Every year for my husband’s birthday I start thinking about the gift months in advance. Buying for a guy you’ve been with for a while (which means a lot of gifts already given) or who doesn’t necessarily have an obvious hobby (looking at you, golf and music lovers) is HARD. And while experiences are always a solid option, what to do when you want to give a tangible gift? It causes more anxiety than it should. Well fear not my friends, I’ve compiled a curated list of things he’s sure to love. I’ve personally given each of these gifts to someone in my life, each very well-received.
- Overnight Bag: Every guy needs a great bag he can throw stuff into for 1-2 nights on the road. Now that’s he’s got a job and all that, the backpack from middle school should probably go. J. Crew has plenty of options, like this classic one in blue with brown leather. Or try this gray one from Herschel works if he’s more laid back. Herschel has sturdy duffle bags in tons of colors from funky floral to straight-up all black, so you can choose the one that bets fits his style. And some have a spot below just for shoes. Your bf more of a classic guy? This leather number from Barbour is a little pricier, but he’ll use it forever. Plus, you’ll get to admire your own great taste at every sleepover.
- Watch: This one’s more obvious, but it’s a failsafe for a reason. Every guy can use a great watch, and you don’t have to break the bank to find one he’ll love. Here are some of my personal favorites in a range of prices.
- Nixon: These are really well-made, expensive looking watches for a fraction of the price. I got Tim one before, and went for the classic style in brown. Want something more sleek? This one in all black is a winner.
- Shinola: This Detroit-made brand is very hot right now. Again, a range of styles and prices, here are two I like. The Runwell and The Canfield.
- Lodge Cast Iron Skillets: There’s no single item that’s gotten more use in our home than our Cast Iron Skillets. You can use them for anything from frittatas, to meatballs, to baked chicken. The beauty is that they can be used stovetop as well as IN the oven for baking. Super versatile. I didn’t even know what they were when my husband got them, and I even use them from time to time. Williams Sonoma has a whole assortment of them for a well-versed chef. Or here’s a good Two-Piece Set on Amazon that’s only $37 if you want to start with the basics. Now sit back and let the frittatas roll in.
- Clarisonic: I got my husband one of these 2 years ago for his birthday and his initial response was less than enthused. 2 weeks of using it during his AM shower, and he was obsessed. Now he’s all “my face is so smooth and exfoliated”, like HE’S the one who thought of it. Anyway, if your guy isn’t really into skin care, but you can talk him over the hump into using it, chances are he’ll love it too. He can (and should) use his preferred face wash with it. I find that Skinstore.com always has a coupon code, so if you look, you can usually find a recent code for 20% off: Men’s Clarisonic Starter Kit, bringing the price to around $180-ish plus tax.
- Personalized Pocket Knife: If your guy is the adventurous type, he will most likely love a personalized pocket knife. Benchmade is a newer company that’s known among the guy community for quality, long-lasting gear. Try one of these “every day carry” Pocket Knives in a variety of styles and price ranges. (Some as low at $100). Don’t forget to add his initials on the blade for that special touch!
- His Favorite Thing: Finally, consider another version of something that your guy wears or uses all the time. For example, every year for Christmas, my dad asks for flannel shirts. That’s what he wears every day, but he hates shopping, and if he did buy one it would be the cheapo $5 version at Costco. What makes this present so special to him, is that I go to the store pick out the BEST brand of flannel shirt (Carhartt) in the BEST colors in his exact size. I do all the work for him! That’s the best kind of present. Something that you would love to have but would never buy for yourself. If your man has a bomber jacket in navy he wears everyday, find one in a different fabric in olive green. Or if he loves coffee, order a couple new roasts for him to try. Does he buy a Pelligrino every day at work? Get a soda stream for the house. Men are pretty straight-forward in their tastes, and chances are, if they love something that much, they are going to be thrilled to get a different version of it.
When all else fails, just ASK him if there’s anything he’s been eyeing lately. It doesn’t make the gift any less special if he gives you a hint, and you can be completely confident he’ll be happy.