Every year since we started the site back in 2008, we’ve done an annual holiday gift guide, highlighting manly, useful, classic, and unique gifts an Art of Manliness man might want to find under the tree. This year, I wanted to do something a little different: using the same criteria to compile an edition entirely dedicated to stocking stuffers.
Stocking stuffers often get overlooked in the rush to see the bigger gifts Santa’s left. But they’re one of my favorite parts of Christmas. There’s something so fun about little gifts small enough to be stuffed in a giant sock. Yet once a man ages out of the novelty toys of his youth, it can be hard to know how to fill his stocking with things that are both neat and useful. For that reason, we’ve created this massive guide that includes 50 stocking stuffers a father, husband, or brother will find both practical and delightful. While every stocking should have one or two just-for-fun items, too many stocking stuffers are bits of junk that get thrown in a desk drawer, and then, once the feeling of guilt wears off, put in a trash can or tag sale. So the things we’ve chosen are those a man will enjoy using the moment he pulls them from his stocking and for a long time afterwards.
Of course if you’re looking for bigger gift ideas, I highly recommend checking out our past guides, where you’ll find hundreds of great ideas:
We wrote about six forgotten and manly drugstore colognes and aftershaves earlier this year. It was a big hit. Cheap drugstore cologne was a staple in my dad’s stocking growing up, and I remember getting my first bottle of Brute in my stocking when I was twelve. Any of the old drugstore standbys make a great stocking stuffer gift. You can’t go wrong with Old Spice, but my favorite is definitely English Leather. $3-$10
Every man should carry a pocket knife. There’s a nice Benchmade Mini-Griptilian Tanto in the Huckberry General Store that would make a great gift. It’s my everyday carry knife, but it’s kind of pricey for a stocking stuffer. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable, quality pocket knives on the market to choose from. I like this Handmade German Anchor knife from Garrett Wade ($30). Besides that particular pocket knife, Garret Wade offers several other great options. $10-$80
I love a good reference book and my favorite by far is the Pocket Reference Guide, 4th Edition by Thomas J. Glover. This small, black book is crammed with just about every piece of information a man might want to know. Want to know about different lumber types? How about how to tie the fifty most common knots? Need a formula to determine the area of an oblique triangle? It’s all there in the Pocket Ref Guide and much, much more. Sure, you can find this info online these days, but this guide serves as a great book to have by the toilet so you can thumb through it while taking care of business. $8
This handsome handwarmer from Zippo makes the perfect stocking stuffer for the man who spends a lot of time in the freezing cold. My dad would have loved this in his game warden days on those cold mornings checking duck hunters. For a few extra dollars you can get your Zippo handwarmer engraved. $13
Besides helping you find your car keys in a dark parking lot when you accidentally drop them, a small tactical flashlight can also serve as a useful self-defense tool. Shine the bright light from the tactical flashlight in a would-be attacker’s eyes to temporarily blind him and give yourself enough time to run or counter-attack. High quality tactical flashlights can cost well over $100. For most folks, that’s probably too much for a stocking stuffer. At $40, the Streamlight 88301 Protac Tactical flashlight puts itself on the potential stocking stuffer bubble. While it doesn’t emit 500 lumens like its more expensive cousins, the 88301 does offer enough light output (180 lumens) to blind an attacker momentarily. $40
Old-School Hair Grooms
For the discerning man who appreciates a nice taper and a sharp, crisp part. Old-school pomades and hair grooms can give you that handsome Cary Grant shine. Best of all, they’re cheap which makes them great stocking stuffers. I’m a Brylcreem man. A big tube costs only $7 at the drugstore and lasts for weeks. Groom & Clean is another favorite of mine. It’s not as greasy as Brylcreem and it smells great. $5-$8
I love writing with a fountain pen. It makes writing even a lowly grocery list feel like a dignified affair. Unfortunately, a decent fountain pen can cost upwards of $50. If you want the fountain pen experience without the cost (and worry of losing an expensive pen) check out Varsity disposable fountain pens from Pilot. A 3-pack costs only $8 and writes almost as smoothly as more expensive fountain pens. These make a great stocking stuffer for a man who’s been curious about fountain pens, but hasn’t had the dough to try out an expensive one. $8
I don’t know what it is about money clips. Even if I’m just paying for a QuikTrip taquito, I feel like Frank Sinatra when I pull it out and start thumbing through my cash. Money clips make the perfect stocking stuffer because 1) they’re small, and 2) they’re cheap. Kill two birds with one stone by getting a money clip/pocket knife combo. $5-$15
Stainless Steel Comb from Chicago Combs
A man doesn’t need much in the hairbrush department to keep his mane in order — just a comb will do. But in a throwaway culture, it’s nice to upgrade that comb from the plastic, disposable variety made overseas. Which is why I am a big fan and owner of the Chicago Comb. Made with timeless style right here in America. Constructed of stainless steel (yet comfortable on the scalp), this baby is dang near indestructible and will last forever. They’re pretty pricey for a comb, so if you’re going to pick one up for yourself or a loved one, make sure to buy it on sale in the AoM x Huckberry Holiday Store. Even then, with the price, the nice packaging it comes in, and the classic nature of the gift, it might find its way out of the stocking and under the tree. $39 (on sale)
When I asked people on Google+ for some manly stocking stuffer ideas, several folks suggested gun ammo. As a new gun owner I definitely understood why. Ammo is kind of expensive and you want plenty of it on hand for those impromptu trips to the gun range. Make sure you get the right kind of ammo, though. It’d be a bummer to get boxes of 9mm bullets when your gun is a .38 special. I’m hoping Santa drops a few boxes of shotgun shells in my stocking this year. Varies by ammo type
If you want to introduce a man to the lost art of the classic wet shave, give him a shave brush. Once he experiences the joy and pleasure of lathering up with a good old-fashioned shaving brush, he’ll be jonesing to start shaving with other classic shaving implements like a safety razor. Art of Shaving sells a good brush for $40. You can find some handcrafted shaving brushes on Etsy as well. Wherever you get the brush, make sure it’s made of badger hair, not boar hair. It produces the best lather. $30-$40.
