I’ve been collecting images and ideas for this post for a long time, but still wasn’t sure I was on the right track, so I thought I’d better consult a bona fide male for his opinion on the subject. Turns out, my husband had quite the opinion on the matter! He stared telling me that my ideas for scarves and such were all wrong. So I asked for better ideas and he started rattling off all kinds of things I would have never thought of and never even heard of.
Truth is, I’m a girl’s girl and can buy a fabulous gift for a female friend any day of the week with my eyes closed, but a gift for a man?? I always struggle. So, I asked my husband to write a post for you and I might be sorry he agreed! He seriously spent hours drafting his post! I hope his suggestions help you out this year! Disclaimer: The views , opinions (and language- ahem!) expressed by this man do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and/or opinions of his beautiful wife.
So my newest blogging sensation of a wife asked if I would do a guest post for her this week on what you ladies should buy your men for the holidays. In an effort to provide full disclosure, you must understand I am hardly to be considered an expert when it comes to gift giving. However, if your husband/boyfriend is anything like me, then I’m sure he would appreciate any one (or more) of these suggestions.
Before I give you my suggestions let me give you some free insight into the male psyche and a guide for what not to give your man for the holidays. The one and only thing you need to understand is that most men don’t expect to be given anything for the holidays. The majority of us have been conditioned over years and years of receiving inadequate gifts that we have developed the mindset that if we want something, we just go buy it ourselves when we want it. This is because when you buy us a tie in box, or one of those dumb grooming kits from the aisles in Macy, Dillard’s, or Brookstone (or any of the other endless cheesy gifts brought to us by the department stores) we tell you, “aw, thanks this is great.” But on the inside we’re thinking, “awesome, one more thing that will sit around my closet until the next trip to Goodwill.”
WHAT NOT TO GIVE
So here are the things to avoid:
Bath Robes: Really?! No, men do not wear robes. I got a robe for Christmas a couple of years ago and the only time it has been worn is for the picture on Christmas day.
The aforementioned Grooming Kits: Nothing says happy holidays like, “Honey, here’s your grooming kit because you’re a disgusting slob who needs to trim his nose hairs.” If I get another one of these I swear I will take the extra razor blades and start slashing my wrists. Understand that your man is almost assuredly going to receive one of these from his secretary or receptionist, I have a collection of them.
Jerry Garcia ties? Umm, no thanks. Where the hell can I where this tie? Oh, I know; nowhere. Designed by a guy who’s never worn a tie in his life and it shows. Please Jerry, stick to what you do best, entertaining stoners at massive open field gatherings. Again, this is another favorite of your man’s secretaries or receptionists.
Now that you know what to avoid let’s talk about what you should get him.
WHAT TO GIVE
Video Games: for $50 to $60 you can give your man hours of enjoyment that is sure to put a smile on his face. Here are my suggestions for the season:
Call of Duty: Black Ops. I know, I know, it’s violent and you can’t have the kids around, but it’s the best game out there right now. This game has taken our boyhood love of GI Joe to a whole new level. If you want to see your man act like he’s 12 again on Christmas morning I guarantee this one will do it.
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. This is the latest release in the Need For Speed franchise. If your man is car nut like me, then this is a must have.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. Lightsabers, the Force, and Darth Vader. Need I say more?
If you absolutely won’t buy your man a video game for fear of becoming an Xbox or Playstation 3 widow, then here are some other suggestions.
Sports Jerseys: Apparently these don’t qualify as “clothing” by my wife, so if you are hell bent on buying clothes for your man I will get to that later. Understand that men love customized authentic sports jerseys. There is no explanation for why this is, just accept it as fact and move on. Now these are a tad bit expensive ranging anywhere from around $100 all the way up to $300 depending on the sport and whether it is a current player or throwback player from the yesteryear. Just go to nfl.com, mlb.com, nba.com and you can order straight from each teams’ website. Another option is to get your man the jersey of his alma matter. If your man went to one of the major universities, then those jerseys will be made by Nike, Under Armour or Adidas. The ONE rule to follow when getting your man a custom jersey: DO NOT put his name on the back! It’s just wrong.
Anything from the Apple Store: These people are just f-ing genius! I have an iPhone 4, an iPad, a MacBook Pro and an iMac so I am biased to say the least. However, you cannot deny that anyone (man or woman) wouldn’t want to open an iPad on Christmas morning.
Tools: This is a tricky area. Men love tools, but not just any tools. Get quality tools or don’t get them at all. Also, don’t buy stuff like tool chests or major power tools, unless you know for sure which one he wants. Also, do not buy your man tools from Target while you are picking up some knick knacks for yourself, those tools suck and will break the first time you attempt to do anything other than unscrewing the back of a clock. Take the time to do it right. Lowe’s (Kobalt) and Home Depot (Husky and Stanley predominantly) have good selections and quality, but my personal opinion is that the best tools can be found at Sears. Craftsman tools are the Cadillac of tools. Trust me your man will love to open something with the Craftsman label on it. Best of all, getting him tools is a way to con him into helping you with your DIY projects because let’s face it we need to have something to do with all those tools that we have. Here are a couple of the top items from Craftsman right now:
NEXTEC 12.0 Volt Right Angle Impact Driver: perfect for all those tight spots where conventional drills just won’t work. $79.99
83 pc. Homeowner Tool Set: This is perfect for most projects around the house and best of all it comes in a bag so you don’t have to keep going out to the garage to find which socket or screwdriver will work. Trust me the less trips to the garage in order to get your curtain rod hung, the better it will be for you marriage. $119.99
Craftsman also offers laser engraving so you can put your man’s name on his tools. Just go to Craftsman.com and you can find it all.
