Neal’s Favorite Things + Gifts For Him
Neal here. Excited to be hitting publish on our 2022 “For the Guys” gift guide. If you’ve been around here for a while (thank you) you’ll recognize this same format from years past. Just like “Jess’ Favorite Things” guide, we bring you “Neal’s Favorite Things” today. We put a lot of time and effort into it (and had fun doing it!) because 1. I feel like every guy is hard to buy for and 2. if my name is on anything on this blog, I’m not half-assing it!
Whether you’re shopping for your significant other, father, father in law, grandpa, brother, friend, coworker, whoever–I think you’ll find some great ideas here! Every single item you’ll find here is either something I already own or something I really want. From small businesses to my favorite larger retailers, you’ll find a little bit of everything below. Of course, you’ll recognize quite a few of my old standby’s that I’ve owned and loved for many years–but plenty of fresh ideas, too.
We’ve made this easy and broken the post up into quick-shop categories. Just click the category you want to peruse first, and you’ll be taken straight there.
I realize that this is a list of material items recommended for purchase (stay tuned for our “experience” gift guide coming soon), but I truly hope that a few of these ideas can help you spread a little love and make someone feel special this holiday season.
Thank you for following along and making this blog possible. Your support of my wife means more than you know. Happy Holidays! (And happy holiday shopping.)
Gift Guide: Neal’s Favorite Things + Gifts For Him!
One of my favorite presents I’ve ever received. I got this three years ago and use it every day. Excellent for any fitness junkie, it’s great for muscle recovery. (Recovery matters more and more to me now that I’m old.)
Jumping rope is an awesome workout, wherever you are. It will improve your cardio, legs and general athleticism. This one is super thin and easy to pack and adjust, so it’s great for small spaces and travel (whenever that happens again).
Enzo LS Tee:
I wear long sleeves to do a lot in the gym. These shirts are the best. If he likes the gym, he’ll love these! End of story.
Most do more home workouts these days, but these bands are great wherever you are – home, travel, the park, or in the gym bag.
Equilibria Relief Cream:
I might be a bit biased (as my wife works for the company) but, I truly believe this company of amazing women produce the best CBD products in the game. I use the relief cream daily and it especially helps with my sore rotator cuffs and Achilles. Would be great for any dads or uncles with arthritis or back pain, too. Use code JESSKEYS for 15% off your first purchase.
Athlean-X online workouts:
Jeff Cavaliere is one of my favorite online trainers. I have purchased a few of his programs that I follow to structure my gym workouts. Highly recommend for any guy who likes working out, or wants to start a workout program. He also has an at-home program if that’s more his style.
Whoop Fitness Tracker:
The Whoop is going on my personal wish list this year. It’s a different kind of fitness band focused on sleep and recovery. It connects to his phone and produces incredible data designed to help him sleep and feel better.
Everyman Jack Face Wipes:
A great item to stash in his gym bag. (Or to use anytime, really!) This company is legit–clean ingredients, affordable, and I love all their products.
Apple AirPod Pros:
I reluctantly have to admit–the AirPod pros are worth the hype. (I was a hater when they first came out.) The sound quality is amazing and the noise cancellation is an absolute must for anyone sharing a home workspace with their family. They are constantly in my ears and have held up after a year of intense workouts. Worth every penny.
In my old age I need to spend a lot more time on workout recovery. This little kit has almost everything I need and has been especially helpful in helping with plantar fasciitis.
Legend Luka Shorts:
These shorts are perfect for the gym and are made with a flexible, tough fabric that also makes them ideal for a hike. I like the 5 in. Inseam options but Legends makes longer options too!
Practical, yet stylish. A great stocking stuffer to keep his cords organized while traveling.
Yeti Backpack Cooler:
Absolutely worth the splurge! I bought this ahead of our van camping trip two summers ago. It served as a second fridge on the road and it has been a constant companion at the beach, long weekends, picnics, camping trips, and more. Keeps things way colder than a regular cooler and you can’t beat the ease of the backpack straps. Great for any guy who enjoys the outdoors in any capacity–even if it’s just drinking beers on the beach.
