* Prices may differ from that shown
There are soo many presents out there that none of us really want to receive for Christmas! My new philosophy with gift buying is to only buy something that I know someone will really love rather than buying gifts for the sake of it. For this reason, my Christmas pressie list is more about quality than quantity this year. Those acquaintances who may or may not buy me a gift will have to settle for a nice message in their card. If I don't know what someone would like for Christmas, perhaps I should save my money instead. Besides, there is no point in my eyes if there is not a true sentiment behind it.
Gone are the school days when girls I barely talked to bought me a Terrys chocolate orange (I hate orange chocolates) and I would go into school armed with a bulging santa sack.
I'm not Santa! :)
As far as guys go, there are a few on my list, I have an 18 year old brother, a 20 year old boyfriend, my dad, my grandad and my boyfriend's best friend.
I know that secretly both my brother and my boyfriend would be happy with PS3 game vouchers or something of the sort. Regardless, moneys tight this year - I'm making my little brother a mix CD as his music taste needs guidance! Plus he got gig tickets for his birthday and realises the budgeting situation!
My boyfriend is getting a stocking filled with fun mini pressies and a book about art history (an impulse buy.) Though awkwardly he happens to have his birthday on 29th December! He will be 21 and I have chosen him a watch and spent far too much, but can't wait to give it him! He is very fussy when it comes to things like that so it was a leap of faith, but if he doesn't like it I will set a new trend and wear it myself! Chunky mens watches...for girls!
I saw my friend (boyf's best friend) the other day and he works in a pound store, so realises well and truly what sh*t people buy each other for Xmas. I'm choosing a large box of chocolates or a joke pressie for him as these are things he will appreciate :). Quote direct from him: "A Cadburys selection box is all you need!"
My grandad is getting a digital photo frame packed with pics of the family (Nan + Grandad aren't technologically forward so will love a little slide show in their living room!) My dad is getting a book (always a winner!)
I don't think "useful" gifts go down that well with the guys in my life, as they are just boring! They could get these kinds of things themself. If you're totally stuck for ideas, experiences are often awesome gifts - think: concert tickets, f1 driving experience (for someone special!), a weekend away, theatre tickets...The list goes on! These kind of gifts go down the best with men I find. Who wants cufflinks? I don't even know anyone that wears cufflinks, yet these pointless gifts seem to be the most popular things on offer for men in card shops and the like!
Good luck!!!!! I say this with Christmas shopping almost complete!
When it comes to Christmas shopping men are practical, simple as, buying and receiving. All we want you to do is tell us what you want and we will go and buy it. We will tell you exactly what we want and you can go buy it. It saves a lot of time. We will even tell you what shop to buy it in at the best price and the shelf and serial number in the shop if that helps. We then sit back and wait for our lovely wives or girlfriends or dippy sisters to muck it up!
If we love women enough then money is no object to men when buying presents. We will know exactly how much you love us by how many peel off price stickers there are under the current one. If we don't love you then we will find the cheapest version of the present you asked for and leave the sticker on. Yes I have bought stuff from Poundland and changed the price for someone I don't particular like but obliged to buy them a present. It wasn't a girlfriend.
Men, of course, begin the Christmas shop during our lunch break on Christmas Eve. If the truth be told its best that we actually buy our presents and cut out the middle men/women and then just hand them over at the present giving under the tree. Women like surprise more then men, trust me. Mums seem to be more reliable at buying men presents than sisters and girlfriends for some reason.
= = = Naff presents I have received from women = = =
Black & White Dads Army video - sister
Lava Lamp - sister
A year's subscription to Private Eye Magazine - Ex
12 inch willy warmer and pornographic loo paper - Ex girlfriend (subtle hint there)
A Long Wave only radio - Mum
A collection of football quiz books - sister
There are two kinds of guys. The dark square jawed ones who love sports and getting out and about and the pasty ones who love computer games and comic books and don't get out and about. But if you want to buy either of them presents then take them to an electrical store. We love tech and gadgets and fiddling around with things and if you get the right electrical thing then boys may well fiddle around with you more in the bed department. Look at BlueRay players, for example. You can now buy a decent one for just £50 with all the right HD cable slots and if you have a decent TV then the pictures on those are incredible. People can spend a grand on TVs but the pictures are rarely spectacular, the bigger the screen the cra**ier the picture. Invest in a BlueRay player instead for your boyfriend or hubby and make your twice weekly movie rental from Blockbuster a real treat. They look fabulous! The wives and girlfriends get to see every dimple on Hugh Jackmans chest and the boys get to see fabulous explosions and blood sperts all boxing day.
Guys love music players and if you deliberately skipped the CD Player generation as the discs were rubbish as far as portable music goes (I still have a tape walkman for music) then upgrade him with an Ipad or MP4 player. Let's face it; you hate each others music tastes so why not keep them to yourself. Music finds your soul, not your boyfriend.
You can buy us books and films but we are always thinking we can rent them cheaper and so a waste of money. But if you do buy us movies make sure we want them. The times you see women select a video with their partner or mates in Blockbusters based purely on the front cover is frankly quite worrying. Women need direction and a mans hand under their elbow when it comes to renting movies.
Films to buy him
The new Batman movie
The new Bourne Movie
Cabin in the Woods
The Hunger Games
Marvel Avengers Assembly
Mission impossible: Ghost Protocol
Boys love box-sets and as most of the best American series are now on Sky there are lots to choose from he won't have seen. The brilliant West Wing never got passed series 4 on Channel four and so three more series out there. Curb Your Enthusiasm has been dumped on minor terrestrial channels so anyone of the eight series would be worth the purchase. It is the great unseen American intelligent sitcom in the UK.
If you loved Millers Crossing then Boardwalk Empire is just for you. The Scorcese directed mobster series is from The Sopranos people and very popular. If you miss The Sopranos then get it. Breaking Bad is another highly rated American crime TV series that has won seven Prime Time Emmys and doing great business on HBO, the tale of a chemistry teacher who makes crystal meth on the side to pay his debts and bills in the Texas desert, a somewhat strange concept to earn its fifth series this year. It gets mind boggling 9.4 on the Imdb database.
