A sports fan's holiday gift guide
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'Tis the season to be jolly, of course. But 'tis also the season of the Packers and the Bucks, the Badgers, Golden Eagles and Panthers basketball teams, the Admirals and the Wave, as well as the Brewers' offseason, which is never a more important season than now when they're rebuilding.
'Tis the season to give and receive, and since there's undoubtedly at least one sports fan on your holiday gift list, here's a guide to what you should get them this year to help them root for their favorite local teams.
Presenting the 2016 sports lover gift guide:
Women's Green Bay Packers Klew Green Big Logo Ugly Sweater Dress: That's quite the mouthful of a name, which is fitting because this is quite the article of clothing. Adorably attention-grabbing, vibrantly in-your-face and made with 100 percent acrylic knit material that is flattering but comfortable and necessarily warm, this Klew ugly sweater dress makes the Lady Packer Fan in your life the life of the party, whether tailgating in the Lambeau parking lot or on the couch at a friend's house. Don't just make a fashion statement; make a fashion exclamation about the team you love. It's a top seller in the NFL Shop and retails for $74.99.
Green Bay Packers MVP Toaster: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And for some Wisconsinites, the Packers are the most important thing in their lives. For those people, the ProToast MVP Toaster is a must-have. It's a pebble-grain-finished, football-shaped, two-slice toaster that is adorned with team logos and brands a Green Bay 'G' on every piece of bread. The toaster works on bread, waffles, English muffins and toaster pastries, but you could probably squash a brat bun in there, too. Available at the Packers Pro Shop for $29.96.
Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre: This biography paints the fascinating picture of Brett Favre, the man, the player and the character – including all the good, bad and truly human elements that made No. 4 who he was. New York Times bestselling author Jeff Pearlman spoke to more than 500 sources – Favre, himself, declined to be interviewed – for the spellbinding 448-page story. Here's our Q&A with Pearlman, who discussed the book, which is available for $15.99 on Kindle at Amazon for the Green Bay-loving reader you know.
Packers dog jersey: This Packers team has had a turbulent, up-and-down season and, to be honest, any player whose uniform you wanted you probably already have – all the big stars have been on the team for years. Instead, get your pup on the bandwagon with a Packers pet jersey. I have a friend who called her dog Lacy, which made for an easy petwear decision, but if your little muffin isn't named after a Green Bay player, you can always get a generic team jersey. That hopeful, longing look your dog is giving you during every game isn't because it wants all the Buffalo Chicken dip you're eating; it's because s/he wants to be a fan and represent Packer Nation too. At the Packers Pro Shop, these pet mesh jerseys are just $21.95.
Beard Brigade Beard Oil: If your man's face is as hirsute as Packers fullback Aaron Ripkowski, he could use a soothing, moisturizing, conditioning, styling and sheening beard oil. One of the best out there is a Milwaukee-made facial-hair oil called Redbeard's Spice ($14.99), which would be perfect for Ripkowski, from Beard Brigade Co. Or, if your face more closely resembles that of the clean-shaven James Starks, there's Milwaukee Apothecary, another local company that makes men's high-quality grooming and shaving products ranging in price from $4-$20.
Original Cheesehead hat: Who doesn't love the classic, wedge-shaped foam Cheesehead hat? (Ed note: OnMilwaukee senior writer Molly Snyder doesn't.) If nothing else Packers-related gets your green-and-gold blood pumping, this timelessly iconic piece of memorabilia – first conceived in South Milwaukee by Ralph Bruno and now produced by local company Foamation, Inc. – is a solid, dependable and always-appreciated Green Bay fan item, with a pretty interesting history. This year, Foamation relocated its operation from St. Francis to Milwaukee – at 1120 S. Barclay St., near Rockwell Automation – and sells not only its Original Cheesehead hat ($12.50-$19.75, depending on size), but also a range of other cheesy foam products.
Green Bay Packers #4 Brett Favre Face Sweater: Say you know someone who likes Brett Favre and cheesy holiday attire. That's probably a narrow crossover segment, but this is just the thing for that person. The Favre likeness appears to only vaguely resemble the old gunslinger – even in 1996, this face is a stretch – but he's wearing a plush applique Santa hat, and that's fun. The acrylic sweater has been marked down – unsurprisingly – in the Packer Pro Shop from $84.95 to $63.71.
Milwaukee Monday game tickets: The Milwaukee Monday promotion is one of the best the Bucks offer. Each event features local entertainment, including a halftime performance, as well as a unique, locally designed Milwaukee Originals Bucks T-shirt. The Bucks also highlight a Milwaukee neighborhood at each Monday home game to share the positive things happening in the community. There are five Milwaukee Monday games remaining; ticket and T-shirt packages are $27 for the upper level and $44 for the lower level and available here.
Thon Maker jersey: Look, of course you can get a Giannis Antetokounmpo or Jabari Parker jersey, and no one will bat an eye. Khris Middleton unis are always good, and jerseys of new fan favorite Matthew Dellavedova are becoming more and more common at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. But if you really want to #OwnTheFuture, like the Bucks, get a Thon Maker jersey. He's a 19-year-old 7-footer with sky-high potential and a captivating, winning personality who should be in Milwaukee for years. If you want to get a Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks' second-round pick who's been one of the best rookies in the league this season, that's fine too. Replica jerseys are available in the NBA Store for $69.99.
Bucks hat: Seemingly everyone's got one, so if your Bucks friends or family members don't own Bucks headgear, they're missing out. There are plenty to choose from, including throwback logos, the new branding and other unique designs. Most run between $29.99-$39.99 in the Bucks Pro Shop.
Orlando Arcia jersey: Under general manager Dealin' David Stearns, the Brewers have made numerous trades and roster moves as they undergo a full-scale organizational rebuild to acquire prospects. In the team's effort to exchange veterans for young, controllable talent, Milwaukee has gotten rid of many of its biggest names. After trading Jonathan Lucroy last year and possibly dealing Ryan Braun this offseason, practically every jersey that's worn to Miller Park for Brewers games will have been rendered outdated and irrelevant. Do yourself a favor: invest in an Orlando Arcia jersey, replicas of which are available on Team Pro Edge for $79.98 (or you can wait a bit until MLB officially releases the authentic Brewers ones). The young shortstop prodigy should be a fixture on Milwaukee's big-league roster for a long time, and this holiday season is your chance to make the Brewers fan on your list a frontrunner.
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