While most bottles have twist-off caps these days, opening them can still be a pain. A classic wall mount bottle opener placed right next to the fridge eliminates the hassle of twisting off a bottle cap, plus it makes opening a cold one a bit more enjoyable. $7
This air-tight, waterproof, crushproof sardine can is packed with 25 survival items, including a fishhook, signal mirror, fire starter cube, and first aid supplies. Now, because of the variety and quality of the items in the can, this is far more of a novelty item than an actual survival kit. But it’s pretty cheap and a lot of fun; every stocking needs at least one item that’s simply designed to delight and act as a conversation piece. This fits the bill nicely. $12
A can of handmade mustache wax is the perfect stocking stuffer for the man who grew a handsome handlebar mustache during Movember. The mustache wax featured above comes from Man’s Face Stuff, a small company started by two friends in Portland, OR. They offer a variety of scents including: All-Nighter (notes of fresh pipe tobacco, sweetened coffee, and just a hint of frankincense), Gin & Tonic (smells like gin and tonic), and Stiff Breeze (spruce, sage, and just a touch of green pepper). A can of Man’s Face Stuff Moustache Wax is just $9.
Another artisan mustache wax that just came on the market is from a company called Can You Handlebar? Their selling point is that their wax is all natural and contains no artificial scents. So if you’re looking for something to hold your ‘stache during the day without having to smell it, this is your wax. A can of Can You Handlebar? is $9.
Besides ammo, cigars and mini bottles of booze topped the list of reader suggestions. If you know a guy who enjoys a good stogie every now and then, a few of his favorite cigars placed in his stocking will catapult you to number one friend/son/brother/nephew. You can usually buy cigars individually at your local cigar shop. $3-$10 for one cigar
Mini-Bottle of Booze
You can buy the same mini-bottles of alcohol that airlines and hotels give patrons at most liquor stores. Pair a mini-bottle of whiskey with a favorite cigar to create a memorable manly-vice-themed stocking stuffer.
Ted Slampyak, AoM illustrator extraordinaire, co-authored an awesome graphic novel this year with writer and editor RA Jones (a fellow Tulsa resident) called Savage. It’s a fun read about a Wild West vampire slayer named Christian Savage who battles his own personal demons while fighting off actual demons from the infernal pit. If you like Ted’s illustrations and you enjoy a good vampire slayer tale, you’ll love Savage. You can buy a signed copy from Ted himself at his website for $16 or pick it up on Amazon.com. Check out Ted’s great Jazz Age comics too. $16
Once a staple Christmas gift for men, soap-on-a-rope has become the butt of Christmas gift jokes. For example, Bill Cosby once said, u201CFatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.u201D But I think soap-on-a-rope deserves a second chance. It's just an amazingly convenient gift, especially for the man who showers away from home. Plus, the soaps that are attached to ropes tend to be the manly smelling kind. Like English Leather. Just like Grandpa uses. $6
Maintaining proper tire pressure will keep you safe and even save you a little dough. Improperly inflated tires – and this may mean over-inflated or under-inflated – don't handle or stop as well as tires with the correct pressure. They also increase your chance of a blow out. Plus, tires with the correct pressure have a longer life and increase your fuel efficiency. A tire pressure gauge is an essential tool in properly maintaining your tire pressure. This tire gauge from Accu-Gage is one of the best in the industry and its $9 price tag puts it in stocking stuffer range. $9
You never know when you’ll need a good pair of work gloves. For a homeowner, they’re a necessity. There’s always some outside chore that requires hand protection. But even if you live in an apartment, it’s good to have a pair of gloves on hand for those times you need to go help a friend roof his house or clean out the yard of that little old lady in your church congregation. Because a pair of leather work gloves costs only $4 at most hardware stores, they’re a great stocking stuffer. A step up from the generic leather work gloves would be the gloves from Mechanix. Not only are they great for working around your yard and on your car, I can attest to their abilities to protect one’s hands during the GoRuck Challenge. $4-$11
Tins of Shoe Polish
I don’t know about you, but I always seem to be out of shoe polish whenever I actually need it. I’ll make a mental note to pick some up on my next trip the grocery store, and of course, I’ll go to the store and forget to buy some. The occasion will arise again when I need to shine my shoes and the vicious cycle repeats itself. It’d be nice just to have copious amounts of shoe polish tins in my shoe shine box so I’d never have to worry about buying a can ever again. I’m pretty sure if Santa left two or three cans in my stocking each year my wish would be a reality. At $4 a tin, it’s the perfect stocking stuffer. $4