Lolë Packable Jacket:
I have a much older version than this, but Lole’s packable jackets are amazing. They’re warm AF for how little space they take up–and stylish (something that has held me back from puffy jackets). Great for the outdoorsman or frequent traveler because they can collapse to the size of a fist. Have had mine for years now and it’s always a go-to.
686 Everywhere Pants:
I just discovered these do-everything pants by 686 and I immediately bought a second pair. Water-resistant and has lots of thoughtful pockets for a hike, but stylish enough for travel, errands, or the bar.
Not the MOST original, but Allbirds are popular for good reason! Great for daytime adventures, especially for vacation. I have both the wool runners (good for winter) and the tree runners (good for warmer weather because they’re more breathable) and give both two thumbs up. They’re an awesome, sustainable brand, too!
These joggers are awesome, especially for the frequent traveler. They’re casual, but still sharp and stylish–super comfortable, and the best part? They’re wrinkle resistant. These are my go-to for the plane, but I also wear them a lot to work from home. (I like pairing them with the cuts polo for zoom meetings.)
Herschel Toiletry Case:
My constant travel companion. Fits every toiletry I need. (And I have more of them than the average guy. As you can probably guess.)
UE Boom 3 Portable Speaker:
I’ve had a portable UE speaker for years now and it has been one of the most versatile things ever purchased. We bring it everywhere with us–from the park, to the lake house, to Europe. It’s about the size of a tall boy can and the sound is unbeatable. Would make a great gift for any guy but especially your dad who still plays music from his iPhone while doing yardwork. Not naming names.
Jess got me a passport case before our first international trip together. I love it because I’m reminded of that every time I grab it, but also because it stores my Global Entry card and foreign currency in addition to my passport. Mark and Graham has a great one, and Etsy has great budget-friendly options, too!
There is a brown, masculine version of the carry-on every blogger you know has. (Including my #1.) And I have it and love it. It fit enough clothes for 10 days in Spain, and is also v stylish.
National Parks Pass:
Good for all national parks in the US, this is an awesome experience gift for him to open that will spark a much bigger adventure! Plus, it helps support and give back to our national parks.
Danner Hiking Shoes:
I bought these two summers ago and have loved ’em ever since. Super comfortable, no rubbing, and great for navigating rocky trails. As far as hiking shoes go, I think this is about as stylish as they come. A great buy for any guy who lives the outdoors or is looking to do more hiking/camping.
My go-to water cup at home, and also excellent for drinks on the road–from camping, to tropical vacations. (This has been clutch for warm weather trips where your drinks usually get warm in 5 seconds!)
Garment bag duffel:
So, I just got the version from Halfday (the Instagram ads got the best of me) and I think it’s pretty awesome, but found out after the fact that Mark and Graham also makes one that’s a bit sharper (and you can monogram it, which makes it an even sweeter gift). I love the two-in-one garment/duffel aspect because it makes it great for overnight work trips or weekend trips where you want to bring a couple nice shirts but also fits enough for a couple pairs of shoes, jeans, etc–all the essentials.
Unstructured Faherty Blazer:
Post-pandemic, business attire is just more casual–whether that be for client meetings or dinners, and this unstructured blazer strikes that perfect balance of not-too-stuffy, but still professional. Don’t get me wrong, I wear it a ton out of the office too. It’s often my go-to for trips because it’s lightweight and due to the unstructured nature, travels really well. It’s one of my favorite wardrobe staples. (Runs TTS, I wear medium).
Like I mentioned above, work is just a bit more casual now–so I think a nice messenger bag vs. a briefcase is a great choice–plus, it’s just more practical. I think this one is really classic and will last him for many years. It can also be monogrammed.
Bonobos Flannel-lined Chinos:
Fabulous quality and the perfect pant for winter. These chinos are super versatile–he can wear them to work with loafers, wear the to the bar with boots–they’re great for added warmth, but won’t make him overheat. Really, all Bonobos pants are awesome. You can see all of them right here. I find them to be TTS.
