Design

Gift Guide #7: Your Husband Who Has Impeccable Music Taste But Lets Your Kids Play DJ in the Car. (Trolls Soundtrack!)

J. Crew cashmere sweater

A cotton-cashmere sweater, for him to cozy up in and you to cozy up to. $60.

Beatles 1967

One of 2017’s great books, like Dreaming the Beatles or Grant. Or just get him one of the best war books of all time, Inferno: The World at War, 1930-1945. From $15 to $18.

St. George gin trio

Trio of St. George gin, $30, with botanicals from Northern California plants, like Douglas fir, California bay laurel and coastal sage. “That’s the thing I love about gin – it’s not just booze,” Alex waxed on the other night. “When done right, you capture the spirit and foliage of where it’s from. This gin is the taste of Northern California.”

Sean Connery knit tie

Knit tie from Alex’s favorite tailor, $95. (Or here for $49.) Sean Connery wore these in the early Bond films and they’re still cool. He can wear it anywhere with a jacket and jeans and not feel like he’s walking into a board meeting.

NYC vs. LA coin by Set Editions

Coast to coast coin, $24, so you can DECIDE ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Beef Jerky

Fancy beef jerky, $23, which is always a slam dunk.

Travelers playing cards by Herb Lester

Playing cards, $16, for playing gin rummy on planes, on the beach, anywhere. Bonus: It doubles as your personal translator with common French and Spanish phrases.

The softest cashmere mittens, $60.

Burger recipe from Bon Appetit

Sriracha seasoning sticks, $12, for when he makes burgers. You slide one into the center of the patty, and it flavors your food from the inside out. (There’s a multi-flavor gift pack, too.)

Cedarwood Fiele Fragrances cologne

Cedarwood cologne, $98, with a sexy, woody scent.

Dick Taylor Drinking Chocolate

Rich hot chocolate, $18, to sip while watching movies together at home.

Wedding Anniversary Card by People I've Loved

A note saying how much you love him, since that’s all he really wants anyway.

P.S. Last year’s gift guide for husbands, and the 2017 gift guide so far.

(Burger photo from Bon Appetit.)

  1. Cassie says...

    Just bought Inferno (for myself!) for $5 off on Amazon using the code BOOKGIFT17.

    You can use it on any book over $15

  2. Harlie says...

    That coin should have New York on one side, and San Francisco on the other. Let’s be real. ;)

  3. While it feels awesome to find that super-perfect gift for your partner… this year, my boyfriend and I decided against exchanging gifts, (we don’t have that much disposable income, we’re wary of collecting too much “stuff” at this point in our lives etc etc.) Instead, we’re “playing Santa” via a community service that matches children’s Christmas lists with adults. So, we’re shopping for one four year-old boy who loves soccer and the color orange and a thirteen year-old girl who loves glittery makeup, to write music and draw, and panda bears.

    It’s been really fun to shop around for gel pens, sketchbooks, legos, soccer balls, and winter coats. Especially since we’re new to our city (Chicago), it’s a way for us to feel more connected to the community here. (And to feel – at least temporarily – like something other than mindless gentrifiers of our neighborhood.)

    All that to say, I’d really recommend doing this! There’s bound to be a religious organization or community outreach project near you that has this kind of thing running.

  4. I couldn’t help but laugh at Alex waxing on about gin – my normally very quiet husband was doing the same thing about wood the other night. That’s right, wood. As in, the building material. “Just think about it, baby. You can use wood to light a fire. You can build something small, build something big, you can make paper… It’s kind of amazing.” He was totally sober and sort of staring off into the distance. I could not stop laughing!

  5. That gin is the best! When my (now) husband lived in SF and was wooing me from 2,000 miles away he sent me a bottle of terroir version in box full of eucalyptus and bay leaves that he collected on his bike rides. Swoon!

  6. Rachel says...

    My husband does actually love this beef jerky more than all others, but I had no idea it was sold online. We pass by their store on our way south!

  7. Robyn says...

    Love the title of this post! Bless those dads that can embrace the Trolls soundtrack, and still nail it with the perfect playlist for kid-free times (or for those amazing moments when the kids don’t realize they’re listening to ‘your’ music and start swaying along – dance party ensues!… nothing better). Fingers crossed for many spontaneous holiday dance parties coming up.

  8. Keri says...

    I’m not from New York and I’ve never met you…. but I can’t imagine New York City without you

  9. Lisa says...

    I love these guides, but wanted to put in a plug for gift ideas outside of gender norms. It feels like almost every gift guide for men focuses on booze, meat/grilling, and sports. My husband doesn’t drink, is a vegetarian, and could care less about sports. Just a friendly reminder that there are lots of great gifts for the men in our lives outside of what gender norms/society tell us men should like!

  10. Heather says...

    Just a suggestion for next year’s gift guides – pretty much all of these are things, and I have men in my life who just don’t like or need more things, so I try to think of experiences for them. So I’d love more ideas like that. Tickets to events, those fancy services that let you rent a real fancy car for a couple of hours – those kinds of gift experiences that I know are out there, but that I need inspiration on! Maybe those would be too location specific, but even if you listed something NYC based, I could find an equivalent down here in MD or PA where my family is.

