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. Bacon candy canes, anyone?
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 has a mustasche and likes quoting dead people: Blend Your Own Whisky
I love the idea of creating a whisky fan his very own blend from a variety of available ingredients and personalizing it further with a name you pick out yourself. It’s romantic without being overly so. Or you could always let him create the whisky himself with his own home blending kit.
If he likes people to leave him alone on the subway: Audio Technica Headphones
I got Drew these headphones I think for our anniversary this year 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 always has to get off the phone with you because “his battery’s about to die”: iPhone extended battery case
This was another gift I got Drew this year that he is very happy with. His iPhone battery lasts twice as long and I haven’t heard a peep about him being out of juice in the months since I gave him this.
LONGTERM 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 aren’t necessarily “sexy.” C) help improve his style a bit.
If you’re worried about him getting cold feet: Sheepskin slippers
I have the lady version of these and I basically don’t take them off from November ’til March, they’re that cozy.
If he’s been wearing the same ol’ coat since Bush was president: Ben Sherman Men’s Wool Melton 4 Pocket Coat
It’s hot, it’s rugged, he could wear it to meet your parents for dinner or take you bowling some Saturday night. Also, it will make his cheekbones look like the guy in the picture, so win-win for everyone.
If he is a gadget geek:iPad mini
Because you really love him, and he really loves Apple.
If he’s losing his hair and feeling a li’l insecure about it: POPS driving cap
How you gonna feel insecure when you look so good, amiright?
If he has events — like dates with you — he has to be on time for but isn’t the kinda guy who would wear much bling on his wrist: Nixon Classic Analog Stainless Steel Watch
It’s cool, modern, sexy, masculine, understated and versatile (hopefully, just like your man). Plus, it costs less than what you probably spend for a cut and color on your hair and it will last a lot longer.
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 when any of these fine gifts.
If he likes skinny jeans: Tight Wallet
This is a brand new product that will take the bulk out of a man’s pants. Wait, what? In a good way, I mean! Ingenious AND stylish.
If he likes to cook: The Meatball Shop Cookbook
The Meatball Shop is a restaurant in Manhattan that typically boasts two-hour-long waits for a table. That’s because the food is damn good. If I knew someone who loved cooking, I’d get him this cookbook and cross my fingers I’d score an invite for dinner some time.
If he likes to mix a mean cocktail: All-in-One Home Bartending Tool
If you want to spend a bit more, throw in a bottle of his favorite booze and some tasty bitters, like these.
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 he likes his bathroom looking just so: Nine Space Hand Towels
They’re masculine, modern, and make a statement without being fussy.
If he travels a lot and likes to look good doin’ it: The Weekender Bag by Everlane
It’s just a good-lookin’ bag.
If he likes martinis and dinner parties: Mad Men cook book
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 likes coffee and being cool: Impress Coffee Brewer
This is a brand new coffee brewer that works like a french press, but more effectively, and can be used as a travel mug once the coffee is brewed. Plus, it looks really cool.
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.
If he’s recently retired and lookin’ for a new hobby: Beer Making Kit
BEER! Need I say more?
Baxter of California face wash (Drew said using this is like “being on vacation”)
Zippo Hand Warmer High Polish Chrome Pocket Lighter
Makers Mark cigar
Bacon candy canes
Cremo cream shave
Replacement ear buds
katie November 26, 2012, 12:25 pm
yay gift guides!!
can i just say though, im disappointed that the bacon candy cane is just a bacon *flavored* candy cane? i was totally expecting real bacon in candy cane form. and now i might try to make that happen…
jlyfsh November 26, 2012, 12:28 pm
have you ever made chocolate covered bacon? you could easily make that in to candy cane form!
katie November 26, 2012, 1:10 pm
yea, im thinking, make tin foil candy canes, wrap in bacon, bake, cut out foil. …..drizzle with chocolate? epic idea. hmmm…
jlyfsh November 26, 2012, 1:32 pm
i am so going to try this too! i was already planning on making it for a few people who pretty much expect it now. let’s hope they light it shaped like a candy cane even more 🙂
katie November 26, 2012, 1:38 pm
haha… maybe ill add these into the “food boxes” for our families…
Painted_lady November 26, 2012, 6:12 pm
Oh my god. You’re my hero.
