Kylyssa Shay is a middle-aged American woman living with autism who enjoys sharing hard-earned life hacks with people who need them.
Gift Ideas for Adult Tomboys
A boy becomes a man, and a girl becomes a woman. But, once a tomboy, always a tomboy. At least, that's been my experience. Like many women, I prefer to choose my own scents, clothing, and beauty products. I think frilly, girly, perfumed, and prissy things make tiresome gifts, and they seldom match my preferences in that sort of thing. Sometimes, I wonder if the people who give them to me have even met me, much less gotten to know me.
Sure, I like some feminine things of my own choosing, but if you want to hear me squeal with genuine delight, you'll have to appeal to the tomboy in me. If you have a grown-up tomboy on your list, you might consider some of the ideas below.
Gifts for Grown-Up Tomboys
- Swiss Army Knives
- Leatherman's Tools and Multi-Tools—Treasured Tools for Handy Women
- Video Games
- Darts and Dartboards
- Pool Tables
- Camping Gear
- Hiking Gear
1. Swiss Army Knives
Ahhh, what red-blooded tomboy doesn't like Swiss Army knives? Of course, that's a rhetorical question, and a few might just exist in the world, but the Swiss Army knife is held near and dear by the hearts of most of the tomboys I've known.
When choosing Swiss Army knives for the women on your list, think about their hobbies and tool-using behavior. The reason I say that is because there are dozens of different Swiss Army knives, many specialized for certain uses. For example, I tend to use wire cutters an awful lot, so I'd prefer a Swiss Army knife with wee wire cutters on it instead of one with a corkscrew on it. Women who are hunters would likely enjoy the hunter's Swiss Army knife, and tomboys who are also tech lovers would probably love the USB Swiss Army knives and so on. There are dozens of variations on the original, versatile pocket knives. If you look through all the varieties listed on Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers, you'll surely find one perfect for the grown-up tomboy on your list.
2. Leatherman's Tools and Multi-Tools: Treasured Tools for Handy Women
You might be thinking, hey, that's just another version of a Swiss Army knife! Well, you probably aren't into pocket tools, then. Both Swiss Army knives and Leatherman's tools contain tools, but the Leatherman's tool is much rougher, tougher, and more tool-focused rather than knife blade-focused—a tool that doesn't even pretend to be a pocket knife. You can get a multi-tool with a hammer that is fully functional or with pliers you can really apply some torque with or wire cutters strong enough to tackle coat hangers. Some even have all three! Leatherman's tools and other multi-tools contain a different assortment, sturdiness, and combination of tools than those found in Swiss Army knives.
Also, while I might carry my Swiss Army knife in my beaded clutch purse when going to a cocktail party, my Leatherman's tool would stay in its belt sheath on my workbench at home. But when camping in the woods, the Leatherman's tool rides on its case on my belt, and the Swiss Army knife goes in my pocket.
Tools to Match Her Hobbies
I guess you've figured out that I like tools by now. One year, my ex-husband and I were part of a family gift exchange. He got a really nice set of socket wrenches, and I got a plush snowman. He looked over at me and said, "That's an awfully nice snowman you've got there."
I replied, "That's an awfully nice socket set you've got there."
We swapped the gifts, and everyone roared with laughter. They thought we were joking, but he loves snowmen, and I love tools.
But tool-loving women tend to have tools they'd prefer and tools they'd have no use for, just like any other tool-lover. Find out what kind of things your tomboy likes to work on before buying her just any old tool set. A woman who likes to work on cars would probably have no use for wood-carving tools or a carpet knife but would probably squeal with joy over a deluxe creeper. A woman who likes carpentry would probably have no use for a spark plug wire puller, but she might enjoy a nice punch and chisel set or a big sturdy case to put her carpentry tools into. You get the idea.
If you aren't sure what to get the tool-loving adult tomboy on your list, you can always get her a gift card to a local tool and hardware store or one of the big box stores like Lowes, Menards, or Home Depot. Unless, of course, she's into electronics, in which case, a Best Buy gift card would be a better bet.
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3. Video Games
As with all of the other gift options I've listed, take the time to find out what the recipient likes. If you can't figure out which specific games she likes, I'd suggest leaning toward science fiction/fantasy or combat-style role-playing games, first-person shooters, or sports-themed games. Just try to avoid the excessively girly stuff out on the market, and you should do fine. If you really have no idea what she likes in video games, you could always get her a gift card to GameStop, Toys-R-Us, or any other store that has a wide selection of video games. But I think a paid subscription to a game rental service such as GameFly would be even better. That way, she can choose whatever games she wants whenever she wants to.
Not everyone likes bicycles, but many women of all ages enjoy cycling. I know I love it and one of the most thoughtful gifts I've gotten as an adult is my bicycle. Avoid overly girlie colors, and I'd go so far as to say, go ahead and get a "boys" bicycle.
