The Realistic Gift Guide for Men
Holidays are here! Time to get the man in your life a gift or two. But what to get? If you’re anything like me, you’ll pull up a dozen “gift guides for him” and find nothing but cheesy novelty “bro” items that are funny but that he’ll never use, cute but somewhat childish DIY gifts that tell him how much you care about him, or gifts that are alcohol or alcohol “accessories”.
Sure, that card deck full of 52 reasons why you love him is cute and thoughtful, but no man is going to leave that sitting out on his coffee table for all of his buddies to see. Those personalized grill aprons with funny cooking puns are pretty cool too, but let’s be honest, unless he’s slaving away on the grill for a party of 25, the likeliness of him actually using that apron is pretty slim. And, while I love a good bourbon, I think giving a guy alcohol as a gift is taking the easy way out. Come on, I’d like to think we can come up with some more useful and thoughtful gifts.
So, what do you buy (or DIY) him that he will actually like and use? It’s obvious that not all guys are the same and each has his own personality. Your boyfriend would love a new video game but your brother might prefer a fancy shaving kit. That’s why I’ve put together this gift guide that covers any guy, no matter where he falls on the spectrum and no matter what your budget allows.
1. Map Art ($15 and up)
Whether you make it or buy it, any guy is going to love map art. Try this awesome scratch-off wall map on which he can track his travels by scratching off places he’s visited, or these neighborhood map coastersfrom Neighborwoods.
2. DIY Wood Slice Serving Board ($10)
Ummm, something to eat meat and cheese off of? That’s a no-brainer! Even if he isn’t the hosting type, he’ll love this DIY wood slice serving board from ManMade.
3. Key Smart ($20)
Have a minimalist in your life? Get him this Key Smart key organizer so he can get ride of that janitor reputation. It’s like the swiss army knife for keys! Choose from a variety of colors here.
4. DIY Branch Coasters ($10 to $15)
If your guy is into sustainability he would appreciate a well-thought-out gift made from something found in nature. Show him how much you care about him, the earth, and his furniture with these rustic DIY branch coasters from Garden Therapy.
5. Heroclip (previously called Qlipter) ($20)
This one isn’t just for the men (well none of these are just for men, really). Everyone needs this handy hybrid carabiner-clip Heroclip tool. Use it for everything from bear-proofing your campsite by hanging up your food bag on a tree branch, to securing things together. You can find the Heroclip here.
6. DIY Beer Caddy ($20)
Ok, so this one breaks my “no alcohol accessories” rule, but this DIY wooden beer caddy from DIY Pete is the only exception. He’ll be sure to get a ton of compliments at his next BBQ if he walks in with this. Find the tutorial, complete with downloadable plans, here.
7. FlipBelt ($29)
The FlipBelt is a great gift for the active man in your life. This sleek activity belt will hold all of his important belongings while he’s working up a sweat, without being bulky and getting in the way. Find the FlipBelt in a variety of colors and sizes here.
8. Yard Games ($40 and up)
Whether you’re beaching, camping, tailgating, or just having a good ol’ time hanging out in the backyard, no man can pass up a game of cornhole or Kan Jam. These yard games can be played almost anywhere and are a guaranteed great time. The cornhole board pictured here was part of a set I made using this tutorial from DIY Pete (he’s a genius!). If you’re not the DIY type, you can also buy a cornhole set or Kan Jam game.
9. An Experience ($10 and up)
This year, make a memory with him instead of getting him stuff that will end up in his basement someday. Giving the gift of an experience will bring him more satisfaction than any other gift. And you don’t have to spend a fortune – check out the “Things to Do” Groupon deals in your area and find something he’s into. Try something like the an Escape Room or a ziplining tour.
10. Bondic Plastic Welder ($25)
If you haven’t heard yet, glue is a thing of the past. It’s 2015 guys – get with it! Enter: Bondic. When glue just won’t do, he will want to reach for this liquid plastic welder. He’ll be amazed at how fast it gets the job done and how durable the bond is. Buy it here.
11. SegSac ($20)
Help him stay organized while he’s hiking, with this ultralight SegSac from Gobi Gear. This segmented bag allows him to pack neatly, separating items as he wishes. Heck, get one for yourself while you’re at it! Get a SegSac here.
12. Wood Watch ($150)
“Give the gift of nature” with this stylish, yet subtle, wood watch from Analog Watch Co. He’ll appreciate the simplicity of this sophisticated accessory and the fact that it’s over 80% biodegradable. Choose from a variety of wood styles from their Carpenter Collection.
13. ECOXGEAR Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers ($130)
Does he listen to music all day, everyday? Then get him this waterproof bluetooth speaker from ECOXGEAR. Whether he’s camping, BBQing, or hanging out by the pool, this gift won’t let him down. It’s shock resistant, waterproof, rechargable, and it floats. It even has a built-in speaker phone so he can call you up and thank you for his gift while he’s taking a bubble bath!
14. Driftwood Docking Station ($68 and up)
Staying with the natural wood theme, this driftwood docking station from Docksmith is sure to please. Made with wood found on the shores of Maine, each dock is naturally unique and handcrafted, ensuring your man will get a one-of-a-kind work of art. Shop their driftwood and birch docks here.
15. GoPro ($130 to $500)
This tiny gadget packs a lot of punch. With more features than I can remember, the GoPro is great for any guy, whether he’s filming the latest episode for his YouTube channel or capturing his hiking adventures. Compare the different models and accessories here.
16. Camping Hammock ($55 and up)
Even if he isn’t the camping type, he’ll love one of these lightweight portable hammocks. Use it in the backyard or in the woods – all he needs is two solid anchor points and he’s got himself a comfy space to stretch out and relax. Browse different styles here.
17. Birchbox Man ($10 to $110)
Can’t choose which product he’ll like best? Let him choose with a monthly subscription to Birchbox (man). He’ll have the freedom of trying different grooming samples every month, plus he’ll get a gadget, tool, or accessory. If he likes a product, he can buy the full-size version on their website. Check out the subscription options here.
18. Tactical Knife ($50-$250)
Whether he’s the adventurer or the artist, he’ll need a good tactical folding knife in his life. Tactical knives, like this one made by CRKT, are versatile and great for any situation from cutting kindling for a fire, to cutting clothing in an emergency situation. Just be sure he knows to use it responsibly.
*This post originally appeared on my former blog, Kept. While that blog has since retired, all the content transferred is up-to-date and my own.