Gift Guide Part #3: Your Little Brother Who Throws Your Kids (Way Up) in the Air and Makes a Mean Grilled Cheese.

Bruce Springsteen book

Bruce Springsteen’s memoir, $19, from one cool music-loving guy to another.

2016 Gift Guide for Men

Boy Smells candle, $29, to light when a special someone comes over.

2016 Gift Guide for Men

Cotton sweatshirt, $40, to upgrade his weekend look.

2016 Gift Guide for Men

A kite, $44, because a kite!!!

2016 Gift Guide for Men

A prank gift box, so you can tease him about his expression when he unwraps it. (You put the real gift inside.) $8.

2016 Gift Guide for Men

Roberta’s incredible frozen pizza to convince him to move back to Brooklyn. Each pizza is baked in a wood-burning oven from Italy, then immediately blast chilled. $69 for two.

2016 Gift Guide for Men

A hilarious game for adults only, $26, involving secret words and lots of laughs. It’s described as the “perfect blend of Pictionary and Telephone.”

2016 Gift Guide for Men

Brooklyn Boulders day pass, $32, for a adrenaline-filled afternoon. They have 25,000 square feet of climbing surface. (Also in Chicago, Boston, L.A. and S.F.)

2016 Gift Guide for Men

Dinosaur planters with air plants, $34, to liven up his bookcase.


The graphic calendar, designed in 1966, $38. (This calendar is actually part of the Museum of Modern Art’s design collection.)

2016 Gift Guide for Men

Handblown tumbler with shapes of famous mountains (in California, Oregon and Washington) molded into the glass, $45.

2016 Gift Guide for Men

A donation in his name to Robin Hood, a charity that fights poverty and works on behalf of children, immigrants and veterans.

P.S. Last year’s brother gift guide, and the 2016 gift guide so far.

(Glass photo by Rue/Instagram.)

  1. Rebecca says...

    Thanks for the great ideas. I just ordered the book for my brother-in-law

  2. Rose says...

    Perfect gift guide but so disappointed only 1 style of the glassware is available. Do you have any “influence” with North Drinkware. LOL I read your blog every day, enjoy it tremendously even as a 62 year old!

  3. Carmen B. says...

    I don’t have any brothers, but I want those dinosaur planters for myself!

  4. Lucy S says...

    Thank you SO MUCH for the idea of Brooklyn Boulders- my little brother (he’s really not so little now he’s 24 and 6ft1) just moved to NYC from London for 6 months with his job, and he really loves to climb but has little experience and nobody to hang with over your side of the Pond. I just bought him vouchers so he can learn more and make some new friends- that’s a proper Christmas gift. Thank you :)

  5. olma says...

    Those tumblers! I’m a female but I always want the gifts you find for your brother or your father for myself.
    Who wouldn’t want to drink whiskey from a Mt Rainier tumbler?

  6. Joanna, do your family/friends read these posts? I’m curious if you usually end up actually giving something from the guide to each of the people they guide is based on, and then they would not be surprised.

    Then again, I don’t know if they’d mind about the spoiler alert because each of the gifts seem like such a perfect fit!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha i do often get gifts from the guide. i try to keep alex’s gift off the list, so he doesn’t see it, but i’ll get something for my mom, dad, brother, sister…. sometimes i’ll tell my mom not to look at her guide until after christmas :)

    • That’s so funny about your mom! It really would be a bummer to collect all these great gift ideas and then have to find another, secret, gift idea for everyone. I like your method :)

  7. Telestrations is the funniest game ever. My extended family’s been playing it for years!

  8. FYI the audio book version of Born to Run is read by Bruce himself. Can’t wait!

  9. Kitty says...

    $69 for 2 frozen pizzas!! Only in New York…

  10. The prank box totally got me for a moment! These are such thoughtful and well rounded ideas.

    Do you ever do ethical gift guides? I bet you guys would put together an awesome one!

  11. D says...

    I love these suggestions but I just finished shopping for them on Monday! I’m going with flannel pj pants, mason jar cocktail shakers, and lifestraws. For family games, my bros are hooked on Seven Wonders, but I’m sure our fam would love Telestrations.

  12. This is so incredibly helpful – love the prank gift box (added it straight to my amazon cart)
    My brother can be so difficult to buy for so I cannot thank you enough for this post! xo

  13. Lauren E. says...

    This is the best guide to date. My hair stylist burns those “Boy Smells” candles and I am completely obsessed!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, that’s so good to hear! the scents sound awesome. (although “coin” which smells like copper made us wonder?)

