Gifts for Men

Absolutely no idea what to buy for the man in your life? Join the club!

It’s Husband’s birthday, and I struggle every year to find a gift that I think/hope/pray he will like. (I blame my mother-in-law for having a baby so near to Christmas.) It’s impossible. Anything that he might need, he has either bought for himself, or has recently received at Christmas; which leaves me with nothing. Literally, nothing.

I know that some couples don’t buy gifts for each other, but we do—it’s one of the ways we express our love. Husband is extremely good at this in reverse, and I have over the years received many thoughtful gifts.

This year is worse than ever, because I cannot even think of little things to buy for him. I know that he already has a stash of chocolates and shortbread and men-magazines to read. (I should clarify, by men-magazines I mean magazines about cars, not naked women.) In desperation, I searched online shops under the ‘gifts for men’ tab. This is what I discovered:

Alcohol related gifts. These seem to be popular (but he already has these from Christmas). Men, it seems, like craft beers, whiskey, and (way down the list) gin-making kits. There are many variations on this, including beer mats/towels/tee-shirts, and appropriately shaped glasses and openers. Plus, of course, the actual drinks. A good idea if not buying right after Christmas, when the cupboards are full of half-full bottles of alcohol.

Curry related gifts. Strangely, this appears as the next popular choice. Clearly men in England eat a lot of curry. Many of the related gifts involve growing chillies, or sets of spices, or aprons. Do men also enjoy cooking curry? This has not been my experience.

Coffee is third on the list. Maybe after cooking curry and drinking beers/whiskey/gin, the man in your life likes to settle down with an exotic coffee? Unfortunately, Husband has settled on Ily coffee made in a cafetiere, and in his mind, nothing else compares in terms of flavour and ease—so not for him.

Massage devices. (Again, I will clarify: neck/feet massage kits, nothing dodgy!) I don’t know what Husband thinks about these, but he has never wanted a spa holiday, so I’m assuming he wouldn’t want to sit still long enough for something resembling a hairdryer to scratch his neck.

Toiletries, with various spicy smells. Do men want to smell like an Egyptian souq? I don’t think mine does. I think he would worry if I gave him a gift encouraging him to be cleaner.

Lego. This has proved popular in the past, and has provided many contented (and noisy) hours while watching telly with me, making various well-engineered vehicles. However, I think I have given too many of these recently. Also, it seems that once constructed, these intricate feats of engineering can never be dismantled, but must be displayed on a table or shelf. My life is too short to dust them (and no one else is going to) so they simply become dirty toys that are regularly smuggled by him into the sitting room (which I try to keep clean and tidy ready for unexpected guests/visits by the police) or, worse, on top of my kitchen units.

Multi-tools are also a thing that apparently, men desire. There are many varieties, and they resemble a grown-up version of a penknife, with a hammer, screw-driver, saw, all folded into one tool. I cannot believe this is ever useful. Either it would be too heavy to be fun, or the tools would be too flimsy for real work. But perhaps I need to do further research, maybe every man dreams of owning an all-in-one tool that he can produce from his pocket to save the world/fix the wobbly table at a moment’s notice. (If all else fails, this might have to be the gift this year.)

Lamps on heads are also a thing. You can buy them incorporated into a natty woolly hat, or on an headband. Maybe men all want to be coal miners really, and it makes them feel butch? Or perhaps the whole ‘torch held in the teeth’ thing happens more often than I think? But I don’t have the sort of husband who does much D.I.Y. in dark, inaccessible places, and I think it would be like buying me a mop—so I don’t want to encourage that sort of gift-giving.

Finally, there is a whole lot of tat which is either too sexual to mention here, or too useless to even bother with. Do men really want a structure to keep their bedside table tidy? Or an illuminated toilet seat? Or a pen that can bend into various shapes? A grow-your-own bonsai kit looks fun, but the sceptic in me feels it would never work. Therefore, I am stumped. Maybe I will dig out my knitting needles in the hope that a homemade gift will show that I care. Or maybe not. Please send help.

Hoping you find what you’re looking for this week.
Thanks for reading.
Take care.
Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson
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