If you want to watch the boxset with him every night then you might be strategic and pick 'Entourage', about an A-list movie star who shows his childhood friends the joys and lows of his Hollywood lifestyle and the Los Angles scene. It's based loosely on Mark Wahlberg's rise to fame and he co-produces. Like Breaking Bad it's on its final series so you can buy your man one a year for the next six Christmas or birthdays.
Girls want their boys to keep fit so sports equipment can't be a bad idea. Every girl likes a six-pack! But they do say that women always want their partner to be slightly podgy when couples are secure in their relationship as it makes her feel better when she puts a bit on. Maybe you love him the way he is and so that six-pac can wait for another year.
Whether it is for a birthday or Christmas men are definitely the hardest people to buy for, unless it is my Dad and then I can guarantee that due to his book obsession there is a new one that he wants. I spend ages trying to think of what to buy the men in our family for Christmas/ Birthdays as there never seems to be as much choice for them and to be honest the things that are available are just not as pretty and eye catching as the things for woman, however I do find there are a few safe options that you can go for if you are struggling.
* Books - As I have mentioned books are an obsession of my Dads and he has hundreds of them and I know that there is always going to be a new book that he wants at Christmas or on his birthday, so if the man you are buying for enjoys a good read then books are a ideal choice, if you know of their favourite author then go with this, or if you are unsure as to what they have and have not got there is always a book token, not the most exciting of options, but at least that way they can get what they want and do not have the hassel of having to change it.
* Clothes - Probably an option best stuck to if you know what sort of style they particularly like or if they have a favourite brand then stick to that. My husband loves Lacoste polo shirts and I think I have bought him one as part of his Christmas present for the last 4 years so I know that if I am really stuck I can go with this and he will be pleased. Again this could be a tricky one when it comes to knowing what they have and have not got so to get over this you could always ask their partner (if they have one) or again go for the gift voucher option allowing them to get exactly what they want.
* Practical Items - Under this heading I would probably include things like socks and underwear (whatever style the man prefers) not the most exciting of items but something that they all use and wear and is something I find that always works as a back up if I am really stuck. If you shop around you can actually find some nice gift sets including these items to make them a bit more exciting, for example shops such as Ted Baker do 3 pairs of socks displayed nicely in a gift box and gift sets including boxers and socks, again nicely presented, something like this would be ideal for the younger men in the family.
* Aftershave - I find you cannot really go wrong with a nice aftershave, again this is something I always buy my husband, it has got to be a bit of a tradition that I buy him a bottle of Armani Diamonds for Christmas, although there are several other brands he likes and my parents often go for one of these. Aftershaves can be purchased at reasonable prices especially online and you can always drop into a conversation a question inorder to find out what sort of thing they wear, alternatively ask their partner if possible, however if I was really stuck I would go for something I liked and something that smelt similar to what they usually wear.
* Music - Most people enjoy music whether they have a favourite artist or are into a bit of everything, if the man you are buying for is into this sort of thing a CD makes an ideal present, either buying something in the style that they usually listen to or something from their favourite artist. When it comes to the younger men in the family music can be a bit tricky unless you ask them directly what they want, however with all of the I Phones, I Pads and such like about now often an I Tunes voucher would be ideal as that way they can choose what they want and you do not have to worry about getting something they are not into.
* Toiletries - This is probably one of the most obvious things to buy a man, however men's toiletries are never overly exciting compared to woman's, you can buy gift sets but not all of them contain products that will be used and they are all pretty much the same. One way to overcome this is by making up your own gift set, this is something that my Mum came up with one Christmas and now she does one for me and my husband and this year even my son every year. She buys all of the toiletries that she knows my husband uses including body sprays, shower gels, facial wash, facial scrubs and such like, she then usually buys a bath towel (either in a manly colour or one to match our bathroom) she then purchases a nice basket and places the towel in the bottom neatly folded and then displays all of the toiletries on top of this and then gift wraps it. Personally I think this is a lovely idea as you can create a toiletries gift set for a man but including all of the products that you know they like and use, you do not end up with a bottle of something that will never be used as you often do with premade gift sets, obviously the products and brands you use is up to you but by doing this you know that all of the items are going to be used, my husband has always been extremely pleased with his, the ones my Mum makes are quite large and the products usually last us most of the year but by creating your own you can make it as big or small as you like and at a reasonable price, my Mum will often buy items before Christmas when they are on offer allowing her to buy more and not spend a fortune on one item.
* Nightwear - Not something that would be suited to every man this depends on who you are buying for, for example I would not buy this sort of thing for my father in law, however here you could include PJ's (if the man you are buying for wears them) a dressing gown or even slippers, slippers could be ideal for men of any age if they like to wear that sort of thing as you can get all sorts of designs now including the plainer patterns and colours or the large character styles depending on what sort of things is preferred.
* DVD's - Most men enjoy a good film whatever their age so all you need to do is find out what they like and go with that, a partners opinion may come in handy here. When it comes to my husband I can normally pick something I know he would like, usually if its scary and something I would hate I know he will like it, but when it comes to my Dad I tend to speak to my Mum first.
* Gadgets - If the man or men you are buying for are into their gadgets then you can usually find loads of different ideas in the shops especially at Christmas, I sometimes find this is something I can buy my Dad as he likes his gadgets especially for work, if you ever need something when you are out with him no matter how random it might be he usually has it. These are often reasonably priced and make ideal stocking fillers.
* Gift Vouchers - If you are really stuck when it comes to buying for the men in your family then you cant go wrong with a gift voucher, you can either buy it from a shop that you know they use regularly or some large shopping centres do their own gift vouchers that you can use in any shop within that particular shopping centre giving them a large choice of things to buy.
The men in my family will always remain a problem to buy for, at the moment my son is only young so is easy to buy for, but I know that as he gets older he will get more like his Dad and be difficult to buy for but I do find that sticking to these basic ideas you cant go to far wrong.
I thought I would compile my Christmas Gift Ideas for men who are notoriously difficult to buy for (in my opinion). I have narrowed down the following as good items as far as men are concerned:-
A golden ticket - Lottery Tickets - if you're really stuck for what to get someone, I find that an envelope with a lottery ticket or two goes down well. It is something that is fun for them, does not cost too much to wrap and you never know they may win a fortune! It is also good in that you can spend from £1 up to how much you want really.
