Holiday shopping is stressful enough without the added pressure of deciding whether the gift you’re giving is sending the right message, or whether you should even be exchanging gifts. Hint: a gift is always a nice gesture; the key is to make sure you’re respecting the relationship boundaries. To help with that, and to give you some great ideas, I’ve created this handy dandy guy-centric gift guide. These suggestions are certainly interchangeable, but you probably won’t go wrong if you stick strictly to the category each gift is listed in. And if you have a FWB you don’t want to leave out, I’d skip right on down to the list of stocking stuffers.
For argument’s sake, let’s define a “new boyfriend” as someone you’ve been dating exclusively for less than three months. You might stay at each other’s homes occasionally, but you don’t, like, have a drawer at his place.
If he wears skinny jeans and always has a bulge: a slim double-crossed leather wallet
So slim, this wallet fits comfortably in a front pocket of even the skinniest of pants, with a pocket for cash and a pocket for cards.
If his future’s so bright, he has to wear shades: Ray-Ban Flat Top Boyfriend Polarized Sunglasses
The name says it all: boyfriend sunglasses. And flat tops are cool. Your boyfriend (!) will thank you.
If he’s into art and doesn’t like rings on his coffee table: 6 Banksy Coasters
If you don’t know, Banksy is a famous graffiti artist and political activist and he’s hot shit. Your new boyfriend will think you’re hot shit too if you get him these awesome coasters.
If he likes to mix a mean cocktail: All-in-One Home Bartending Tool
It’s everything he needs to mix you up a great-tasting cocktail or three. Pair it with nice bottle of Bourbon or a collection of cocktail bitters.
If he’s a keeper: Someecards “Fuck This Shit O’Clock” Pint glass
Because this is just too awesome to *not* include on a gift guide.
LONG-TERM BOYFRIEND/ FIANCE/ HUSBAND
You’ve been together for a while now and while the spark is still there — hopefully — you’re also comfortable enough to: A) spend a bit more than you would on a brand new guy; B) give gifts that are practical vs. sexy C) help improve his style a bit.
If he’s cooler than everyone else (but doesn’t really know it): denim Pumas
They’re “highly limited release,” so will be sold out before less cool people realize they should own a pair too.
If he prefers being naked but should probably wear something since it’s kind of cold and you never know when someone might ring the bell: Calvin Klein Micro Modal PJ Pants
Whether you call them lounge pants, PJ pants, or underwear the idea is the same: your guy wears these around the house on a lazy Sunday and feels awesome because these are the softest, most comfy lounge pants/pj pants/ underwear ever.
If he’s addicted to the blue stuff … or at least to the TV show that popularized it: the Breaking Bad Complete Series
Released just this week, the complete series is for the true “Breaking Bad” fan and includes over 55 hours of special features from all seasons, a brand new two-hour documentary, 16-page booklet and letter from Vince Gilligan (series creator), plus collectible items. Blue stuff sold separately.
If he like to get busy in the kitchen and you really, really like him: copper pots (and copper measuring spoons)
Just remember, it’s a gift, so he gets to keep them if you break up.
If he likes his Sundays over-easy: Men’s Quilted Knit Hoodie
I know what you’re thinking: almost a hundred bucks for a hoodie?! And that is kinda crazy, I agree, but: 1) there’s currently a coupon code for 30% off (‘WONDERLAND’); and 2) It has elbow pockets and “Chambray lined welt pockets,” and since I’m not even sure what “welt pockets” are, I know it must be fancy. And, come on, every guy deserves a fancy hoodie with Chambray lined welt pockets.
If he likes people to leave him alone on the subway: Audio Technica Headphones
A holdover from last year’s gift guide, I got these headphones for Drew after a music fan friend of ours recommended them. Drew reports that the sound quality is perfect and no one bothers him on the subway anymore. Mission accomplished.
If he needs new snow boots: Sorel snow boots
I got these for Drew last year after he started wrapping his shoes in plastic bags when it snowed, and he said they are among his favorite gifts ever. He loves them so much, he wears them at the slightest hint of snow flurries. When I showed him the first draft of this gift guide, he said, “Where are my boots?! Those things are awesome!” Here they are, here they are!
If he needs a new watch and likes to keep it simple: Button-Stud Weekender
It’s just a great-looking watch with nice, clean lines and a unique button-stud wristband, and it’s only 84 bucks. The guy who will like this is the guy who enjoys Scotch, doing crossword puzzles, and making his own pesto.
If he doesn’t take himself too seriously: Sock it to me Socks (like this bacon pair)
Not only attractive, these are some seriously comfortable socks too (I own some myself, as does Drew).
