Creative Gift Ideas for Men (How to Pick the Right Present for a Guy)
How to Find Perfect Gift Ideas for the Man in Your Life
It's hard to find the right gift for a guy. Whether it's Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Christmas or his birthday, you're never sure what will be different, thoughtful and creative.
We all know the jokes about ties, but whether it's our father, husband, grandfather or brother (or son!) it's hard to think of just the right gift for a guy. These tips will help you come up with something interesting and unique this year.
First, What Is Special About This Man?
Because there's no way to list every possible gift idea in one article (although we will list several), here are some ways to get your imagination flowing and help you narrow your focus on a gift just for him. Make a brief mental or written list of the qualities and interests your dad, husband, boyfriend or granddad has and you can easily recognize gift ideas he will like, appreciate and enjoy.
- What are his hobbies? Does he tinker with things?
- Does he love having the latest new tech toy?
- Does he enjoy photography?
- Is he into hunting or other outdoor interests?
- What sports does he enjoy playing or watching?
- What sort of music does he enjoy?
- Is he openly affectionate or is he the quiet, reserved type?
- Does he collect anything?
- Does he read books or magazines?
- Is he into computers and online games?
Answer all the questions above, plus any others that come to mind. Whether the man in your life spends his free time at the computer, behind a camera lens, watching sports on TV or reading, you'll be more focused on what to get him when you write these things out and think about them for a bit.
How to Give a Gift Your Man Will Love
When you go over the list you made above, you'll start picturing the personality of the man you're buying for, and what motivates him.
This can help you come up with more creative ideas than if you walk into the department store and go by the "Gifts for Father's Day" counter (which is most certainly stocked with the usual ties, socks, shirts and other stuff that probably already fills his drawers and closet).
Hobby and Interest Gifts:
Depending on your budget, you can either buy something small but thoughtful, or go all out for that major purchase he's been pondering. If you know he's into hunting or photography, but you really don't understand the gear, ask his closest buddy about the latest equipment might be, or what little device is missing from his gear.
Hunters and Fishermen
Hunting and fishing enthusiasts might like something simple but incredibly useful, such as anything waterproof that can be used in any type of weather or a case that will protect expensive guns, ammunition or tackle.
If he's had his eye on a new gun or rod, see if his best buddy can tip you off on what to get.
Even if you can't afford the full price, a gift certificate toward that goal will be appreciated. It will show him you paid attention to what he likes, and you support his hobby.
Your amateur (or even professional) photography dude will drool over the latest new name-brand camera. Canon and Nikon have both released recent high-end DSLRs (the Canon EOS 5D Mark iii and the Nikon D800); both cameras have been given great reviews and are hot items currently. If he's happy with his camera body, perhaps he would like a new lens. Or, you may score a hit with something as simple as a new, high-quality filter or a professional-grade camera bag (especially if they have added to their kit and outgrown the bag(s) they currently use.
You can also get gift certificates (and a 'permission slip' from you) for a weekend at a favorite hunting retreat, a photography show or weekend meet-up, or a spot that lends itself to good hunting or great photos.
Do some research to find out what is missing from his collection and see if you can locate a good find to add to it. Give him a book on the topic (some of these are very expensive and are used as major sources for research and appraising collectors' items). Buy tickets and a weekend trip for a convention of collectors in his field.
Handymen and Woodworkers
If your dad or hubby is a tinkerer (woodwork, tools, handyman) and if it is truly an outlet he uses to relax, do some research on ways you can help add to his tools or upgrade his workbench. With some careful listening (and maybe by tagging along when he goes to the store for supplies) you can learn what he has been thinking of getting.
Gift certificates have already been mentioned here, and they might sound boring, but they can be great choices that allow your favorite guy to pick what he wants and at the same time show your support for him to splurge on himself a bit. Wrap the gift certificate creatively by putting it in a new gadget box or including a loving and humorous letter to "The Hunter in You," or "To My Favorite Photographer."
