Christmas is coming and although the men in your life don’t demand a Christmas gift, you will buy them one, because a Christmas gift means more than the object. Beautifully wrapped and presented your carefully chosen gift for husband (partner, boyfriend, brother, son, nephew, colleague, friend and so many more) is an expression of your relationship and affection.
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How many men are on your Christmas gift shopping list? Is it hard to buy for them? Most of us (including men shopping for another man) find it hard to get the right Christmas gift. Traditional gifts of clothes, gadgets, alcohol and food may fit the bill, but original gift ideas for men are rare.
Searching out the unusual and the unique takes time we struggle for when we are busy with all our other preparations. We settle for what is available.
It’s disappointing when we want to gift that perfect item that surprises and delights by being useful, relevant and different from the mundane choices. But, there are plenty of amazing products in the UK–adopt a strategic approach to gift buying and you’ll have Christmas wrapped up and stress-free.
Buying Gifts for Men—the Strategic Approach
The longer you know a man, especially one close to you like a husband or brother, the harder it is to find any gift. What he needs – he’s got. What he wants – he buys for himself. Everyone knows a man just like the impossible man.
Then there are the younger men (sons, nephews, boyfriends) who usually get practical Christmas gifts, but occasionally an unplanned surprise is welcome. Finally, there are men you buy Christmas gifts for that you don’t know well like new friends and distant relatives.
Best Christmas Gift Strategies
- Upgrade an item to a higher-quality replacement.
- Buy products he uses that need constant replenishment.
- Buy something he likes or needs when he can’t afford it.
- Buy more of what he already owns or collects.
- Look for something new and unique.
- Invest in an experience for him.
- Buy for someone else (seriously).
These strategies help you source excellent gift ideas for men.
Best Strategy for Different Men
The best strategies for the impossible man are upgrades, experiences or donations. Looking for a gift for a husband or a man you have known for a long time – try something new and unique to surprise him. If you are buying for the younger male then something he needs or wants but can’t afford is the way to go.
Replace and Upgrade
Replace and upgrade is a Christmas gift idea for men that works well for the husband or father who has everything or for the guy who is getting by on a tight budget.
Make the Daily Shave Memorable
From the first exciting few hairs on an upper lip to daily beard growth that puts a werewolf to shame, most men shave. It’s an expensive activity because manufacturers know that men need their products. The best results come from wet shaving and a badger’s hair shaving brush.
Our beautiful hand-crafted luxury razors accept most double-edged blades (widely available and cheaper than cartridge blades) for the best-ever wet shaving experience. A choice of handle materials from the cream classic imitation ivory to polished and exotic woods. They look and feel great and every day he picks up the razor he remembers the gift giver. Team the razor with an exclusive luxurious badger hair shaving brush (makes an excellent standalone gift) or go for the complete set of shaving tools on a stand like the Zebrano Shaving Set.
Upgrade shaving gift ideas: handmade razor, badger hair shaving brush, classic shaving stand and tools.
Replenishment shaving ideas: shaving soaps, aftershave gel, cologne – handmade and organic.
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Slippers, Socks, Ties and Other Clothes
There are many jokes about always getting socks as a Christmas gift when you reach a certain age (or become a Dad), but if you opt for an upgrade, the prosaic commonplace present is welcome.
Not a basic pair of slippers, but a handcrafted pure British woollen slippers or sheepskin slippers. A luxury pair of slippers with optional monogramming is almost as welcome as a hug. The UK was a major producer of footwear and there are still pockets where the craft continues. These are not just slippers – they are handmade from pure British wool and fleeces.
Socks come in endless variety – mundane, sports, hiking, funny, quirky and practical. If giving socks, give top-of-the-range luxury socks made from cashmere, cotton or bamboo. Or subscribe to a monthly delivery – knock his socks off with a fantastic Christmas gift.
Ties speak volumes about the wearer, sometimes unintentionally. The tie gift is useful to the man who either needs to or likes to wear one. Upgrade to a handmade English silk tie for a classy gift for the man at the top of his game or the one working his way up the career ladder.
The trick to making an otherwise mundane gift of clothing extra-special is to pull out all the stops to upgrade it to the best, the funniest or the most fabulous version you can find.