Useful Items -Socks - of course I could not add in the trusty staple of socks for men. I know this one is a cliché but lets face it, they are useful and practical no matter what people say, as pretty much most men wear socks!
Chocolates - Maltesers - This is always on my list, chocolates do not need to be expensive to be enjoyed and the mighty malteser always seems to be a classic first choice when I look for something (usually) universally liked by men.
Clothes - White t-shirts - I often pop down to Primark and pick up some of the 3 packs of white t-shirts which used to be £5 for 3 which was an absolute bargain, not only that but they wash really well too. I find these are always a good staple as most blokes where white t-shirts under a v neck sweater, jumper, sweater or cardigan. If not, they can team it up with lounge around PJ's of an evening. Or even use them for sports. They are one of those things that just seem to be a great staple to have in.
Time out - DVD's - now if you know a specific DVD someone wants that makes it easy to pick one up but if not and you know the person well and the genre of film they like then I find an obscure movie in that genre (generally with good reviews!) is something that I look for in a present.
A break from reality - Books - the other thing is books, again if you know the genre or favourite author and you have sounded out that no one else gets it then usually around Christmas all the big authors have a new release being touted.
Of course, the other idea is practical ones like toiletries that they actually want and use day to day. I personally try to go for presents that people can use, wear or eat , watch or read. I like to go for practical presents. However, I know that is not the most exciting option but I would rather buy something practical than something than spend a lot of money when I am unsure if they will like it. But if I am really stuck then I just ask is there anything specific they want. They of course I will go out and get that.
Just a few ideas that I normally go by when purchasing pressies.
After my review of Christmas Gifts for Her I couldnt be unfair and forget the chaps, after all we know they enjoy Christmas just as much!
So ladies, lets take a look at another alternative Christmas gift list with neither a pair of slippers or bottle of whisky in sight!
How many of us have partners or dads who are home DIYers? Hopefully they are the ones that actually finish the job! Oxfam can help spread the phenomenon of DIYing in area that are prone to natural disasters such as Pakistan by training people to modify their houses or make repairs, this for £14
Give the 'Gardeners Dream' to those enthusiasts for £38. Practical Presents give the people of Peru the tools to help replant the Amazon Rain Forest helping sustainable living.
Forget the lycra shorts presents, help the bike enthusiast give a 'Bicycle for a health worker'. £80 will help Save the Children provide a bicycle for a worker to travel to various villages giving advice and treatment.
Anyone got a 'Hairy Beast', for some reason this is usually an uncle who sports an impressive amount of facial hair. You know how a person is supposed to look like their pet? Well, a Hairy Yak may seem a little over the top but the people of Tibet will benefit from its milk, butter and its wool. Save the Children, £160
Lazyheads like my partner who loves his lie-ins will appreciate helping someone to have the same. For £31 Centrepoint can provide a safe bed for a young homeless person.
Builders will love this gift. They can see brick built houses being constructed in areas that suffer natural disasters that affect housing. Present Aid will help for £912 and I can guarantee the job will get finished.
My local landlord loves his open fires, he loved building them up, then keeping it nice and bright and warm. So do the people of Nepal where temperatures are well below freezing. Except they often dont have the ventilation and risk illness and even death from the smoke produced. Smoke hoods from Practical Presents will help with this.
During the summer the guys suddenly imagine they are expert cooks, but only outdoors! 1000's also have to cook outdoors but in refugee camps where they have fled from civil war, conflict or persecution. I'm sure they would all love to join the outdoor cooking revolution when for £24 Present Aid can provide food and cooking stoves for 12 families.
Grandad or the elderly uncle quietly muttering about problems with the waterworks? They arent the only ones of course but I'm not suggesting going out and buying some urine bottles and wrapping a bow around the neck. I'm suggesting buying a gift from cowsnthings of an Irrigation System which will increase food production for up to 600 families for £140.
And lastly for the man who enjoys treating himself to a nice meal and a bit of a treat. It's Christmas though so lets spread some of that cheer around. Barnardos will take a young carer from the UK for a Christmas and ice-skating for £25
So lets help the Big Boys spread some joy for the Little Boys!
I hope this review will give you some ideas for Christmas gifts for the men in your lives. Of course these arent the only gifts available and I'll hope you'll take a look at the links below and think about giving one of the gifts available.
And next up is the Christmas Gifts for Kids, of course that may be a little more tongue in cheek!
While a lot of people think men are hard to buy for, I think it depends on the man. My fiancé, for example, is extremely easy to buy for and I have had to stop myself from buying him so many more presents this year. However, I know him really well but when it comes to uncles who are picky and don't like much, I struggle. So, here are my suggestions for things you could buy the men in your life for Christmas.
== Books ==
These two items are staple ideas as gifts for men. Not many men that I know read, apart from my fiancé and my sister's boyfriend but I think books make a great gift. Books as gifts also don't need to be in the form of fiction novels. My sister's boyfriend loves massive picture books about the world - things like big animals or how things work in space. He really enjoys finding out different things and these kinds of books are a great idea. My fiancé on the other hand, does love fiction.
== Socks ==
I don't know what it is but men should always get socks from someone for Christmas. I have no idea where this tradition came from but men in my family always get at least one pair of socks. I do like doing this though as socks are generally quite cheap and are great stocking fillers. Funny or novelty socks are the best kind to give though as they're a little bit different than what a man would normally buy themselves.
== Toiletries ==
This year, I have bought my man some toiletries. Normally, I wouldn't buy this kind of thing but he has wanted some 'mens' things for a while now. For me this year, this has consisted of body butter, moisturisers and a nail kit. While he doesn't mind using a few of my toiletries now and again, I knew that he really wanted something that wouldn't make him smell like a flower or something equally as girly. Because of this, I headed to the men's section in Boots and I was surprised at how much choice there was! Men do like to take care of themselves too so I thought it would be a nice idea for my fiancé to have a set of things for himself.
