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?
This is the week. This is when we get to take a break, surround ourselves with friends and family, and eat plenty of great food. There really isn't much about this season I don't look forward to, and that's partly because I've learned to take a few steps to make sure it's a time we'll file away as a great memory for years to come.
At this point in the season, the big gifts have already been decided. And if you're on your game, they're boxed, wrapped, and under the tree. But this week is all about the little bits: the practical things, the accessories, and the stocking stuffers. If you or someone on your list is a maker, DIYer, woodworker, tinkerer, or just a general creative type who likes to build and fix things, here's our list of quality stocking stuffers that are just as good as whatever's in that huge box with the bow on it.
I have gone on record, in this publication and elsewhere, about why the hot toddy is the perfect cocktail to be sipping in December. It's warm. It's spiced. And at least according to folk wisdom, it's good for your health, and can help to heal a nasty wintertime sore throat. But, to be honest, until last Tuesday evening, I didn't actually like a hot toddy.
They were fine, but not delicious, and not really an improvement over a simple glass of neat whiskey. (You could make a hot toddy with rum, brandy, or tequila, but why would you?)
Hot toddys (toddies?) always disappointed: never quite hot enough to truly enjoy, and somewhat ... harsh. There was something I never liked about adding acidic lemon juice to a healthy glug of bourbon, then heating the whole thing up. It seemed to bring out all the rough, grain-y flavors, and hide the tastier warm and spicy barrel-aged notes that make whiskey, well, whiskey.
Giving gifts? It's the best, right? Not cheap plastic things, and certainly not gift cards. But thoughtful custom - and most of the time handmade gifts - that I know someone will enjoy for years to come. Take a look at our list of 50 gifts for men here, and gifts for women here.
Of course, the gift has to be wrapped in something special as well. So, why would I want to use lame paper gift tags from the discount store after all that work? Here is a simple project to make some name tags that are as thoughtful as the gift.
Ahh... egg nog, you creamy holiday treat. Sure the ugly sweaters and mistletoe are hallmark traditions during this festive season, but no holiday get-together is truly complete without a glass of something spiced in hand. This year, ditch the store-bought syrupy stuff, and make your own with just a few ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
There are lots of ways to give gifts for the holidays. You can give in a way that simply checks a person off the list; acknowledges that it's expected and therefore here's your Amazon giftcard... (Not recommended.) You can can give gifts that are elaborate, expensive, and make everything that also helped create that pile or wrapping paper look negligible. (Also not recommended.) Or you can source something that person didn't know existed, and legitimately surprise them. (Solid.) You could give them something you know they want, but wouldn't spend the money on for themselves. (Nice one.) Or, for many a practical-minded recipient, you can
This holiday season, I wanted to give my friends and family a customized gift with some personality. So, using nothing but our own photos and a few crafty tools, I came up with this coaster project which is super fun, super inexpensive, plenty easy, and you can dial it in perfectly for each person on your list - just raid their Instagram or social media accounts!
Let's get to it!
Not every guy is in a relationship with a woman, but between sweethearts, siblings, parents, and friends and family, almost all of us will be buying something for the women in our lives this holiday. They're special, in a million different ways; here's a solid set of gift ideas that will let them know you care.
Baking bread is one of those hard to qualify skills if you're looking at it from the outside with no real experience. On the one hand, people have been doing it for thousands of years in all sorts of climates with all sorts of varying available ingredients. On the other hand, it seems like a hard science that requires potentially its own baking contraption and yeast (who has baking yeast lying around?), meaning another trip to the grocery store. But here's the thing: it's not really that hard...
NOW is the time to start making those DIY gifts you want to give your loved ones this year. I have a bad habit of usually waiting until Christmas decorations start flooding my visual field before I remember that I want to make a bunch of DIY gifts each year, and by that time it's often too late to start working on the good ones. So don't make my same mistakes, get going no this DIY Leather Lunch Tote today!
Perhaps you've drawn a name for the office Secret Santa and it's time to pony up for a solid gift that won't break the bank. Maybe it's for your brother-in-law, a buddy who helped you move. Perhaps, even though you're thirty-two, your mom keeps on insisting you give her a complete wishlist from which she'll select her favorites. Whatever the reason, it's gift giving season. Here are 50 options to find something they (or you) will love.
I'll admit it: when I was 24, and thinking about hosting friends for Thanksgiving for the very first time, I probably wouldn't have used a guide like this. For one thing, I was stubborn and willful, and liked to think I could figure everything out on my own (wrong!). For another, that was 2006, and the internet was a much newer, smaller place then: this type of guide probably wasn't out there.
But you, my friends! You youngsters with your illogical catch phrases and shrug emojis and your ability to understand how to use Snapchat! You can be better! You can do what few young men before you have ever done! You can host an awesome Thanksgiving meal at your house, and it can look amazing, and you can even have fun doing it. C'mon, it's not going to be hard ...
We know you love your mom, but life gets busy and we all fall behind. Luckily for you it's not too late show that incredible woman how much you love her with these unique gifts from Amazon Prime that if you buy today, will still arrive in time for you be the favorite son!
As far as holidays go, Easter isn't the most stylish. I mean, with all the pastels and baby birds and neon plastic grass, it's definitely not a season for the design-minded.
Unless, of course, you break things down into their most simple parts. Take the Easter egg; its ovoid shape is the definition of nature's penchant towards efficiency, and the dyeing with natural, real world colors gives the whole thing an amazing sense of organic texture.
To be honest, we're firmly in the "don't make dinner reservations for Valentine's Day" camp. Especially on a year like this, when the date falls on a weekend. Save the special evenings for anniversaries, celebrations of achievements or special events, or heck, any random Friday night. Those are guaranteed to be more "romantic," memorable, and special.
So, if you wanna do something fun on the 14th, spend the day outside - go for a snow hike, a bike ride, or visit a museum. Then, come 5:00pm, head home and either cook together, or snag some takeout and allow the time to make the day special, not the prix fixe menu.
Oh, and since you're home and not driving, you've totally gotta make this cocktail.
More than seventy years ago, folk singer and activist Woody Guthrie opened up his notebook to write down a set of "New Years Rulin's" his own self...complete with illustrations.
I love discovering new cocktail recipes, and unique ways to coax different, unique flavors with classic spirits.
But, these days, discovering "new cocktails" on the internet usually means "new fandangled drinks that use a bunch of specialty liqueurs and spirits you don't have and aren't gonna buy a whole bottle of to try a new drink."
So, with that in mind, I decided to come up with five tasty, holiday-ish cocktails using stuff you can find in an average liquor cabinet. Of course, that varies from home to home, but these stick to spirits you've heard of, I promise. Plus, each features a bit of festive pomegranate flavor courtesy of our
Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.
And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.