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We asked “Are We There Yet?” columnist, husband, and father Frank Bolinksy for his gifting tips for the man in your life who is impossible to shop for. Here is his gift list insight, shared with Annapolis Moms to make shopping for those dads and dudes on your shopping list a little easier this year.
My wife struggles to buy me gifts, because when I see something I like, I just tend to buy it. I know many wives are in the same boat so to help spark some ideas, I have created my first annual Hubby Holiday Gift List. Some of the items are more husband-specific, but a lot of the items would bring joy to the whole family.
1. Rain Coat: This might not be a garment we think about very much, but it’s really nice to have one around when you need it. I recently bought two raincoats–one is solid navy and the other is a really cool white leaf pattern. I wear them all the time more as a windbreaker than an actual raincoat, but I’m a big fan.
2. Hey Dude-style Shoes: I am a huge fan of the “Hey Dude” style shoe. Sure, you can buy the Hey Dude brand shoes at a lot of chain stores, but I recently bought off-brand shoes in a similar style, and ended up liking them so much, I bought them in 4 different colors. TIP: I wear the Charcoal and Blue colors the most.
3. Hoodies: I can always use a new hoodie, especially with the colder months upon us. Recently, I’m liking the styles that are fun outdoorsy-themed. TIP: Sometimes I buy myself up a size for extra roominess, especially if it’s an international brand.
4. Football Gear: If you search around online or in some local shops, you’ll find tons of choices for NFL gear. Granted it’s not always branded like Nike or Adidas, but I recently ordered two Eagles jerseys online and was pleasantly surprised to see that they were stitched and of decent quality. For the jerseys, I actually went down a size because I don’t like to be swimming in my football jerseys so a Medium fit like a Large.
5. Underwear: If you are a guy and you don’t get underwear for the holidays, is it even the holidays? I bought a 6-pack of the JupiterSecret brand which gives me a chuckle every time I read the waistband but they fit great, are comfortable, and seem like they’ll last just fine. TIP: A goofy seasonal pair is always a fun gag gift or stocking stuffer.
6. Car Baby Camera: When my son was born and I was driving, I would have to look into my tiny rear view mirror to see a reflection of another small mirror all in an attempt to see his face to see if he was sleeping or awake. It was terrible. Now they make cheap car cameras that are a lifesaver. I bought one of these for both our cars. They don’t take long to set up and all I have to do is take a quick peek at the dash and I can see how my daughter is doing at all times. They run around $30.
7. Dash Camera: One thing I have pondered getting but have not gotten yet is a dash camera. This records out the front of your windshield and some record inside the car or from the back of the car as well. These are great to have if you are ever in an accident as you have video proof of what took place. Or maybe something weird or funny will happen and then you’ll have the video to share it. Amazon has a bunch in the $40-$110 range.
How many times have you asked him for some gift ideas so far? Skip the hassle and use Frank’s list this year!
8. HOVERAir X1 Drone: I have had a few different drones over the years. I’ve had the cheap toy ones. I have the Mavic Pro which is quite expensive and can give you some seriously amazing photos and videos. I recently got a Hover X1, and I can say it’s my favorite drone I have ever owned. It is small and fits in your pocket and because of its size and weight is skirts under drone requirements in Maryland that are constantly changing. You do not need a controller for it. You literally pull it out, hit a button to select a mode, hit another button, it does its thing, and then it lands back in your hand and you are done. It will film going in a circle around you, backing away from you, going straight up in the air, following you, and more. You then connect it to your phone and it’ll pull the photos and videos off onto your camera roll, so you don’t even need to connect it to a computer. On Amazon, you can get it for about $400 right now. This is perfect for getting those shots to make fun quick videos or for sharing to social media.