== Knick Knacks ==
What man doesn't love a good gadget or random item that he has no idea how to use!? There are so many things that you can buy men like this which could range from a toy helicopter to novelty egg cups. It all really depends on what the man you're buying for likes. If he drinks a lot of tea or coffee, think about buying some form of coaster as there are some nice but funny ones around now. There are also electrical gadgets such as key finders or those strange voice machines that say horrible phrases. Men do like strange things!
== Theatre/ concert/ event tickets ==
If you're looking to spend a bit more or buy a main present, this is the ideal gift. Men like music just as much as the rest of us so why not buy him tickets to see his favourite band or a festival? It could also give you a weekend of peace and quiet if you do this and buy a spare tickets so one of his mates can go with him. In the same way, experience days are a fantastic idea especially if the man you're buying for can drive. I've always loved the look of those race car days myself so I think many men would be made up with something like this as a gift.
So there you have it. Not the most original of ideas I know but these are some tried and tested gifts which never fail in my family.
I always think that men and teenage boys are the most difficult people to buy presents for at Christmas time. The men in my family are just so awkward. At least with women there are loads of toiletry and make-up sets that at least if you have no idea what they like then can at least make a decent guess.
Men's gift sets are pretty rubbish on the whole and usually involve things like accessories for fishing or something else which is a bit obscure. Now I know fishing is a popular sport but I honestly have never met anyone in real life who actually goes fishing. For toiletry sets you are pretty much limited to either deodorant ones or else shaving sets and I just find them to be a bit boring.
For older men the choices are a little bit better as you can buy slippers etc. but it is the younger men in my family that I have the most trouble with. Things have got easier with the under 30's in my family as they now nearly all exclusively have either iPhones or iPads so I just buy them a voucher for iTunes and they seem to appreciate these as they can fill them up with apps.
Clothes are always a tricky proposition to buy men especially the younger generation. I usually find that I am safe so long as I get something from a so called trendy shop. For my dad a wooly jumper from M&S is always greatly appreciated.
I am currently single but when I was married I always used to buy my husband aftershave. He would have been pretty much happy with anything but I liked the fact that at Christmas I was able to find a fragrance that I absolutely loved and buy him it and it meant that I got to smell it for the rest of the year.
For people I am not that close to bottles of wine are always a good option. They might be a little bit boring but again it is usually a safe choice. Wrapping them up either in some nice tissue paper and then in a wine bag or else buying some boxes especially designed for wine always looks nice and as though more effort has gone in to them than actually has.
As I said men are always the most difficult people for me to buy for but another thing which is always a good idea when you are a bit unsure what to get is a gift certificate. They now usually all come on a pre paid card so you can load a card with some money and then the recipient can go in to the shop and spend either all the money on it or just some of the money. You can buy gift cards for nearly all the shops on the high street and are a good option.
As the title suggests my gifts of choice for the men on my Christmas list this year are hampers! I found the idea on a money saving website I'm a member of a couple of years ago. Having made a few small low budget ones that year as token gifts for distant relations and acquaintances that were very well received, I decided to make up a couple for main presents for both my husbands Nan and my brothers-in-law. The whole thing has snowballed since then, and now not only are 80% of people I buy for getting hampers off me, it's been so popular my mum has nicked my idea for her fiance's family.
Hampers are a lovely gift because:-
1) They can be made to look a lot more expensive than they are- allowing you to have a big impact with minimal spending 2) Are as expensive as you need/want them to be- it's possible to make a hamper for as little as 4-5 pounds, or you can make a huge hamper costing hundreds, it really is a gift to suit all budgets! 3) They are a very personal gift, and the thought that you have put into the gift really shows, on the other hand it is possible to make up simple hampers with very minimal effort and only a little forward planning and these still look great and get a very good reception 4) And finally, I love them simply because I enjoy coming up with interesting gift ideas, anyone can go out and buy a set of smellies on the 3 for 2 at Boots, or a pair of reindeer socks from Primark but bubble baths will get used up and forgotten, the feeling someone gets from knowing how much you care about them from gift you've put together yourself is one that lasts a very long time. A great example of this happened at a Christmas party last year. My brother-in-laws mum was there, now we'd met a few times before and although she couldn't remember my name and spent the entire evening calling me Gemma, she did remember that I'd made her son a 'things you need when you're fixing your bike' hamper for Christmas 2 years prior, so it had obviously made quite an impact with her and with him.
How I go about making up a hamper:
The first step in making a hamper is to think of a suitable theme... You could do an amazing xbox 360 hamper that would make any gamer green with envy, but give it to your 80 year old Grandpa and it probably wont go down so well. Unless of course he plays the 360, in which case not only would it be the perfect gift, but you also you have a very cool Grandad!
So assuming your Grandad isn't really into that kind of thing and doesn't own the gamertag- Gr3nadier_Grandpa, what does he like? does he have any hobbies? For example, if he always has his nose buried in a crossword, maybe he'd appreciate a puzzling hamper containing selection of puzzle books/magazines, a packet of his favorite mint humbugs to munch on while he's completing them and maybe even a nice new pen. I recently found a coaster online with a crossword printed on it, something like that would also fit in lovely with a puzzling/crossword theme.
Or maybe he's a gardening man..
The possibilities are endless, but the key is picking something that is personal to them. Once you've done that it's literally a matter of picking up bit's and pieces that fit in with your theme. Then you just have to package them all up together and you have a lovely hamper.
The ways you can package your hamper are only limited by your own creativity. For bigger luxury hampers you could use the classic wicker basket, or for a small token gift mini-hamper, say a Secret Santa with a 5 pounds budget you could place a selection of teabags and mini chocolate bars into a nice mug and wrap the whole thing in cellophane for a tea-break hamper. In the past I have even made boxes out of nice stiff card, just remember not to include a lid on the box as being able to see the all the goodies neatly presented inside, maybe in tissue paper, is part of what makes a hamper look so lovely (you could even scatter in some of those little foil Christmas shapes you get from card shops in there too).
Cellophane is the key to good presentation, that and a good bow, the bigger the better. Wrap your gifts and their box up from the underneath and gather the cellophane at the top securing with some ribbon and a nice big bow. Another plus to the hamper, it' great if like me you're wrapping impaired!