I was actually seriously debating making chocolate covered bacon for family this Christmas – this settles it.
kerrycontrary November 26, 2012, 1:01 pm
Vosges Haut chocolate sells bacon-flavored chocolate/truffles/etc. It’s pricey, but their chocolate is always a nice gift.
ktfran November 26, 2012, 1:54 pm
MaterialsGirl November 26, 2012, 2:12 pm
Damnit you guys!!! Now I’m gonna have to walk my ass the half mile to Vosges and get some chocolate.
ktfran November 26, 2012, 3:23 pm
Since you’re walking, doesn’t that counterbalance the little bites of deliciousness? That’s my justification anyway. So glad I live in Chicago and don’t own a car.
Hmm, maybe I’ll add a little something extra to everyone’s christmas gift this year.
MaterialsGirl November 26, 2012, 4:11 pm
Have you tried Katherin Anne confections yet?
ktfran November 26, 2012, 4:53 pm
No, but I’ve heard about it. I for sure need to. Have you?
lets_be_honest November 26, 2012, 12:36 pm
I got the extra battery pack for the iphone in my stocking last year and its really come in handy since. I just keep it in my purse or car.
Also, YAY for the meatball shop cookbook suggestion! Went to a wedding of the owner’s family member this year, such a nice (and handsome) guy, and the meatballs were seriously incredible.
Taylor November 26, 2012, 12:41 pm
Awesome guide Wendy! This is the first guide I’ve read in years that I will likely buy stuff from.
Wendy November 26, 2012, 12:53 pm
Thanks! I put a lot of work into this, so I’m happy to hear you like it!
Kate B. November 26, 2012, 12:59 pm
Forget the guys! I’m going to get that cookbook for myself! (And maybe some of those sheepskin slippers.)
KKZ November 26, 2012, 1:01 pm
Ugh, my dad is so hard to buy for, at *every* holiday.
He’s so not the Average Dad from all the catalogs and commercials. He doesn’t play golf, he maintains a full mustache and beard and has no need for a fancy electric shaver, he doesn’t wear polos or ties, he grills but is not obsessed with grilling, he’s not a gearhead or a toolhead, he’s not drinking coffee or beer anymore because of recent health problems, he doesn’t work out, he’s not a gadget guy, he’s not retired…and I don’t call him “Dad/Daddy” but “Papa” – always have, always will.
It’s not that I can’t shop for him; he has interests and hobbies that I can work with, but I can’t help notice that standard “Gifts for Dads” lists/sections are just so NOT Papa. Every year I search high and low for a Father’s Day card that doesn’t say Dad or have golf clubs on it – and the ones that say Papa are usually in Spanish!
I wonder, does this All-American Dad exist? And what must it be like to grow up with him! I’ll take my air-guitaring, beard-stroking, birdwatching, no-fuss no-muss Papa any day.
CSP November 26, 2012, 1:05 pm
For my inlaws, I went to cloud9.com There give “Experience” gifts. So you can give something to do rather than a gift. My inlaws live in New Jersey so we got them a bike tour over the brooklyn bridge as something different to do. I also love Omaha steaks or a meal gift through william sonoma. We did a fancy pasta, sauce, olive oil, pesto basket there for a birthday.
KKZ November 26, 2012, 1:16 pm
What he really wants right now is a new set of binoculars for birdwatching, but not only are those crazy-expensive, I wouldn’t dream of choosing a pair myself; he knows better than I do what features he would need and his preferences for weight, size, etc. I’m thinking of talking to my brother to see if we could pool funds for this, but as my brother is a college student and rather broke, and I myself don’t have a lot of wiggle room to splurge this holiday season, I think we’ll probably find a plan B.
jlyfsh November 26, 2012, 1:23 pm
does he watch tv, specifically nature tv? has he ever seen the life of birds? david attenborough makes me swoon. might not have the same effect on your papa 😉 but, it’s a great series!