This strategy works best for men that you know well. Combine it with an upgrade strategy and you will come up with a memorable present.
Using your knowledge of the men on your Christmas gift list you can compile a list of what they like to eat, drink, wear or do. Then buy them a gift that fits but has a little extra magic.
Something to Drink
Wine Lovers: Instead of a bottle of wine, buy a vintage wine or a carafe and add some accessories like a handcrafted wooden bottle stopper.
Special Brews: A selection of craft beers or ciders with quality accessories like a wooden bottle opener or an exclusive beer or cider glass.
Gin Lover: Big choice of gin but consider a personalised gin glass or a selection of botanicals, mixers and a cocktail shaker for some exciting Christmas experiments.
Classic Whiskey Man: If he hasn’t got one already, get an engraved hip flask, a stunning globe decanter or personalised whiskey stones
Teetotallers: Some men don’t drink alcohol for many reasonsand for them there are botanicals, handcrafted soft drinks, coffee and tea.
Something to Eat
Gourmet food gifts satisfy the celebratory nature of Christmas gifts. Think artisan, rather than supermarket shelves. A DIY hamper or a carefully selected gift box will suit most men. Small scale artisan UK producers make everything from cheese, cured meats, luxury chocolates to chillies (yes there are UK chilli farms) and spice mixes.
Gifts for men who
Garden: The keen gardener is a joy to buy for as gloves, wellies and seeds are easy to source. A personalised dibber or custom plant labels are practical and useful to any man who likes to spend time in his garden.
Walk the dog: The dog walker will enjoy gifts like new leads and collars to use with their hound, paired with a hip flask or thermos to keep him refreshed on the longer colder dog walk. A fun gift is a gun that fires tennis balls for the energetic dog that runs and runs.
Play golf: Golf tees and balls are the perfect replenishment gift because they break and get lost regularly.
Desirable objects are those items a man needs or wants but is either unable (strict budget) or unwilling to buy for himself.
Some desirable objects come into the fun or frivolous category. Most men like gadgets and taking pictures. A camera mounted on a drone takes pictures you can’t get any other way – an aerial view of your garden. The technology now allows you to have a pocket-sized drone with a camera at a reasonable price. Although a bird’s eye view of the top of a mature gentleman’s head might not please him it’s a great gift. He gets the fun of learning to fly and takes memorable stills and video.
When it comes to useful items the list is endless. Think about the guy who loves his coffee. He may have a cafeteria, but does he have a coffee machine? Pods are expensive although convenient, but you can get a coffee machine that takes a portion of aromatic coffee beans. It turns them into one perfect coffee without fuss or drama. Throw in some unique beans roasted here in the UK and you have a gift to delight the coffee drinker every day for years not only at Christmas.
A unique sundial fits into any garden and provides a talking point. Instead of a sundial think about a birdbath or sculpture. It’s a big present and for the man who likes to spend time in his garden it is something that he can enjoy for years. If you have time commission a handcrafted sundial with a special message for the unforgettable Christmas gift.
More Means More
Buying more of what he already has is tricky, but if you get it right you will give him a welcome cherished Christmas gift.
Is he a dapper gent dressing in a classic double-cuffed shirt with cufflinks? He has a set of cufflinks already, but cufflinks are to men what earrings are to women. You’ve always got room for another pair. Quirky, expensive, charming and personal – cufflinks are ideal. Incidentally, if you are looking for a classy pair of cufflinks …
Collectors and Hobbyists
The collector and the hobbyist are always tricky for surprise gift giving because they are the experts. You run the risk of buying them one of what they already have or an inferior (in their eyes) product. These men often have a long list of “wants”, but that doesn’t help with surprising them. Before you can put their present in the box and wrap it up, you need to think outside of the box.
You can buy or commission many handcrafted items personalised to their passion. A wooden pen perhaps, engraved with a message. Or a creative gift for his man cave or man corner. This present could range from storage solutions to decorative objects. The precise gift depends on the nature of their passion for doing or collecting.
New and Unique
This strategy involves finding a Christmas gift that introduces an original thought or activity.
