A gift guide for men who don't want whiskey stones or golf clubs

Shopping for the men in one’s life can be tough, and that isn’t helped by the fact that some gift guides geared towards dads, brothers and significant others seem to think that guys all like whiskey, golf and beard oil.

Not every man wants a beer subscription or a 20-piece BBQ utensil set (real suggestions from a 2022 gift guide for men).

We’ve assembled some practical gifts that should hopefully appeal to the masculine people in your life, or at least serve as jumping-off point for something better-tailored to your loved one.

(Some of these gifts are things I’ve given my own father, and he at least said that he liked them.)

For an offline games night

If your guy has a competitive side and likes getting people together, consider gifting him everything he needs for an offline games night.

Betrayal at House on the Hill has been hailed the best board game of 2022 by GamesRadar. A mix of horror and strategy, this tabletop game is for adults who love mystery with a healthy dose of backstabbing their friends.

The game sees up to six players exploring a haunted mansion where at least one of you is a traitor in disguise; think Clue mixed with Mafia. The board game comes with a collection of 50 missions to work through where you can encounter serial killers, monsters, cults and even ghost sharks.

Each room is randomly selected, meaning the house, as you explore it, is different every time you play. Coupled with the competing interests of the characters, Betrayal at House on the Hill is endlessly re-playable.

Betrayal at House on the Hill board game.

Betrayal at House on The Hill 3rd Edition, $54.71, available at Amazon.ca


The Magic Puzzle Company combines the fun of a board game with the laid-back vibe of jigsaw puzzles.

In the Mystic Maze, you help a yellow-suited hero find a lost friend while assembling this 1,000-piece puzzle. Once you’ve completed the maze, there’s an extra envelope of puzzle pieces for you to open that reveal a hidden secret.

If the artwork in The Mystic Maze isn’t up your alley, maybe try The Happy Isles, where puzzle masters can learn the unexpected fate that befell a sunny paradise.

Mystic Maze puzzle.

The Mystic Maze Jigsaw Puzzle, $40.20, available at Amazon.ca


If the guy you’re shopping for is more into a classic games night, consider getting him a poker set, or a unique chess board that’s personalized. There are tons of options for engraved or specialty sets on Etsy and you can even help out a small business in the process.

Personalized poker set.

Personalized poker chips set, $59.47, available at Etsy.ca

For the outdoorsy types

For those who’d rather have their fun outdoors exploring nature, get them a gift they can easily add to their hiking bag.

Crampons are a great asset to any winter hiker’s arsenal. But even those who prefer light walks around the park will be happy to have a pair of these when the temperatures dip low and the snow on the ground freezes into ice. Who says you shouldn’t still be able to enjoy the great outdoors in the winter?

Crampons.

Grip 2 Crampon Unisex, $23.99, available at Altitude-Sports.com


And while your outdoorsman is out on his winter hike, arm him with the knowledge to forage for his survival. This beginner’s guide from author Frank Hyman will help you identify 29 species of edible ground and tree mushrooms and how to best cook your fungal harvests. Hyman also goes over how to forage responsibly, so that everyone can enjoy the fruits of nature sustainably.

How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying book.

How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying, $22.95, available at Indigo.ca


This travel mug can double up as a thermos for soups and hot food just as easily as it can be used to keep your coffee or tea warm. It also comes in a variety of sizes at different price points if you’re working within a budget.

Yeti Rambler travel mug.

Yeti Rambler 710mL Mug, $45.00, available at Yeti.ca

Give the gift of relaxation

A good massage can relieve pain and even help you sleep, but going to a massage therapist can be pricey if you don’t have insurance benefits to cover regular visits. Good thing there are a number of great at-home massage devices to the rescue. A tried-and-true option is the Theragun Percussive Therapy massager that provides targeted relief to knotted muscles — though it’s on the more expensive end. If you can’t shell out more than $100 for a back massager, check out a neck and shoulder shiatsu massager option instead, like this one at BestBuy.ca.

Theragun Percussive Therapy massager.

Theragun Prime 4th Generation, $249, available at Therabody.com


For a relaxed mind, try giving a gift subscription to the New York Times Games. This grants access to a huge archive of the Times’ crosswords, as well as the addictive Spelling Bee. This gift is perfect for avid Wordlers who are looking for even more daily puzzles to play.

The New York Times Games subscription.

One Year New York Times Games Subscription, US$40, available at NYTimes.com


Big shock, but men have faces too, and those faces need to be taken care of. Whether the man in your life already does skin care or you think it’s time to normalize the practice, give a skin-care set as a holiday gift this year. Canadian brand The Ordinary is known for its minimalist packaging, low prices and quality products your guy is sure to love — though they sell out fast. This set from Kiehl’s is still in stock online and comes with a cleanser, toner, mask and moisturizer for dry skin.

Kiehl's Ultra Hydration Set.

Ultra Hydration Set, $30, available at Kiehls.ca

For the music lover

Veteran concertgoers know that proper hearing protection is key if you want to keep enjoying live music for as long as possible. Let your loved ones know that you care about their hearing by gifting them noise-reduction earplugs that won’t compromise the concert experience.

EarPeace noise reduction earplugs

EarPeace Noise Reduction Earplugs, $36.95, available at Amazon.ca

Amazon

Sometimes the best gifts aren’t objects at all, but experiences. For a music lover, there’s no better experience than checking out a band at a local venue. If no bands that you’re familiar with are playing in your area, try scoring cheap tickets at a local venue that plays a genre of music you like. Going into a concert blind can be a great experience and you might come out of it with a new favourite artist.

Crowd of people at a concert.


At home or away, the tunes don’t need to end just because you need to take a shower. Waterproof speakers designed for listening to music in the shower have exploded in popularity. It’s the ultimate karaoke experience, belting out your favourite song in the shower with no one around to judge you.

JBL waterproof speaker.

JBL Go 3 Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, $39.99, available at BestBuy.ca


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