Christmas Gift Guides: Buying For The Men In Your Life

By Emma | December 4 2012 | 33 Comments

There’s no doubt that men can be difficult to buy for:  my friend Mark, for example, is an absolute nightmare. I officially gave up the year I spent months tracking down an obscure out-of-print album that he loved, just to be told when I handed it over that he already had a copy somewhere on an old cassette. The problem with Mark is that he just doesn’t care about ‘stuff’. The problem with my fella is that he cares about it way too much.

Every year in early November I am presented with a long, long list of ‘stuff’ that he’d quite like for Christmas. Lads, Bill Gates couldn’t afford this list – and that’s before he gave away all of his dosh. The list is then revised and added to as Christmas draws closer – I’m on version 4 now and counting – and he’ll drop subtle hints into conversation, too. “Cold morning”, I’ll say. “Yes, IF ONLY I HAD SOME 100% CASHMERE SOCKS”, he’ll say, while sighing melodramatically and staring at me in a slightly demented fashion to make sure I’ve registered the hint. “OR A WARMING MALT WHISKY THAT IS OLDER THAN 10 YEARS.  OR AN OVERCOAT MADE OF REAL WOOL NOT A BLEND.” (All of these things are on The List this year.)

Buying For Men

Between himself and Mark and the other awkward men in my life, I’m well practised now in the art of Buying For Men. Hopefully some of  these suggestions will put a smile on your fella’s/Dad’s/brother’s face come Christmas morning.

ONE I’ve never met a hardcore music lover that doesn’t love Hank Williams, considered by many to be the father of contemporary rock. This 2011 album, The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, pairs previously unheard lyrics by the country star with singer-songwriters like Jack White, Bob Dylan and Sheryl Crow. Find it on Amazon for £12.00.

TWO It might have been developed for kids, but all tech lovers should get a kick outta the raspberry pi – this credit-card sized computer plugs into your TV and keyboard and can be used for spreadsheets, word-processing, games and more. It’s £25.92 and you can buy it online here.

THREE British brand Bulldog launched in Ireland earlier this year and their smartly packaged, no nonsense men’s skincare has already been a smash hit. Their Grooming Kit for Men is a good place to start – it includes shave gel, face wash and moisturiser for €19.91. Find it at, or pharamacies nationwide.

FOUR If he likes a little bit of luxury then maybe this soft and snuggly cashmere scarf could be for him. At €54 from M&S it’s spendy, but not insanely so, and the black will go with everything he owns. (If you’re reading love, I draw the line at the cashmere socks. I’m sorry.)

FIVE If he loves his whisky then the Irishman Single Malt will go down well – it’s a triple distilled unpeated single malt (nope, no idea either!) from Antrim, that’s been aged for 12 years.  Each bottling is a small batch of 1000 cases, and it’s €40.99 from The Celtic Whisky Shop.

What about the men in your life – are they awkward buggers to buy for, or are they easily pleased? Think they’d like any of this little lot? And if you’ve any other gift suggestions for the menfolk, do leave ‘em in the comments!

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33 Replies to "Christmas Gift Guides: Buying For The Men In Your Life"

  • le smurf says:

    I always have such a hard time thinking of things to buy him for Christmas etc. But to be fair he is always so grateful and delighted with whatever I get for him. Got him a big ski jacket thing this year and a big jar of sweets with the usual aftershave etc!

  • witchgirl26 says:

    Last year was a nightmare as first Christmas together so no ideas! Put together a bag full of little bits & pieces and went down a treat. This year was easier – Nespresso machine picked by himself in the shop! Done and dusted :) That said it’ll be a nightmare again come his birthday unless he thinks up some new ideas! Suppose I could just start buying the cups etc to go with the coffee……….. :)

  • thefrog says:

    Being a confirmed spinster, there are only two men on my life: my Dad and the best friend.
    For my dad, it’s easy enough: music, books or the safe “a bottle of whisky and a box of chocolates”.
    The best friend, now that’s another matter. First, there’s the fact that he buys himself an awful lot of things. Then he has a love of books but no more space on the shelves. Ditto for paintings. And since he’s ‘only’ my best friend, I can’t get him skincare stuff because that would be the sort of gift his boyfriend would give him.
    So I’m left with scarves, ties, very original books or very original paintings, or very original objects. You add to that that we have similar tastes and go to the same shops, so the chances that he has already seen and bought what I’m planning to get him are high.
    So usually, as soon as I’ve bought the gift, I take a picture of it, send it to his boyfriend with a “make sure he does not buy this” email. It’s exhausting.
    On the plus side, compared to him, everybody else seems so uncomplicated.
    And it’s not even as if he would expect special gifts, I’m sure he’ll be happy with a box of sweets, but it’s just that he always find the perfect gift for me, and I’m trying to do the same.

