Presents can be a tricky thing. When tasked with this list I basically asked myself 'what would I like for Christmas this year?' The result is a bunch of things that sound appealing to me but might make the guy that you give them to laugh, cry, or leave. In a way, these gifts will be a good judge of your man's character, except  the judge is me and the character poor. Best of luck and ho-ho-ho!

RELATED: The Best Beijing Christmas Gifts: For Women


Xiangqi (“Chinese chess”)
Walking past the 40-strong throng of spitting, yelling, smoking, joking grizzly dudes outside Kevin Club on Dongsi Beilu on any given day is enough to remind you of the cripplingly solitary nature of this time we call life. You’ve got nothing on the camaraderie that these kings of xiangqi exude, eating cigarettes for breakfast and punishing their opponents with clearings of the throat that you can only dream of. These men are the heroes of Beijing, which is why you should man up and join the huddle/give this to someone who needs a lesson in life on the mean streets of Beijing.


Chinese Alcohol Starting Kit
Buy literally any combination of these bottles from your nearest Kuai Ke and give them to your best friend/mortal enemy. Each little bottle of poison promises to put a little hair on the chest before singeing it right off. Rinse, repeat, fall down, Christmas, die.
 


Hanzi Wall Chart
Perfect for the kinda guy who has nothing better to do than spend his nights at home staring at a wall wondering where it all went wrong. Well, these posters transform the void of sadness into characters, characters we hope aren’t all related to misery. Once he’s learned them all by the time Christmas 2019 rolls by he can tear the darn thing down and use it as wrapping paper, symbolically shedding his past torment and firmly placing it in the hands of someone he loves. Get a chart at www.hanziwallchart.com. A bit of a jip that you pay an additional five bucks for some poor sod to roll it up rather than have a machine fold the shit out of it.
 



Uniqlo Longjohns
No one said Christmas gifts had to be sexy, which is rather lucky because there’s almost nothing sexy about longjohns. That being said, to live in this city without a pair of these sausage casings is to invite serious injury to a man’s virility, and therefore vitality, and let’s be honest, between the pollution and the gutter oil, this city is already a place with its crosshairs firmly set on destroying those things on a daily basis. Uniqlo's got you covered.
 


Records
Vinyl is something that is easy to forget exists in China, which is why a trip to somewhere as relaxed and welcoming as Fruityshop is a breath of fresh air metaphorically and breath of unmistakable cardboard and plastic stank literally. Replete with records from around the world, old and new, with many an absurd cover (some even with penned thank you notes from the last time they were vessels of gratitude), Fruityshop provides a haven to find that perfect gift or a cozy date stop during the current winter months.
 


Bamboo Bike
Since their successful Kickstarter campaign back in May Bamboo Bicycles Beijing have been churning out these sleek babies with the help of the community and volunteers. For RMB 5,000 you can purchase a road-ready bike or the frame alone for RMB 4,000. Alternatively, if you’re buying for more of a DIY typa guy then buy a two-day workshop for RMB 2,000 and he can build it from scratch, providing a sense of achievement for the new year to replace the standard regret. Visit their site www.bamboobicyclesbj.com for more info.
 


CuJu Rum
The other day I walked into CuJu and asked the barkeep for their finest cold medicine, at which point I was handed a shot of their very own Pirate’s Delight spiced rum. Now, I can’t be certain whether it was the first or fifth that flattened the illness but like generations of British sailors before me, I do know that rum is an elixir and CuJu’s very own brand is no exception. They currently blend, infuse (using only natural ingredients), and bottle three flavors: Fig, Madagascar Vanilla, and Pirate’s Delight, with a 500ml bottle setting you back RMB 150. Delicious and healing, you can’t go wrong, unlike the Chinese liquors above where wrong is all you’ve got.

Great Leap Beer Soap
Made in partnership with Youmey Handmade Soaps, Great Leap's soap contains brown sugar, organic oils, and spent grain from their Pale Ale #6, which is most likely to be oozing out of your the receiver's forehead right now. Talk about recycling. The soaps are RMB 45 each, or three for RMB 100, and can be purchased at the Great Leap Brewing No. 12 Brewpub.

Merry shopping!

More stories by this author here.

Email: tomarnstein@thebeijinger.com
Wechat: tenglish_
Instagram: @tenglish__

Photos: www.hutong-school.com, Tom Arnstein, www.hanziwallchart.com, Uniqlo, www.livebeijingmusic.com, www.bamboobicyclesbj.com, CuJu, Great Leap Brewing


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