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Holiday Gifts for the Guy - Presents for the pickiest husband, dad, or in-law

Updated on June 7, 2011

The Gift Giving Challenge

We all have one in our life... that person that is impossible to shop for. Whether they have everything already, buy for themselves at the last minute, don't want "stuff" or have no apparent hobbies, they make it nearly impossible for the gift giver to gain any satisfaction. For me, these usually turn out to be the men in my life. With the women, I can always give a picture of the grandkids, or a piece of jewelry if I get stuck. Almost all women have some sort of common gift-receiving joy button - a candle, some soap, a gift card for a little pampering... The guys? Ugh, a shopping nightmare! Not to mention, that I'm shopping for gifts on a budget this year... which has significantly reduced my gift purchasing pool.  But, budget crunch or no, I still want to bring  my guys some joy and laughter this holiday season.  As I search online for the perfect gift for my husband, father in law and brother in law, I thought I'd share my "aha" moments with you. Maybe I can help.  After all, it is the season of giving.

The Sports Fan

Sports are an easy, if somewhat generic way to go for gifting the man in your life. In the past, I've purchased game tickets, hats, and various types of sporting paraphenalia for birthday and Christmas presents. This year, retro style shirts and jersey's have piqued my interest. My husband has a TON of sports gear, but usually purchases the annual team jersey or shirt. If I can squeeze my purchase in before he buys the latest for himself, I'm golden.  However, the holidays often come too late for me to make my purchase before he "gifts" one to himself.  With a recent NFL interest in vintage, a whole new world of opportunities has opened up. (This is a great option if you are not up on the latest trades and acquisitions of your guys favorite league too! Classic is classic no matter what sort of pre- or post season lineup change voo-doo is going on in your hometown.) Consider giving a retro style sports tee... either truly vintage from e-bay, or styled vintage from Amazon or some of the retailers listed below. Unsure of sizes for that perfect guy gift? Go for a hat. Just make sure its adjustable.

The Tool Junkie

Got a "Man's Man" on your hands? Gifts for this tough guy can be... well... tough. If he is the true tool junkie, then he may already have everything under the sun. But, there are a few items that every tool guy can use more of, and a few others that are off the beaten path enough he may yet have bought one for himself... I know, I'm a tool geek myself.

Flashlights. Inevitably, they go missing. Also, there are many new led varieties to try. More models with bending necks, innovative clips and long life batteries come on the market all the time. For the true toolman, every project has the perfect worklight and a drawerful of illumination always comes in handy.

Gadgets. A tool guy, no matter how traditional, is always a sucker for a gadget. I love my magnet band. I'm often working on a ladder or other tight space that doesn't have room for a tool bag or hardware tray. This little baby keeps my screws from running loose (well, my hardware anyway.) I got it from the hubby as a stocking stuffer last year, and its used often. Other great gadgets to try... Magnetic (telescoping) extension sticks that retrieve lost nuts and bolts from tight spaces; ratcheting screw drivers with multiple bits, and multi tools that he can always keep in his car or glove box.

Power tools. [Insert Tim Allen style "Whoa-oh-oh" here.] The mother load of gift giving for the handy man. Anything with power will make him drool more than the 4 year old over his new Transformer Energon Supreme. (And, trust me, that's going to be a LOT of drool.)  The year I bought my husband a Porter Cable air compressor and Bostitch nail gun, I saw his eyes light up like Ralphie receiving his Red Ryder BB gun in A Christmas Story. Also popular this year: Handheld Power Nailers (or "AutoHammers); Bosch's new 3-Mode Impact Drill/Driver and really, any kind of pneumatic anything.  Alternately, if you have the space and want to go REALLY big.  Slap a bow on a table saw or radial arm saw and watch the happy Christmas dance commence.

