Christmas is over, February is upon us and still we’re experiencing that constant trial: buying gifts for men. With our female friends we can usually play it pretty safe: we can buy perfume or scented candles or we can buy spa days for our mothers – but with the men in our lives, things tend to get a little more difficult. What do they want? Why don’t they talk to us as much as we’d like them to about their interests? Why does your dad keep saying “You don’t have to buy me a birthday present,” even though he knows full well that you will? The men in our lives can be pretty frustrating to buy for, whether it’s your partner, your brother, your best male friend, your dad or your teenage son. Luckily, there’s one thing you can do to make it a whole lot easier on yourself: listen to them carefully. Even if they might not say that much, what they do say will help you decide what to buy them. Once you figure out what they’re interested in, the gift ideas will start flowing from there…
These days it’s getting more and more cool for a man to take an interest in his appearance. Younger men particularly are aware of the importance of looking good in everyday life – and also realising that taking care of your appearance isn’t an affront to your masculinity in the slightest. If the man you’re buying for has similarly enlightened views, then that’s great! For a start, that means that they absolutely deserve a gift. It also means that you have plenty of gifts to buy for them, from fashionable items of clothing like shirts, boots and jackets to grooming products like beard care kits from SleepCleanCare or maybe even a brand new designer haircut. If you’re not sure what to get, then a new aftershave will almost always go down an absolute storm with any man – who doesn’t like to smell good? Just make sure that you try plenty of them out before you make a purchase – after all, you’re going to have to smell it on them!
Music is probably one of the most common hobbies that all people – let alone all men! – have. If you know what bands they like, then why not splash out on concert tickets for you and him? Even if you don’t love the band then he’ll love you joining in with his interest and supporting him, and creating experiences and happy memories together is one of the greatest things that you can do. If you aren’t sure what shows exactly he’d like to go to, then you could always get a gift card to a website like Ticketmaster or See Tickets. You might think that gift cards are boring but on the contrary – being able to pick out your gift yourself can actually feel pretty liberating! If they like to play an instrument then you could always get them a book on the history of that instrument, and if they love a particular band – dads who love the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, I’m looking at you! – then you could look online to find one of the best biographies on them. You could also check out more recent bands and musicians who have been inspired by your older relative’s favorite bands so they can check out some more recent music and get with the times.
If you have a dog then you’ve probably already noticed that there really is nothing truer than the fact that your dog is your partner’s best friend. ‘Man’s best friend’ really isn’t an understatement at all! And let’s face it: a gift for your dog is pretty much the same thing as buying a gift for your partner. They’ll probably be even more delighted with a coat for the pup than they would be with a coat for themselves. Look out for doggy hiking boots so they can go for a walk even when it’s cold this time of year without freezing their tiny paws off, and you could also look out for any other doggy accessories like a new collar or leash, or maybe new toys. A dog training book or a book about tricks you can teach your pup will also go down a storm. There are also a lot of memoirs out there about how much dogs can help and save people’s lives – just make sure you don’t go for Marley And Me because that one’s an absolute tearjerker. Finally, get any item with a picture of your pet on it printed up for your partner – whether it’s a mug or mouse mat, it’ll make him smile every time he sees it.
Is it making a huge generalization to say that a lot of men love cars? A lot of women do as well, of course, but car-related gifts tend to be a uniquely male phenomenon. If they absolutely love the car that they drive and like to take great care of it then why not invest in some new accessories for them? Mats that will protect their floors from muddy footprints are always a big hit or maybe even a brand new stereo system. A model of an old-fashioned car is loved by a lot of men – often the older generation! – along with encyclopedias with a lot of great information in them. If you want to go for an experience day, send your loved one rally driving or trying out a luxury Porsche for the day! Finally, if your recipient really loves cars then you could always get them a subscription to Amazon Prime to watch The Grand Tour.
As your dad gets older, you’ve probably noticed that he’s starting to develop a worrying predilection for watching documentaries about history and then having extensive opinions on them which he likes to tell you in plenty of detail – quite frankly, heaven help you if it’s a period of history that he’s actually lived through. But luckily if he, or another man in your life, loves history then there are plenty of things that you can get for them. Try a history book – if you go to any good history store and talk to a bookseller they’ll be able to recommend some of the best recent titles that have just come out. The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore and Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee by John Bew are two titles that have recently been released and gained great critical praise. Try to steer away from the more traditional historians and get something a little more interesting than that like a coffee table book with lots of photographs in. If you’re stuck on what book to buy then why not go for a DVD set of Band of Brothers? It’s arguably one of the best TV shows ever made about the Second World War and there are very few dads out there who wouldn’t enjoy it.
Men often get more and more into gardening as the years go past – from years of being nagged by your mother to mow the grass, your dad’s probably blossomed (see the pun there?) into someone who actively enjoys spending time outside and reading about different species of roses. There are plenty of gardening accessories that you can buy to help with his hobby, from gardening gloves to special shoes to wear outside to a pad he can kneel on to prune back plants and to plant new seeds in the ground. New interesting seeds and plants will also always be appreciated – just make sure they grow in that climate! You could also consider splashing out big time for a really important birthday, or just a really important thank you, and buy a greenhouse. If your partner isn’t really into growing things but you want him to be then why not buy him a little herb garden? It can sit on your kitchen windowsill to make your whole kitchen smell great and you can use the herbs in your cooking. It might just spark off a new love!