Mid-mod man gifts: Help!

royal-copenhagen-tile-from-bungalow-billWhat to buy the mid-mod man in your life this holiday season? Mr. Retro Renovation has Everything, so it is exceptionally hard. I’ve been prowling around all week and have come up with a few things. But, I need help bad. My guy would love this mid-century decorative tile from bungalowbill.com for his home office, I bet. 

Bungalow Bill has a beautiful selection of Danish Modern and other mid-century tile. A regular commenter on the blog, he says that if you mention “Retro Renovation” he will provide free shipping. Thanks, Bill.


Continuing my hunt… I’m considering these Munsingwear Balbriggan pajamas, tailored from the original 1950s pattern, available from Vermont Country Store. Vermont Country Store, the motherlode of items reproduced from original 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s patterns and molds, also has cotton flannel pajamas — the kind with feet — as onesies or two-piecers. In case you have not heard, it gets wicked cold here in Massachusetts, so DH might like those, too.

satchel-the-life-and-timesHubs is a history teacher and sports nut, too, so I think he would like this 2009 biography of Satchel Paige. History + Sports = Work + Play in this house.

But…How sad is this three-item idea list? Okay, readers. What else should I consider for the man-gift gift-list 2009? Guys, what are you hoping Santa leaves under your aluminum Xmas tree?


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  1. Mick says

    Pam! 3 Items isnt sad at all! Afterall Thats what Was given to Jesus! We do that im my family on 3 gifts (to keep the holiday special) Vintage bait and takle stuff is always good! Maybe evoke the kid in all of us guys with some vintage retro Hot wheels! This years hot Item?! The 1966 BAT MOBILE!!!!! Or prehaps for all of us who dream back to the days of ‘Dino’ and the Rat pack, Theres a New CD out at Hastings “The Very Best” 🙂 There! now you have 6 ideas!

    • pam kueber says

      Just to clarify, Mick, I wasn’t thinking I would get DH all three items … or any number in particular … I was just trying to build a list of gifties to consider buying. Keep the ideas coming everyone! Thanks!

  2. Joe says

    Mid-mod gift wise: I’ve been on a grooming kick so I’m asking for a Barbicide jar with the blue juice that goes inside, a stand for my shaving brush, and some good shaving supplies. This segues into the shaving set itself. I’ve been using a safety razor for a couple years now and love. Check out Classic Shaving for a good set, I’ve got the Merkur Futur, but they have ones that are the same designs from the 50s-60s. How about a nice crystal decanter set for his Scotch or Whiskey? Can’t go wrong with a nice vintage Playboy or other gentleman’s magazine. Just one, not a slew of them. Mad Men seasons on DVD? That’s what I’ve got off the top of my head.

  3. Eucritta says

    I got mine a vintage lunch box with rockets on it, in good usable condition with only a little interior rust. I looked on-line and learned Turtle Wax is a good polish for them when you’re done cleaning – I never would’ve guessed!

  4. says

    Mr. Elvis just had a birthday and I got him a cool retro-looking manly apron with martinis and beers printed on it that I scored at my local holiday bazaar. He’s particular, so I wasn’t sure it would be right, but he loved it!

  5. atomicbowler-dave says

    There’s always the old standby of smoking ephemera, even if he doesn’t smoke! Lot of people dig it regardless.
    A nice framed piece of vintage pinup art?
    A nice vintage book of barbecue recipes, if he is the cookout type?
    Here’s the daddy…and if you buy it, you really have to buy two.
    Buy new ones because the vintage ones can be fiddly…if he spends a fair amount of time outdoors when it is cold in the winter…Zippo pocket Warmers. Still in current production and just flat awesome! Run on Naptha lighter fuel by catalytic action without a flame, burn for 8 hours or more on a fill. Keep the core temperature up and make a huge difference. Yes, I am sort of a conniseur. These are very retro as they go back easily to the 40’s or before and were very popular for decades. The genuine Zippo ones are about 30.00 each and worth it. The cheapy versions sold today are made of steel or stainless instead of plated brass like zippo and tend to burn the crap out of you right through that little flannel pouch.
    IF you can find some nice NOS/MIB stuff, the Pedersen and Jon-E slimline ones (50’s-70’s Japan) were great too, slimline ones to drop in a shirtpocket. Again, these are very old-school, just super good, and any man or woman who spends time out in the cold will really appreciate a pair of these. Even one of them in the inside coat pocket does a lot…one in each coat pocket is devine! I have one of the old Japanese slimlines for each shirtpocket and a Zippo for my inside coatpocket as I am working outdoors, and these are (did I mention?) the very schizzle!