Where to source your materials:
Cellophane- your local florist will be happy to sell you a meter or two of cellophane at a very reasonable price, they usually stock a variety of patterns that you can choose from.
Other embellishments- Card shops are a great place to buy things like ribbon, the little foil shapes, bows, tissue paper and other little pretty bits and pieces to finish off your hamper in style.
Boxes- Shops like B+M and Wilkinsons often have different sized baskets available, and failing that there's always the internet!
-A few hamper ideas-
These are a few of the hampers I've made in the past, and one's I'm making at the minute.
Gaming hamper- Made for my husband last year as a fathers day gift from our children, it included: A new game for his xbox, some energy drinks as he was planning to stay up to complete the game on the day he got it, some chocolates and other treats to munch on as he was playing, a voucher for some Microsoft points and another for 1 months subscription to Xbox live. I hand made the box for this one and in total it cost just over 60 pounds, but did contain lots of expensive bits and pieces.
Coffee hamper- Currently in progress for this years gift to my mum's fiance. So far I have a selection of single serve sachets of different coffees for him to try, a battery operated milk frother (from Ikea only 1.25), a crossword for him to do while he's having a coffee, some of his favorite biscuits, some chocolate dipped teaspoons (these can be bought or made yourself using a guide from the internet), a coffee coaster and closer to the time I intend to add some of those caramel wafers Starbucks do that sit on your hot drink and go all gooey and yummy!
Pampering hamper- My sister asked for smellies for Christmas off me and my husband but it seemed a bit generic so I did her a hamper that included not only smellies but also a book to read in the bath while having a soak, some face masks (again can be bought or made from recipes found online), one of those towel hair wrap things (Poundland had them in not long ago) and some scented candles. This one could be adapted to a man by using male pampering products (duh!) or by changing it slightly to a more man specific theme such as 'foot care'.
Bookworms hamper- I loved this hamper as it allowed me to buy lots of little bits for my book loving brother-in-law without the farce of wrapping up lots of tiny presents. It contained among other little things, a book he'd been hinting at for a while, a little reading lamp that clips to the pages of your book, a novelty bookmark, some tickets to a book signing by one of his favorite authors and some novelty bookends.
Token gift baking hamper- I made my mum's fiance's granddaughters a little baking hamper each last year each contained a mini rolling pin, an apron, some simple cake recipes that I wrote out on nice card, some cake cases and a pack of biscuit cutters that came in a pack of 20 (1.99 from B+M) but I split between both hampers so they had 10 each. This could easily be adapted as a token gift for a man, by including more grown up biscuit cutters and an adults novelty apron, the recipe cards could even be made more adult by including recipes for more grown-up bakes such as rum and raisin cookies or dark chocolate and raspberry cake.
As a man myself (at least I was last time I checked), I feel I am in a perfect place to give some examples of ideal presents for guys. Thankfully even with out knowing about other guys we have a lot of general interests which are easy to cover, and with so many of these general interests you are almost certainly going to find that ever guy has at least 1 of them.
Firstly media. This is arguably my biggest single interest though is also the widest one so the most likely one that any single guy will fall into, in fact it's such a wide category that both guys and girls often fall into it. By media I mean film, music, magazines and games. You will almost certainly find that everyone will have something in those 4 categories that you can get them.
Whilst it's simple enough to get them a game, a CD or even a DVD a better choice, quite often would perhaps be to look at alternatives. For example a 2 month subscription to Netflix comes to around the same price as a new DVD (£11.98) and yet it's fair to say any normal guy will find that a 2 month subscription to Netflix will keep them a lot more entertained than single DVD. Likewise a subscription to a magazine, whilst more expensive could also be a perfect idea as could a year's Xbox Live or even a subscription to a music streaming service such as Spotify.
Of course not everyone needs any media, but everyone needs clothes. Sadly everyone's fashion tastes are different so clothing can be a difficult area to buy for. If you know the person you're buying for well, you may know what sort of clothing they would like, however sometimes things aren't that simple and you may need to resort to just getting really basic simple clothing, for example black socks (trust me almost everyone wears socks!). If however you can't help with clothing directly, you could be a little impersonal and instead buy some sort of vouchers for some where like Topman. With a voucher you've effectively gone "I'd like you to have some clothing, but I'll leave the actual choice to you", which some may like, and others may not, but the thought is there.
Of course clothing isn't the only option and instead you could appeal to their sense of smell instead of fashion and get them toiletries. Sometimes a nice aftershave can mean a lot, especially if the guy is the type to go out on the pull or go for dates with his other half. Like with clothing this can be a little tricky if you don't know the guy though the well regarded brands (Diesel for example) can be generally be bought at an affordable price.
Another good option and a very general option is alcohol. This year I'll be getting my grandparents various alcoholic drinks, for my grandfather in particular I know to get him a whiskey of some sort, like wise I'm assuming I'll be getting some random premium lagers (think Bitburger, Tyskie or Peroni) however for others it may be something more like Bailey's that tickles their fancy. As long as you know what sort of thing the guy in question drinks this should a really good present, however make sure you're not being a beer drinker some alcopops because they will laugh at you.
Of course for your none drinkers you can still treat their tastes buds with things such as expensive chocolates (think Lindt, Guylian, Ferrero Rocher and Thorntons) or even some sort of expensive sweets. However maybe an even better option is to pay for a meal for the person at a restaurant they like (you may even wish to share the meal with them if you're direct family or the guys partner).
For some people however they may want to splash out and give the man in their life a once in a life time chance and pay for them to do something special. This could be something like a holiday or alternatively tickets to a show, a concert or even a sports event. This again would depend not only on the guy in question but also price and what their upcoming schedule looks like. For example there is no point in buying a Manchester United fan tickets to see Leeds play Crystal palace or buying a rock fan tickets to see Neil Diamond. Make sure the gift here is appropriate as it can be a very expensive gift, especially if it's not the sort of thing that they would appreciate.
Whilst some of these suggestions are quite expensive you can also take a cheaper option and go with little stocking fillers. Things like a multi-function knife, or headphones are always appreciated, though even a silly thing like a huge novelty mug (thanks hun!) can be a perfect gift as long as you know the guy will use. In fact that's the key to any present, make sure it will be used!
Of course if none of those present suggestions work you can always go for the reliable old option of slipping a few quid in a card and letting them decide what to do with it. This may not be a very personal option though it is an option that will never fail if you're not that close.
Men! I am sure they are put on the earth to give us grief when it comes to buying presents. My husband, as far as men go, is actually fairly easy to buy for, but my father....well that is another story.
I can buy for my husband reasonably easily, even if I am not buying super exciting things. Luckily for me he likes classical music and books, therefore these are both good options and, as I live with him I know what he has and hasn't already got plus he is generally quite good at dropping hints. Other than this a nice tie is always a good but boring option or a wallet or shirt.
My father is a different story and to complicate matters his birthday is just a few days before Christmas. I usually resort in asking my mother for ideas and invariably socks end up on the short list of suggestions. This year I have already bought him a shirt, jumper and socks between birthday and Christmas, not that exciting up hey oh, there you go. One problem with buying shirts is that you need to know the guy's measurements, so it's not always a practical thing to buy. I now have my father's shirt colour and chest sizes, plus his sock size permanently imprinted on my brain.
In previous years I have bought for my father: a subscription to a sailing magazine, his suggestion; whiskey, a last resort, really bizarre things like boat bits, which he ordered for himself and once I even bought him a Meccano set! I think the Meccano set was the most interesting thing I ever got him and it was also a surprise, otherwise invariably I am stuck in a cycle of socks, shirts and jumpers.
Luckily, I don't have a brother, phew. I would love to know a guy that was into gadgety type trinket things as this would be much more fun shopping for. Men with certain hobbies would be also much easier to buy for, my father's hobby of sailing is a difficult one as its so specific, expensive plus living in London there aren't many sailing shops around. I guess men who support a football team would be easier to buy for, one could get a scarf, t-shirt or some other sort of memorabilia. But for me I am stuck with bing quite mundane items which are very rarely a complete surprise.
The aim of my present buying, especially for my father is to avoid that "look" when he opens and inspects it in this rather annoying way. I can usually tell by the look whether he is sort of impressed. He is not a man of many words so I also never really know for sure if something was a real hit or not!
Summing up my advice for "difficult" men would be:
1) find an ally such as the guy's wife or girlfriend, for father's asking mother's seems to work best, however never ask the mother in law!
2) if in doubt ask the guy himself, it may spoil the surprise but at least he gets what he wants
3) only buy gadgety gifts for guys who are into this type of thing
4) use it as an opportunity to sort your husband's wardrobe mis-haps out
5) don't buy anything that you yourself don't like - I once bought my husband a CD with a piece of music on which I find extremely annoying, unfortunately he really liked this music and played it all the time!
6) ...if you are dating a guy that is that difficult to buy for, consider trading him in for an easy-please kind of guy, it may be easier than spending a lifetime of worrying what to buy!!!!
How many times have you tried and tried to think of something new and original to give to a man, only to resort to a stereotypical gift such as a tool set, M&S shirt, DVD or some 'cool' and kitsch gadget from a gadget shop? When was the last time you actually bought a man something they actually wanted?
Gifts are curious things. With Christmas coming up, you'd like to think that you can choose something and keep it as a surprise, liking the whole mystery of gift giving and seeing that look on people's faces when they open their present and realise what it is, that genuine look of happiness etched on their face...or is it a look of polite acceptance as they realise you've put little or no effort in?
Or have you come here looking for ideas, desperate for something different this year? Well, all I can do is suggest things I've enjoyed receiving or brainwaves I've had over the years - neither of which are going to result in a particularly long review! You could go down the route of choosing the latest blockbuster on DVD or a really good book, if you just want something small and aren't looking to spend any significant amount of money.
Stepping it up a little bit, you could look for boxsets. Things such as the Lord of the Rings boxset in BluRay would be a welcome gift for anyone who has shown an interest in the film, as would a couple of tickets to see the forthcoming Hobbit film at the cinema, inevitably in 3D. In a similar vein, guys can be surprisingly sophisticated and secretly are likely to enjoy a trip to the theatre for a show/play/musical. It's something a little different to the usual.
For the loved one, then perhaps their favourite aftershave or an expensive gadget. For the former, for example, I've historically used Joop but my wife doesn't really like it. She bought Issey Miyake instead and I loved it. A good purchase. For the latter, go for a useful gadget they clearly need but may not have considered.
If they're into cars, then a rolled up copy of Top Gear isn't he best gift, whereas an experience day for example would be a great gift - I know of people going off and being able to drive all manner of different things, coming back with beaming smiles on their faces.
We have two kids - often the best gift is a promised day of peace, or being able to watch sport all day long. These are few and far between, but are nice when they happen. Or a day to play their favourite video game - boys never really stop being boys, you know!
These are just a few ideas - I'm easy to please and am always happy to receive anything. Those listed above are things I've enjoyed or would enjoy - so if any of you want to buy me something for Christmas.....
My boyfriend wants video games for Christmas but I do not want to be an Xbox widow while he numbs his brain in front of the screen for hours on end. This year I am treating him to a new watch. A watch is a great functional gift and as men do not usually wear much jewellery, this can be the perfect excuse to spoil the man in your life.
My dad plays golf so I will be buying his some golf related gifts maybe some new balls or tees in a presentation kit. There are some great golfing sets in house of Frazer is anyone is wanting something on a similar theme. I always struggle with my cousins as I do not want to spend too much money, I will be buying them beers from around the world as you can pick up soem great sets in Sainsbury's. If you do not like the ready made sets, you could make your own and put them in a nice hamper.
Men are hard to buy for but Christmas is a great way of giving your man the things you want. I always buy my boyfriend aftershave that I love the smell of and buy him smart underwear that I think he looks nice in. I buy him Clarins face products as he would never buy them himself but they make his skin nicer. I suppose this is a bit selfish of me so maybe I will buy him Fifa 13 after all. If in doubt, buy a man something to do with their favourite football team, this is much better than a game that will annoy you. I really get cross when he spends hours on the xbox instead of helping round the house and giving me one word answers while he swears at the televison. A football shirt is a great gift but these can be expensive, looking on the Liverpool website you can get other cheaper t-shirts that would be just as nicer presents.
