A bonsai tree is a work of art, sometimes hundreds of years in the making. The delicate balance of managing air, water, sun, temperature, nutrients, and pruning is both rewarding and therapeutic. This Five Tree Redwood Bonsai Forest ($360) is stunning but also high-maintenance. If that’s too demanding, check out the lower maintenance option of Lula’s Garden ($85), a Los Angeles startup that creates unique garden gift box experiences. I also love this classic Asprey Enamel Picture Frame ($2,300). Finally, what hedge fund manager wouldn’t want this standing, complete Extinct Cave Bear Skeleton ($30,000) in his office?
Replace all his gym shorts with Birddogs ($55). I first recommended them — a company started by an HBS grad and former banker who poached the head of men’s design from Lululemon — in a Business Insider article I wrote in 2015, when they had just hit $300,000 in sales. This year, they trolled the Shark Tank and will surpass $16 million in revenue. They are perfect for the gym, tennis, or Sunday brunch. Throw in this Survival and Cross Jump Rope ($10) and some Tom Ford Tom Exfoliating Energy Scrub ($90). The Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille Body Spray ($96) is a classic scent, but just remember, no one should smell you from five feet away or five minutes after you’ve left the room.
Burn all his khakis and replace them with the insanely soft and comfortable Mott & Bow ($118) jeans. And the relatively new fashion startup has a really cool, entrepreneurial backstory. After 30 years as a family business supplying denim to the most prestigious labels, the youngest generation started an online brand from scratch — delivering the same premium quality, with a younger look, at a fair price. Pair them with these Kinfolk x Zespa Sneakers ($168), and a premium sock ($6) and underwear ($23) subscription from Brummell, because pairing and sorting colorful, gimmicky socks is a waste of time, and the fact that the average guy replaces his underwear every 7 years is disgusting.
The holiday season is about drinking, playing games, and watching football. Check out this Yukon Hammerhead Pro Sled ($185); my kids would have to fight me for it. If there’s no snow, try a Beer Pong Chip Shot Golf ($203) or Jaques of London Croquet Set ($1,000). And an easy option for the sports fan in your life is Fanchest ($59), a new box delivery service that curates officially licensed sports merch at an exceptional discount.
For his conscience
A hardy animal - a pig ($50) or sheep ($80) - is the gift of sustainability, which means fertilizer, food, offspring, and income for rural families. It's all courtesy of Oxfam America, a nonprofit organization committed to creating lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.
Or check out Brummell, a fashion line that focuses on the neglected top drawer - delivering premium underwear ($23) and socks ($6) at a discount. Best of all, every sale is matched with a donation to Camp Hope, a charity that provides (among many other things) business attire, career mentorship, networking, and financial support to veterans suffering from PTSD.
If you can’t afford Steve McQueen’s Rolex, you can settle for his mailbox ($2,000).
Finally, here are some gifts to avoid at all costs
Ties - Buying ties is fun for guys; don't take that from us. Besides, it sucks feeling obligated to wear something we probably don't like.
Grooming gadgets - If you think he needs a nose hair trimmer, why are you waiting until December 25th?
A pet - If you're married, talk it through and make it a joint decision - it's long-term commitment/obligation. If you're not married, think about the feelings of that poor dog in a worst-case scenario.
Gift cards - They’re a scam to dupe lazy people into giving errands to their loved ones, where they’re often forced to spend more than the card value, or come up short and invariably lose the balance on the card. Or, sometimes, they just lose it all.