After chatting with a group of men I selected to get their thoughts on what gifts they love, I was surprised to find that regardless of age, race and profession, (I spoke to men between the ages of 30 to 70, all races and about a dozen different occupations), besides tech gadgets, there were quite a few other similar types of gifts that were mentioned repeatedly. The most surprising answer was how many men actually welcome skincare gifts from women, predominantly because they’re shy or lack the knowledge to buy it for themselves.
In my first ever compilation of my personal picks of the best holiday gifts for guys, I aimed to stray a bit off the clichéd gifts with some of these selections so that you can pleasantly surprise the men in your life and hopefully give them gifts they need and secretly want.
Why It’s Great: Whether the guy is already health conscious or one who is trying to eat healthier, the Blendtec is a life changing kitchen appliance worth its weight in gold. It’s been proven that drinking smoothies retains essential vitamins and nutrients that juicing loses due to not incorporating the entire fruit or vegetable. Blendtec’s superior technology blends even hard as rock avocado pits into complete smoothness. This blender makes everything from smoothies to soups, sorbets and vegetable pureés.
Price: Ranges from US $280 to +$1000 (The lower range will still be superior to any other brand)
Where to Buy: Blendtec.com, Amazon, Select Stores Including Bed Bath & Beyond, Sam’s Club, Dillard’s and Costco
2. ART OF SHAVING
Why It’s Great: Every man needs a great shave. The Art of Shaving is one of those skincare products that has done such a great job of branding itself as uber “manly” so that even the most manliest of manly men don’t have an issue with using it. Besides its sleek packaging, the shaving products are tailored to men’s skin with a range of scents, sensitivities and applications.
Price: Most of the products range in the US $15 to $25 range
Where to Buy: ArtOfShaving.com
3. PEVONIA POWER EYE CONTOUR REPAIR
Why It’s Great: This is one of those gifts that a lot of men would secretly love receiving. Pevonia’s Power Eye Contour Repair is one of the most effective eye creams on the market at a more reasonable price compared to other brands in the ultra-luxury category. If you know a man who cares (either openly or secretly) about those wrinkles, bags, dark circles and puffiness around his eyes, this is the gift.
Price: US $76 for a bottle that lasts about 4 months with twice daily use
Where to Buy: Pevonia.com
4. SHISEIDO MEN’S ENERGIZING FORMULA
Why It’s Great: Shiseido is one of the world’s oldest and foremost experts in skincare (most people don’t realize Shiseido holds the patents to skincare technology that other major brands use under their own name). This Men’s Energizing Formula is an excellent medium weight moisturizer for men with normal, oily and combination skin, providing much needed hydration while combating signs of aging and fatigue with antioxidants including tea extract. Bonus: the light & dark gray packaging looks like it belongs in a bathroom that James Bond would use.
Price: US $33 for a tube that will last several months with daily use
Where to Buy: Shiseido.com, Amazon, Select Department Stores
5. ONLY COIN
Why It’s Great: You know how men complain that women have purses and they have just a wallet and nowhere to put their keys, phone, etc.? OnlyCoin solves part of the problem by virtually eliminating the need for a wallet, or at least dramatically decreasing its size. Instead of carrying around multiple credit and debit cards, OnlyCoin has created an application that syncs all of your credit/debit cards into one little sleek black card they give you. Whenever you pay for something, you can specify which of your cards the black card taps into. One card- that’s it.
Price: Usual price is $100 but if you order before the end of 2013 (the product starts shipping in summer of 2014) you get a 50% discount
Where to Buy: OnlyCoin.com
6. TCHO CHOCOLATE
Why It’s Great: I don’t think chocolate needs explanation as to why it’s great but TCHO Chocolate specifically is one of the best chocolatiers in America thanks to its commitment to sustainable cocoa farming and innovation in flavor development. It’s a fantastic company, fantastic chocolates with a great attitude. Just try it; you’ll be an addict.
Price: US $5 and up
Where to Buy: TCHO.com
7. GIFT AN EXPERIENCE. As many social studies have proven, beyond a certain financial threshold, lasting happiness and contentment is not derived from material possessions but by the experiences that create a life well lived. The most lasting and unique gift you can give to a man in your life is not a material thing that will be gone or stop working sooner or later (though I do love all the aforementioned items), but an experience that will linger in his mind and spirit for years, if not forever. Here are a few ideas that may or may not apply to you, depending on where that person is but you can take these ideas and find what’s available in that region.
- Indoor Skydiving is an awesome gift to give a guy who maybe has considered real sky diving but has been hesitant about it. This experience will either prep him for the real thing or quench his curiosity.
- Helicopter Ride– there are very few places in the world where a helicopter ride is not a good idea. Some areas with high tourist levels may have better rates while other areas may be more expensive. You can always partner with others to give an expensive gift to a special man together. A helicopter ride provides gorgeous views and with some companies you can even ask the pilot to do adventurous flights for the more adrenaline seeking men in your life.
- Race a Car. Some cities have major raceways close by and most of them have special days where they allow regular folks (non-professional drivers) to drive their cars on the track for a few hours. There are plenty of men young and old who would love this opportunity.
- Wine/Food Tour. Cities all over the world have either long been or quickly becoming foodie destinations. For the food lover man, some type of winery tour or restaurant hopping experience will be very appreciated.
8. GIFT CERTIFICATE TO LOCAL SPA FOR GENTLEMAN’S TREATMENTS. You wouldn’t believe how many men ask my girlfriends and I “what do you girls do in a spa,” and “what goes on in there.” As much as some men like to tease us about spas, the fact is most of them who have never been are incredibly curious about it. I’ve gifted this often and it has always been thoroughly enjoyed by the person, regardless of whether he has or has not been to a spa. In all seriousness, a lot of great men deserve the pampering; there’s no rule book that says facials and massages are reserved for women. Are men supposed to go around with clogged pores and sore backs? You should check your local spas for great treatments specialized for men and the best deals. My trusted favorites are some of these luxury hotel spas that have treatments tailored to men and consistently fantastic service.
9. GIFT CERTIFICATE TO A GREAT RESTAURANT. You’ve obviously got to know what the guy likes to eat. I love this gift because it’s so flexible and this can be done anywhere in the world. You can go high-end if your budget allows and gift him a certificate to a fine dining restaurant in his city or you can go more casual but still personal- gift him a dinner at his favorite local hole-in-the-wall restaurant. If you really know the guy and want to go with the latter idea, you can even set up the menu- as in talk to the restaurant owner/manager and tell them what you’re doing. Most reasonable small restaurant owners will be very happy to accommodate a menu you choose to the last detail and have you pay in advance, tip included. This shows pretty detailed effort on your part and obviously, you were thinking about that person instead of some generic sweater or gloves.
10. TICKETS TO AN AWESOME SHOW/CONFERENCE/CONCERT. Check what’s going to be playing in the guy’s local area. Anything from Cirque du Soleil to his favorite band to Broadway, off-Broadway, monster truck shows, car shows, tech conferences- these are all thoughtful gifts and will save the guy whatever he would have spent if he even had the money to spend on these experiences in the first place. This gift, like the previous 3, all fall under the “Experience” category, the most treasured gifts of all. After all, don’t you remember your favorite rock concert/Broadway play/(insert show here) experience?