You know who they are. One of them wrote this piece!
If you’re anything like me, you’re in a bit of a scramble trying to lock down gifts for the various important loved ones and friends in your life. Well, I wish I could tell you that I was some kind of gift-giving expert, someone who has studied the art of gifting, seen it all, and come out the other side alive and ready to share my wisdom…
But I’m not. I’m just a dude, but just MAYBE, I’m just enough “just a dude” that the gifts that I’d want might be a perfect match for a broad swath of dudes here in Richmond. And girls too! And really anyone who likes gifts.
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The coffee section
The kind of dude I am gets really excited about brewing an amazing cup of coffee. If you have a coffee-lover in your life who does all their coffee drinking at Lamplighter or is maybe intimidated by anything above a Keurig level, there are some easy ways to start brewing good coffee at home. It can seem intimidating, but below are some different brewing methods to get started.
$39 and up
Does your coffee lover appreciate the careful craft of coffee? Do they talk like a barista when making coffee at home? Chemex is definitely a more complicated brewing approach, but for people who love the craft of it, it’s a great way to make a cup of coffee. Plus, it wins points for looking the coolest of all the home brewing methods.
$20 and up
If Chemex sounds too complicated, French press coffee brewing might be for you. It’s known for consistency and good brewing. Simply let hot water steep over your ground coffee for a few minutes and push down! It’s a great way to make a few cups of coffee and feel like a coffee pro. On the downside, cleaning one can be a little annoying.
If you find coffee in general to be too acidic, cold brew might be just what you need. It’s easy, brews overnight, and makes coffee concentrate you can mix with water. This is my personal favorite way to make coffee at home, and if I can do it, anyone can!
$24 and up
For those of you who already have a coffee-making expert in the family, I love the idea of gifting them a coffee subscription. Places like San Francisco’s Blue Bottle are known for amazing coffee, and they make it easy to sign someone up to have coffee delivered to their door on a semi-regular basis. It’s not a ton of coffee, so it can make for a fun way to switch things up from the regular coffee they buy.
need Supply, $38
In this digital world where all the world’s information is just a quick swipe away, it’s nice to go analog sometimes. And go big. The Stendig calendar is so beautifully simple, it makes a great statement in any room. It says “I’m a guy who cares about design…and I also know what day it is.” I think giving a calendar makes a good gift-giving statement too–it says you’re a future-leaning forward thinker, not someone who dwells in the past. Let Aunt Joan give a photo album or a picture frame. We’re too busy making PLANS for 2016! Pick up this beautiful calendar at Need Supply in Carytown.
$20 and up
Square Trade Goods candles are made and poured right here in Richmond, Virginia. Bonus: they smell incredible. With scents like Campfire (my personal fave) and Fig & Sage, you’re bound to find the perfect one. I like candles as gifts because they’re a good utility player. They make for a solid add-on gift for a significant other or a great standalone gift for people in your life you need to give gifts to but don’t know super well. I’ve never seen someone react negatively to “Hey, you’ll like this, it smells like a campfire.”
$32 and up
Whereas candles work as gifts for people you don’t know super well, buying a fragrance is probably best reserved for significant others. Fortunately, you can try them all and pick your favorite at Na Nin, a locally-owned store that makes and sells their own fragrances. There are two unisex/dude scents that I’d recommend. Cripple Creek, my favorite, has a smoky pine scent and comes in this amazing 10ml roll-on bottle that is super easy to pack in a travel bag. The other one, Willin’, is a woodsy scent that comes in a variety of forms, including beard oil. They’ve got two locations, so head over and give them both a try.
It’s almost 2016 and while technology is getting better and better, battery life doesn’t seem to be on quite the same trajectory. Instead of watching helplessly as my battery level plummets on my next trip, I bit the bullet and got one of these portable phone chargers. It’s not the sexiest gift, but if you want someone to think of you fondly every time they recharge their phone on-the-go without hugging a wall outlet, this is the item for you. I got this affordable no-frills Jackery charger, but I think you can shop around to find the one that best balances number of charges vs. size for your needs. This $19 model fits easily in a backpack/purse and has enough juice for two or three full phone charges.
If your potential gift recipient chose to #optoutside for Black Friday this year, then this is the gift for them. For a very reasonable $40, they can get a year’s worth of access to Skyline Drive, great hiking trails, and epic Shenandoah Valley views. The pass pays for itself with just two park visits, and you can bring a carload of friends or family along for the ride too, so as long as you’re in the passenger seat, this is a gift you can benefit from too. Not included: beers at Blue Mountain Brewery when you’re done hiking.
$30 and up
Giving a gift card can sometimes feel like a bit of a cop out, but not when the gift card leads to an awesome “treat yo’ self” experience. Give the dude in your life a hot shave, beard trim, or fresh haircut at High Point. These guys are the real deal, and getting your first straight-razor shave can be a transcendent experience. You’ll decide to grow a beard right on the spot after you realize that shaving every day will never feel as good. Gift cards are good for either services or product, so he can stock up on pomades, beard oil, and be sure to look fresh in time for New Year’s Eve.
Do you have a craft beer aficionado in your life? Someone who can rattle off all of Richmond’s finest breweries and beers? Get them a Virginia Beer Cap Map! This laser-cut wooden wall map holds beer bottle caps and makes a great addition to a home office or bar. Plus, it gives them the perfect excuse to buy more craft beer. If you’re a Virginia transplant who wants a map of a different locale, there are maps for every state along with the United States as a whole. So if you have a gigantic wall, I suppose you could collect all 50! Warning, Texas is the one pictured. Not Virginia. You don’t live in Texas, phew!