  6. atomicbowler-dave says

    I forgot a few…
    If the man likes his coffee and you do not yet have a percolator, that could actually be a nice thing that he will enjoy.
    If he is a crafty sort, there are a number of VERY nice and yes, costly reproductions of obsolete-by-maker but indespensible for the old-school woodworker items offered by the Lie-Nielsen tool company and some also through the woodcraft catalog or website.
    Back to the great outdoors, Cabela’s have the best thing I’ve found going on silk long underwear. NOTHING is as good as the heavy-weight silk longies, but the lighter ones are a bit delicate. This is old-school, too, and way far the best. If it’s REALLY cold, they have the quilted longies just like grandpa wore.
    Wool socks are always nice, if you et some really cherry ones at an estate sale they are even nicer as no one makes them like the old ones. A friend who is a commercial refigeration man has made a serious study of this and an exhaustive sampling of available products! I tend to concur.

  7. nina462 says

    A couple of years ago, I scored some vintage boeing airplane pictures at Target. They were great because he worked in the airplane field. Very manly. They were siepa toned, if I remember and the photos were repro’s from the 40’s I think.

  8. sumac sue says

    My husband wants a wool Filson Mackinaw coat, and those things are pretty retro, particularly if they are in the nifty red and black plaid. My budget won’t cover an entire coat, so, he has to settle for something without sleeves — the Mackinaw wool vest. He’ll get it in the charcoal color, so he can wear to his chilly office, as well as outdoors.

  9. Virginia says

    Swank bowling ball, fabulous hat, tiki shirt?

    There is a great book about how the decline of the bowling league culture is the exemplar of the difference in 50s/ 60s social culture and our modern culture. Of course, I can’t remember the name right now.

  10. atomicbowler-dave says

    Another really nice and inexpensive gift could be a nice framed vintage print ad in an area of the fellows interest. E-Bay is full of them for around 10 dollars (search ‘Vintage Ads’ or the like), shipping is very low typically, and you can frame it yourself.

  11. says

    hey, I recently acquired some magazines from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s if he likes such things…Detective Magazines, Night and Day, Screen Guide, Times, Pic, Spot, Colliers, HIT!, Post…they’re actually pretty cool stories, scandals, politics, sports…

    there is definitely one I need to send you “The Home Decorator” put out by Sherwin-Williams for 15 cents in Hartford, CT. I just noticed on the back that these were mailed and there is a one cent stamp on it. It’s about painting, home keeping and gardening. It has some good retro interior pictures…oh, these ideas were supposed to be for hubby not you! oooooops 😉

    • pam kueber says

      haha, denise, no end of ideas for ME. you should see the ridiculousness i am buying on ebay. thanks for the sherwin-williams — i can pick it up when meet sometime soon 😉

  12. Virginia says

    If he likes to cook, “I Know How to Cook” was just translated into English for the first time. It is the French equivalent of “The Joy of Cooking”, by Ginette Mathiot. Originally published in the 1930s, with great period illustrations that have been reporduced in the new version.

  13. atomicbowler-dave says

    Another he-man outdoorsy idea:
    Remember the watchcap with the bill on it that Radar O’Reilly wore in M*A*S*H* ?
    Definitely a retro sorta thing, huh? Carhartt makes them and they are a pretty popular item. At fisrt I thought they looked geeky, but now am starting to want one…for the bill to keep snow off my eyeglasses.

  14. Frank says

    Okay, I’m a man, and I like mid-century stuff. I am also a scotch drinker. I have been hinting to my wife that I would really like a set of low ball glassware from the the 1950s or 60’s.

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