We all know that the holiday season is a time of giving. (See also: "Better to give than receive," "it's the thought that counts", "a kick in the shins is better than a poke in the eye").
But we also know that while we're out there nailing down gifts for the important (wife, kids), the essential (clients, business partners) and the nearly impossible (sorry mom), there comes a time in every man's December when he needs to slap down that credit card .... for himself.
In other words, what Santa is to the rest of my shopping list, Man-ta is to me.
Man-ta is the one who will be dropping a new cordless drill on my workbench this year, and who will also refresh my bar with some 15 year single malt. Man-ta is my anonymous Kwanza, my stealth Chanukah, and my elusive elf. I love Man-ta.
The first rule of Man-ta giving is simple: you do not talk about Man-ta to anyone. The second rule? You DO NOT talk about Man-ta to anyone.
The third rule? Keep the receipts to yourself.
Man-ta idea #1: A winter grill that kicks atle
I've hammered mine. And it still rocks.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we did a winter outdoor barbecue for about 40 people ... and while my standard propane BBQ grill couldn't stay lit in the wind and cold temperature, the Primus Atle double burner rig was perfect for hot dogs and cider.
Practically nuclear, it's guaranteed to impress your friends and awe your children.
Man-ta idea #2: Get red instead
You've got a couple holiday parties on your calendar, I know you do. I also know that while you've got 4 softshells and a couple down sweaters in your closet, you don't know whether or not you have a clean white button-up shirt that still fits you.
Your options for holiday party attire are limited. You could go the ugly sweater route (#42 on "things white people like"). You could trot out your wedding suit ("well honey, at least the jacket still fits"). Or you could not dress up at all (lame).
Man-ta's idea is simple. Pick up one of Woolrich's red-plaid railroad vests. It's amazing priced at $69. It looks simultaneously classy and rugged. And it's something you'll actually wear for the rest of this winter, as well as the next one.
The thick wool makes for a killer master-electrician-style vest, suitable for indoor and outdoor work, with four wide-mouth pockets that fit everything from drywall screws to a cell phone... a total Man-ta must.
Man-ta idea #3: Buy a ski mag
You're not going to leave a stash of Kindles in the bathroom at work, and you're not going to nail your laptop to the wall above your toolbench. You're going to get a subscription to a real ski magazine, because that's what guys do.
Ski magazine aren't breaking news or high tech publishing breakthroughs, nor are they supposed to be. Instead, they're a letter (handwritten, of course) from last winter, inviting you to enjoy the coming one. Here are a few of the best.
Backcountry ... I keep thinking they've mastered the art of the backcountry ski mag, but they keep raising the bar. LINK
Powder ... Such a classic, they could send me back issues instead of new ones and I'd still be happy. LINK
Skier ... Truly original. The funniest of them all. Les is More. LINK
Off Piste ... The original northwest 'zine and a true labor of love. In case you're not aware of it, the tradition is to send extra cash with your subscription check. LINK
... More Man-ta to come