Great Gifts for Grown-Up Tomboys
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.
photo by Nancy Shay
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 a 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.
The best gift-giving strategy, ever, for everyone on your gift list, is to find out what the recipient likes and give something related.
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 a much rougher, tougher, and more tool-focused, rather than knife blade focused, 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 Radio Shack gift card would be a better bet.
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 to whenever she wants to.
A gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dunham’s Sports, Gander Mountain, or some other sporting goods store would be appreciated by the adult tomboy on your list who likes sports or any outdoorsy activity.
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.
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 dart board. 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.
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.
Not all tomboys who love sports like to watch sports; some prefer to play sports instead. So if the woman on your list likes to play a particular sport, related gear will probably be greatly appreciated.
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.
Hydration is important when out in the woods. This style of canteen is easy to carry and has a strong, useful carrying strap.
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.
Compasses are great and if you know what direction "out" is you can use one to great effect but a GPS does it all for you. You also might have a heck of a time using a compass to find the location of something specific.
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.
It's air hockey, what else do I need to say? I'd love a game room with air hockey.