I don’t normally put together lists like this, as everyone has their own individual tastes. Every year, my wife and I struggle to figure out what to get our dads for Christmas – how many pocketknives and long-sleeve thermal undershirts can a dude own before he becomes featured on the TV show Hoarders?
With that in mind, I decided to compile some of my favorite, most out-of-the-box gifts into one list… some of these products have recently been sent to me in the past year, some I became familiar with long ago, but they all have one thing in common: they’re uncommon, and I like them.
Along with featuring these super cool items, pay close attention, a lot of them have offered a ‘Dad or Alive’ discount code this month AND are giving items away below!
My friends at Dove Men + Care actually sent this little guy to me earlier this summer around Father’s Day.
“We took everything you love about the iGrill, added a ton of cool new features and packed them into a rugged, pocket-sized design. The iGrillmini connects using Bluetooth Smart technology and features a Smart LED, proximity sensor, extended battery life of 150 hours and magnetic mounting. They’ve also developed a brand new app to connect to your iGrillmini, the iDevices Connected app is available for free in the App Store℠ and Google Play™ Store.”
I’ve connected this to my iPhone using the app and it was pretty friggin’ cool – plus everyone out on the deck was like ‘what the heck is that thing??’ I also used it as a back-up to my 1992 meat thermometer on the Thanksgiving Day turkey–and let me tell you–it works.
Last winter, I borrowed the neighbor’s gas-powered blower, which worked, but it was a hog on gas, loud as hell and weighed about a half-ton. It was almost as hard as shoveling by hand. Then I got the Snow Joe. I was all set last week to take a photo with this baby, but the meteorologist was wrong and we’re still waiting on the white stuff.
“This 32-lb snow blower is ideal for clearing snow from sidewalks, driveways and decks, the Snow Joe Ion Hybrid provides easy and convenient CORD-FREE rechargeable operation or unlimited electric power. The Ion delivers up to 52 minutes of whisper-quiet run time with zero carbon emissions for cleaner air.
No pull-cords, gas, oil, tune ups or tangled extension cords to cause unnecessary frustration. The Ion starts instantly with a simple push of a button and its adjustable handle maximizes user comfort. Equipped with a heavy duty, steel auger with 2 rubber blades, the Ion moves up to 500 lbs. of snow per minute, clearing a path 18 in. wide x 8 in. deep with each pass. Plus, the rubber scraper bar at the base of the unit lets you clear right to the ground without damaging your deck or pavement. Featuring a 180° auto-rotate chute that rotates instantly with the push of a switch, the Ion lets you throw snow up to 20 ft. in the direction you want it to go. For nighttime snow removal, the Ion has an integrated LED headlight that quickly switches on to increase visibility.”
“Meet illum-n-broom: the bright new tool for safe winter travel. A revolutionary 4-in-1 device, illum-n-broom is a snow broom, ice scraper, flashlight, and emergency blinker all in one convenient and compact tool. Now you can safely sweep snow and scrape ice off your car day or night, without damaging its paint, trim, or glass. And illum-n-broom’s telescoping pole extends from 30 to 49 inches to easily access the snow piled on top of your car’s roof or trunk. Two powerful LED lights instantly brighten your task, and the built-in blinker doubles as an emergency flasher when you really need to be noticed. Just sweep, scrape, and illuminate!”
NOTE FROM DAD OR ALIVE: I’m happy to report that I’m giving one of these away, at the bottom of the post! Get entered to win one of these just in time for the brutal onslaught of winter!
A few years ago, Jen bought me a Billykirk No. 092 brown card case with snaps to replace my wallet. I’ve carried this thing every day since then and, like me, it’s only gotten better-looking with age.
“Started in 1999 by brothers Chris and Kirk Bray in Los Angeles CA, Billykirk is a leather and canvas design company which was founded on the desire to make lasting items that get better with age. Billykirk, now partnered with three US-based manufacturers, has been located on the East Coast since 2005. Most of our small leather goods and bags are handmade by in-house artisans or by a group of Amish leather crafters in Pennsylvania. With the collection sold throughout the world, we remain focused on designing goods that are understated and function-driven. This keep-it-simple design philosophy is not led by trends but rather an appreciation for utility, longevity and provenance.”
I got to talk to co-founder, Chris Bray, last week and told him how much I loved this wallet. I love the idea that it had been handmade in the Amish community, not far from where I grew up. The fact that their products are MADE IN THE USA, is pretty cool.
NOTE FROM DAD OR ALIVE: Chris and our friends at Billykirk are offering a promo discount code until December 15th. ENTER THE PROMO CODE: dadoralive20 to receive 20% off ANY items purchased on or before 12/15/15. PLUS, they have also sweetened the pot by allowing me to give away one of those super cool wallets – winner picks their own color from available stock!
“JORD is run by artists, designers, marketers, and minders. We spend our days creating, considering, arguing, and hopefully agreeing. Then we’ll scrap it all for the joy of starting new. We have fun. This is our journey.”
JORD actually sent me this beautiful Ebony & Copper wood watch that you see above. Yes, that sexy wrist is mine. The watch is actually a lot lighter than I had anticipated and the craftsmanship is outstanding. One of my favorite parts is that both sides are almost transparent, so you can actually see the gears moving inside. But this piece is amazing for date night, dinner with friends or that special event. It’s certainly an eye-catching conversation piece. The watch comes in a nice, sturdy wooden box (surprised?) for protected storage.
NOTE FROM DAD OR ALIVE: My friends at Jord have allowed me to give away a $200 credit towards the purchase of a Jord watch. Click below to enter!
High Jinks is the brainchild of husband & wife team, Jon & Jenn Arvizu.