BROTHER/ LIKE A BROTHER
This guy has your back and you’ve got his. Maybe you share a similar sense of humor and maybe you’ve invested lots of time advising each other on relationships and such. Show your appreciation with any of these fine gifts.
If he’s taking a gap year to travel (the bastard): How to Swear Around the World
Because how else is he supposed to know what to say when he finds out he has to pay for his own toilet paper at European gas stations?
If he likes enjoying a glass of vino after a long hike: stainless steel wine glasses
Unbreakable, just like your bond.
If you’re tired of smelling his silent-but-deadlies: fart filtering underwear
It’s a gift for him that everyone will thank you for.
Corkcicle Chillsner Beer Chiller
I’d buy this for the clever name alone, but I hear it works pretty well too.
If he’s trying to get into shape and likes things that are trendy: kettle bells
It’s the fitness craze that’s sweeping the nation. Or something like that. Basically, people who do the kettlebell workout love it and swear by it. Be sure to include a training DVD.
If he’s always quoting some book, with a drink in had: Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist
Vermouth the Bell Tolls? Gin Eyre? The Last of the Mojitos? This is the perfect book for all the literary nerds who like to drink (which is most of them, if grad school was any indication).
Where would you be without him? He gives you fashion advice, watches “Real Housewives” with you, shares your crush on Ryan Gosling, and never makes you feel like you’re in competition with each other. He’s the best.
If it’s always martini o’clock in his house: Wood martini glasses
He “wood” love them! Get it?!
If he’s always asking you how old he looks: Pocket Cow Bullocks
Guys love the brand Bullocks and this travel set includes: Bracing Body Wash, Refining Facial Scrub, Smooth Shaving Cream, Soothing Moisturiser.
If he’s a guitar man who likes a little jewelry: Bass Guitar String Bracelets
Rugged and cool and only 16 bucks.
If he’s a world traveler who likes a pop of color on the wall: Flight Tag Print
These vintage flight tag prints feature a host of cool cities he may have visited or would love to see some time, like Nice, which is nice. (And you are too if you get him one of these cool prints).
If he likes collecting trinkets and appreciates stuff that looks sort of old but maybe really isn’t: Rustic Wood Stash Box
Now he can stash stuff in style.
He’s the first man in your life you ever trusted. He survived your adolescence and probably deserves a medal for it, but any of these gifts would be just as good.
If he thinks the key to happiness is the perfect pair of slippers: Sorel Men’s Falcon Ridge Slipper
These will make him happy! They’re from the same company that makes the snow boots listed earlier — Sorel knows how to make feet comfy!
If he’s workin’ on his photography skillz: Professional Lens Filter Accessory Kit
Including filter kits (UV, CPL, FLD), carry pouch, tulip lens hood, snap-on lens cap w/ cap keeper leash, and a some sort of magical cleaning cloth, this is basically a goodie bag for any camera lover (Nikon camera, that is). Pair with a wireless remote, a cool polka-dotted neck strap and you’ve got a great themed gift for the photo geek.
If he has become a beer aficionado in his retirement: Stainless steel growler
Dad can fill up this 64 ounce growler at his favorite filling station and trust that the beer will stay fresh and keep its flavor. Plus, it looks pretty bad-ass, too.
If his motto in life is “the hotter, the better”: Todd’s Concoctions
I’ll just let the product description speak for itself: “A collection of hot sauces, ketchups, BBQ sauces, and relishes that sound like they were invented by some mad scientist (or someone who was super high). The different concoctions available include: Cola Leather BBQ, Tobacco Moonshine BBQ, Marshmallow Smoke Ketchup, Chewing Gum Tobacco Ketchup, Squid Ink Cayenne Hot Sauce, and Root Beer Pickle Hot Relish. Because you haven’t been using enough leather or cigarette butts in your recipes.”
If his doctor told him to get in shape: Fitbit
The Fitbit Zip tracks steps, distance, and calories burned — then automatically syncs the data to the owner’s Fitbit account through any and all of his gadgets. Even if he hates exercising, he’ll probably enjoy the geek aspect syncing data to his gadgets.
AJ Morgan Sunglasses (my fave for cheap but stylish sunnies)
Yumaki bamboo ergonomic toothbrush
Artisinal beef jerky
IPA lip balm
Baxter of California face wash
Bacon candy canes
Cremo cream shave
Stainless Steel Ice Cubes for whiskey lovers who don’t want their booze watered down. (Good for women too!).
Vosges Mo’ Bacon Caramel
Key bottle opener
For more gift ideas, check out my 2012 holiday gift guide for men.