Tis the season. And by now you’ve probably been walloped over the head by 82,000 gift guides. So what’s a few more? Instead of doing a highly generalized, throw-everything-against-the-digital-wall gift guide, we’ll be breaking it up by category. Gifts for the guys who suit up a lot. Or the wristwatch fanatic. Or the guy who’s really into shoes. Etc. We’ll cover all those, and hopefully a few more.
About the Author: Ryan N. is a professional web developer for (and alum from) the University of Delaware, who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.
Here’s the “before” version of the above photo. YIKES. I got a 25-set from Amazon Warehouse for real cheap, and it’s transformed the way I keep my closet. Everything is at the exact same height, exact same spacing, and it’s so dang easy to use now. This is a game changer. When you’re running upstairs to get dressed after getting the kids ready for school and only have 5 minutes before the bus comes, you gotta find what you’re looking for fast!
I know, I know. Privacy. And that’s a real concern. So skip this if you’re freaked out about that stuff. Now, sometimes you don’t have your hands free as a dad. Be it busy helping with homework in the other room, changing a little one, or fixing dinner, it can be quite convenient to be able to put on some music, start a kitchen timer, turn on the lights, or even play a family game without the use of your hands. ‘Round these parts we have the Echo Show from Amazon, as well as a Google Home and some Minis. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, but we’re living in the future, y’all.
Yeeeeees, they are pricey, and no longer made in the USA. Bummer. But these have really become my favorite pair of pants. I can wear them to my business casual workplace without anyone batting an eye, and the little bit of stretch (was 3% lycra, now 2% spandex) makes it easy to get down on the floor and wrestle with the kids should the evening call for some piggyback rides. Try doing that in stiff selvedge denim.
What if Dad likes to grill, but isn’t the most outdoorsy type? Or it’s, I don’t know, 4 below zero out? This is the next best thing. Cast iron is tops when it comes to indoor searing, and Lodge is one of the best you can get in bang for your buck. Even with two feet of snow outside, you and your family can still enjoy burgers, dogs, brats, corn, anything that needs a good sear. Just make sure you use an oil with a high smoke point (avocado oil, grapeseed oil), and not a low one (olive oil), or you’ll have every fire alarm in the house going off.
As the description says, “Three words. Indoor. Marshmallow. Roasting.” This sharp little conversation piece runs on clean-burning rubbing alcohol, which is food-safe and more importantly, clean-burning, so there’s no risk of blackening your ceiling. Gather the responsible-enough big kids around for s’mores, or set the tone for date night once they go to bed.
If your kids are as hilarious and noteworthy as mine (aren’t they all?), then life is TAKING ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS. And that means your battery isn’t going to last all day. Whether you need to trickle-charge it while watching a favorite video over and over, camping out in the backyard, or just the peace of mind when you’re out and about, this bank from Anker has you covered.
A bit of a personal note here, mindfulness is something that really helps me with the day-to-day craziness that is being a parent. If I want to be a good one, I need to take the time out to get myself right. Just like they tell you during the airplane safety demo, if (heaven forbid) those oxygen masks drop down, you can’t help others until you get your mask on first. A meditation practice is something that makes my life better, and it has its parallels in dressing well.
If there’s one thing that keeps me grounded, it’s having everything in its place, and a place for every thing. When your stuff has a home base, it’s less likely to go missing. I have a few trays akin to this in my home, so that my keys, wallet, and other daily staples have a spot to call their own. This option from Saddleback comes with a 100-year warranty, so you’ll never have to worry about replacing it.
Time has a special way of disappearing when you have kids. Let Dad know that his time is valuable with an interesting and unique bit of clockage. This particular offering is from Bespoke Post, and features a cockpit-style dial for the aviation enthusiast.
I haven’t tried this one in person, but it sure looks tempting. I often bring a folding chair to the kids’ soccer practices, but the one I have is old, bulky and clunky. The Chair One is supposed to be super lightweight and comfortable, yet folds down to the size (and weight) of a bottle of wine. WHAT.
For the brand-newest dads on the block, this series from Armin Brott was one of the best groundworks I could have asked for leading up to the introduction of my little one to the world. These volumes will not only let you know what your wife may be experiencing, but also the oft-untrodden ground of what YOU may be feeling, but can’t put a name to. Definitely worth the read.
A Nice Bottle of Whatever They’re Into
Sometimes, it’s nice to just relax and unwind once the littles are in bed. Okay, it’s REALLY NICE to relax and unwind once the littles are in bed. Spring for a nice mid-level bottle to help celebrate the quiet moments.