Gifts for Sports Fans
Whether he plays a sport or watches one, there are many gift options he might enjoy this year. He will probably enjoy:
- Tickets for an away game (including hotel reservations)
- Tickets to a significant home game
- Season's Tickets for his favorite team
- Official permission to attend a practice session in person (some sports teams allow this if you research it and submit a request)
- A book about his favorite team or the sports heroes he admires
- Books by experts in the sports he plays (you may even be able to get autographed copies)
- Collectors' editions of classic books on the sport
- A coffee table book about the sport
- New binoculars
- Tickets for a VIP luncheon, reception or other event where a sports legend might be speaking or appearing
- Gift certificate for a new golf club, bowling ball, tennis racquet or other piece of gear, with a framed photo of him enjoying the sport.
- A set of photos of your child or children enjoying the sport - these can be cute and hilarious, especially if you can dress them in the right gear
Gifts for Music Lovers
What guy doesn't love his 'toons'? You can come up with a gift that might surprise him more than you think.
Classic Collections: He may already have the full set of collections by his favorite artist, but maybe not. Once in a while, collections are issued in one country but not another. Check to see if there are anthologies being distributed outside your borders and order in time for delivery. He might also enjoy music from artists that inspired the artists he loves, for a new twist on things.
Gift Cards for Downloads
A generous gift card will show him you really don't mind those little expenses every month or so, even if you've complained now and then. Buy a few recent industry mags and wrap them together with the card and your Father's Day card.
Surprise him with titles about his favorite artists, type of music or genres: Biographies, collections of tour pics, books about the genres he loves and other music-related tomes will keep him occupied for hours and remind him of your thoughtfulness each time he opens them.
Tickets to Where the Action Is
Is live music his passion? Get tickets to one of the festivals in and around Austin, Texas, such as South by Southwest or the Austin City Limits Festival. If timing isn't right for those events, how about a weekend in Austin, where he can tour the live venues, eat barbecue and stroll Sixth Street (with you, of course!). Does he like Country? Give him a weekend in Nashville or Branson, Missouri.
Chances are, you either live in or near a city where big-name artists or groups tour. Check upcoming calendars and get tickets for the next big event. If it's out of town, that's even better—you'll both enjoy a getaway, with a show and dinner.
Gifts for Quiet, Reserved Guys
Maybe your guy is gruff on the outside (or shy or quiet) and doesn't like to be openly affection. But you know he cares and he's sort of a softie underneath.
This type of guy may not like gushy sentiment and might get uncomfortable with open displays of affection. But he will be touched by gestures that show you realize the great guy you have, or the great dad he's been. Here are ways to show him you care, and that you know he cares:
Digital Photo Frames
Guys love these things—they're a combination gadget and useful item, and they can load tons of photos in them. Load his with an array of family and kid pictures, and especially include shots of him being a dad or granddad. The beauty of this gift is that outwardly, he can comment on the gadget element, and inwardly, he will be greatly touched by the photos and memories in it. digital frame
Write Your Memories
Sit everyone in the family down with paper and pen (or keyboard) and ask them to write memories of the times they've spent with dad or granddad (and you can write your memories as a wife, if it's your husband's day). These connect with shy guys emotionally, but not so overtly as to embarrass them or cause them to withdraw.
Document your memories of that funny camping trip, the time you watched him teach the youngest child how to throw a ball, the trip to the hospital when you gave birth or the look on his face when he held your newborn child. These memories will show him you appreciate the love he gives you and the family and his role as father or grandfather. You don't have to put the warm-fuzzy words in the text if you don't want to (it's okay either way). The sentiment will still be quite evident through the time and care it took to create the book.
Write a simple letter expressing what he means to you. If you have kids together, or there are grandchildren, get them to write what they admire about their dad or granddad. This sort of writing is different than a gushy love letter or the memory book. Tell him that having him around means you know you're always safe. Let him know how much you appreciate all he does for the family, and that you've noticed the little things that mean he loves all of you. This shows admiration and appreciation without verging into the words that a reserved guy can find uncomfortable. Close by saying you love him and you're glad he's in your life.
Bound Photo Book
In addition to, or instead of, the digital frame idea, create a photo essay of his role in your life. You can get these printed through a number of online sources (they range in cost), and you can include text on each page to mention the significance of the photo, or your thoughts about him on the day it was taken. These books are so thoughtful, and they become treasures for the generations that follow you.
What about you?
How easy is it to pick a gift for That Special Guy?