They’re an ETSY-based shop and I’ve known Jenn since my college days! They’re ridiculously talented and have outfitted me and the family on several occasions with some of their newest and coolest designs. My “Snuggle is Real” shirt that many of you have commented on, came from High Jinks.
“Take one illustrator, add one witty project manager, toss in two spirited minis… and you’ve got a whole bunch of certified boisterous fun! We wake up, pretty much every day, smiling at random thoughts and spunky visuals. Our first reaction is always ‘LET’S MAKE IT INTO A SHIRT!’ So… we do. Our kids are a big part of the creative process, art directing our High Jinks Minis line of kids’ shirts and accessories. Designed by kids, for kids. That’s what makes them so one-of-a-kind special. All of our shirts are printed to order with water based inks, on soft, fashionable, tri-blend or poly-cotton shirts. They wash well, wear well, speak well. It’s seriously all good.”
NOTE FROM DAD OR ALIVE: Jon & Jenn have been kind enough to offer FREE SHIPPING at their ETSY shop until 12/31/15, simply ENTER THE CODE: DADORALIVE. PLUS, they’ve also allowed me to give away a 4-pack of my favorite tees for dad! Check out the raffle widget below and get entered!
Makers Kit reached out to me a few months ago and sent along a few really awesome DIY kits that I personally would’ve loved doing on my own, but were even more fun to do together with my kids. We built an air plant and fern terrarium and even a small indoor herb garden. The cocktail kit, well, the wife and I kept that for ourselves 😉
“MakersKit founders Mike Stone and Jawn McQuade are two creative guys. Mike is a serial entrepreneur who also volunteered as a grade school art teacher. Jawn went to film school while also working as a grade school teacher. Once they met, the duo quickly became the best of friends and within weeks they started their first project together, teaching DIY workshops in San Francisco. That’s how MakersKit was born: the collab of two friends passionate about inspiring creativity. Mike and Jawn continue to give back with our Give a Kit Campaign in partnership with Pledge 1%. Your purchase of a kit on our site let’s us donate an art supply kit to a public school in your home state or country.”
“At a very early age, J.A. Christensen learned woodworking from his father and grandfather and the needle arts from his grandmother. Since 2005, Christensen has focused equally on woodworking and sewing alike. His current production of neckties and bow ties is a function of a lifelong interest in the history and material culture of the early 1900’s, and he employs fabrics that have not been commercially available for several decades, if ever.
Christensen personally crafts each tie from vintage or antique fabric that he’s been collecting for nearly two decades. These fabrics come from estate and church sales, vintage and antique shops, flea markets and auctions. While his fabric and process may be rooted in the past, Christensen’s ties are idiosyncratically modern, with silhouettes and dimensions designed for our times.”
Jim is an absolute artist and stay-at-home dad, like myself. To listen to him talk about the origin of his collection of fabric is mesmerizing and heartfelt. He is 100% the man that creates this special vintage tie, bow tie or pocket square that arrives at your door. In my opinion, this is a unique something for dad to have in his closet arsenal. Whether it be for a holiday get together with your family, a special event or maybe just to turn some heads in the hallway at work – his masterpiece has personal touch and real history behind it.
NOTE FROM DAD OR ALIVE: Jim has been kind enough to offer a special discount code through 12/15/31. ENTER THE CODE: DOA and receive 10% your purchase between now and then. ALSO, there’s a giveaway here too: Jim is doing something completely incredible and pulling a batch of treasured hickory striped fabric (see below) from his collection to personally make you a matching tie and pocket square. The fabric was found on a road trip six years ago through central Pennsylvania and dates back to somewhere between the 1930’s-1950’s. Click below to have a shot at winning!
“In the early 1950’s David Rancourt left his home in Sherbrooke, QC Canada to learn the trade of shoemaking in Lewiston, Maine. By 1967 he had opened his own factory producing handmade moccasins. In 1970, his eldest son, Michael, joined him in the business. Together they grew the fledgling moccasin shop into a fully developed shoe factory producing luxury calfskin loafers for some of the best brands in the world. As a consequence of life’s twists and turns, the factory changed ownership in the 1990’s with Michael remaining at the helm.
In 2008, the owners announced plans to close the operation in Lewiston, prompting Michael and his son Kyle to buy it back and launch Rancourt & Co. in 2009. Under the guidance of a new father-son partnership, Rancourt & Co. has continued the tradition of outstanding hand-sewn shoes while introducing the Blake construction which opened the door for boots, calfskin dress shoes and leather sneakers.
Today, the commitment to the craft has never been stronger. We source the highest quality materials available and continually strive to craft some of the best shoes in the world. We are committed to honoring and preserving the shoemaking tradition that exists in our community. All Rancourt & Co. footwear is made in our factory in Lewiston, Maine.”
NOTE FROM DAD OR ALIVE: Kyle has been kind enough to offer a special discount code of 10% off any regularly priced items between now and 12/15/31. ENTER THE CODE: DADORALIVE to take advantage of the savings!
“We scout the country for the top artisan food makers; hitting America’s cities and towns to find the best of the best. We thoughtfully source only the highest quality products and curate them around a unique theme like “Bacon Nation”, or “Bourbon BBQ”. Your Mantry conveniently shows up at your door monthly, with editorial stories and recipes that any guy can master.”
And last, but not least, a bit of shameless self-promotion.
I wrote this book back in 2013 and am feverishly working on a second. If you know a dad-to-be or even a father that’s been there and done that, I’m hoping to give you a few laughs as I recant my first foray into fatherhood.
Thanks for checking out this list and enter below for a shot at winning any of these great gifts for dad! I can’t 100% guarantee shipping before Christmas, but we’ll darn well try! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours!