For the second installment in our gift guide, we’re casting a wider net: anything and everything that might help your friends and family live life to the fullest. The goal here is to give something they’d never think to buy, and soon won’t be able to live without. Naturally, we’ve got a few ideas…

Our five life-changing gift ideas:

Aftershave
Even among the daily shavers, most guys just don’t use aftershave. It’s not that they don’t want to; they just never think of it, and little by little, they forget how great it is. That makes it a prime candidate for gifting, especially with all the small shops that have sprouted up in the past few years. Our favorite is this bottle from Fig & Yarrow, but there’s plenty more to be dug up. And if he’s not the shaving kind… there’s always beard oil.

The Notebook
We’re big fans of writing longhand. It helps you remember better and adds some much-needed distance to whatever you happen to be working on. This notebook package from the pencil gurus at Blackwing should tempt just about anyone into the habit of writing things down.

Very Good Beef
Pat LaFrieda supplies meats to most of the top restaurants in New York—so when he launched an online shop last month, it made our gift planning a whole lot simpler. Trust in the beef, gentlemen.

The Coffee-Table Book
It’s not quite as consumable, but a smart, beautiful book can be a godsend around this time of year. Our favorite of the year is Cahiers du Cinema’s exhaustive Scorsese on Scorsese. For slightly more useful knowledge, Daniel Boulud has a pretty sharp cocktail book.

A 100-Proof Rye
Speaking of cocktails… it may be time for a drink. Our poison of the year is 100-proof rye, stiff enough to do great things to a Manhattan, but tasty enough to drink straight. Whistlepig makes the best bottle we’ve tried all year, but Jefferson is a close second if you don’t want to break the $50 mark.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom