What to Gift Your Grumpy Punk Friends Who Are Finally Ready to Have Nice Stuff
Man, getting older is tough, especially when your identity is tied to all of these ideas about rebelling against authority and work sucking and all of the other stuff Descendents lyrics are about. As you enter real adulthood—not just the kind that comes with voting rights and the legal purchase of cigarettes—you and/or your friends may find yourselves still wearing band shirts every day, talking about DIY and counterculture, and looking back fondly on your stagediving days, despite the fact that those ended in Obama’s first term. This friend or partner or coworker or otherwise gift recipient may be a bartender or might have a boring office job, an accountant or data analyst or something, but still post frequent throwbacks on Instagram to the punk house they lived in a decade ago, one with a name like “The Death Shack.” These friends might feign hatred of capitalism, but when it comes down to it, they want nice stuff just like any other person who appreciates non-two-buck-Chuck wine and central A/C. And we get it, we wanna listen to Discharge and wear Chuck Taylors forever, too, but sometimes, it feels good to upgrade. Here are 13 last-minute gift ideas to spread holiday cheer to the grumpy, aging punks among us.
Someday, we will have to climb out of the dents on our sofas and actually reenter the public sphere. When that day comes, we will not wanna look like scrubs. Getting a pair of decent boots to pull from your closet alongside your beat-up Docs is one of the first steps toward becoming a respectable adult. Thursday boots are American-made and high-quality, and the President, Captain, and Vanguard boots are all super highly rated and ooze lumbersexual appeal.
$199, at Amazon.
Dad Grass CBD joints
Yeah, we know all about that time they went to 924 Gilman on acid and stage dove off the balcony. But now we’re older, it’s 2020, and the likelihood of a bad trip is higher than ever. Dad Grass makes CBD joints—yep, pre-rolls that just mellow you out, minus any and all paranoia. Smoking one feels a little edgier than sipping on a CBD seltzer or whatever the kids are doing now, but won’t lead you down a rabbit hole of anxiety.
$35 for a 5-pack, at Dad Grass.
Brightland olive oil
Wow, your friend is still vegan? Didn’t depression-eat a Big Mac even once during the last nine months? Well, happy for them. Maybe they’d appreciate some nice olive oil to drizzle on their salads or the other green stuff vegans love. Honestly, though, Brightland’s is really, really good, and the lemony Lucid flavor is the perfect addition to a million different dishes, from soups to bruschetta to roasted asparagus.
$40, at Brightland.
All things Raymond Pettibon
Obviously, the punkest thing of all would be if your friend had found an original Ray Pettibon flyer on a telephone pole somewhere in like 1987, ripped it off, and tacked it on their wall. However, we sincerely doubt that any of your buddies can make such a claim, unless they’re in their mid-50s and hung out with Henry Rollins when they were a teenager and nothing will really impress those people, anyway. So with that in mind, the next best thing is probably buying one of Pettibon’s books or a vintage flyer. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to drop a few hundred bucks on a gift, you’ll find some amazing pieces from the 80s—like an original copy of the 1981 art zine, No Mag, packed with his illustrations, or his art printed on a vinyl record, ready to hang on the wall and brag about.
No Mag (above), $375 at 1stDibs.
Giving other people deodorant sounds weird at first, but if you have a friend who just isn’t keen on Degree or Old Spice and still thinks they “just don’t need it” because they’ve been desensitized to their own pungent musk of eau de B.O., this must just be the best way to offer a tactful nudge. No one wants to pay more than like five bucks for their own deodorant, but when someone else offers up some fancy stuff, why not? Having our armpits emit the luxurious aromas of Le Labo or the earthy, wooded scents of Bravo Sierra and Each & Every—all of which, BTW, are aluminum-free—sounds great to us. If your friend gets insulted because you buy them deodorant, they’re lame. It’s a good gift. Worst case scenario, they can always regift to someone who smells worse than they do.
Bravo Sierra deodorant, $9.50 at Bravo Sierra.
Each & Every deodorant, $15 at Each & Every.
Le Labo deodorant, $28 at Nordstrom.
Weezie makeup towels
This one goes out to my fellow liquid eyeliner addicts, those of us who cannot survive a weekend without a razor-sharp cat eye even just for a trip to the grocery store. If you use a lot of dark eye makeup, there’s a strong likelihood that your towels and pillowcases are… less than blinding white. That’s what these makeup towels are for! So you can look mean and fierce and mysterious and then not ruin the rest of your linen closet when it’s time to wash it all off.
$40 for 2, at Weezie.
Stussy’s 8 ball candle
We’re not sure exactly how both Stussy and 8-balls become such 90s-punk-adjacent things—probably something to do with Pennywise—but they did, and they are. Your friend will never wanna burn this candle, but it will look cool on their record shelf.
$40, at Stussy.
Carhartt Sid pants
Carharrt is the GOAT, not only because their stuff is affordable and lasts forever, but because it is pretty much guaranteed to look cool for decades to come. Their Sid pants might be named for Vicious, or the bad guy from Toy Story. Either way, they are the perfect compromise between straight-leg, skinny, and skateboard socialist.
$98, on sale at SSENSE.
Our classes: cancelled. Our gyms: empty. Our morale: Please don’t make us remind you of why. As our former Noisey editor Dan Ozzi explored in his iconic piece “What Kind of Punk Dude Over 30 Are You?”, many an aging punk turn to getting ripped when they find themselves approaching Dad Bod age and still listening to Bridge Nine bands. For these types, a kettlebell is the perfect gift—a form of exercise they can use to get jacked in the privacy of their own home, so they can emerge from quarantine as a Tattooed Buff Guy. But also, kettlebells aren’t just for dudes, and Spri offers many different weight sizes for everyone from flaccid-armed first-timers to washboard-ab lifters. And they’re cheap and way easier to hide than something really embarrassing, like a Peloton.
$53.98 for an 18-lb kettlebell, at Spri.
When going to bars is an option again, we will be there. But for now, we’re at home, bartending for ourselves. If your friend is a beer-and-shot-of-Fernet type, they’ll love Amaro Nonino, one of our absolute favorite bitters, with its herbaceous and butterscotchy flavor. Honestly, any amaro makes a great gift for adventurous drinkers—check out our guide to drinking bitters for more on that—but this one is great for people easing into the whole aperitifs and digestifs thing.
$49.99, at Wine.com.
Schoolhouse textured lowball glasses
The appeal of these amber-colored lowball glasses from Schoolhouse is that they look like a nicer version of some cool 70s glassware you’d find at a thrift store, minus any concerns that they’re covered with someone else’s mouth germs. Perfect additions to a cabinet full of weird mismatched cups and mugs, for those moments when you wanna feel a little bit more refined.
$24 each, at Schoolhouse.
LSA Borough beer glasses
Should your friend’s journey through vaguely countercultural adulthood also have included a foray into the world of craft beer, they’re probably bringing home a lot of six-packs of IPA this year. These glasses will give them an opportunity to, like, inspect the foam so they can go rate it on the internet… isn’t that what serious craft beer drinkers do in their free time?
$45 for 4, at Food52.
Tetra checkered marble ashtray
Does this friend smoke weed? Do they follow Inzane Johnny and send the group chat memes about 4th-wave ska? OK, this is the perfect gift for them. Done.
$62, at Tetra.
P.F. Candle Co. Teakwood and Tobacco candle
If this friend still lives in a grody punk house, their rent might be $500, with the option of messing around on the drum set in the living room at any time of day, so that’s cool. But maybe their bedroom has carpeting that hasn’t been replaced since 1987, with several occupants since who have chain-smoked and owned territorial cats, or their bathroom is shared with seven people. Scented candles are our friend. This campfirey, pipe-tobacco-y one from P.F. Candle Co. is in no way as nauseating as a “tropical breeze”-scented plug-in. Or put it next to the bath, any bath. That’s always nice.
$28 for a big one, at P.F. Candle Co.
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