Holiday Gift Ideas for Men

Ah! It is that time of the year again wherein we dish out our scouting skills for gifts to give for our loved ones. Welcome to the Christmas season!

Personally, I sometimes wish that I can only give my gal friends gifts. I can do all-out with stocking stuffers and, let us be honest, most commercial items are aimed towads women. We are the impulse buyers, not men. They are meant for investments. Just think of it. His nice cufflinks are worth more than your party statement dress.

The Blogmas challenge was that I share gift ideas under $50.00. To be honest, you can buy so many things for fifty dollars. Stocking stuffers? Go to Bath & Body Works. They’ll take care of you. So, I’m tackling something different… and harder. Gift ideas for men. I will try my best that these are the kind that don’t suck.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

  1. Razors. Go to Costco or your local wholesale store and buy those things. If you need it then they need it more.
  2. White Hankerchiefs. Stay classy, people.
  3. Trail Mix. DIY it or buy by the bulk.
  4. Bowties. They’re cool. But not all like it. Be warned.
  5. Anything inside the CD case. Video game. Movie. Software. They’re bonkers for those stuff.
  6. Hair wax. The guys are the first to sport the “I-Woke-Up-Like-This” look.
  7. Altoids or the equivalent. Stay classy and fresh *wink*
  8. Socks or shoelaces. Tried, tested, and cliche. Last resort
  9. Funko Pop! Figures for the geek or fanboy in your life.
  10. Headphones or earphones.
  11. Baseball cap to represent the team of the sport enthusiast.
  12. Confirmed Netflix subscription for 2016 or the equivalent.
  13. Swiss army knife. Ooh, fancy tool skills.
  14. A year’s supply of condoms. For your boyfriend or that playboy friend of yours that won’t stick to one no matter how many times you tell him to do otherwise.
  15. Wallet. The thinner yet the more pockets the better.
  16. Tools. For the chef/ gardener/ mechanic/ whatever
  17. Fancy pen. Run to Parker or Cross for name engraving or go online for those specialty handcrafted ones.
  18. Movie tickets. Make it two. One for him. One for you.
  19. Manly scented soap or shampoo. No floral, please.
  20. Car. What? It’s a big stocking.

So, erm, hope that helps. Good luck! If you got more ideas, add them on in the comments! Happy shopping!

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Christmas for the PH by the PH

I love living in the Philippines. No offense, I’m sure your country is awesome too.
We have the best, and I mean THE BEST, Christmas season in the whole world.
DISCLAIMER: I am a girl who refuses to watch the 2015 season of Cats the Musical in London even if I can and even if Nicole Scherzinger is playing the lead. That is because I don’t want to erase the memory of watching Lea Salonga portray Grizella when the musical came to the Philippines. I am a girl who refuses to use those great cosmetic brands from Sephora unless they don’t have a counterpart product at Happy Skin Philippines. I am a girl that has the complete discography of Urbandub, Up Dharma Down, Eraserheads, and Sponge Cola (all local artists) beside the albums of Coldplay, The Script, Queen, and Lady Gaga on my mp3 player. So, like how I expressed in my previous post, I am highly biased to anything Filipino.

This I say to you. I am NOT biased when I say that we have the best Christmas. Officially, the Christmas season here starts in the middle of September until halfway through February the following year. You read it, people. We celebrate Christmas for half a year. Even if it is Valentine’s Day, it is still Christmas! The season starts at the 100-day countdown to Christmas Day and ends when no one is talking about or celebrating Christmas anymore which happens by halfway to the end of February.

Why is Christmas the BEST in the PH

1. We have exclusive Christmas season delicacies
2. We have lights everywhere
3. We have our own version of the Christmas lantern
4. We have an international festival dedicated to that lantern
5. Christmas bazaars everywhere
6. Pop-up Christmas theme locations
7. Parties everywhere
8. Singing and concerts everywhere
9. The cheap becomes cheaper
10. Exclusive (I think) Christian traditions
11. Gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts.

I could make a whole set of blog entries out of the Filipino Christmas season. Hm, I’ll do just that!

Now, you see why I love Christmas more than my own birthday?
As a Filipino, it may be weird but NONE of the items above can define why I love Christmas. Although, it may help but Christmas has a different meaning for me.

When I was a child, I would sit by our Christmas tree at home. Just that. I like how tall it was compared to my height. I like how the decorations were placed on the plastic leafy branches. What I like best were the fairy lights snaking up and around the tree. I would squint my eyes and stare into the lights until they appeared blurred and bursting. Then, I would pretend that they were stars. I would sometimes reach to hold the light and pretend that I was touching an actual star. There were times when I would not squint my eyes but still hold the tiny light bulb between my index finger and thumb. I would fascinate myself with how red my fingertips would look like due to the translucence of my own skin. Then, I would pretend that I had fire powers.

When I was a child, I always get excited when it was already time to decorate the house. It was not like I involved myself in the theme and planning. My mom was part of that. I was already happy with opening the box of decorations or with handing to my Mom the specific flower decoration that she needed to attach to the staircase wreath. If I was lucky, I would be given the task of spreading those thin icicle like confetti around the Christmas tree branches, making sure that it looked evenly distributed.

When I was a child, I was excited whenever we would go to the mall. It was not because we can go Christmas shopping. We were brought up with the mentality of not buying what we wanted. I was excited because we will get to see the Christmas decorations in the mall and the costumed attendants and the Christmas section of the home department of the mall.

When I was a child, I was excited for the yearly clan reunion. It was the only time of the year that I get to see my cousins and aunts and uncles. We would eat homemade catered dinner, play party games, and sing.

When I was a child, I was excited for Christmas Eve (The Filipino equivalent of Christmas morning). At the strike of twelve, the whole family would eat the grand feast that our parents made for us while watching a holiday TV special or a movie. Then, we would go to the Christmas tree and open our presents. Then, we would sleep and when we wake up then we eat the leftover Christmas meal and go out of the house.

When I was a child, I was excited to sit at the window seat of any vehicle. I always kept my eye out for the Christmas lights decorated on the houses and street lamps as we pass by.

A decade later, I am still excited. Christmas is important to me because it was the time of the year that I am forcefully reminded that I am still a child. I am a child that still lets her mind wander. I am a child that still gets fascinated by lights and colors. I am a child that still looks forward to the company of family. I am a child that still loves the simple things.

That is what Christmas is to me. It is the season that amplifies who I am as a person. I still get tingles whenever I read stories and listen to music. I still get amused at accent colors and the latest Christmas themes. Even I can spend Christmas in London or watch the ball drop in Times Square, NY during New Year’s Eve, as long as there is a family waiting for me at home then I will be spending Christmas and New Year at home. I just pray that I would stay the same during the next and the next holiday season.

Do you feel the same about Christmas? What does Christmas mean to you? What are the best parts of your holiday rituals? Tell me all about it.

Red Cup Rant: The Starbucks Holiday Cup 2015

So, I heard that people are whining about the holiday Starbucks cups.
I totally agree! What are you thinking, SB?!
The other day, a group of friends and I went to have a nightly coffee session. We chose Starbucks because it was the nearest place to our location that had parking. Moving on, we ordered our drinks and settled ourselves down.
My drink was in a disposable holiday red cup. My mind was like ‘ooh, red’. Then, I drank.
After a few minutes, I noticed something off about the cup. I looked around the store and saw that everyone was drinking from the same red cup.
I was suddenly disappointed. Oh my, Starbucks, don’t you have any corporate social responsibility? You are service disposable red cups in store. Don’t you guys have those ceramic cups for in-house drinking? Do you know how many trees are you wasting by what you are doing? Because what? So you can show off the red cup? It’s just red, dude.
No wonder everyone is angry. Haven’t you heard of saving the environment?
What?
Huh?
What do you mean?
This is not what they are ranting about?
No?
Oh.
Umm…
Awkward.
What are they ranting about then?
Uh huh…
‘Cause there is no snowman on the cup…
Huh. Let me search that.



Hmm… People are condemning Starbucks for their lack of religious and Christmas symbols on their cups. Instead, they opted for a red cup in a darkening gradient from top to bottom.
See? I did not know that they had an ombre red cup. I only saw red. The cardboard cozy was blocking the gradient. Congratulations, Starbucks on wasting more trees only to fail in showcasing your red cup.
Oh right, wrong rant.



So, people are angry because there are no symbols? Why don’t they just draw the symbols themselves? Oh, they’re doing that? So what is the problem?

Starbucks is not promoting Christmas because there are no symbols?
I think that is great.
I mean, think about it.
Starbucks should provide markers so that everyone could draw whatever festive thing that they wanted.
Like you can draw a whole herd of snowmen or maybe Santa riding his sleigh with all the reindeers circling the cup.
Or you can draw a turkey cause its Thanksgiving. Or you can draw a Menorah. Or if you are that good, you can draw the whole city of Mecca.
Then it will be festive and Christmas-y.
Technically, in Christian religion, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. In Christian religion, Jesus Christ is God. In any religion, as far as I know, God (or gods) are good. If we use basic analogy is that Christmas is the birth of good. We have different holidays to celebrate gratitude, family, life, and goodness whenever the end of the year comes. It just so happens that most people are Christians so Christmas is the most famous holiday.
I think the red cup is nice because it is open to interpretation to any belief. Hey, if you are a nonbeliever then that is fine too. The red hue is bright and striking. Leave it as it is or draw a smiley.
Also, you can go and write a dedication on the red cup. Then, you can give it to someone special.
At least, there will be more purpose for the disposable cup even if you are going to drink it in store.
Sorry, still disturbed that they are throwing away wax cups when they can use washable ones.