The Meat and Potato Eating, Beer Drinking All American Dad

If your guy falls into this stereotypical category, the gift giving potential is endless.  You've got to step out of the box, however, to avoid repeat gifting or hitting on anything he already has.  Cookbooks are fabulous gifts, especially if they are accompanied by the tools or supplies required to make the recipes inside.  Consider your own "Man-Made" gift basket.  A grilling/bbq cookbook, some new grill tools, a high end bbq sauce and maybe even a membership to a meat of the month club.  (Yes, they do exist.)  Speaking of "of the month" clubs.  They are in endless supply these days, and can fulfill just about any niche market.  (Think beer, coffee, sausage, cheese, fruit, candy, wine and the aforementioned meat.)  Books on home brewing, or home brewing accessories and supplies are very hot right now.  What man wouldn't want to add a personalized brew to his man-cave fridge? (Plus, it'll get him out of your hair for hours at a time so you can start planning for next year's festivities.)  Last, but not least, go perishable.  If he truly has it all, get him something self-depleting.  Food items don't last, and, if thoroughly enjoyed, will set you up with a plan already in place for next year's present.

The Man Who Has it All

For the guy who's already got everything he needs and wants (and, if this is your husband, isn't that true... I mean, he's already got you!) you might have to dig a little deeper. Go a little kitcsh this year. If your gift can't fill a gaping hole in a collection or need or want, just try to make him smile. I mean, isn't that what the holidays are really all about? 

(The big boy sized feety pajamas below are a personal favorite.  I got my husband a set several years ago from a company called Warmth Wear.  They were hand made of any fabric of my choosing.  I went with bright blue with tiny little firetrucks.  My Christmas pics of my 6'2" guy cross-legged in front of the tree are my favorite ever.)

Me and my boys...  The grandpops will love it!
Me and my boys... The grandpops will love it!

A Final Note on Sentiment

edit 6/7/11

With all the ideas put forth, I cannot believe I was remiss in mentioning one of my favorites. The memory incarnate - a gift of photos. When I am really stuck for that perfect present, I turn to one of the many photosites now populating the world wide web and grub for a few manly tears by tugging at the proverbial heartstrings. I just finished my annual Father's Day gift of calendars complete with the most adorable grandkid pics I could find. And, as is always the case with me, I finished up my gift with a touch of humor... A Dad's Day card with the goofiest Old Tyme Photo I had in my possession. If I can bring them from tears to tickled in a single gift... Well then, my job here is done.

(For my personal favorite tear-inducing gift site, see below. You can view Shutterfly's cards using the following link.)

5x7 Folded CardView the entire collection of cards.


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    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from PA

      Thanks for the input cathylynn. Oftentimes the best presents are the ones that come from the heart... not the store.

    • cathylynn99 profile image


      7 years ago from northeastern US

      my guy doesn't like "stuff". he doesn't fix things or grill things. he doesn't (and i'm so glad) like sports. he writes. for our wedding i got him the latest dictionary. for christmas, i framed a picture he drew. for our anniversary, i got him a watch with an alarm to remind him to take his dilantin pill. another time, i got him a mozart CD collection after soliciting his opinion on the composer. for valentines, there was this small sculpture that he had admired in passing. whenever we're out together, i ask his opinion on things we see that he likes and file his answers to refer to for future gifts. like you, i try to get him stuff he needs or wants before he has a chance to do it himself. so far (3 years) i've managed to get this unmaterialistic non-typical guy something that he enjoys.

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from PA

      So glad you enjoyed it CEP! Thank you!

    • profile image

      Civil Engineering Projects 

      7 years ago

      This hub impressed me a lot , got many ideas , keep sharing...

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from PA

      Thanks Lecie! I have some tough guys to shop for, so its become something of a mission for me each year. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      these are some wonderful ideas.

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from PA

      Thank you very much! I'm glad it helped. After years and years of practice, I'm still stumped on my husband this year!

    • Info Help profile image

      Info Help 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Hello ThoughtfulSpot!

      This is a really good hub, has some great ideas in it. Thank you so much for sharing with the rest of us on hubpages. My husband is extremely picky and you have provided me with some great ideas! I am a fan :)


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