  14. you always round up the best gifts here. the earwax candle box is so funny. and i love those tumblers with the mountains in them!

  15. Laura C. says...

    Tha prank box is AWESOME for my brother!! We use to do a “Secret Santa” every year and my brother is the “worst-best” of all, because the first year we did it, he thought it was a “Secret Kidding Santa” or something, and he always give a prank gift since he believed that EVERYONE would give a prank gift to each others. Every year all of us are afraid, who will be his “victim”??
    That box is awesome, it really is, thanks Joanna!

  16. Bet you weren’t thinking you would make someone at the bottom of Africa cry with this post!
    My brother passed away in Feb, and I was in a missing-him mood already this morning. He’s exactly the type of brother this post was intended for; these are fab gift ideas, even if they did make me cry a little ?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww, nikki. i’m so sorry to hear that xoxoxo

  17. I wish I had the laughing emoji on my Mac, because I would at the prank candle idea. It got me before I read the subtitle! Might have to use that on my brother this Christmas.

    Always love this guides, thanks Cup of Jo team. In fact, I did a little shout out to your blog on mine today. I by no means have your audience but always try to spread the love about what a great site this is for women of any age.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you’re so sweet, annabelle. that means a lot. xoxo

  18. Betsy says...

    Wait! But what my brother really needs is a hat with a knit beard attached!

    • Joanna Goddard says...


    • lauren says...

      Ha! I was missing the beard hat this year too. #cupofjodeepcuts

  19. oh man, i love the idea of that candle! maybe i want it?? and the prank box is hilarious!

    xo, brittany

  20. Maggie says...

    Thanks so much for including charities in these gift guides. Especially apropos today, as it’s Giving Tuesday! I work for a non-profit and Giving Tuesday is a crucial day for us this time of year.

    Maybe the 2017 Gift Guides could include a round up of awesome organizations for Giving Tuesday!?

    • Iz says...

      That’s a great idea! I hope they include it next year.

  21. Emily says...

    I LOVE those dinosaurs! Just ordered them for my sister :)

  22. Lol I did the candle gift a few years ago – I’m assuming it’s why my brother now has a solid relationship. It’s because I hooked him up with a great candle to burn to distract her from the smell of a 3 roommate apartment in Chicago :)


  23. Lindsay says...

    Those dino planters are awesome- just put in an order! Thank you for doing these gift guides. Every year, without fail, I’ve been able to get my husband something he likes that is also unexpected thanks to your suggestions!

  24. Alex says...

    $69 for 2 Roberta’s pizzas?! They’re $9.50 each on Fresh Direct…

    • Kerry says...

      That’s what I came here to say! For $69 there had better be a hot Italian guy included to lovingly feed it to me.

    • Colleen says...

      Kerry that sounds lovely. Thanks for the laugh!

    • Lauren E. says...

      Kerry, I actually very literally spit out my breakfast after reading your comment. Amazing.

  25. Lydia says...

    Hi C of J,
    It would be so wonderful if you’d avoid gendering things where they don’t need to be. “…to light when a lady friend comes over” would be just as cute with “…to light when someone special comes over” and would work for brothers who like men, too.

    • Kate says...

      But the guides are based on her own family and her brother is straight! As a queer person, I’ve noticed that they never gender things in other posts and are v respectful of all readers/orientations/etc

    • Lauren E. says...

      I’m about to buy that candle for my husband, so I certainly hope he doesn’t burn it when having lady friends over :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good point, lydia, thank you! yes, these guides are inspired by/based on my actual family members (in this case, my straight brother) but i’ll make the text less specific so all readers can relate. thank you so much for the feedback!! xoxo

    • Lisa says...

      That candle scent sounds divine and good on you, Cup of Jo writers, for quickly responding to constructive suggestions! ***marches off to purchase said candle for self***

  26. Haha! That prank box would be great for in-law holiday exchanges!

  27. Kate says...

    I get my mom a game every year for Christmas for the family to play, so I am super interested in Telestrations! Question: have you played the non-adult version too? How “adult” are we talking? We are not prudes by any means, but is it funny and not too awkward to play with family? Thanks so much!

    • Emma Jones says...

      I have the “non-adult” version and it’s super fun. The drawings get crazy and we spend the whole time holding our sides from laughing so much. Hope y’all enjoy it too!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i googled some of the cards and they have drawing prompts like “one-night stand” and “quickie” and “foreplay” and “wedding night,” so the adult version might be a little awkward for certain family members, ha! the regular version sounds fun too for sure.