Discover Home Grown Wines, Whiskeys, Gins, Meads and Ciders
The UK is home to many distilleries, brewers, makers of Fruit and Country Wine and in England and Wales – Vineyards. Their products come packed as Christmas gift boxes or individual bottles to package yourself. Team your gift with one of our superb bottle stoppers or openers for an extra surprise.
Whiskey (the water of life) is not a uniquely Scottish product, there are two distilleries in Wales and one in Dartmoor whose first distillation is one of a kind.
If G&T is your man’s tipple of choice, then why not create your personal blended gin? Craft gins are trendy and micro-distilleries offer gift boxes, tours and the chance to handcraft your very own gin.
Fruit and country wines are now award-winning products rather than being the suspect offering of an uncle with demijohns and fermenting buckets. There are many excellent country winemakers, and these are superior wines with exciting flavours.
Surprise the men in your life with a home-grown version of their favourite drink or an opportunity to peep behind the scenes with a tour.
Stick making is a popular and ancient craft in the UK and the results are collectable and prized. Walking sticks are the countryman’s friend and come in different shapes as a result of local woods and local trades like the shepherd’s crook. Popular with ramblers, Nordic walkers and foragers there is a stick for everyone.
A whittling kit is an inexpensive introduction to wood carving without the need to invest in chisels and gouges and a workbench. Look for a kit that uses a classic pen knife as the whittling tool. Then he gets a useful pen knife even if he chooses never to bless you with a handcrafted pot-stirrer.
Foodie Make Your Own Kits
An unusual gift for the male who likes to cook or loves his food. If you can think of an artisan food product you can probably get a kit for the man in your life to have a go at making his own –
- Sourdough Bread kits from the Sourdough Kitchen or the Wild Baker.
- Raw Chocolate from Elements for Life.
- Cheese with, who else, but the Cheese Making Shop.
- Trendy fermented foods with Freshly Fermented.
Or for the adventurous man – a Molecular Gastronomy Kit.
Magazine subscriptions or a year’s membership to a society, organisation or place make a great Christmas gift that delivers all year. A little detective work makes sure you don’t duplicate something they have already.
For the man who has everything or is impossible to buy for then consider investing in an experience rather than an object. Admittedly, it is like giving him a rain cheque because he can’t use it on Christmas Day, but experience gifts come in all shapes and sizes.
Think about something he has always said he’d like to do someday and then see if it is possible to make that happen.DIY Experience
Not an opportunity for your husband or boyfriend to learn some useful skills like plumbing or bricklaying (though classes are available) but an experience pack you put together yourself. Your imagination (and your budget) is the only limit. Some ideas could include a minibreak – book a stay at a B&B with tickets to a local theatre or booked tour of a local attraction. Or a bag of popcorn and cinema vouchers may be just the ticket for those Christmas films.
Encounters with Animals
You don’t have to travel to meet exotic animals, he can have a shark diving experience in a UK aquarium or invest in horse riding lessons or hawk flying. You buy Animal experience days ready packaged from an online supplier like Virgin Experience Days or Red-letter Days. Or, you can visit your local wildlife attractions and zoos to buy direct.
The scope of heart-thumping exhilarating experiences is endless – hot air balloon rides, abseiling, bungee jumping, flying a plane, train or car. Our lives and memories fill with momentary experiences and if he likes adventure and excitement then there is a top-notch experience out there for him.Learn Something
For a change of pace in the experience market what about gifting a new skill? Learning to play an instrument is excellent for the brain and most men either want to or have played an instrument. A couple of taster sessions or lessons for fun and the chosen instrument can be hired or borrowed.
A varied mix of workshops lets him try his hand at anything from forging a knife, throwing a pot, tying a knot, painting some glass or beekeeping. Workshop prices vary depending on the cost of materials and how long they take, and some combine a weekend break as part of the package.
Finally, for the Impossible Man – Gift Someone Else
If none of the strategies for finding an ideal gift for a man are working, you’re frustrated and at your wit’s end – give a gift to someone else. Plant some trees with the Woodland Trust (perhaps give him a wooden letter opener so he can open the thank you letter with style) or support a hospice or homeless shelter with a gift donation in his name. There are local and national charities that will really appreciate the gift donation.