==Predictable gifts or exciting ones==
I always buy the older men in my family bottles of whiskey, socks or cufflinks. I know they are a little bit boring and predictable but sometimes it is best to play it safe. If you have an adventurous man then you can buy some great experiences, such as driving a sports car and off roading. These are good presents and men that are in to cars would love them! Honestly, these would be my worst nightmare! Another experience that my boyfriend has actually expressed an interest in is hot air ballooning, this could be a gift for two of you and I can imagine that it is exhilarating and romantic at the same time.
Overall - men like to be spoilt too so show them some love this Christmas.
Men can be difficult to buy for in my experience. I tend to ask myself if they have any pastimes that I can buy them things for. For example both my husband and father in law are keen photographers so although I can't afford to buy them new cameras I can get them a new lens or equipment such as a soft box to help them take better photos. If they have everything they need then a good coffee table book on photography can give them some inspiration. My husband has now taken his PADI diving qualifications so last year I got him his own personalised dive stamp which he loves.
Older relatives like to be reminded of their childhood so it is worthwhile tracking down some old fashioned sweets for them although my father always claims that they were much bigger when he was a child. For a novel present these can be put into a DIY tool box which gives them a useful gift once the sweets have been eaten. Of course a bottle of whiskey also goes down well especially when combined with some nice glasses. DVD box sets work well in our family. Broadwalk Empire and Games of Thrones are both good.
For teens then any of the pc games such as Fifa, Black Ops or Grand Theft Auto are bound to be well received but for the budding detective then LA Noir is worth a look. At Christmas it is great to play some family games so Guitar Hero or Wii Sing can be entertaining for the whole family. Again headphones are a good idea especially as they have lots of different images that can be placed upon them such as skulls for the image conscious teen. These could be combined with an i-tunes voucher so they can download some new music to hear through their new headphones.
Men are definitely the easier sex to shop for. Men won't weigh up the value of relationship based on how much creativity you can put into a gift. Nor do they expect us to just know what they want if we really love them. My husband usually says exactly what he wants- a new video game - a fishing reel etc... and I just pick up a few extras - usually any well rated PS3 games I get a I good deal through ebay and Amazon. I know second hand games don't sound like the most exciting of gifts, but as long as they are in good nick they play just as well and can really help fill in a Christmas on a budget.
I usually don't go in for the novelty gifts, as they often get a quick laugh and are never seen again. However someone on dooyoo mentioned a cup which says "Don't say I never lift a finger" which I just have to have. Gadgets, electronics, and video games are usually the top gifts for men as well older boys. You know the old saying the only difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys. Video games are often an easy choice - but if splurging on an expensive gadget - I would make sure it is what he wants. Still simple MP3 players with their favourite music has gone down very well with a few non techie fellows know.
If you know some one practices a certain hobby then small items related to that hobby can be very nice as well - such as fishing weights, or line - just root through their stuff and see which ones they use -Christmas is a great excuse for snooping - if only the fishing stuff didn't stink so much. As far as really dear equipment though - unless he has said just which one he wants - I'd rather spoil the surprise by asking than get the wrong one. Of course asking my husband which guitar he wanted and having him pick it up this year didn't work so well. He wouldn't wait until Christmas and has been playing it ever since. On the plus side - we did get a £250 guitar for £50 in as new condition by checking Gumtree very day for 2 months until a brilliant deal came up and carefully researching brands and models online.
Gumtree can be a wonderful source for Christmas shoppers and you can get some real bargains. But many people put overpriced tat on at this time of year and you do need to research your purchases. For instance an electric guitar at £75 looks a decent price - until you see Argos has the exact same one for £67 brand new. My neighbour did ask me to help them find an X Box 360 with gumtree. The cheapest one going was an old white unit with one game at £120. We did some shopping online and she was able to find a brand new one - with warranty for only £20 more. Do not assume because it is used you are getting a good bargain. You should always know what an item sells for new before buying it used.
You also do have to watch out for crooks with Gumtree. One fellow asked me to meet him at an Internet cafe - where he claimed to be employed. It turned out he was not employed there - I asked but was waiting outside. He saw my husband step out of the car as he approached me and ran. Who wants to bet the wii had for sale was stolen? Needless to say - I wasn't buying electronic equipment in a parking lot without seeing it working anyway. Use common sense - be careful inviting strangers into your home and if at all possible - take a friend with you to view items. Meeting in a public place can be safer, but thieves won't want you to be able to see where they live either so be wary of remarkable deals without a land line number or any way to trace the person. If the sale is for large electronics and you are meeting in public - I see no harm in asking for a bill of sale with the persons details checked against their ID. But - using a bit of caution - Gumtree and other free ads can be a great place to pick up sports equipment, video games, musical instruments and more at a fraction of the price. Just keep in the mind the best deals go quickly so check frequently.
I think activity days are a grand idea for men as well. If you can think of activity they are sure to like a trip on a fishing boat with a friend ( anyone but me!), even if it is just a certificate and you have to wait for late spring to go. Other men are sure to enjoy things like race car driving, flying an airplane, etc... but these gifts are expensive. Still if you have a number of siblings trying to find the perfect present for Dad - pooling funds together might be a good idea.
I think one of the best presents you can give a husband or partner may well come before Christmas. Do they have a work do to go to - a social club outing or a chance for a night out with the boys? Save a few extra quid and tell them to go and enjoy themselves - and don't worry if they come in a bit a late. Coming home to smiling wife, a hot cup of tea and perhaps a few sandwiches or bowl of stew is going to make a much nicer gift for many men than an extra tie and and getting all sorts of grief for having a bit of fun with their mates. Of course I know woman worry, but in all honesty, he is less likely to look elsewhere when he is not dreading coming home. Another good pre Christams gift for the man in your life is an Amazon wish list. Men usually hate Christmas shopping and if all he has to do is pick and click on a couple of itmes he doesn't have to feel pressured to find the right thing.
