Holiday Gifting Guide:
A Lesson on Tactically Choosing Gifts for Men

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you!) if you make a purchase using any of these links.*
If the men in your life are anything like mine, they’re impossible to please. My dad is king of the polite “pretend to like it” reaction, my brothers never wear anything I buy them (and they claim it’s cause it doesn’t fit… I’m pretty sure XL t-shirts fit everyone), and I don’t even bother half the time buying things for my significant other.


As an only daughter, tomboy turned beauty queen, and member of the male-dominated finance workforce, I believe, over the course of my 25 years, I’ve come to perfect the art of giving men presents when they fail to provide you with a detailed list of desirable items in a timely manner. Since Christmas is right around the corner– cray, I’ve started narrowing down some options for the guys on my shopping list. Below are my sure-fire ways to make them smile during the holidays:



1. Wine, Beer, and Hard Liquor:

No explanation necessary.

2. Original Newspapers

like the Wall Street Journal or New York Times on the day they were born: My bosses give these to clients for their special milestones all the time. Signature Gifts searches through their aggregate databases to see if they have the specific paper on the exact day in history you want (some papers weren’t published on Sundays, some papers on a special day may be completely out of circulation, etc), and if they do, they’ll frame and personalize it for a really unique and sentimental gift.


3. Food

Guys love to eat. I’m partial to Harry & David and Williams-Sonoma‘s sweet treats, but quite honestly, I’ve come to realize they’ll eat practically anything, as long as it’s packaged pretty.


4)     Putting Sets and Golf Paraphernalia

Men are programmed to play, or to pretend to play, golf. The more evidence of their hobby, the better. Brookstone and Target make some great and inexpensive putting greens, plus a handful of other golf toys.


5. Tools

Tools are my go-to man gift when I have absolutely no idea what to give (and when a gift card is out of the question). Household tool sets, grill tool sets, and even kitchen tools… they’ll at least appreciate the gift for its practicality.


6. Sports Cable Packages

Men will love you if you’re willing to subscribe them to a Digital TV Sports Cable Package. I did this for my brothers when they were actually into tennis–some decades ago–, and although I watch it more than they do, they were initially really excited about the cable addition.


7. Remote Control Cars

Cause you’re never too old to run a little miniature sports car into a wall.



They’ll never buy it themselves. Just make sure it’s a non-intrusive and mild scent, like Nautica Voyage, which T has been wearing since he was 14.


9 & 10. Classic Ties and Cuff Links

Boys will always appreciate a classic and professional tie, and most aren’t willing to spend a bunch of money on fancy cuff links. Monogrammed cuff links, like this hand-painted pair from Brooks Brothers, make amazing gifts and actually really enhance their professional demeanor. As I’ve said before, I work with virtually all men, so I hear about all the latest must-haves in upscale professional fashion, and fancy pants cuff links are in.


As difficult as they are to please, they’re extremely easy to offend.  For claiming to be the less sensitive of the sexes, I believe boys truly take things to heart and let their feelings fester. Case in point, my mom bought  my brother a treadmill last year… Ya, it was practical. Ya, I was thrilled. Ya, it was her way of indirectly telling him to work out, and he was kind of upset about it. Let my mother be an example for all of us. These are the things to never, under any circumstances, buy men (aforementioned treadmill not included):



1. Candles

One year I bought my dad a candle in a scent that should have been reminiscent of his childhood (thoughtful, I KNOW), and he literally said, “Is this a joke?” Spare yourself the awkwardness, and stay away from Yankee and Bath and Body Works at all costs.


2. Tickets to a Play

Especially not a musical.


3. Video Games

Are you wanting to never see them again? If this is some kind of strategic ploy, buy away.


4. Rogaine

“Hey honey, your hair is disappearing, and it’s gross.”


5. Anything Knitted 

Actually apply this to everyone. Not that knitted garments can’t be nice and useful, it’s just a stereotypical White Elephant gift. Save your energy, and…don’t



What’s the worst reaction you’ve ever gotten from a guy on Christmas? I’m hoping I’m not alone in my collection of awkward gift giving anecdotes. Time to go shopping!


Blog Signature


25 thoughts on “Holiday Gifting Guide:
A Lesson on Tactically Choosing Gifts for Men

  1. Ashley Nicholas

    One year, Ryan said he only wanted tennis stuff. He already had several rackets, so I bought him TONS of tennis balls and the tape you wrap around the racket, and other little things like that…and all he said was "Wow, that's a lot of tennis balls…" I pulled a "Oh, this is just the FIRST half of your present" & promptly gave him a new video game the next day.

  2. Kenzie S

    This was a fun post to read! I agree with all of the guys gifts except for the golf and the cuff links/tie for my other half. He loves disc golf, but not regular golf ha ha, and he never has a reason to wear cuff links or a tie.. and he doesn't own anything that could even resemble a suit.
    I love the what not to buy them! Spot on!

  3. All Natural Katie

    Great ideas! I like the idea of sports packages for guys, but that might also backfire like the video games unless you're really into sports.

    Yes, no candles. Not for anyone. Never!

    Thank you for stopping by All Natural Katie.

  4. Mikal Rey

    Don't forget tickets to sports games. If you plan it right you can make a really cool day out of it. One year I went to a Miami Dolphins game followed by a Miami Heat game. It was a great time and was relatively cheap.

  5. ofpinsandneedles

    My husband LOVES knitted presents. (Although I think I spoilt him because the first few scarves I gave him I'd knitted myself). It makes him feel cosseted and loved. He also likes theatre tickets … and the other day suggested we go see The Book of Mormon! (And he buys himself retro video game consoles).

    He also loves subscriptions to magazines (New Scientist, Private Eye, The Spectator), remote control cars and helicopters, and cufflinks.

    So I guess we get it half right!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *