remind me of a life at sea, when men were men. For a modern take on the hammock, check out these sling loungers from Milburn Design. Teak hammocks combine the beauty and longevity of wood with the form-hugging function of a hammock. Can a hammock get any cooler?
For me, giving gifts to other men is always tricky, so I tend to stick with the timeless tradition of booze. For my whiskey-loving friends, clay bottles and cups are a classier way to consume. I like this bottle and cup set from Jack Attack Ceramics and this set by Justin Lambert. For the beer lovers, there are so many bottle openers out there that it's difficult to choose. I like the simplicity of this nail bottle opener from Brendan Ravenhill, though I am partial to these hand-forged iron tools, too.
For that bearded man in your life? Perhaps a handcrafted shaving set with turned handles by Mary Lacer is just the ticket to a trimmed (or even clean-shaven) new year.
This holiday season we're rounding up the perfect handmade crafts for the people in your life - foodies, hosts, entertainers, men, stylish girlfriends, kids, jewelry junkies, and those who love to learn. Check out all of our handmade gift ideas.