Mark and Graham Tech Folio:
A stylish way to stay organized on the go. Monogram it for him! (All of their tech accessories are really awesome, by the way.)
Catch-All Charger Station:
At $30 on Amazon Prime, this is a great budget-friendly gift for anyone. Your work husband, your brother––perfect for his desk, and he’ll always have you to thank for fully-charged earbuds, phone, iPad, and Apple Watch!
Timex recently released this vintage-inspired GMT, and I am a huge fan. Stylish, versatile, and a lot of bang for your buck.
Handmade Leather Home Office Accessories:
A great gift to make his home office more official-feeling, I love the look of this handmade set from Etsy. Comes with a laptop pad, mouse pad, and pen holder.
My other go-to for custom items is BLVDier, run by husband-wife duo (who have become friends!) Zach and Kirsten Uttich. I’ve had some amazing blazers made from them over the years, and highly recommend them for any custom suiting! They also have some great gifts available in their online shop. These scarves caught my eye–beautiful, versatile, lightweight and warm. Made in Salerno, Italy. They go with just about everything–from work to the weekend. Every guy needs a nice scarf in his wardrobe.
We all know that guy in our life who would flip opening a monogrammed shotski. Fun dad, uncle, brother–whoever. Looks great hung above the home bar in between uses, too.
Spice House spice set:
Jess buys this brand of spice mixes and they are all lights out. They make several sets that would make a great gift for any guy who lives to grill or cook.
Toaster Grilled Cheese Bags:
For your brother who just moved into his first apartment and can barely boil water. All you do is stick bread and cheese in one of these, pop it down into the toaster, and out comes the perfectly toasted grilled cheese!
Goldbelly is the coolest company that allows you to ship your favorite hometown restaurants to loved ones all over the country. Of course, Jess and I are partial to sending Lou Malnatis, but they have so many restaurants to choose from. Phillies from Philly, Bagels from NYC, Lobster Rolls from the East Coast–wherever. One of the easiest gifts I can think of!
“Build his Bar” idea:
Nice whiskey tumblers paired with a bottle or two of great whiskey make an incredible, zero fail gift for men of any age. (Tip: don’t forget the booze part, or the glassware is far less exciting.) We have a couple nice Waterford glasses we received for our wedding I love drinking whiskey out of, but we also have these affordable ones from Crate & Barrel if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly. Even better, if he’s into vintage stuff–is to find him a great vintage set. (Etsy is great for this!) Pair it with some great booze–I always recommend Basil Hayden’s, or if you really want to spoil him–Blanton’s, if you can get your hands on some. (This is also an excellent thing to get a guy you just started dating!)
Wine Picnic Bag:
Let’s be honest, there are a lot of impractical instagrammy picnic baskets out there that I have no interest in. But this messenger bag is sweet and the perfect thing to get any wine-loving guy who loves tailgating, outdoor picnics, the beach, outdoor concerts, etc! An insulated waxed canvas bag with side-loading wine bottle storage, two stemless wine glasses, bottle stopper, corkscrew, and a fold-out acacia wood snack table.
An awesome, novice-friendly wine club. (We know because we belong to it and we know very little about wine.) They work only with small vineyards that produce small-batch wines you can’t find at your normal liquor store. You can get choose the frequency, red, white, or a mix of both. Such a great gift for any wine lover.
Pottery Barn Bar Set:
Every guy who loves cocktails needs a nice bar set, and Pottery Barn makes really beautiful, high-quality sets. I love the look of this one–super classic, and it’ll last him forever. Jess got me the older version of this one when we first started dating and I still display it proudly on our bar cart.
TC Whiskey Cocktail Cherries:
Truly the best cocktail cherries in the game. (Sometimes Jess just eats them straight from the jar with a spoon.) Support a fantastic Midwestern brand & small business working hard to create magic. Their entire online shop is awesome, and if you ever visit in person, tell Chris and the boys we sent you!