    • Julie says...

      Ditto this. I’m thinking this year about a book service for my husband because he loves to read (see The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA). There are 3 month, 6 month, and year memberships. Their site explains how it works to make sure he receives the genre he likes. I’ve heard wonderful reviews and I’m sure there are other bookstores who offer this. I’m in Atlanta and this one is the buzz.

  11. Elizabeth says...

    Another idea for guys: a stainless steel safety razor. You can get a high-quality razor for $20-$40, and replacement blades (also stainless steel) come out to about ten cents each. Much more economical than plastic Gillette razors and replacement cartridges! And if you use something everyday, it’s always nice when it’s well crafted :)

    • kristen says...

      yes! what a great idea.

  12. Betsy says...

    I bought the St. George gin bottles while visiting family in California. But I didn’t buy it for the gin, bought it for the adorable bottle! My “bar” looks great, with these bottles on the table. I’m not a gin fan, so I need to find someone who will appreciate the contents of my cute bottles. Will be back in California for Christmas. Hope to find some more great looking booze bottles for my collection. Thanks for putting a smile to my face this morning!

  13. Meg says...

    The gin has a $25.00 shipping fee…what the what!?

  14. Elise says...

    Jerky, yes! I recently stumbled across an amazing brand with a great story behind it. Love the cause… and it’s YAK jerky (cool factor: one million.)
    http://hungrynomadjerky.com/

  15. Alice says...

    The caption for the sweater should absolutely read “A cotton-cashmere sweater, for him to cozy up in, and for you to steal” :P

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahah good point!

    • Sara says...

      Yes! I want that sweater for myself. Perfect color. Too bad it’s only available in XL…

  16. Jeannie says...

    Nooo don’t move to CA! You will miss NYC too much, I think! I absolutely love the Bay Area (born and raised) but I can’t imagine you and your family as anything but New Yorkers. Lol that dear city needs you!??

  17. Shania says...

    Any gift ideas for relatively new roommates (law student, 23)?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! we have a hard-to-shop-for guide coming up, and we will keep this challenge in mind!

  18. Frin says...

    I want those Grant and Inferno books for myself…

    • Courtney says...

      Me, too! I’m now considering gifting myself the Grant book and a bottle of gin.

  19. E.E. says...

    My boyfriend is the hardest to shop for, and every year I refresh Cup of Jo’s front page in desperation once the first gift guide goes up. In case anyone else out there is as hopeless as me, here are a few of the things I bought my guy for Xmas this year (would love to see more reader’s ideas!):
    – pour-over cold brew thermos (for the addict)
    – 23&me kit (he’d love to know about his family history)
    – spiralizer (duh!)
    – beard trimmer (more of a gift to me..)
    – tickets (¡¡¡Seinfeld!!!)
    – travel book (so we can start planning his big 4-0 birthday trip!)

    • I bought my husband a “learn to lock pick” kit from new hobby box some cashmere sweatpants from Grana, and cologne in a travel size because I was taken with the copy and the box. “Inspired by Ernest Hemmingway’s years in Paris, his passions, and his raw energy, this seductive fragrance is an ode to the City of Light. Notes of sparkling champagne flow over the spicy oriental accord as twirling vanilla plays hide-and-seek with vigorous vetiver. ”

      https://www.sephora.com/product/1899-P400312

    • Meghan says...

      a spiralizer! of course!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these are great ideas!

    • Courtney says...

      Since MN winters can get people stuck inside too much, I’ve gifted my bf fun outdoor stuff – a fat tire bike, snowshoes, and last year I splurged on ski passes. I’m also trying to do some personal gifts, so this year I’m learning a song on the trumpet that was his favorite to play in jazz band as a kid.

    • Debby says...

      On the topic of beards, a heavy stainless steel safety razor or a gift certificate to a nice barber shop for a beard trim (could include face steam, straight razor, arm massage… kinda like a facial). Maybe a cast iron grill pan to make great steaks? Or a stovetop smoker? Good luck!

  20. Kaitlin says...

    Okay, this is a really nerdy, funny story that the travelers cards reminded me of: My in-laws went to Iceland and brought us back a deck of cards with native Icelandic birds. When we play with them, we say the Latin name on the card and it sounds like we’re casting spells. (Bonus: I now know the names of 51 birds in Latin!) These sorts of ultra-smart and useful gifts are the best.

    • nadine says...

      Haha, that’s great Kaitlin! I love playing with cards but the latin spell brings it to another level..

