Hey, guys, you ever wonder how it is that by late October the womenfolk all seem to have their Christmas shopping done? It’s pretty messed up. But here’s their dirty little secret: They cheat. They buy wide-mouthed mason jars, fill them with chocolates or potpourri or shit like that, wrap a little bow around the top, and bam! Homemade gift.
You could fill jars with potpourri, too. Or you could pay someone to ship a flower bulb packed in gravel to your friends. I’m not saying that isn’t a great gift, but let’s be real here. The only plant your buddy ever tried to grow was from partially-burned seeds from the bowl of his bong.
There are tons of sites that suggest “unique” (in the Internet definition of the word) mason jar gifts you can purchase.
But let’s get real, here. Those gifts are not for guys, or from guys. The only Y-chromosome involved in any of those projects belongs to the guy driving the truck from the gravel pit.
It’s time for guys to be able to say “I love you, man” with a mason jar full of something guys can appreciate. I’m here to right the ship. You don’t have to thank me; it’s what I do.
Be real: what’s going to lift your spirits more on a Christmas morning than nice, tasty beer? Your friends might spend the other 364 days of the year drinking PBR or Natty Ice, but let Christmas be a special day, a day for a can of beer they might not have ever had before.
Ridiculously useful? Check! Consumable? Check! Whether you’re running cables in the office, repairing a speaker, hanging pegboard for a photo shoot, or sealing up mason jar gifts, zip ties are the new duct tape. A big jar filled with multi-colored zip ties not only looks festive, you will be remembered fondly countless times throughout the year.
PORK RINDS, BEEF STICKS, PRETZELS, AND CHEESE PUFFS
You want to give a gift that will be really appreciated? Salty food that goes with beer will never go out of style. Think carefully about who gets what, however; you don’t want Steve to open his funky-smelling off-brand pork rinds and then find out that you gave Joe yummy meat sticks. It might be best to play it safe and give everyone the funky-smelling pork rinds.
No guy has ever said, “I wish I didn’t have so many flashlights.” Conversely, “Where’s my fucking flashlight?” is probably something your friends say once a week or more. You can help fix that. Give a guy a nice three-pack of flashlights and watch the faraway look on his face as he decides were each will go. And look! There’s even a bendy flashlight you can use to decorate the jar! Festive!
CAFFEINE PILLS AND HANGOVER “MEDICINE”
Let’s think about the three defining characteristics of 5-Hour energy drink: it has caffeine, it has vitamins of dubious efficacy, and it tastes like stale butt-crack sweat. Bang down a caffeine pill with a multivitamin and you’re good to go, without the butt sweat. All-nighter!
The next morning, he’s going to appreciate that hangover concoction, no doubt about it.
You know that guy who’s an obnoxious Bruins/Lakers/Packers/Yankees fan and their team won that big game and he vowed to keep wearing his lucky jersey for the rest of the season? We ALL know that guy. Maybe it’s time for a little hintedy-hint-hint. Just be sure he doesn’t mistake those colorful balls for tasty snacks. He may never have seen one before.
RAZORS AND SHAVING CREAM, TOOTHPASTE AND FLOSS THINGIES
You’re not telling your friend he’s a slob, you’re saying “hey, I know you ran out of these things and you’ve been too busy to get more. I’m there for you, bud.”
MARSHMALLOW PIES AND TWINKIES
Sure to bring a smile to you buddy’s face. These two ideas are only just scratching the surface, but despite their awesomeness, these aren’t tasty treats a dude is likely to buy for himself. (Note to grocery store owners: you should stock these items in the liquor aisle.) Snack-Pack is a runner-up in this category.
You’re buddy’s not getting any. You know that, he knows that. But… Maybe someday he might. Not only does this gift tell your friend that you have faith in him, however unfounded that faith may be, it also just might save his life. You really can’t do better than that.
SUGAR-COATED MINI-DONUTS OR BROWNIE MIX
If caffeine and alcohol are the primary-stage fuel of a big night, the sugar-coated mini donut is the magic ingredient that turns a late-nighter into an all-nighter. It has been scientifically determined that cramming for an exam with mini-donuts is 2.7 times more effective than cramming without.
But sometimes a dude needs brownies he cooks for himself, if you know what I mean.
It’s the annual Secret Santa at work and you got the Healthy Guy. Vegan Marathoner Mo-Fo has to be sixty years old but he looks better than you did at twenty. He’ll like flax for some reason.
Like flashlights, it’s something no one can ever have too many of. Where do they go? Seems like you just bought a bunch of them and there’s never one around when you need it. Here’s a gift that keeps on giving for years to come.
Boy-Oh-Boy-Ar-Dee! Sometimes you can think outside the mason jar. Here’s an example for the kitchen-challenged buddy on your list, complete with the bowl your last roommate left behind. Add a can opener and spoon to make it look like you planned this gift months in advance.
LIGHT SABER POPSICLES AND MUTANT NINJA TISSUE PACKS
Two potential uses: Your buddy can keep them intact as collectibles or he can mix the popsicles with tequila and use the tissues to zamboni the spills. A gift for nerds and party animals alike!
And finally, that most special of all gifts:
PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH
Remember those great meals you had with your roommate before he got that job three time zones away? It’s time to relive those golden days. Maybe he was the chef of the household, maybe you were, but it never got much better than good ol’ PB&J. Ask any woman: Nothing says “I love you, man” quite like good home cookin’.
Whew! what a list! A couple of notes:
Not appearing in this list:
Golf shit. Countless times in November and December the phrase “he’s a golfer; he’ll like this” is spoken, and it’s almost always wrong. Golf is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, but once a guy is labeled as golfer he’s done for, as far as gift-giving is concerned. He has all the novelty balls, tees, and stubby pencils he will ever need. Give him what he really wants: beer.
Duct tape. Neither in nor on any of the mason jars above. Muddled Ramblings and Half-Baked Ideas wishes to apologize for the oversight. Which brings us to…
Make this idea your own
Hopefully this humble list is the beginning, not the end. You know what your buddies like. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Better if it isn’t, in fact. We here at MR&HBI would love to hear your ideas.