KKZ November 26, 2012, 1:44 pm
My parents gave up TV long ago because they can’t stand being talked down to by the commercials (at least, that’s the reason my mom gives). But hmmm, you’ve got me thinking, a nice documentary on DVD could work for him. They go camping a lot in their huge house-on-wheels camper and could probably use something for a rainy day. Thanks!
EricaSwagger November 26, 2012, 2:06 pm
Does he have a camera and/or a zoom lens for photographing birds? A bird ID guide? A photo album and Wal-Mart gift card for the photo print-shop to keep pictures he takes? A subscription to Bird Watcher’s Digest or Wild Bird Magazine? A nice feeder or set of feeders to attract different species? That’s a hobby with a lot of potential!
KKZ November 26, 2012, 1:19 pm
My in-laws will probably be getting an “experience” gift, though – ski passes, most likely.
GatorGirl November 26, 2012, 1:20 pm
Yeah, my dad is impossible to shop for. Like impossible. So is my mom. I hate holiday shopping.
bethany November 26, 2012, 1:44 pm
For Father’s Day get your Papa a Thank You card. I usually find a really sweet one and write something inside thanking my mom or dad for being such an amazing parent. They really seem to like that 🙂
ktfran November 26, 2012, 2:12 pm
It’s hard to buy for my dad too. Well, when it comes to gift guides, they don’t work. He hunts and fishes so for the last few years, he will buy something he needs, like waders, hunting boots, a new reel, and my sisters and I will split the cost or chip in if it’s super expensive. BUt he needs to tell us because we aren’t hunters or fisherman so we have no idea what he would want or need or use.
CSP November 26, 2012, 1:02 pm
great guide. I just bought the facewash and other things through your link. Hope that helps you a little. I love this site and want to support it in any way I can.
Wendy November 26, 2012, 1:24 pm
Matthew November 26, 2012, 1:29 pm
As a guy, this guide is great. Very good job.
Also, as a guy, in a relatively new relationship – help?
katie November 26, 2012, 1:43 pm
im sure wendy will have a ladies themed gift guide coming soon…
Wendy November 26, 2012, 1:48 pm
Gift guide for women coming up on Wednesday. Lots of great ideas for all the ladies in your life.
katie November 26, 2012, 1:50 pm
Matthew November 26, 2012, 1:52 pm
Thanks Wendy, looking forward to it.
pants November 26, 2012, 1:38 pm
I’m in love with this!! Such great ideas for all the men in my life! I’m sticking this on Pinterest; hopefully you get some traffic from my followers, Wendy. You deserve it!!
Wendy November 26, 2012, 1:49 pm
bethany November 26, 2012, 1:41 pm
Just wanted to plug the Nixon watch– My husband wears a Nixon watch, and they have an awesome lifetime guaranty. He had to send his back because he broke it and they send him a brand new one (several years newer than his), no questions asked.
Wendy November 26, 2012, 1:50 pm
That’s awesome, and great to know!
kare November 26, 2012, 3:18 pm
My parents are the least materialistic people ever, so I usually make presents for them. They don’t drink alcohol or coffee, don’t have any hobbies, and don’t care for new experiences. I usually embroider handkerchiefs for my dad and make my mom a set of earrings or scarf. I also buy a couple of small things, but they seem to like handmade stuff the best. My mom’s favorite pair of earrings is a pair I made her for mother’s day a couple years back.
Tudor Princess November 27, 2012, 10:51 am
My parents are like that. Last year was really tight for me and all I gave them were some home-made muffins and they loved them.
Nookie November 27, 2012, 6:06 am
I am in love with that jacket. And the cockney does need a new one as he claims his old winter coat makes him look like an asparagus.
Hannanas November 27, 2012, 8:39 am
Awesome guide! I can’t wait to see my Mad Men-obsessed and recently-into-cooking boyfriend’s face as he sees this cook book. Won’t tell him what category it was in though.
Jen November 28, 2012, 10:57 pm
Regarding the thin wallets, I have one of the sport wallets by all-ett and I love it – it adds zero bulk to my wallet
Marjorie Burns November 28, 2012, 11:12 pm
These guides are great inspirations, thanks! So glad to see them here at one of my e-homes—-googling “classy christmas gift ideas” is, I’ve discovered, doomed to failure.