Blogtober Challenge 28: Christmas for Grown-Ups

This must be the most challenging one so far. Today’s challenge is about Christmas lists. Funny, isn’t it? The past few challenges were easy for me that I got drafts written days before the actual challenge. I have a framework for every post until the end. But, for this one, I had a blank one.

This is my first chance that I have ever experienced not having a Christmas list. I recall last year that I was wishing for any modern publication and those 4-in-1 smartphone clip lens. Now that I think of it, I made that wish because I was compelled to because of an gift exchange activity that I had with my closest friends. I got both. The year before that I wished for a specific book (can’t remember what) because of a similar activity among my training class. I got a coffee maker instead. I did not mind. 2013 was the best year of my existence anyway.

If those activities did not exist then I would not have a Christmas list to make in the first place.

During my school days, I always had an extensive list and it was more or less the same because I did not get it. I would wish for a PSP, a Sponge Cola CD, the latest phone, and other things. I got none of those during Christmas. I may be a gamer but my last portable gaming console was the Brick Game. I got the Sponge Cola CDs only within the school year when I have enough funds from all the sidetrip selling that I was doing. I never got the latest phone. Still don’t have it. I have phones that are at least 5 years behind the latest model.

I was happy nevertheless. I received things that I did not know that I wanted during Christmas (and other holidays). A candy pink Kate Spade handbag. A Doctor Who anthology book. A PS3. A wide array of coloring materials. A licensed replica of the Elder Wand. A light-up Marauders’ Map. A Twilight paperback (In my honest opinion, the series was a nice read. I am not a fan of the movies though. Sorry.) A Potatohead Family toy collection. So on and so forth. They were all amazing surprises.

I was happy nevertheless. I was raised not to get attached to material things. If I did not get what I want then it was okay. There is always a next time. If not, then something better will always come.

At the end of the day or in this case the year, I may not get what I wanted but I get what I needed.

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree with enough recognition to make my parents smile with glee whenever they talk about my schooling to others. I am getting healthier and healthier each year. I got the job of our dreams as a family. I live in our family-owned house. I never begged for scraps. I was born into a family of five. We are still five in the family. I grew up with my folks always at home.

Perhaps, that is why I learned to not make Christmas wishes. I have no need to ask for what I need. I’m just lucky, I guess.

I am a hypocrite if I will say that I do not aspire material things anymore. I want a portable Bluetooth speaker. I want a portable Android-compatible keyboard with a detachable MicroUSB cord. I still want a phone but not the latest but the one that feels as if it was designed personally for me. I want a car. I want my own residential unit. I want a replica of David Tennant’s Doctor’s brown trenchcoat (Imagine walking or running around London wearing it. Ahh). I want a pair of Nike Fly Knits.

Why am I not asking them for Christmas? Because I know I will have them someday so there is no need. Plus, I doubt I would have any of them by Christmas.

I love Christmas. I love it more than my own birthday. So, for this Christmas, I am making a Christmas list. This is not because I am compelled by this task. It is because I am compelled by the experiences that I have gone through this past two years.

1. I wish for the optimum health possible for my family for years to come.

My grandfather died last year. I knew that day would come eventually. I thought I was prepared. More than a year later, I still lament when I think of him. I don’t think that I could take it if I lose another family member. Don’t mind me. I’d wager my own health for the assurance of a long lifespan for each member of our family.

2. I wish for more opportunities for the Philippines and its people.

Like I said before, we have great potential. I will be extremely glad if more Filipinos get recognized nationally and internationally not only because of their beauty but also of their intellect, talent, and skill. I will also be extremely glad if the Filipino people will help one another in lifting each other up for a better nation for more generations to come. As of the current, the Philippines is number one in the list of most corrupt nations, worst traffic schemes, and worst airports. Good, right?

3. I wish for more environmental consciousness and action worldwide.

Ever since, I have been eco-conscious. I throw my garbage in the right places. I avoid plastic and styrofoam. I maximize paper. I recycle things. I upcycle. Things had been unsettling. This time last year, I remember shivering to the bone when I am in Korea. I remember wrapping myself in a blanket during the evening at home. I remember wearing a leather jacket because I want to and not because I need to. This year, I can roam around the cold parts of the world with less layers than I did last year. I break a sweat whenever I am home despite the rainy season. It is even too hot for me to wear long sleeves. What more a jacket? Is it because I am getting used to the cold? Is it because the world is getting hotter? Please God, make it the former.

The United Nations has recently launched the Global Goals worldwide campaign. If you have an advocacy that you are passionate about then please do go check it out. Honestly, you don’t need to be passionate. A little concern goes a long way.

So, that is my 2015 Christmas wishlist. I will have my toes crossed and my fingers working to have it fulfilled. I believe that wishes are just words if you don’t take action.

What is your wish list this Christmas?