  • Megoo says:

    What to get the man who has everything, but has no time for past hobbies because he works 12 hours a day? My boyfriend is straight as a dye, practical, hard-working, with no time for meangingless dust-collecctors. He loves his iPhone5 so I was thinking of getting him a model helicopter that is controlled via the iPhone. But when would he find the time to play with it? It’d gather dust in the box, unused.

  • Aw thefrog, he sounds like a wonderful bestie! xo

  • Aifs says:

    I mentioned on the Blather yesterday. It’s handy for ideas but can be a little pricey.

    Last year the big hit for BF and BIL was their X-Mini Speakers. I bought them 2 each but really 1 each would have done. They are brilliant super powered tiny portable speakers. They are the business and relatively cheap on Amazon.

    This year it’s a Media Player for BIL. I had actually listed what I bought BF but the fecker sometimes comes on here to look for ideas for presents for me!

  • thefrog says:

    @Emma, he’s actually really wonderful. Complicated, annoying, but wonderful.

    Talking about ideas, cufflinks can be an option too. That’s one item of male clothing I’m jealous we don’t have / can’t steal (besides I hate ironing shirts), but you can find some gorgeous ones.
    Emma, was it your fella that did a guest post on your blog with those ‘earth-like’ cufflinks? They looked gorgeous.

  • LoCo says:

    Also as a confirmed spinster technically prefer bachelorette but my Dad and my brother are the men in my life. And they are so hard to shop for. But I’ve gotten few ideas from list above bro I think would love the raspberry pi and Dad would love Hank Williams or whiskey.
    I have booked marked this page and (thanks aifs) for christmas/birthdays to come.

  • Megoo says:

    Not a bad idea Ola, it could be abit boring on its own but if I get afew other bits aswell it wouldnt be so bad. I suspect I’m getting a very important ring from him this Christmas so I’ve got to make his gifts pretty special (while also within a budget unfortunately!)

  • Miss. Y says:

    As my sweet boyfriend keeps losing all his scarfs, so I think a nice Massimo Dutti one will be a safe bet. Oh and he asked for a cooking book :-/ Maybe Jamie Oliver?

  • Ola says:

    Megoo: argh, I know. It is a bit PRACTICAL, isn’t it… but if he loves his iPhone and you get some bits and bobs, it might be an option! :)

  • *Aisling* says:

    Great tips – you know I’m definitely going with the cashmere socks! Having said that men are so difficult to buy for, women on the other hand are really easy – there’s so much stuff we like and must have!

  • EvieM says:

    Emma I’m in knots here laughing at your mans lists…cause I do it too. I email him lists of stuff I’d like along with links to them and what size to get so all he has to do is click add to bag….do you think he ever buys me anything off the list??? Not on yer flippin nelly, it’s “too much work”, how I’ll never know, I’ve done all the bloody work for him, all he has to do is pay.

  • Polly says:

    I’d love to get some suggestions for presents for male teachers – the lady teachers are no bother – candles, chocolates, wine etc etc. I really haven’t a clue what to get my son’s gentleman school teacher! any ideas?

  • thefrog says:

    Polly, a nice notebook? Paperblanks has some very nice one, they look stylish and you’ve got so many different covers and size to chose from.

  • Senora Espana says:

    The problem with my husband is that he keeps buying himself stuff!
    I actually had to threaten him not to buy the new batman movie because I’ve already ordered it on blu-ray in a box set for him and yet here he was on saturday texting me from HMV while he was in the queue waiting to pay for it!
    Honestly!! I could kill him! His birthday is in November as well so its 2 presents to think of. You think he’d stay out of the shops until January but no, if he wants something, he must have it and he must have it NOW!

  • Beth TV says:

    Megoo, I saw those iPhone controlled toys in Debenhams a few weeks ago but they are not all compatable on the new OS for the iPhoto; that’s what stopped me getting me one of them :D

    Decent shaving kits are always a winner with guys. Decent means not Gillete or Lynx though, same way decent skin care meansnot Tesco’s skin butter :) is a place to look and are very quick to deliver as well.

  • CB says:

    I’m a big fan of either vouchers for things to do – flying lessons, cooking classes or tickets to things or magazine subscriptions. They usually suit but you do need to make sure the vouchers get used and don’t just sit there until they are expired!

  • Atkin says:

    You’re all spelling whiskey wrong! I always get him a voucher for a hot towel shave and a haircut and a restaurant voucher. Personalised Heineken bottles have gone down very well in the past too.

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