Gifts for the Car Guy
To say, “I love cars,” is an understatement. If it has four wheels and can either go fast or go off-road, I am salivating over it and have to have it. Not only do I want to buy it, but I want to modify the s*&t out of it. If your man suffers the same affliction as me then here are the items that should be at the top of your list.
GoPoint Technology GL1: This combines the love of cars with a love of Apple products. It’s a kit that links to your car’s vehicle onboard diagnostic port and your iPhone, iPod or iPad and keeps track of the status of all the car’s system. This thing is brilliant and it only costs $100. Contact the company to make sure your man’s vehicle is compatible.
Motorbooks Ultimate Garage Handbook: This is a great $20 stocking stuffer. Can be ordered here. The website has a plethora of other manuals and handbooks that would be of interest to any man who is either in the midst of working on a car or has aspirations of rebuilding a car.
Garageart.com: Since this is a design blog, why not help your man decorate his garage, aka his man cave? This website has it all, from signs to classic custom gas pumps and clocks. Trust me, you cannot go wrong getting him anything from this site. Us car nuts love the vintage signs and he would be in shock and awe to open up a box full of these from you.
Clothes: I know you all feel the need to dress your man like he is your own real life Ken doll. If you truly must go down this area of gift giving then here are my suggestions to ensure that what you buy actually ends up on your man’s body and not stuffed at the bottom of the drawer or in the back of the closet.
Here are some ground rules to live by when thinking about clothing for your man. First, unless he is built like a Calvin Klein underwear model, you need to steer clear of places like Banana Republic, Guess, Armani Exchange, etc. There comes a point in a every man’s life where slim fit jeans and tight shirts are not only no longer cool, but they are just not functional either. Second, know his style (even if in your opinion he lacks one). Some guys love sweaters others (like me) wouldn’t put one on if it were the only means of keeping warm in a blizzard. With those two simple rules in mind here are a few suggestions:
Oakley: They don’t just make sunglasses ladies. Oakley has great casual styles that men can actually wear. It’s comfortable, functional, and rugged. Let’s face it, these guys make sunglasses that can withstand a nuclear blast so you know their clothes have got to be good.
Brooks Brothers: This place is classic and reasonably priced for the quality. You can always find great things that fit your man properly and they make everything for all body types. I’m the first to say they have some items that I don’t want on my body when I’m lying in the funeral home, but 80% of their stuff is wearable and stylish for your normal everyday guy who is even mildly concerned with his outward appearance.
Nordstrom: I know for my wife and probably the majority of you ladies, this place is like the Disneyland of department stores. For men, however, this place is really a let down. First, the men’s section is only about ¼ of the store and that’s being generous. Second, within that ¼ of the store almost half it is dedicated to stuff for teenagers or the Calvin Klein underwear model clubber types. That being said, you can get some really good high end items that will last you man forever like shoes, suits, and overcoats that you can’t find elsewhere. Outside of those items I would not pay the prices that Nordstrom charges for their dress shirts, ties and casual wear, it just highway robbery. If you want to drop some dollars at Nordstrom on your man then get him this:
The classic Burberry Trench Coat. This will last him the rest of his life and can be worn over a suit or over casual wear. It’s expensive at $1695 but if you shop at Nordy then you already know things ain’t cheap there. Hopefully, he won’t turn up the collar like this model did, that’s just dumb.
Other gift ideas:
An uber nice briefcase from Tumi, or some really nice cufflinks also will do the trick. If your man is into hunting or fishing and, (like with tools) you know specifically what he wants, then get it. I’m guessing, however, if you are reading this post the odds are you have no earthly idea what he wants. If my hunch is correct, then do not hesitate to get a gift certificate to Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, or Gander Mountain depending on which one(s) you have locally available. Same goes for REI or Sun and Ski Sports for the hiking and mountain biking men.
What should you take away from this post? First, we as men don’t expect much during the holiday season, so if you come anywhere remotely close to these gift giving areas you will likely get a dumbfounded look of astonishment followed by a genuine “thank you.” Second, get him something that HE wants, not something that you want him to have. Notice what all of these suggestions have in common: they are something that either your DNA would refuse to get your man because it is childish or it’s something that you would never think of because these are places that I’m willing to bet most of you never knew existed.
Comments and questions are openly solicited and I will be more than happy to vet any ideas that you may wish to run by me before making your purchases.
Happy Holidays to all and enjoy your shopping bonanza!
If you made it to the end, I commend you! Jimmy hearts comments! Ha! :) -Megan