The moonlit evening commutes. That unmistakable bite in the air when leaving the house the next morning. The gradual stockpiling of large tins of Quality Street by your local supermarket. The illuminated front garden of that one overzealous neighbour who has already deemed it necessary to set their elaborate Christmas illuminations up. The clues are there, and they all point to the same thing: the festive season is almost upon us once more.
Among other things, this revelation means that, unless you like the idea of waking up to an empty void beneath the Christmas tree, it’s time to start thinking about what to put on your list. So, whether you’re looking for ideas for yourself, or gift hunting for the gent in your life, here are a few fail-safe present ideas that every man will appreciate when the 25th finally arrives.
A Quality Pen
Words are powerful, but not when they’re written with a cheap Biro. Anything worth putting on paper is worth putting there properly, making a high-quality ballpoint pen one of the most important stocking fillers a man could hope for.
What good is a nice pen without something in which to jot down your musings? A little black book is an absolute must-have, and if it’s to be done right, nothing but leather will do. Smythson has some quirky yet classic options featuring embossed lettering and gilded pages.
Some Stylish, Winterproof Boots
Those trusty white canvas sneakers that served you so well throughout the summer months are soggy and brown after five minutes outside come winter. The solution: a pair of sturdy, well-made boots just in time for the start of the season. For extra style points, go for on-trend commando sole hiking boots with quality leather uppers to ensure maximum performance in adverse weather.
A Japanese Single Malt
Cognac may be the festive evening tipple of choice, but we’ll take a good Japanese single malt over that any day. The rise of Japanese whisky in the West stretches back to the late 1990s but Nippon’s distilleries have actually been in action since around the 1920s. If you’ve exhausted all the homegrown options, a bottle of this stuff is the next logical step.
An Everyday Timepiece
A Rolex Daytona is something we all would love to own, don’t get us wrong, but it’s not exactly the most practical watch for, say, doing a spot of gardening, or playing with the kids at the weekend. What you need is what’s referred to in the watch community as a “beater” – a solid everyday ticker that can handle a scrape or two and still look handsome.
Maybe we’re getting old, but as far as the Ape team is concerned there are few finer pleasures in life than pulling on a brand new pair of socks come Christmas day. We’re not talking cheap, novelty socks though. No, we’re talking thick, well-made designs spun from luxurious fabrics such as Sea Island cotton, merino wool and cashmere. These are the kind of socks a connoisseur can appreciate. They might cost a pretty penny, but your feet will thank you.
Somewhere Nice To Store Your Plastic
If you’ve managed not to max out all your cards on festive frivolities in the run up to the 25th, first of all, congratulations. Second of all, you’re going to want somewhere smart to keep them. A cardholder is the modern equivalent to the classic billfold wallet. It’s slick, low-profile and won’t spoil the line of your trousers when slotted into your back pocket.
An Oud Fragrance
Leathery, rich, deep and woody; an oud fragrance is an absolute must for any self-respecting gentleman when the winter months take hold. It’s bold and powerful, too, which means even that frigid December air won’t be able to sap its sillage. As far as we’re concerned, Acqua Di Parma and Tom Ford make some of the best we’ve come across.
Traditional Shaving Gear
Don’t take the fact that it’s cold outside as carte blanche to adopt the grooming habits of a caveman. Staying well preened is more important than ever in the winter months and good grooming starts with a great shave. Nothing beats the closeness of a traditional safety razor, particularly when combined with a quality shaving brush and cream.
An Audiophile-Approved Bluetooth Speaker
Home stereo systems are dying out. After all, why have a cumbersome hi-fi when you could have something a fraction of the size that produces far superior sound? Look to the likes of Bang & Olufsen, Bose, and Bowers and Wilkins for some of the finest options available.
A Leather Weekend Bag
If you’re heading to see family for Christmas it can sometimes be a struggle to fit all those gifts in your bag on the way home. But not if one of those gifts happens to be a new holdall. A weekend bag isn’t just for Christmas, though. Opt for leather and it might even outlast you. Either way, it’s a quality piece of kit and a must-have for any discerning gent.
We could wax lyrical all day about the merits of an overshirt, but suffice to say they should be an essential part of any man’s cold-weather arsenal. This is a present that will see more use than most as its applications don’t end at winter layering. Try using it as a makeshift jacket in the summer and you’ll be equally impressed.
Good Coffee For Life
Getting out of bed in the morning is difficult enough. Particularly when it’s still pitch black outside. The prospect of a good cup of coffee in the comfort of your own kitchen can take some of the sting out of it, though, which is why a proper coffee machine is an excellent thing to add to your wishlist.
Premium Gym Gear
Ever wished you could just wear your gym gear everywhere? Well, actually there’s no reason you can’t… so long as you’ve chosen wisely. Some comfy Flyknit trainers, a luxe hoodie, a good-looking shell jacket – this sort of gear is just as at home around town at the weekend as it is on the treadmill, so it’s not a bad thing to ask Santa for. It will help kickstart that New Year fitness regime, too.