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.
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.
MASTER MANLY GIFTING
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.
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.