The Make Change Holiday Gift Guide for Men

Jed Oelbaum

Men: where do they come from? And what do they do all day? No one knows for sure. But if you happen to know a man, or have men in your life, perhaps you’ll need to purchase gifts for them this holiday season. To help you choose, we have put extensive research into the “men” phenomenon, carefully gleaning their likes and dislikes scientifically, watching hours of beer commercials, reading dad blogs, and eavesdropping in locker rooms.

The products here all trigger contributions to important causes, are made from recycled materials, or help you cut down on waste. And while there’s nothing about these items that makes them intrinsically for any particular gender, men can be surprisingly sensitive about what the products they use say about their masculinity. These presents, which all relate somehow to the traditional, authentic “man lifestyle,” can do a little good, while still pleasing the pickiest he-men among your friends and family.

Pioneer Nespresso by Swiss Army

 Swiss Army knives are known for their multitude of useful tools, but this model, a partnership with Nespresso, adds a new feature into the mix—sustainability. Made from recycled aluminum Nespresso coffee pods, the knife includes a can opener, a bottle opener, a screwdriver, a blade (of course), and a few other gadgets.

Price: $55

Reusable sandwich bags by WINIT

Whether they’re eating lunch atop a girder dangling over the New York City skyline, or putting away stacks of burgers at  Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, men sure love to eat sandwiches. Disposable plastic bags might keep your workplace meals dry and intact, but they also end up in landfills and oceans, contributing to our ever-growing plastic pollution problems. Reusable, washable sandwich bags can be used over and over again, keeping your precious sandwiches safe without tossing a bag into the garbage.

Price: $18

1-2-3 Bundle by Rudy’s

Rudy’s has grown from a local Seattle barbershop and tattoo parlor to a national brand over the last 25 years. The products in the 1-2-3 bundle, which includes shampoo, conditioner, and bodywash, are unisex and feature simple, no-frills branding and packaging. The brand has long maintained a relationship with the It Gets Better Project, which aims to support young LGBTQ people, and every purchase of Rudy’s 1-2-3 package contributes to product donations to shelters for homeless LGBTQ youth.

Price: $60

Kinkajou Bottle Cutting Kit by Bottle Cutting, Inc.

Men love beer, and men love projects, especially projects that somehow involve beer, or that can be done while drinking beer. The Kinkajou bottle cutter, named for a fuzzy, tree-climbing rainforest critter, allows you to upcycle your empties into glasses—which can be used to facilitate additional beer drinking—as well as vases, candles, and other useful household receptacles.

Price: $65 to $75

Nature Journal by Tree Tribe

For the nature-loving poet in your life, or anyone who needs a little place to stash their thoughts away. The “leather” around this distinguished-looking notebook is made from teak leaves, and each small journal is handcrafted, giving it a distinct, unique pattern. For every purchase, Tree Tribe facilitates the planting of 10 trees.

Price: $20

Sustainable Carafe & Plant-Based Water Filter by Soma

Is there a man in your life that’s dried out? Wrinkled? A withered husk of who he once was? You might try giving him the gift of water, a classic blend of hydrogen and oxygen with a proven track record of keeping humans both moist and not dead. For every purchase of a water filter system, Soma donates water to its partner nonprofit, Charity: Water.

Price: $50

Men’s Planet Collection by Concious Step

Conscious Step offers a variety of stylish footwear and combo packages, each of which supports different causes and nonprofits. There are socks that trigger donations to save sharks, fight hunger, and support important medical research and malaria net donations. (This set donates to deforestation, ocean, and enviromental causes.) With all the choices, odds are there’s a sock here that contributes to something he’ll care about.

Price: $45

Elephant Strength Gin by Elephant Gin

Elephants are awesome, literally, grand beasts of gasp-inducing size and weird, unknowable animal intelligence. But between poaching for illegal ivory and development-related habitat loss, elephants have dwindled in number, leading to grave concern over the future of these majestic-yet-goofy creatures.

That’s why Elephant Gin donates 15 percent of profits to elephant conservation groups like Space for Elephants and the Big Life Foundation. According to the distiller, this limited run of gin, released in early 2018, is aged “using three different types of oak and a yearlong resting period,” and features “sweet smokiness and a pleasant hint of vanilla.”

Price: $40

Buy a man a tree

Did you know you can just, like…buy someone a tree? A local nursery or farm near you can tell you what trees are suitable to an area’s soils and climate, and what varieties will grow in your yard, or in a pot in your living room.

“Sure, trees are pretty cool,” you might be thinking, “but do they come with any special features?” In fact, trees come with some of the most special features out there: There are trees that will grow with you for the rest of your life, trees that will build stout trunks and host families of birds, and trees that will produce shade, beauty, and fruit. Not only that, but studies have shown upping the plant factor in your life can actually make you happier and less stressed out.

Price: $22 and up