by Seth Strickland
This Holiday season, as always, there's a lot of pressure to give gifts, and if you have a lot of friends, it can be difficult to make the cut - who gets gifts? Who doesn't? Instead of buying all your buddies an ESPN key fob this year, introduce them to your favorite hobby.
One of my friends, Alex, has just started brewing beer. This is a great dude hobby to pursue for reasons I won't enumerate here, but Alex suggested that we make beer sometime and that if I helped him, I'd get to take some home. This great gift idea has both the benefit of time spent together and a frills-free gift for your friends. The cost-per-beer is very low, especially if you already have the brewing equipment, which means that it's a good economic choice. There's no wasted wrapping paper but also no tactless unwrapped present. A simple but good-looking invite card can serve as the physical object which you hand out at the office Christmas party or the weekly squash match. Some Saturday, brew for a few hours, and four weeks later, get together again to bottle it.
It doesn't have to be beer. Any skill you have or hobby you pursue which your friends or brothers or sons or nephews lack is an opportunity to teach, to share, to spend some time this holiday season. The gift of amateurism (the pursuit of something for love, rather than gain) is priceless, often costs little, and strengthens the beneficial bonds of friendship.
Leave comments below for other great hobby gifts & how to start them.