DIY Pickled Veggie Kit
For the Bloody Mary enthusiast. What’s a good bloody without pickled veggies? This DIY is fun to open, and a fun activity to do together.
A great gift for any guy who loves cigars. Keeps cigars fresh and great for a trip, long weekend, bachelor parties, etc! (Would also make a great budget-friendly groomsmen gift!)
Okay I will admit I don’t personally need an apron, but I know a lot of guys out there love to cook, and I think this is a really cute gift for dads, grandpas, etc–you can get matching kid versions! (Jess has matching aprons with my MIL, mom, and June, and I think it’s just as cute of a gift for the guys!) Use code JESSGIFTS20 for 20% off sitewide!
Cocktail smoking kit:
This cool little kit from Etsy is perfect for any guy who loves a smoky cocktail–now he can create it at home with this torch and wooden stave made from a vintage Bourbon barrel! My sister got this for me last year and it’s a lot of fun.
Mino’s Prime Steaks:
If you’ve followed us for a while, you know we have been huge proponents of Mino and his crew. A true pandemic success story, Mino and a few colleagues worked in a top tier Chicago steak house and started their small business out of necessity when Covid hit. The concept is simple – steak house cuts at wholesale prices….hand delivered fresh to your door the next day (all of Chicagoland). What’s not to love?? We have used Mino for special occasions at home, meal planning, stocking the freezer, and of course the holidays! Trust me, his fantastic filets or a bone in rib-eye does indeed make a fantastic gift. Especially for the guy that has everything!
The best grillmasters I know said this was a must-include for the gift guide. A smart bluetooth enabled thermometer, you can even set alerts on your phone for when your meat reaches a specific internal temperature. It also can estimate how much more time your meat needs to cook to help plan out the rest of a meal.
More cigar ideas, I know–but can you have too many? A nice cigar torch is a clutch gift, especially this one that has a little rest!
More great gift ideas:
For the guy who picked up guitar as his covid hobby, I think this leather customized guitar strap is a really awesome gift.
Creative Thinking Journal:
Carla Llanos “Oysters” Print:
OK I admit, this was a Jess pick. She loves this artist, but I love oysters, and I love this print.
Many of you told Jess the Aura Frame is one of the best gifts you’ve ever given dads and grandpas. It’s a sharp looking digital frame you can easily load new photos onto from afar, so he always has new photos of his loved ones to look at.
Photo Art Frame:
I have a version of this with photos of June hanging in my office and it’s one of my favorite gifts Jess has given me! You can use her code JESS15 for 15% off!
Stock MFG Chore coat:
Stock is my favorite local menswear brand. They are great guys that make great clothes. I especially love my navy chore coat that I’ve had for many years now.
Nice Laundry Lounge Shorts:
I literally wear these shorts every night. Crazy comfortable. Obviously, I rock the short-shorts but linking the 6-inch inseam here.
Custom leather bookmark
I love the idea of this nice leather bookmark to go along with a few new books! An inexpensive, but very thoughtful gift.
Minted custom photo puzzle:
Perfect for the puzzle-loving Grandpa who loves looking at pictures of the people he loves. Use code JESSGIFTS20 for 20% off.
A copy of Drunk:
As the Amazon description says, an “‘entertaining and enlightening’ deep dive into the alcohol-soaked origins of civilization—and the evolutionary roots of humanity’s appetite for intoxication.” A highly interesting and entertaining read.
Some great sunglasses:
If your guy wants something a little bit out of the box though, check out the long-standing Italian brand, Persol. These Steve McQueen inspired shades were one of the few gifts I bought for myself this year. They’re are a bit over the top but…so am I.
Spikeball is an awesome game for anyone who likes to be active and loves friendly competition–from teenagers to fit grandpas. It’s an affordable gift your whole family can get in on, and a good outdoor activity. We’ve given this as a gift to Jess’ nephews and play this on the beach with my family.
