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Christmas for the man in your life: giving the gift of awesome

My compatriot here at the blog, Amber Bosma, put together a little article for men, offering gift-buying advice for the women in their lives. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I figured a companion piece on buying gifts for the man in your life would be a breeze. Turns out I was wrong.

After querying most of the men I know, I soon realized that guys are simple in their wants and needs but lacking in their ability to communicate them. So ladies, if you’re trying to be discrete this Christmas and surprise your guy with the perfect gift, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Here are some of the observations I made.

First off, let me re-cap Amber’s suggestions but from a woman-buying-for-a-man point of view:

  • Listening to every sentence your man utters for clues will get you nowhere. Men don’t really talk and they don’t drop conversational hints. Abandon this tactic completely. As well, whatever you do, DO NOT look in his web browser history for clues as to what he wants.
  • Similarly, asking his friends for advice is a dead end. If there’s a group of people who know nothing about your man, it’s definitely his closest buds. When these men congregate, they speak only of women, beer and small talk. And even if your man managed to squeak out the occasional blurb about stuff he likes, his buddies weren’t listening anyway.
  • Check out what he’s Pinning. Nope – guys don’t use Pinterest. If they did though, you wouldn’t need advice on what to buy them. They’d be making it known.
  • Giving romance instead of gifting “stuff?” This is a bad choice. Why? Because no man ever said “Thank you for the lovely, handwritten poem, I much prefer it over PlayStation 4.” As far as romance is concerned, lovin’ from your woman is great but can be had any day of the year. If you’re determined to be romantic, make romance a follow-up gift – a “stocking stuffer” to the main event.
  • Clothing. Have you ever seen the look on the face of a man who is wearing a sweater bought for him by his wife? It’s a defeated mix of emasculation and sheepish humiliation. Trace it back to 400,000 years and the fact that men used to kill animals, then wear them as clothing. It’s in our genes to dress ourselves, no matter how badly, so having your girl do it for you is a no-no. Again though, if you’re insistent on the gift of clothing, meet us halfway and offer a gift certificate for high-end store.

So if it’s this difficult, what then, does a gal buy for her favourite guy? Well, a few of Amber’s suggestion apply equally as well to both guys and girls:

  • Gifting an experience rather than an item is definitely a creative and potentially fun alternative. It seems that the older we get, the more stick-in-the-muddish we become. So receiving a unique get-out-and-do-something gift could be thrilling. Digging into a stocking and finding drum lessons, a deep sea fishing excursion, a sky diving pass, a skiing lift ticket, hockey tickets or even an exotic car rental would be pretty fantastic. As well, there’s the opportunity to do these things as a couple.
  • Figuring out his favourite stores and favourite things is another great suggestion from Amber. This approach lessens the risk of a failed gift. You’re starting with a safe base and working your way up from there, but there’s still a challenge, as even if you know the store, you still don’t know what to buy. So in this situation, I suggest one of two things: going with a gift certificate or just straight-up asking your man for a Christmas list. Yes, I know a certificate feels like a copout, but it’s not. Gift certificates are one of the best gifts because they allow for a totally personalized and satisfied purchase. Who doesn’t like a shopping spree at their favourite store? Though if you’d rather not go the certificate route, then just be forthcoming and ask him what he wants. There’s no shame here, as both of these options result in a guy who is pleased with his Christmas haul. Sure he might not be blown away with the awesomest gift but he will be satisfied and happy with a nice little Christmas – and that’s just fine.

But if “pleased” isn’t the end result you desire, then let me suggest how to achieve notoriety with your Christmas gift. When I’m honest with myself and honest in my observation of other men, I think what they truly want for Christmas is “awesomeness.” The man in your life wants an awesome gift – a gift he can show off or brag about to his friends. A gift he can take out a few times a year and with a twinkle in his eye, say “Hey man, check this out.”

Awesome is a gift that has impact; that makes a man smile and results in him giving you kisses for weeks, months and years to come. Awesome is a gift that makes his buddies jealous and the girls at the office green with envy. Awesome is a profoundly personal gift; bought-and-given with endless devotion and unwavering certainty.

But an awesome gift is not something you’ll figure out by reading a blog. You’ll only nail awesomeness by really knowing your man. And that’s something I cannot help you with.

For the fun of it though, I’ll take a stab at a suggestion: Remember when you were a kid and you’d say to your parents: “If you buy me this gift, you don’t have to buy me a Christmas present next year!”. Well, apply this logic to adulthood. If you were going to spend $400 on your guy this Christmas, double it and instead buy him something absolutely amazing for $800 instead. His jaw will hit the floor.

So for example, if you asked me personally, I’ve always fantasized about a weekend excursion to Paris – like the rich and famous do it. Just once in my life, I’d like to come into work on Monday and answer “How was your weekend?” with “Oh you know, a little dinner in Paris on Saturday…” Wouldn’t that be something? A guy can always dream.

And that’s the point: Double-up his Christmases and give him a dream gift. Save the merino sweater for another day.

But if you still can’t figure out an awesome gift – not even for $800 – just give him the cash instead. No man on earth would scoff at eight hundred bones.

Having lived on both coasts and smack-dab in the middle of the prairies, Mark believes himself to be quite the well-rounded Canadian. That being said, he sure does struggle with appropriate regional diction. Remind him again: Is it pronounced scallop or skahllop?

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