Gifts for Book Lovers and Online Gamers
We'll say upfront that the latest novel by his favorite author (or book in the genre he prefers) is a great choice for book lovers, and of course the latest version of his favorite game will be appreciated—if he hasn't already beat you to it! Other ideas can include:
Kindle or Nook
If he hasn't already switched to downloaded ebooks, this is a great time to introduce him to the joys of having a portable library. Once you read a few ebooks, you are hooked on the convenience and the instant downloads (which often cost pennies compared to paper copies). These devices hold hundreds of books, and you can bookmark pages or leave one book half-read and read another—then come back to exactly where you left off.
Classic titles are usually free once the copyrights have expired, and many purchased titles can be shared among several devices, so other family members can read them as well—just like with printed books.
Create personal and sturdy bookmarks from family photos mounted on thin poster board and laminated. You can also print messages on them (either overlayed on the photo or on the extra space). This lets him know you are aware of his love of books and you want him to know what a great dad or granddad he is.
Gift Certificate for Downloaded Books or Bookstore
There's a certain joy to shopping for your own books. Make the gift certificate more personalized by tucking a few of the above bookmarks in with the card.
- The latest game console will be a hit if he doesn't already have it.
- Newest editions of his games.
- Tickets to an Interactive Festival (South by Southwest or any other venue for game addicts).
- Upgraded monitor or flatscreen TV (for a better gaming experience).
- Books about the history of the games he enjoys, the creators or companies that develop games.
- Membership in a club or group related to his favorite game.
Gifts for Guys Who Love Tech-Toys
We can't get through even part of a year without a new cell phone or two being launched, or an update to another popular tech toy announced.
The iPhone 5 and Mini iPad are two of the newest must-haves on the market. While earlier generations of each have been out for a while, both of these updates offer some advantages over their earlier launches.
The iPhone 5 has finally moved on from the 5mg camera that hampered its most recent predecessors from taking the sharpest of photos, and it also includes Siri, the polite (female) voice that accompanied the iPhone 4 and answers your questions verbally. Siri is actually pretty smart and fun to know once you 'talk' to her, and if your favorite guy hasn't met her yet, he might like her.
Samsung and other firms also have new-and-improved models (who doesn't?); if you visit your local cell provider, you can test various models and make a decision based on what he likes.
The may require some pre-planning if you want it delivered in time for your celebration. It's often on back-order, but you can see it in person at the Apple Store and hold it in your hands. Once you touch it, you won't want to put it down. It's wafer-thin, weighs next to nothing, and will easily become a favorite. Mini-iPad
Fun and Unique Ways to Give Gifts to Men
If you've found the perfect gift (let's hope you have!), make the day even more fun with some creative presentation ideas or strategies:
- Fortune Cookie: If you ever saw Mickey Blue Eyes, you know this can have hilarious consequences if you don't get it right, but I'm guessing you can do it! Using tweezers, carefully extract the fortune from a commercial fortune cookie, and insert a message about the gift. Either present it at home, or, a bit more challenging, take it to a Chinese restaurant and arrange for the waitperson to bring it to your table.
- Scavenger Hunt: This is a fun way for grandkids or small children to present their gifts. Let each child hide their gift, then (with your help if needed) create a series of fun clues to lead dad or granddad to the gifts. Dad will most assuredly go along with it; watching the kids try to avoid tipping off the clues, and seeing their excitement will be almost better than the gift.
- Buy a Toy: Guys are just big kids anyway, so buy a vintage-looking toy, or something fun he probably wishes he'd gotten as a kid (but it wasn't invented yet). and use it for the top of the gift box instead of a bow. Or put a message about the 'real' gift in the box with the toy and let him unwrap it.
- Wrapping Ideas: Let the kids draw pictures on a brown paper bag and use that as wrapping paper (or just put the gift in the bag, and attach some raffia handles to carry it with). The kids can also cut construction paper designs to glue on the bag and write messages on it.
- Screensaver Message: Get into the computer and create a screensaver that tells him you love him and (if possible) includes a picture of the gift.
- Frame It: For gifts to be delivered later, download a picture from the Internet and put it in a cute frame. As an alternative, take a photo of the kids holding the gift, put it in a frame and wrap the frame. The kids can also hold a sign saying "We Love You!" or another message.
© 2012 Marcy Goodfleisch