Personalized crossword puzzle:
For the crossword lover. You can customize 6 clues (i.e. “the middle name of your favorite grandchild!”) to customize and they’ll fit them into the crossword. Comes with an answer key and a practice worksheet page to work through, as well as the final product page they can write the final answers into and frame.
Men’s charcoal face mask:
This affordable Black-owned skincare company is co-owned by NBA player Matt Barnes, who is also a philanthropist and activist. The company makes products for all hair and skin types. I like to indulge in some nice skincare now and then, and these make the perfect stocking stuffers. (If you tell him it’s Matt Barnes’ company, he’s way more likely to get excited about a new skincare routine.)
Barbour faux fur lined utility gloves:
You’ve likely picked up on the fact that I’m a fan of Barbour if you’ve been following for any amount of time. If you’re searching for some warm gloves, I would personally love to receive these faux fur lined lambskin version.
Style is so specific regarding boots, but if you’re looking for great boots that’ll last you a lifetime, Redwing can’t be beat. I love this pair because they’re casual but easily dressed up at the same time, and you don’t have to be afraid of beating them up or getting them dirty–they’re made to last.
Another “this is in every blogger gift guide” item, but guys, I’ve never met a Barbour jacket I didn’t love. I have two of their most popular/classic styles: the Bedale and the Beaufort (which is a bit more relaxed/longer than the Bedale). You can’t go wrong with either! You can find them sold several places–I’d recommend checking Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Tuckernuck.
Baxter of California Comb:
I know it will surprise no one that I love my hair comb…but seriously, this comb is the best. For any guy that puts effort into his hair (you know who you are), this is the best stocking stuffer. It’s also sold on Amazon, so it’s great as a last-minute gift, too.
Vinyl Me, Please:
This company is setting the world on fire and was actually founded by a high school track teammate of mine. The perfect gift for the avid vinyl music lover–a record subscription!
Continuing on the vinyl theme, if he’s into music and doesn’t yet have a record player, is SUCH a cool gift. We love our Audiotechnica–it’s definitely one of the top quality players for the money. Note it does not have built-in speakers, you’ll need your own or buy separately–we play it through our Sonos speakers. (Another great gift if you’re willing to splurge).
Sean Connery James Bond print
Sean Connery is my favorite Bond, and I love this print of him in particular. Will look great in any office or man cave.
Kindle + Books:
Jess got me a Kindle two years ago and I have to admit, I love it a lot more than I thought I would. Even better? Pre-load it with a couple great reads for him to start–I recommend any of the following for any guy: Boys in the Boat, Endurance, Shoe Dog, Grit, and The Chris Farley Show.
Most men don’t read enough for fun (myself included). Help change that.
Faherty Legend Sweater Shirt:
Big, big Faherty fan over here. It’s pricey, but worth it. Their stuff is so soft and quality is unparalleled. This legend shirt is, as the name would suggest–legendary. So warm and soft. An absolute staple in any guy’s winter wardrobe. Runs TTS. (I wear M.)
Seiko Dive Watch:
Affordable, sharp, and probably the most versatile watch I own. It’s a sport (diver) watch made by Seiko. A go-to brand of mine, especially on vacation. This thing is indestructible and I love that it’s so easy to swap watch bands–Amazon has a ton of really affordable options, like this one.
WM Brown Project Magazine:
Matt Hranek is one of my absolute favorite follows on Instagram. He embodies eating, drinking, dressing, and traveling well and never takes himself too seriously. He’s a CondeNast writer by trade and a subscription to his magazine is the perfect gift for the stylish man in your life.
New York Times compilation gifts:
A beautiful book containing all the coverage of his favorite team over the years. Perfect for the sports fan who has everything. Uncommon Goods has a ton of really cool New York Times gifts, by the way–there are plenty more to choose from, not just for sports fans! They also have History of WWII, Space Exploration, and more! Also really cool is the birthday edition, which is a compilation of all the coverage from the day someone was born. Or, there’s a NYT front page puzzle with the front page date of your choice!