Let’s Talk: What’s the Best Gift You Received (or Gave) This Holiday?

Every holiday season, sites like ManMade spend all kinds of effort doing our best to help you find meaningful, quality gifts that you'll be proud to give someone. Or, at least, that you can add to your wishlist and let those in your life know you'd love to unwrap yourself.

But once the gift guides are published, we never seem to revisit those things until the following year. So, today, during this week after Christmas, I thought I'd ask — Did you get anything cool for Christmas? Or give something that particularly excites you that we should all know about?    

In particular, we're interested in those things that touch on the kind of stuff we talk about on ManMade all year – tools, gear, style, everyday carry, design, art, etc. I'll start. 

The single coolest (and most useful) gift I got recently is this lovely Trusco tool box. I'd read about and longed for one of these for years, but had never actually had my hands on one. When I saw the brand's logo peak out from under the wrapping paper, I'm pretty sure I legitimately squealed. My wife, who'd invested plenty of her budget this year on this, asked me if I knew why this thing was so special, or whether I just thought it was another thing you can get at the home improvement store. Yes, sweetheart, I know. And you're the best for knowing the respect I'd have for it.

If you're not familiar, these Japanese steel boxes are marvels of thoughtful design. (They're even in the MOMA.) They were originally manufactured in the 1940s, but weren't sold in the USA until a few years ago. Now, thanks to the maker movement, they're more widely available, and just as simple, functioning, and a pleasure to use. I'd even pack my lunch in it. 

I'm also really digging my brand new Starrett combination square from my mom. I've been using a nice-enough Pinnacle square for eight or nine years now (itself an upgrade from my original aluminum home center model), but it's easy to see why spending just a bit more gets you the tool of your dreams. It's heavy and sturdier, and yet somehow easier and lighter to wield. They give you scientific-grade measurements, and I'm excited to be able to leave the Pinnacle in the garage for around the house stuff, and make sure the Starrett stays in the shop. 

Also, my mom actually read an old ManMade article and gifted me a very fine Pendelton “motor robe” blanket with the sweet leather carrier. Pendleton is based here in Portland, so she can't help but visit the local shops every time she visits. She did a little add-on Stanley flask and stainless steel shot glasses in a little case for a very fine, very stylish picnic set that I'll be happy to employ.

How about you? Did you get any cool new toys, tools, or classic gear that ManMade readers would be excited about? Post yours in the comments below. 

(Originally published 12/27/2016)