  21. Beth says...

    Ah….. is there any dad gift guide that is not built upon alcohol, expensive lesuire-wear , scent and jerky ?All fine, but a little cliche.
    Here’s a few ideas to shake things up!
    .”Porn Kills Love” or “Fight for Love” shirt from FightTheNewDrug
    . a date night with you, their kid ( where you pay!)
    . a long list of specific times you’ve appreciated them
    .a bottle of Theives easiental oils or good quality vitamins to keep their immunity up
    .your favorite vintage photo of him framed
    .a coupon for a camping weekend or movie night and dinner with the guys
    .a donation towards fighting human trafficking or refugee victims or survivors of natural disasters…etc!
    .something artistian made locally that suits his interest

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for these ideas! i actually do this guide with alex, and that’s truly what he wants and craves. when i throw in something different, he’s like, that’s nice, but…. :) so we try to think of these items with a twist (the best artisanal gin, the coolest knit tie from a very cool west village designer, etc.) hope it’s helpful for people! i love your ideas, especially the idea of writing a list of times you’ve appreciated them :)

  22. Debby says...

    Jerky! Why didn’t I think of that? You have the best gift guides! I’ve taken 1+ suggestion from every 2017 list and either bought it immediately or added it to my running list for future gifts. Thank you!

  23. Knowing you guys have toyed with the idea of moving to California, that coin made me laugh out loud! Clearly you’re not the only ones debating. :) I think I need one that says “stay” and “go”. Great picks!

  24. Kassandra says...

    Between the gin and the beef jerky he’s set for the winter!

  25. Rachel says...

    That beef jerky is made right down the road from my home town! I read the label and thought “No way!”. Can’t believe they’re selling online!

  26. Lily says...

    Cutest! Loled at the headline.

  27. Sarah says...

    Would love to see a gift guide for a generation in their 80s and 90s! I never know what to buy my grandmother and would love some of your sweet and thoughtful suggestions.

    • Charlotte K says...

      I’m only 59 but I think the older we get the less we want gifts. I want “presence” not “presents.” I want to see the kiddos and their kiddos. Would love a big family outing or trip that was designed to be easy (I mean if I were in my 90s). Most of us older people have too many things and don’t want more. In my family we’ve also taken to giving local food gifts. God bless my brother who gives me flash frozen packages of Nantucket scallops!

    • Amanda says...

      If they’re not internet savvy, using your tech skills on things that seem routine for you can make things way easier on older folks. My grandmother was not a life-long reader. But after my grandfather died, she got REALLY into reading. She loved Danielle Steele and I’d order her the new one (there’s always a new one) from Amazon for Christmas. She did not use the internet at all and didn’t get out much, so getting new books (even from the library) was sort of an ordeal for her. For my great-grandmother, who had vision issues but WAS a life-long reader, we loaded her with audio books (on cassette — she died a while ago). We got most of them through Lighthouse for the Blind and other services for the visually impaired, and I would sit with her and read the book descriptions so she could decide which books she wanted. And for other older family members, I have tracked down things they love but haven’t had in a long time — out of print books, particular treats, movies that are never on tv.

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Sarah, for my grandmother, a special lunch date, just the two of us, is her favorite gift. (We went for bacon hamburgers and sweet tea the other day and I took the time to ask her questions about her childhood. For example: how did you feel the day you watched all 3 of your older brothers leave for WWII? She loves sharing those stories and I love hearing them.) I usually bring her a little something fresh too, like a potted African violet for her table.
      My sister gives her a huge evergreen wreath for her door at the beginning of each Christmas season, with a homemade bow on it. It makes her so happy.
      Our time is truly what our older family wants, I think.

    • E says...

      My sister always made a calendar for our grandmother every Christmas with pictures of the family. She would also have it printed with all our birthdays and important dates for the family. My grandmother loved it! One of her other favorite gifts was an electric kettle, she drank tea all the time and loved how the kettle heated up so quickly and shut off automatically so she didn’t have to worry about it.

    • Dee says...

      I have two grandmas still going strong at 89 and 90. I get the comments about time etc but you still want to get them a little something to open right?? Things that have been successful with my two in receant years… 1. A little nail care bag. Some files, nail oil and hand cream. They are a bit past polish (we’re in the UK so manicures aren’t such a thing) but they loved this. 2. A nice jolly folding umbrella. 3. Posh tights or popsocks from an established brand (that they remember or aspired to in their youth). 4. Swanky gloves and/or scarf. Ditto above on the brand. 5. Pressed powder in a mirror case. (Brilliantly this is having a revival so lots of nice options now). 6. A pretty tote shopper that packs into a little bag to put in their handbag. 7. A stylish case for their glasses. Generally I’ve had success with stuff that is 100% useful, small and a bit pretty or lux. Following these comments for more ideas tho!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these are such beautiful ideas xoxo

    • My grandfather will be 99 in January, and his favorite gifts are baked goods and pictures, although he will happily accept a good bottle of wine or Scotch as well!

    • Katie says...

      I’ve mostly gone the consumable route with my grandmas, who are now in their 90s.
      – Food, like a fancy chocolate bar or roasted cashews (take care of chewy or very hard candies that might break teeth)
      – Stationery and stamps (her post office doesn’t carry the birthday ones and she loves to have stamps that match the occasion, which is adorable)
      – Photos (framed or as a photo book… she loved a formal wedding portrait we gave her, a photo book of our visits to her farm from over the years, a blown up print of her and her sister we found in a shoe box)
      – Handmade items, especially practical ones (mug if hers broke, embroidered handkerchief or dish towel if hers is worn)

  28. OMG the beef jerky IS a slam dunk!