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What Does He Really Want for the Holidays?

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January via Wikimedia CommonsMen are notoriously difficult to buy for. And nothing stings quite like a beloved’s look of apathy (disappointment!) when he unwraps what you thought was the perfect present. In search of answers, I sought out advice from my “informal panel of men.” With their help, I present three general principles for giving gifts to men and a few ideas to get you started.

1. Gifts should be functional.

Most men don’t want superfluous gifts. They want something that will make their lives better. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck buying socks and underwear, but have a clear goal in mind for what you buy–even if that goal is entertainment or relaxation.

2. Gifts should be quality.

Men don’t want gifts for the gifts’ sake, so buying cheap items to fill his stocking will probably lead to disappointment. Whatever you buy him, buy quality. (If you’re set on giving him a homemade gift, Art of Manliness has a great list on man-friendly presents that can be lovingly hand-crafted.)

3. Gifts should be something you know he wants.

Men are willing to ruin the surprise to get the gifts they’re wishing for. Consider shopping for something together. Or, buy him something off his wish list. Buying something you know he wants doesn’t make the present less meaningful or exciting for him.

A Few Man-Approved Gift Ideas

  • Clothes, especially items to “round out” his wardrobe: nice socks, slacks, pocket squares…
  • A coupon for a date night, all the arrangements made by you at a cost that won’t stress you out
  • A jar of tokens for 30 minutes of free time that he can use, guilt free
  • A  subscription to a magazine he enjoys
  • A gift certificate to a store where he likes to window-shop
  • An “experience” he will enjoy, like sky diving, snorkeling, or a massage

The kinds of gifts men like aren’t necessarily the ones that are fun to buy or make, but they can earn a grateful smile when he opens a present that is just right.

What do you think? Are men’s gift desires different than women’s? What has been the most successful gift you’ve ever bought for your husband? Let us know in the comments.

3 responses »

  1. These came at just the right time. I was kind of stuck with my husband.=) I especially like the token idea. Free time is a pricey commodity with 4 kids.

  2. Great ideas! Hubby is always the hardest to buy for, since I want things to be meaningful and not just a bunch of stuff off his wish list. I would caution, though– not all guys appreciate clothes. Mine absolutely hates receiving clothes of any sort, even ones with his favorite sports logos.

    • I agree about the clothes. Some men hate things they don’t buy themselves. On the other hand, my husband hasn’t bought himself a stitch of clothing in the three+ years we’ve been married.


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