ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH FOR CHRISTMAS? How to butch top the butch gift trend.

By Mark Welsh

If aliens flipped through the stack of holiday catalogs on my coffee table they’d think that New York men are a bunch of primal brutes who aspire to chomp cigars on the tundra, ditch electricity for Swedish oil lamps, and butcher their own meat in the wilderness, all while wearing a “scoured sheep's wool vest that provides indispensable defense against hypothermia”. The message for Christmas is clear.               

Luxury and comfort are out.  Itchy wool and frostbite are in.

Armed with pseudo rustic names like Guideboat Co., Huckberry, and Bestmade Company, this burly breed of retailer eschews basic necessities like heat, hairbrushes, and models, promoting instead a rugged lifestyle that sneers at hairbrushes and eats models for breakfast, preferably roasted on a spit.  



Evidently, the target audience for these brands doesn't just wear reindeer sweaters, they hunt actual reindeer clad in "a shawl neck sweater coat that protects through warrens of backcountry thickets".   They also pick their teeth with whiskey flavored toothpicks but that's another story. 

I've given my share of Carhartt boots and candles that smell like wet dog, but this year's testosterone-fueled gift selection is a whole other kettle of butch.  If you don't know a musket from a muskrat – or understand why anyone would want either for Christmas – take these suggestions for the hirsute, brawny, strapping, grizzled, and macho on your list. 


FOR HIRSUTE HUNTERS: Only sissies buy their elk meat prepackaged at the supermarket.  Burly blokes (and the thousands of un-burly blokes in Manhattan who wonder how the hell they got on this mailing list) prefer to bag their elk the old fashioned way with an American Longbow that’s been “fabricated around a locally harvested hickory core”.  Not suitable for boys under 5.

FOR BRAWNY BATHERS:  Is there a man alive who doesn’t dream of hauling a hot tub into the wilderness, filling it with sea water, and then freezing his bits off for hours while the water heats up to tepid?  Apart from me?  If so, this portable hot tub from Huckberry has his name tattooed all over it.  Driftwood sculpture, price upon request.

FOR STRAPPING STONERS: Elevate his (and everyone else's) holiday with an authentic Virginia Tavern Pipe crafted with a “long stem for communal use”, and wrap it up with something festive and green, available from better dispensaries in more enlightened states.

FOR GRIZZLED GOURMANDS: Keep the Le Creuset for yourself this Christmas, especially since the new “marine” shade looks so chic in my, I mean your kitchen. 

Instead give “a rare & restored cast iron dutch oven, recommended for "preparing fresh caught brook trout baked in clay".  Accompany with fresh caught brook trout and clay.  

FOR MACHO MIXOLOGISTS: “Sabering champagne is a guaranteed way to liven up any holiday soiree”, so claims the Huckberry catalog copy.   I’ll say.  

Gift your favorite drunkard a saber (the Jackson Cannon bar knife is recommended) and watch him whack tops off champagne bottles, blind onlookers with flying shards of glass, and ruin Christmas forever.  Accompany with a “Forest Service-approved” First Aid Kit in cheerful holiday red.  $88. 

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If you need further pointers you can find me in the wilderness.  I'll be the one whittling a log into a set of champagne glasses and knitting my chest hair into a vest. 









By Mark Welsh

The latest RH catalog hit New York city last week, and by “hit” I mean mercilessly clobbered. 

Weighing in at hefty 325 pounds (or thereabouts) this unappealingly shrink wrapped collection of 5 “source books” prompted shrieks of “Oh no they didn’t!” at Post Offices from the Battery to the Bronx and filled New York’s emergency rooms with sprained and (even more than usually) disgruntled mail carriers.  Nursing a wrist injury and a grudge, my dedicated mail lady Connie summed up the feelings of many as she tossed letters into slots with the precision of a carnival knife thrower.  “I signed up to deliver mail through sleet, snow, and hail, she huffed.  “No one ever mentioned the  Mother@#$%&^% RH catalog”.  

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m an ardent fan of catalogs and have written literally hundreds for clients including Bloomingdale’s, Joe Fresh, west elm, and Ann Taylor – a sprinkling of which I’ve included here for purely self-promotional purposes.

But do we really need to receive all 5 at once?  Talk about incite bad will among 99 pound weaklings, 6th floor walk-up dwellers, and trees. 

Without further ado or adon't here are my...



COMMIT THE PERFECT CRIME.  Bludgeon your annoying neighbor with his/her copy – and shred the evidence. 


ASSIST A LITTLE PERSON.  Bind copies together with duct tape to create booster seats, platform shoes, and steps.


STOCK YOUR OFF-THE-GRID OUTHOUSE.  Who needs a composting loo when you’ve got 468 pages of free TP?


GO FOR THE INSURANCE MONEY.  Turn our the lights and “accidentally” trip over your catalog.  You’ll be surprised what a bruised knee and a good lawyer will net you.  (Approximate 30G).


CALM YOUR NERVES.  Paper walls with the catalog’s greige, ecru, and burlap-hued pages and fall instantly into deep taupe sleep. 


TAKE A FIELD TRIP.  Introduce your catalogs to their ancient tree forebears and watch them weep inky tears. 


RETURN TO SENDER UNOPENED.  Or better yet, drop it off at your local RH store and let them deal with it.