Yesterday I clicked on the old Patch to see what was new, and my heart fluttered just a bit: there, on the front page, was I was suddenly all a twitter (not the social media kind, mind you; just the standard, excited-old-person kind), wondering what Lori might recommend as gifts for the man/men in your life. I clicked on the link, hoping to get some ideas for my own sad, empty Christmas list.
Instead, I got a list of things not to buy for my wife. I realized then my contextual error: instead of a guide for women on what to buy for men, it was a guide for men on what to buy for women.
I am perfectly aware that my resulting disappointment had nothing to do with Lori's stellar writing (the piece is hysterical; you should go read it now) but with my own stupidity. But all was not lost, however, as I decided that--as a service to those ladies out there who might be tempted to over-think the purchase of a gift for the fellow in their life and end up buying him a plum ascot or likewise frivolous accoutrement--I would produce a straight-forward guide to those items that any man would most like to receive at Christmas.
Before we begin, let me preface this list with the following: a man, if inclined to have a particular item and being of the means to afford said item, will usually go out and just purchase the blame thing when it suits him. (Unless the man has agreed to give his wife control of the finances and therefore never buys anything without first consulting her, or just never buys anything period.) Therefore, the likelihood of your man actually needing something for Christmas is slim.
Second, should a man have an item in mind that he has not already purchased, he will, as Lori noted, tell you what he wants you to buy, usually with a painful degree of specificity, so as to (theoretically) make your efforts to purchase the item easier. To wit: instead of saying, "I'd like a book for Christmas", he would most likely say, "Hey, if you're going to get me something, I'd like the entire collection of Phillip Marlowe stories by Raymond Chandler. You can get it in limited edition hardback at Barnes & Noble for something like $50, or you can buy it on iTunes for $35.99." Whether you purchase this item or not is likely irrelevant to him; he will, if he really wants it, eventually purchase it himself. If he doesn't really want it, well your not buying it for him won't cause him to run into the bathroom and sit on the toilet sobbing. It is likely he'll just shrug.
Third, the follow items are too personal for you to even attempt to purchase for him: televisions, computers, smart phones, tablets, MP3 players, surround sound equipment, tools, video game consoles, video games, video game controllers, Blu-Ray players, Blu-Ray movies, cars, car parts, motorized recreational vehicles of any kind, golf clubs, athletic gear, CDs (if anyone still actually buys those), ink pens, journals, shirts, pants, shoes, underwear, hair care products, deodorant, cologne, books, magazine subscriptions, whatever-of-the-month-club subscriptions, beverages, theater tickets, movie tickets, season tickets to his favorite team and coffee.
There are probably more, but such things are best discussed with your man.
So, what does that leave? Not much. But here are a few items you will find success with:
1. Gift Cards: to anywhere. But especially to places where he can either eat, buy electronic things, or play golf. Just make sure to give him a gift card that will cover the cost of a purchase as opposed to being a nice down payment.
2. Ties: just make sure to include the receipt.
3. A Free Day: I realize that many fellows take these as they so desire, but if you have a man who is highly unlikely to ever take time for himself, give him a free day to go do whatever.
4. A Letter: they'll tell you different, but seeing in writing just what you love/appreciate about them does any man a whole lotta good. We may be quiet, but we need affirmation too. Just make sure we get time alone to read it, in case we accidentally get something in our eye while reading it.
5. Personal Time: you can think of your own thing for this one. Given that we're talking about men, it shouldn't be too challenging.
I could go on, but honestly, anything more than what I've listed and we're just getting into things that he would smile politely at and put away in a sock drawer (the masculine equivalent of cryogenic stasis).
Hopefully this little post has given you some clarity as we head into the season of giving. Now that you know most anything you would want to buy he would prefer to buy himself, you are free to receive the ultimate gift of mankind:
The knowledge that, since he is so hard to shop for, you can just go shopping for yourself.
Merry Christmas, ladies. Enjoy a Black Friday without regret.