Well, first of all, don’t get him a tie. A tie for Christmas is a silk letter that says “I don’t know anything about you”. Everyone wears ties, that’s the point. The only thing lazier than a tie is a pack of underwear, since you don’t even need a job to need that. If you have to get a guy a gift and you have no idea where to start, the worst place to go is generic. It’s overdone, it seems insincere, and worst of all, the dude can probably just buy it better himself. If you want to do this gift giving thing right, you have to dig a little deeper into what you know about the man as a person.
For His Interests
In keeping with the obvious option being the inferior one, never get a nerd the thing he’s nerdy over. Don’t try to rock your wine snob’s world by going up one more shelf than usual at the liquor store and don’t get your movie buff some poster or special edition you can get at the mall. The thing about enthusiasts is that they’ve already poured over every piece of relevant material within their narrow field that you could ever see or get your hands on. The special one-of-a-kind thing you think you found? They know it. They’ve already seen it and they could tell you the pros and cons of it without looking away from their phones. Instead, get them something one step removed from their favorite past time. Big whiskey drinker? Try a grown man’s flask from a brand like Best Made, who make all their gear in the U.S.. Gaming nut? Maybe a coffee table book full of promotional art, design sketches, and artist interviews from his favorite developer (like this one from Capcom). The point we’re making here is to get him something that aligns with his interests and maybe even feeds directly into them, but is more of a compliment than a direct contribution to whatever collection they’re curating.
Still want to get him something he’ll wear? Barring ties (seriously, don’t) your safest bet is his accessories, but not in the way you’d think. Rather than be one more face in the pantheon of people who have bought him a leather wallet for the holidays, look into his sensibilities a bit and go for something off the beaten path. Speaking of, a guy who loves hiking and the outdoors probably has enough socks and scarves. A rugged leather bag from a brand like Bilykirk, however, will keep him sharp at work and feel like something he’d take on the trail with him. Likewise, you can help your workaholic celebrate his promotion in style with a sterling silver money clip or some fun (but appropriate) cufflinks. Men tend to be extremely utilitarian, especially when buying for ourselves, so giving us something functional that plays into our lives or lifestyles is a great way to show that you care.
For His Home
The final way to approach this is both the easiest and hardest route to go: getting him something for his place. Yes, you have the near-infinite world of interior design stores, art galleries, mom & pop shops, etc. but those all mean jack if they don’t align with his tastes and what he actually wants to see where he lives. This is another arena where knowing the person you’re getting a gift for is uncannily useful. Again, the easiest path is usually dumb – don’t get a vegan a cactus or a chef some cookware – but a step or two away from the easiest is usually money. A terrarium is perfect for the guy who loves nature but couldn’t keep a pet fly alive, for instance. Similarly, a rugged looking sculpture or bookend will work for a more traditionally masculine guy. Go for something that’s either tastefully abstract or balls-to-the-wall manly like this wooden carving of a gear.
The point of all this is that it actually is the thought that counts. Odds are, the best gifts you’ve ever received have been silly, cheap, or weird, but they’ve come from close friends or family who knew you well enough to know you’d love it. Anyone can give anyone else a gift, it’s putting time and thought into the process that makes it special. Yes, we’ve suggested some cool stuff above that any guy would be lucky to have, but the point of this article is to stress how important it is to give from the heart. All any of us really want is to know that someone likes us for who we are and cares that we are happy, and a gift is your chance to show them that one of those someones is you.
Just don’t get him a tie.