Tips to help you navigate the tricky annual gifting territory
Men are notoriously difficult to buy for. Whether you are looking for a gift for the ‘I have everything I need’ dad, ‘I don’t know what I want’ husband, ‘don’t get me anything’ boyfriend or ‘I don’t need anything’ friend, figuring out what to get is rarely a smooth sleigh ride.
Since we are all about men at Murdock, we have put together a few tips to help you navigate the tricky gift territory and prevent this long and noble tradition from turning your Christmas into a chore and you into the ‘classic’ Scrooge along the way.
"If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"
Needless to say beginning with writing a list of names and potential presents is always a great start. It will keep you sane during the pre-Christmas weeks, turn any necessary shopping trips into a success, rather than an aimless search party, and provide a great reference next year when you need to go through it all over again. But what do you do if the list is half empty?
"I don't know what to do!" cried Scrooge”
Most men are rarely adventurous when it comes to their shopping. They tend to stick to the brands or products they are used to, seldom venturing outside of their staples. Paradoxically it does not mean that they don’t like having new things. And that’s an opportunity for a great gift right there. Help them expand their shopping horizons. It could be as simple as gifting an alternative or a complementary product to the one they already use, for example upgrading their shaving gel to Traditional Shaving Soap and adding in a Shaving Brush for good measure.
Contrary to popular belief there’s nothing wrong with gifting a guy a jumper or a pair of gloves. Just make it a great quality cashmere jumper (sans reindeer)… As for the gloves – they would be Italian Hair Sheep leather like The Drive Gaspar Gloves, obviously.
Men learn quickly to appreciate finer things. They may appear to pay little attention to the quality of the T-shirts they buy, or the toiletries they use: any old shampoo, shower gel or shave cream will often do… until that is, one day, something brilliant and unexpected appears in their closet or bathroom via a Christmas tree. They are instantly hooked and rest assured, next year will ask for “some more of that stuff” you got them the previous year.
This Christmas someone, somewhere will be unwrap a plastic beer bong to a choir of laughter, but you're only going to make a lasting impression with a more enduring gift. A crystal decanter set or sixteenth century globe bar may be a slight push, but something such as ‘The Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails’ with some necessary tools will tick the right boxes and certainly outlast the bong.
Chances are he already has a shaving brush. In fact, a quick glance in his bathroom cabinet will confirm he has had it since at least 1998. Perhaps it’s the year to upgrade his tools?
There are certain milestones in a man’s life that your gift can help him prepare for… ‘French Bulldogs – Owner's Guide’ or ‘Debut Dads: The First Season of Fatherhood’ will cover the burning questions and help him confidently confront the unknown.
Adding on a little humour with a novelty gift as a stocking filler or to compliment a main gift is a nice touch, but steer clear of anything useless or outright ridiculous. That means no to the ‘beer belly drinking sacks’ or ‘brain beanies’. Yes, however to Christmas Chocolate moustaches on a stick.
We are all little boys with bigger dreams. Perhaps he won’t be going for that Patagonia trek adventure this year but a netted cocoon hammock for the garden and a copy of Bear Grylls’ ‘Mud, Sweat and Tears’ will help him keep the dream alive. If he fancies escaping the city and writing a bestseller, a course on creative writing and ‘Cabin Porn: Inspiration for a quiet place somewhere’ in paperback will surely fuel that ambition.
Buying a fragrance can be tricky. Unless he completely trusts your judgement or you already know he likes a particular cologne. Gifting a collection of minis or fragranced everyday products like a soap or a shower gel is a much safer option of introducing him to a new scent. Less room for error, same great result.
What do you give to a man who has “everything”? It’s the experiences that make us truly rich, not the earthly possessions, so consider treating him to one of a kind experience. A helicopter flying lesson, a tour of a famous sporting stadium, deep sea fishing or something a little closer to (our) home – the experience of the best barbering in the world.
"The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune."
Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ captured the Victorian audience’s longing for the true spirit of Christmas - the special time to be celebrated through togetherness, family and generosity. Making the effort to be there for someone and spending quality time together is probably the greatest Christmas gift of all. It does sound a cliché, but it is something that all the Scrooges would eventually have to learn the hard way.
"I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!"
All quotes: ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens