THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE
Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire looks so delightful – sound familiar? IT’S CHRISTMAS! Okay, well it will be soon and usually a lot sooner than we think. I have put together a Christmas Gift Guide full of ideas for you, him, me and her so if you are stuck for some gift inspiration my guide will see you come unstuck. I have broken this gift guide down into simple easy to find sections and these are The Fragrance Fanatic, The Techie, The Dapper Dude along with The Outdoor Lover and The Music Lover and finally The Gamer. Now I shall delve deep into my big red sack;
(Read time 8 mins)
Buying gifts for people can be a minefield. I can relate to the thoughts whirling around in your head, what size was he again? Oh what waist is he? Does he have a Playstation or X-Box? and so on. A fragrance is a great gift which will be appreciated rather than the typical responses to the previous questions. I also happen to be a fragrance fanatic! I just love to smell well, the power of scent is something that cannot be underestimated! A simple guide to fragrances is to consider;
Sillage or Projection is the ability of a scent to be smelled at distance. The strength of it basically, the stronger the sillage is the more value you get from the fragrance (assuming you actually like the scent). A scent I absolutely love is Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue but the sillage on the original version is moderate in todays terms partly because it is a Summer Fragrance.
This is simply how long a fragrance lasts once applied. Once again the higher the longevity the better in most cases. Think of Paco Rabanne One Million in this instance. It is a very powerful fragrance in terms of Sillage and Longevity and therefore is a popular scent for most men.
If you are treating yourself, your lover, dad, cousin or brother or whoever I have put together a list of some of my favourite fragrances of all time. I have researched this post as well so I have included some fragrances which are popular at the moment and more crucially there will be something for every budget! We’ll start with the most expensive;
Extravagant Scent – Creed Aventus
A fabled fragrance Creed AVENTUS is the King Of Fragrances so as you can imagine this does not come cheap however you will get some bang for your buck! You Tube superstar influencer Jeremy Fragrances ranked this as his number one most complimented fragrance of all time! AVENTUS is made for the man of action; bold, spirited and confident. Creed AVENTUS boasts incredible longevity (up to 8 hours) and strong sillage (projection, how far it can be smelt from distance) meaning you won’t have to top up often. It doesn’t come cheap at €195.50 for a 50ml in Brown Thomas but you will smell amazing!
The All Rounders
Creed probably blows away most of our budgets for gifts BUT there are some fragrances out there that smell just as good without the hefty price tag, first up is is;
Christian Dior Sauvage
Its hard to imagine the fragrance game before this delicious scent came on the scene with its distinctive masculine smell. Sauvage appeals to almost every nostril that has had the pleasure of sniffing it, I’m still addicted to it! Sauvage is closing in quick on Paco Rabanes all conquering One Million as every man’s default choice of fragrance. I still recommend buying or gifting it though. Sauvage, like AVENTUS is aimed at the rugged, confident man with impressive sillage (projection, how far it can be smelt at distance) and longevity (how long it lasts once applied)! Sauvage is expensive but represents good value for money. Buy on the Perfume Shop.
Chanel Allure Homme Sport
I don’t actually own Allure Homme Sport (yet) but my nose is in love with it! It is such a fresh and sharp scent and is quite different from Sauvage and AVENTUS. Once again this fragrance while being relatively expensive features strong longevity but does have less projection than the other fragrances partly due to its fresher nature with citrus, Aldehydes and sea notes. Allure Home Sport hits an awesome 4.26 out of 5 on fragantica.com. Buy on the Perfume Shop.
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio Profumo
I have the original Acqua di Gio and I love it to bits! It was certainly worth investing in however the Profumo version is much stronger and represents better value for money because of that. Acqua di Gio is an elegant, airy scent featuring great longevity and sillage with a remarkably addictive scent, it has to be smelt to be believed! A superb scent scoring 4.25 out of 5 on fragantica.com! Buy on the Perfume Shop.
Another Italian masterpiece iconic fashion house, Prada, L’Homme is another fragrance that will rack up the compliments for you or whoever is lucky enough to receive it as a gift! L’Homme scores an impressive 4.19 out of 5 on fragantica.net. This is modern fragrance featuring great longevity and sillage once again with notes featuring a blend of Iris, Neroli and Amber. Buy on the Perfume Shop.
The Budget Fragrance
Not everyone has a big budget to spend on fragrances so with this mind I suggest two of my favourite budget fragrances of all time!
Zara Man Silver
It has been reformulated since I first experienced this amazing scent way back in 2010 I think. It has been staple of my fragrance collection ever since, I use it as a work fragrance but it is a great night out scent too with good longevity and sillage in comparsion to how much it costs. To emphasise my point Zara Silver scores a massive 4.2 out of 5 on fragantica.com. It costs around €12 and will get you so many compliments you will be blushing, simply buy it! Buy it on Zara UK.
David Beckham Homme
Another Fashionable Frank secret, David Beckham Homme is like the man himself, stylish and fresh! I discovered this beauty in 2014 when I was traveling to Barcelona, that is the word I would use to describe it. Think Barcelona, think David Beckham Homme. It is another fragrance staple I use for work and generates a lot of compliment too. It is very reasonable priced also. Buy it on Perfume Click.
Amazon ECHO Show
The Echo Show, Alexa, to you and I is THE must have gadget of the year! This latest version of the Echo is a hybrid between a digital photo frame, small TV and smart speaker making it much more than a novelty device. Echo Show will display your photos which I think is a nice way of displaying memories. This is a handy feature to have. Why do you need one of these? Well, Alexa will play your favourite Spotify playlists by simply asking. Didn’t you hear? Buttons are soooooo last year! Alexa will also help you with those tricky questions like “what is the capital of Argentina?” – its Buenos Aires in case you are wondering. She is a fountain of knowledge and will quickly become your new BFF! Read The Guardian review here. The Amazon Echo Show will set you back around £200. You can buy it here.
So now there are “smart speakers” who would have thought? The smart speaker market is a crowded one but The Sonos One appears to be the most intelligent of them all. The Sonos One boosts impressive integration with the market leaders Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (sorry Siri) and it is these features that allow the speakers to be “smart”. The Sonos One Design is appealing and minimalist meaning you are getting a very stylish looking speaker too. Read the trusted reviews review here. The Sonos One costs around €230 and you can buy it here.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
This camera is a throwback to the good old days of Polaroid style photos and will be a popular gift for both young and old. The Instax comes in 5 eye catching and funky colours featuring a selfie mirror and easy operation for instant pictures. Now you can have tangible proof of your Party Season antics! Check out the website for more information. You can buy the Instax here.
If you don’t want to splash out on a new camera but still want to print your memories then the HP Sprocket is the device for you. This pocket sized photo printer features Wi-Fi colour printing with a twist; you can customise your photos by adding borders, emojis and text. Its best feature is probably its transportability literally fitting into the pocket of your jeans guys or into your handbags ladies making a thoughtful and functionally gift. The HP Sprocket costs around €180.
Snakehive Phone Cases
I have first experience with Snakehive cases and I thought they were superb! The quality is really good and the design of the cases range of eye catching to being discreet, they have something for everyone with almost every model of phone even the latest iPhone X and Samsung S8! All at very reasonable prices too. Snakehive have made quite an impact in the phone case industry having been featured in GQ, Vogue, Engadget, Macworld, Digital Trends and the Sunday World. That is an impressive list! The Snakehive collection features the amazing (my favourite) wilderness wood, vintage bifold and wallet collections along with the brand new pastel and slimline collections and if you are still stuck for ideas Snakehive have a cracking Christmas Gift Guide to help you find the perfect pressie!
THE OUTDOOR LOVER
If you or your significant other loves the great outdoors then choosing a gift from the famous British brand Berghaus is a wise choice. Berghaus have some really great products designed specifically for outdoors but they haven’t forgotten we want to look good as well as warm! A Berghaus beanie is the perfect stocking filler at €25. If you are feeling extravagant you can spoil yourself or your partner with the stunning Duneline Hybrid Fleece for €180. Shop the full collection on the Berghaus website.
THE DAPPER DUDE
The fashion loving man in your life will probably have a lot of his top choices picked out already and you have diligently picked these up one by one BUT you want to add a surprise, something from you. Or perhaps you are a single pringle who wants to mingle this Party Season? These ideas will keep whoever the lucky recipient looking their best!
Toppbox is the UK’s Number One Grooming and Skincare box for men and it is packed with all sorts of goodies from high end household brands. The guys are Toppbox carefully curate each box to ensure your skin and grooming game are 110% ready all of the time so whether you are going for nice meal with your other half or partying the night away while looking for company you will be looking good! Check out what you can expect to find in a Toppbox here. Toppbox offers plenty of value for money too with a monthly subscription setting you back only £16 with a retail value of between £40-£70. Shop Toppbox here.
The Styling Irish
A Styling Irish Styling Kit is something every man with an interest in style experience at least once in his life! These kits generously filled with dapper accessories like Lapel Pins, Wooden Bowties and skincare products like the soap. The Styling Irish have a subscription service available as well to help you start 2018 is the most dapper way possible! For a more in depth look at what you can expect from a Styling Kit check out my exclusive review here. Check out website for more information and pricing details.
The box that started the subscription box industry, Sprezzabox provides a great variety of accessories including watches, ties, sunglasses and bracelets for only $28 per month. This box is the perfect gift for guys who usually wear a suit or formal attire to work they will really appreciate the accessories. For more information and pricing details visit the website here.
Luxurious Italian made Handkerchiefs with an Irish (UFC superstar Conor McGregor wears them) twist, giving the gift of Mr Jenks is something any fashion conscious man will appreciate. Mr Jenks have expanded their product range with ranges of umbrellas (always handy in Ireland and the UK) and ties. Pieces every dapper man needs in this wardrobe. Prices range €30 for a hankie, €90 for a tie and €170 for for an Umbrella and you can buy them on the website.
THE MUSIC LOVER
Beats Studio3 Over ear Wireless Headphones
These things are as stylish as they are expensive, very (€350) in case you are asking BUT you do get some great quality with these bad boys. Featuring Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling (Pure ANC) which helps to deliver a premium listening experience. Basically, your favourite tracks will sound even better! I love music (no, I can’t sing or dance) so having good quality headphones is essential. You can bring these to the gym, or on your commute to work or maybe just relaxing the Beats Studio3 are expensive but worth the money.
Sol Republic Amps Air
If a throw back to the 80’s over ear headphones isn’t your thing then the Sol Republic Amps Air are the in ears you should choose. Amps Air boast truly wireless freedom with 4 ear tip sizes to give you maximum noise cancellation while delivering Sol Republics signature sound immersive deep bass, amazing clarity and detailed highs that you normally experience higher end headphones. The Amps Air are sweat and rain resistant and won’t fall out mid way through your workout disrupting your gainz! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better the Amps Air come with a sleek travel case which is also a charger and is capable of charging your smartphone too. Smart ear phones! Sol Republic Amps Air cost £150.
Sooooooo now you have treated yourself or your significant other to shiny new headphones you are gonna need some music to listen to. I remember the era of CD’s (what are they?!) when you had to change discs every now and then. I love Spotify! It is so easy to use, streaming is really reliable (you can download your favourite tracks offline too) and almost every song imaginable is on it. Give the gift of music, you or they won’t regret it! You can get Spotify premium for €0.99 for 3 months until the end of 2017.
Apple Music Subscription
If you have an iPhone and you are wondering about a streaming service then Apple Music is something you should try out especially if you are a fan of the iTunes platform. Those of you with iPhones, iPads and Macs will love the integration between iOS and MacOS and you can ask Siri to search for music which is pretty cool. A nice feature for longterm iTunes users is many of your songs will be readily available upon signing up.
If you are a gamer or your significant other is a gamer there are plenty of high profile games around this Christmas to consider spending your hard earned bucks! However, I will steer clear of suggesting games. Instead, I want highlight hardware which will enhance your gaming experience. My top picks are;
Samsung Gear VR Headset
The Gear VR is a great option as a gift for the gamer who doesn’t own a console or who already has a lot of gaming accessories. All you need is a Samsung phone and you are sorted. The Gear VR is attractive because of its relatively cheap price point and abundance of apps and games available. Another reason to go for the Samsung Gear VR 2017 is the inclusion of the motion controller which aids gameplay and the whole virtual reality experience. If you have a Samsung phone and you are a gamer then this is a no brainer, don’t believe me then read the Tech Radar review for a more comprehensive explanation on why you need one! The Gear VR is a gift that will keep on giving!
Watch the VR Source review here
Sony Playstation Virtual Reality Headset
The future of gaming is an immersive one, Playstation Virtual Reality allows you to experience new worlds in a completely different manner to anything we have seen before. Playstation VR features a 5.7 OLED screen with “hyper-real” 3D 360 environments come to life in seamless a field of view. Boasting 120 frames per second smooth visuals and super low latency combine to create an incredibly immersive gaming world. Another incredible feature is 3D Blu Ray Playback allowing you to watch your 3D movie collection, in 3D! The price packs a punch too at €350!
Playstation Gold Wireless Headset
Take your gaming seriously? Hate being interrupted? The Playstation Wireless Headset could be the solution to all your problems. This headset delivers and audio clarity, elevating your gaming experience with custom audio modes created by developers exclusively for PlayStation. A perfect gift for the gamer in your life!
X-Box One Elite Wireless Controller
For those guys who prefer X-Box to Playstation the Elite Wireless Controller is a great gift idea. The Elite Wireless Controller adapts to your hand size and play style with configurations that can improve accuracy, speed, and reach with thumbsticks of different shapes and sizes. Swap between a variety of metal thumbsticks and D-pads for personalized control and ergonomics. The controller features interchangeable paddles, hair trigger along an app to customise your gaming experience! A thoughtful gift for the gamer in your life.
Gaming Gift Cards
The aforementioned gift ideas are luxurious gifts and if they are out of your budget then you can’t go wrong with some gift cards for gaming networks like Playstation Network and X-Box Live. These gifts will be greatly appreciated!
That is my definitive Christmas gift guide for you, him, her or whoever. I hope it has provided you with ideas for the loved ones in your life. Thank you for reading.
I have been Fashionable Frank and you have been Fantastic!
Until Next Time,