Did you know the difference between men's and women's bicycles? Women's bicycles are designed so one can wear a dress or skirt while cycling. Yeah, I can't even imagine wearing a dress on a bicycle. Bell bottoms were bad enough when I was growing up in the seventies. The darned things liked to get caught in the chain. Dresses would be way worse.
5. Darts and Dartboards
Most women I know enjoy playing games that require skills and coordination and contain an element of competition. I love darts.
I used to have my own plastic-tipped darts to use when I went out with my best friend. After we played some pool or video games together, we would usually end up in front of the dartboard. One year for Christmas, we both got each other dart boards so we wouldn't have to go out to bars to play darts together. Neither of us discussed it ahead of time, but I started laughing as soon as I saw the round, dart board-shaped package in his hand.
I lost the dartboard in one of my moves, but I still sigh wistfully when I think about it, partly because I miss Dale and partly because I miss my dartboard. I think the dartboard and darts below are nice, but I would enjoy any well-made and sturdy dartboard and darts.
6. Pool Tables
Obviously, a full-sized pool table is a fairly big-budget gift and requires a bit of room, but a pool table would make a great gift for any woman who really enjoys playing pool. If space (or budget) is an issue, mini pool tables and table-top pool tables can make fun gifts for tomboys, too.
For Women Who Like to Watch Sports
If the woman you are looking to buy gifts for likes to watch sports, then she'd probably enjoy an article of clothing, a travel mug, mouse pad, or another item with her favorite sports team logo or sports personality's logo on it. Just be sure to get the right sports team or sports hero! You could also buy her a cable or satellite TV subscription to a sports package or if you have a big budget, a big television for watching the big game.
7. Camping Gear
If any woman on your list loves to camp, camping gear, especially compact and multi-purpose camping gear, will probably rock her socks. It's best if you know what she already has but some things are always appreciated by people who like to camp such as multi-purpose camp cookware, comfortable to carry canteens, and fire starters.
8. Hiking Gear
Lightweight supplies, collapsible canteens, and her favorite foods in freeze-dried formats are a few options. If you know the woman in question, you should be able to figure out what hiking-related gifts she would like. However, I would avoid buying hiking boots because footwear should really be tried on and hiking boots really, really need to be comfortable.
Big Girl Tomboy Toys
Yep, I said toys. You probably know many men who are just oversized boys and love, love, love their toys. Many grown-up women are kids at heart, too, and they would get a kick out of an indoor basketball hoop, an air hockey table, a pinball machine, or a foosball table.
Tomboys, What Do You Want for Christmas, Birthday, or Anniversaries?—Or, if you have a tomboy on your list, what do you plan to get her next time you get her
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on November 12, 2017:
You don't respect your adult daughter enough to get her a tool that functions properly? This page is intended to provide gift suggestions for grown up women.
Caden Hudgers on November 07, 2017:
I will not let my daughter play with knives but if i can but a sorta blunt-ish one that would be perfect
getmoreinfo on December 03, 2012:
These are great ideas and I like the hiking gear.
SandraWilson LM on November 26, 2012:
Oh, sweet. I had no idea Swiss Army knives came with wee wire cutters. Now I know what to get my daughter. No running to the house when something gets caught in wire anymore. She likes carrying a knife anyway. What a fantastic lens!
ohcaroline on November 26, 2012:
I already enjoy many of these gifts and use them most every day. One day I'll have room for that pool table!
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on November 26, 2012:
@Dressage Husband: You clearly know your wife then! I try to stress that people find out what the recipient likes because everyone is different.
Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on November 26, 2012:
I found this interesting, but rather think that my wife would not like any of them. She is into horses and anything like hoof picks, lead lines, halters etc would appeal to her. Just goes to show you really need to know the person if you are to get the "right" gift! Mind I would love some of these for me LOL.
MagnoliaTree on November 20, 2012:
I'm certainly not a tomboy, but I see lots of things on here I would love to have. Some great ideas.
Nicole Pellegrini from New Jersey on November 20, 2012:
This is my favorite holiday gift guide I've seen so far this season, because I'm totally the same way! Not into "girly" stuff and never have been. For me, give me snazzy kitchen gadgets, or maybe some new toys for my drumkit! :)
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on November 20, 2012:
@Stazjia: Exactly! It's fun to be able to come up with some secret idea you know the recipient will love but if you just don't know asking will almost always lead you somewhere better than guessing.
Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on November 20, 2012:
I always have a big problem deciding what I want for Christmas so can't answer that question. I don't know any tomboys although when I was a child I despised all girls' toys. If I knew a tomboy, I'd do what I do with anyone, ask them what they want. I think this is a great subject and a really interesting gift selection you've chosen.