Widowers - I think this deserves a special category. We can add divorced men, and those who have never married to this category as well. It is a well know fact women adjust to life on their own better than men do. Christmas can be a very lonely time for a man who has lost his wife - especially if he never had children of his own or they happened to have moved away as adults. A phone call from Australia isn't going to make up for spending Christmas alone. My first suggestion if you know someone who may fall into this category is just to ask "Where are you having your Christmas Dinner?" It's easy to assume they might be going to another relative's house but if not inviting someone around may make their Christmas a bit less lonely. If even they prefer to spend the day alone - it's nice to know someone thought of you.
Assuming they do have a family member to spend Christmas with though - a nice gift for elderly men living alone might be a selection of carefully prepared and frozen meals. Men usually enjoy home cooking, but most don't bother often when they are the only one left at home. Or better yet, just inviting them over for a nice home cooked meal. I used to bring meals to a couple of pensioners who were quite ill at the time and not really able to get out. Sadly I often found that a gentleman with leukemia had eaten very little. Another friend and I discovered if we brought dinner, sat down and ate with him ( and then cleaned up of course) he did seem to eat much more. Then again maybe our cooking was so bad he only ate it in front of us to be polite :) But a shut in may very much enjoy company over a home cooked meal. Sometimes for an older person - especially a very ill one - the nicest gift we can give is our time.
Buying presents for men is a nightmare - unless of course you are a man, in which case you probably think it's a doddle. I'm convinced that if I gift-wrapped a couple of copies of the Screwfix and Wickes catalogues, both my husband and step-father would be happy bunnies throughout the holiday period. The brains of men are just not wired the same as those of women. They seem to be fundamentally not too fussed about the frills and furbelows of Christmas and absolutely happy to tell you exactly what they want and where you can get it. Luckily for me, my husband can take this to the extreme and buys his own presents and then tells me what I owe him. It's not exactly romantic but he's guaranteed to get what he wants.
After 15 years together I can count a long list of presents that were politely accepted and then consigned to the back of the drawer. Most clothes fit that category although for some reason dressing gowns and slippers seem to be acceptable. I assume it's because men don't actually have to go out in them and be seen on the street. Your expressions of present-love are acceptable when they can be constrained within the four walls of your home.
Jewellery and watches would be a disaster unless they've been specified with the precision of an engineering contract. You might think the gold-tone is nicer than the silver but you'd probably be wasting your money if that's what he wants. Don't guess - it's just too risky. Men don't generally do very well at the feminine art of 'dropping hints' so just ask them what they want, and ideally drag them along to the store. If you don't do either of those things, hang on to the receipts.
Books are a great choice for anyone you know REALLY well and not such a good idea if you don't. Please avoid the assumption that every man loves the Guinness Book of Records. My parents gave hubby one of those last Christmas and it was handed on to a friend two days later. Assuming that all men love to sit on the loo memorising facts and figures and batting averages is dangerous and mine clearly doesn't relate to that at all (despite the Screwfix catalogue fixation). I collect suitable books throughout the year, stashing them away in the wardrobe. My husband is particularly interested in obscure art and pottery and I can always find something that will keep his attention if I track down the right potter. If you want to buy a book for a man, just make sure you KNOW he'll like it rather than HOPE he'll like it. Traditionally the 'sporting autobiography' is a classic 'manly' gift - but don't buy a rugby fanatic the latest cricket biog or vice versa and make sure it's someone that your recipient has expressed at least some interest in and not just whatever's on discount in WH Smith on Christmas Eve.
Most women think that smellies are an easy option - come on lads, everyone's got to wash haven't they? Whilst your metrosexual male might yearn for designer fragrances and body products, many will just think that all that sort of 'stuff' is about as exciting as getting a box of detergent or a bottle of washing up liquid. If their wife or mother normally picks up the shampoo/shower gel/ whatever with the weekly shopping, then a bottle of nicely scented bubbly stuff is not going to hit the mark. Equally, despite some evidence to the contrary based on the people who review them on here, 99.9% of men (and quite a lot of women) think that scented candles and bath bombs are utterly pointless.
Booze is another traditional favourite and a nice bottle of single malt might go down a treat if your intended male likes that sort of thing. However, a bit like buying perfume for ladies, don't guess, don't buy a cheap copy and don't tell yourself "All Scottish Islands are essentially the same".
For husbands and boyfriends who've already got everything they could possibly need or want, I recommend tickets for something - a day at the races, a sporting event, a night at the theatre or a flying lesson/bungee jump/tandem parachute/wind tunnel or whatever you think they'd love that won't make them throw up. Or if you think there's no harm in a bit of self-interest, then pick a nice weekend away somewhere you'd like to go. My husband and I did a lot of weekend breaks when we were first married and would do more if it weren't the only time I see him these days.
Personalised presents such as photo calendars, photo-books and whimsical mugs with pictures of their favourite cat on are also options to consider. My husband has an entirely irrational love of mugs and seems to pick them up all over the place. I don't get the idea of a mug as a present at all but if you are looking for a present for the kind of person who will open the cupboard to dozens of the damned things and say cheerily "Well you can't have TOO many mugs, can you?" then you'll not have to try too hard.
Fortunately I don't have too many men to buy for at Christmas time. I'm eyeing up a remote control helicopter for my friend's husband, although he seemed quite happy with last year's DVDs of 'Ice Road Truckers' and we're only sad that 'World's Toughest Trucker' isn't out on DVD yet or he'd love it. My step-father has cancer and can't get out and about too much so we're buying him a surround sound for his TV (if I can get hubby to stop 'testing' it and put it back in the box). He's previously had electric toothbrushes, new sleeping bags for his camper van and various manly 'tool' type presents. My husband will buy what he fancies and then tell me what I owe him but he'll also no doubt get a ton of DVDs that I fancy watching and a few other things I'll have grabbed in fear of him having nothing much to open on Christmas day. I really should accept that when he says he's "not bothered" about presents that he actually means that he's "not bothered" about presents.
Footnote - for those who are not so 'au fait' with the world of builders' merchants, Screwfix is a firm that sell everything for the handyman. Screwfix is NOT a porn magazine.