9. Oculus Quest 2: I am not a huge gamer, but I do like to play games occasionally. A few years ago I bought the Oculus Quest 2 All-in-One VR Headset, and I feel like it is one of the most fun and exciting ways to play games. I don’t know if I can ever go back to just playing on my television. The Quest 2 comes with everything you need. You don’t need additional sensors or a gaming computer. It is a very family friendly system, and there are escape room games, puzzlers, more serious adult games, very cartoony kid games, and more. You can watch Netflix or Amazon on it and it feels like you are watching a huge screen. I am super prone to motion issues and I do just fine as long as I stick to games where you can “teleport” for movement. The new model 3 just came out, but I think the Quest 2 is a great way to see if your family enjoys VR.
10. Car Tire Pump: Every winter, I have to take the car to a gas station to fill up the tires because the cold air makes them sink below the threshold. I finally bought one of these battery-powered car tire pumps, and it has saved me a lot of time. You can just pick the value you need it to pump to (typically it’s written inside the driver side door), and the pump will just pump until it gets there. The price was in the $20-23 range. This will be a great time saver for that guy on your list who keeps putting off buying one of these, like I did!
11. Tailgate Speaker: If you like to entertain or spend time outdoors with music playing, then a great gift is a portable speaker by Ion. I have the Ion tailgater which I don’t think they make anymore, but I use it in my garage and I have used it for outdoor movie nights. It’s portable and sounds great if you need it for a large space.
12. Waterproof Speaker: I bought one of these small Bluetooth speakers online and it’s fantastic. They come in a bunch of different colors, shapes, and sizes and you can even plug in a USB. I wouldn’t throw it in a pool, but for as low as $10, this can make a great gift.
13. Earbuds: I have never felt the urge to get the Apple AirPods. I know people love them, they just seem too expensive to me. I bought a pair of these with a coupon code for less than $10 and they are great. I use them all the time.
14. Power Strip: A power strip wall adapter may not sound like a sexy present, but these things are so useful. We put them in every bedroom and in every major room where people congregate, so there are always places to plug in devices.
15. Crockpot: 80% of my cooking is done with a crockpot. The Ninja crockpot is the best one I have ever owned. You can saute, steam, sous vide, and more all in the same crockpot, so I no longer need to dirty more pans on the stove when I cook.
16. Smart Thermostat: Did you know you can get a lot of different brand smart thermostats off BGE Home for free? Save time, energy, and money with one of these bad boys. Now all you have to do is agree on a temperature setting (!)
17. Walking Treadmill: I really wanted a small footprint walking treadmill for my house. I figured I could use it when I watch TV or with my standing desk. Some I had saved on Amazon range from $200 with down to $160 for typical deal days. I got one using a code from one of the Facebook pages for $106. I’m 6 foot 4 inches tall, and it works great for me. It’s small and I can pick it up and move it and slide it under a couch.
18. Folding Bike: I use this almost every night while we watch trashy television. It folds up in half and tucks away easily enough. I see prices on these fall to about $100 on deal days and using a code from one of the discount Facebook groups, I got one for $60.
19.Everlywell Test: Does your spouse ever have unexplained stomach issues? Help them figure that out once and for all with this gift. My wife and I both took the Everlywell food sensitivity tests as we found ourselves with upset stomachs more often than not. You prick your finger and drop some blood on a card, mail it in, and then they test how your body would react to certain foods. It was eye-opening to see what food sensitivities we had. This always drops close to $200 on deal days, so wait for that.
20. Portable Fire Pit: Do you have a guy in your life that likes camping, making S’mores, or just hanging in the yard staring at a fire pit? If so, the Biolite fire pit is a great choice. It uses a battery pack fan to circulate air through it which causes the fire to burn more efficiently and therefore there is little to no smoke. This is great for camping or a quick set up in the driveway. You can also plug your devices into the battery pack to charge.
Get him something husband-approved this year!
21. Fire Pit: If you want a bigger fire pit that is more of a fixture, the Solo Stove is legit. I am sure half your neighbors have these, and they are worth it. They don’t have a fan moving air around but it’s a similar concept so once the fire is going, they tend to have less smoke. I went with the middle size and I think that was just perfect. The Solo stove website does really good packaged deals from time to time. I got the “Bonfire” size with the stand for around $370. TIP: To support local business for your fire pit purchase, try K&B True Value.
22. Fire Pit Accessories: If you already have one of those propane fire pit tables with rocks or glass in it and you want to spruce it up, you can buy different things to stick in there that won’t burn up including these skulls that sell for pretty cheap online.
23. Paddleboard: An inflatable paddle board is a great gift for everyone in the family. These are so much fun, easy to store, and shockingly sturdy. There are a lot of free easy places to launch in Anne Arundel County. My neighbor has two of these exact models and he keeps them inflated in his garage at all times. If you are worried about falling in, you can sit cross legged and paddle just like it’s a kayak. I do this all the time. I see this fall to around $160 on deal days.
24. Tidal Ball Game: If you are a fan of games to play at the beach, this looks like a fun new game to play. I’ve had it saved on my wish list for a while now.
25. Can Cooler Sleeve: Everyone loves these stainless steel drink sleeves for keeping your favorite beverages cold. Stop by Whimsicality in the Cape for a selection of slim and regular sizes. (I just gave you an excuse to go to Whimsicality to “shop for him”…you’re welcome!)
26. Cooler: Yeti Coolers are one the best coolers around for that tailgater dad. Available at Rommel’s Ace Home Center in Severna Park. Kanga Coolers are also great coolers that are a fraction of the cost of a Yeti available at Cape Ace Hardware.
27. Photo Calendar: My favorite gift that my wife gets me every year is a calendar she makes on Shutterfly. She just uses the pictures from the previous year to populate each month, and I enjoy looking at them at work and being reminded of the things we did the previous year.
28. Photo Mug: One year my wife made me photo mugs on Shutterfly and when I pour hot liquid in the mug reveals the images. These are great as well and one of them was made up of pictures of my son’s art, so it makes him excited when he sees me drink out of it.
Frank Bolinksy’s wish list for some fresh gift ideas this year!
29. Leather Bracelet: Last year my wife got me a leather bracelet with engraved metal rings on it that are engraved with my children’s names and birthdays. I swear this wasn’t just so I would remember their birthdays. I love it and it hasn’t ever come off since last year, but I get that not all husbands are into wearing accessories. Available on Etsy.
30. Wishing Ball: The Wishing Ball was one of the best gifts ever in our family. It comes with 52 slips of paper and each week you write what you wish for and what you are grateful for and stick it in the glass blown ball. We did this as a family and it was fun hearing what each person had to say. Available on Uncommon Goods.
31. Diaper Bag: I get really tired of carting the whole diaper bag around when we are running errands or at a restaurant… AND I find that whenever we don’t bring it is when we need it. I recently purchased a small bag that will hold a bottle, a bunch of diapers and wipes, some toys and other things and it has worked out really well. And it looks manly enough. Available locally at Sea Bags and Dream Baby Decor.
32. Hydration Backpack: If you know someone that is big into hiking or running, then a hydration backpack makes a great gift. This allows the person to carry a good amount of water with them and they can easily drink while running or hiking. I have the Ozark trail version and my kids like drinking out of it too. Available locally at Walmart Pasadena.
33. Standing Desk: As I get older, it gets harder to just sit at my desk all day. I bought a standing desk topper for both work and home, and I love it. They aren’t super expensive and it gives me options without having to replace my whole desk. Don’t forget to also get a fatigue mat to stand on, as that helps with how you feel while standing for a long time. Available on Amazon.
34. Watch Band: A lot of people have Apple watches. This is a great opportunity to add a little style to your man’s wrist. Available locally at Zachary’s Jewelers.
35. Prescription Sunglasses: This may seem like an odd fit, but it is probably one of those things that people need but never want to buy for themselves. I have multiple pairs and I keep pairs in my car and they fit great and I can see great! Prescription sunglasses can make for a great gift especially for someone who does not wear contacts. Available locally at Shades on the Bay.
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