It seems to me that, by and large, men are much easier to buy for than women. Although I’m a man, and therefore biased, I think I’ve got a strong case: In general, women want gifts that represent feelings and emotions, which for men tends to result in a lot of head-scratching and trips to the jewelry store. Men, on the other hand, just want to have fun.
As we said in The 5 Dumbest Gifts For Your Girl, never buy a woman anything that plugs in. Men, on the other hand, are perfectly happy with power tools, games or computers – pretty much anything that moves, has lights, or makes noise.
Take a look at the following video that will introduce you to the five dumbest gifts you can give your guy. Then we’ll get into more details and other things to avoid below.
I often get clothes as gifts, for an obvious reason: unless somebody gives me clothes, I’d most likely be naked by now. Because while I can easily remember my last trip to the hardware store (about two hours ago) I can’t remember the last time I went into a store and bought clothes. Plus, I’m forever forgetting to change into crappy clothes before embarking on home-improvement projects, so I’m continually ruining the few stain-free clothes I have left. So there’s no question that I need and expect clothes for Christmas. But this isn’t a story about what guys need, it’s about what guys want.
We said the same in The 5 Dumbest Gift Ideas for Your Girl – this gift shows you cared enough to grab a piece of plastic from a grocery store end-cap. I honestly believe that gift cards are the worst present ever invented. I understand the logic: Gift cards allow you to give someone something that they really want, allows them to get it cheaper at after-Christmas sales, yada, yada, yada. But could anything be less personal? I’d much rather have you miss the mark entirely and get me something stupid than buy me something that shows me that not only do you not know what I want – you don’t even care enough to take a stab at it.
Tickets that are really for you
Guys and girls are both guilty of this: getting something they really want and hoping the other person will like it, too. Everyone wants to share hobbies and interests with their partner, but gift-giving isn’t the place for it. You might be trying to convince yourself by thinking you’ll introduce him to something new. It’ll expand his horizons, you say – but it probably won’t because guys are resistant to completely new concepts, especially the kind that don’t involve action, violence, noise, beer, or the possibility of someone dying. He doesn’t want tickets to the opera, a museum, a play, or a concert featuring your favorite band. Focus on what he likes: Sure, it could mean spending the evening at a monster truck rally, but hey, that’s why it’s special.
There’s only one thing you can buy for yourself that he might like: lingerie.
Are you trying to be nice, or is this some sort of passive-aggressive attempt at controlling my behavior? You’re supposed to like me the way I am – or at least act like you do. So please don’t give me a gym membership or the South Beach diet book. If you know that I like to roller-blade or bike, and I’m already doing it, fine. Buy me blades or a bike. But the last thing I want from you on Christmas morning is thinly veiled hints that I’m not OK: You’re supposed to tell me that stuff directly when we’re fighting.
As I mentioned in the video above, the worst gift I’ve ever gotten was a collection of pictures from my girlfriend at the time. She had gone to one of those glamor photography places and bought a package of pictures that ranged from a calendar to a giant framed portrait of herself that was – I swear to you – about twice life-size. I hung it on the wall that faced my bedroom door, and every time I walked into the bedroom and turned the light on it scared me half to death. It wasn’t that she wasn’t attractive: She was. And I didn’t mind having her picture. But a billboard? Please. True story: After we broke up, she ended up marrying a good friend of mine. I told him I had all these pictures of her in a closet and asked him to come pick them up – he flat-out refused.
If you want to give him pictures of you – especially pictures of the two of you together that spark great memories – go for it. Just avoid giving anything that has to go up on a wall.
This one is tricky, because video games might be exactly what he really wants. The problem with this gift is that once you give it to him, for the next month he’ll be a zombie, barely leaving the sofa long enough to eat or shave. Go ahead; set the house on fire. He won’t notice. If you’re giving the gift or games, make sure they’re suitable for two players and you’re down with it too.
This can be a nice gift, and I certainly want to smell nice for you. But since I rarely remember to wear it. If you gave me cologne last year, odds are I still have plenty left. Better idea? Give me some fancy shaving cream and a shaving brush to lather it up. I shave a lot more often than I wear cologne, and this is a nice luxury. I got an Art of Shaving set from a friend for my birthday and I’ve really enjoyed it. Which reminds me of another horrendous gift …
Every year about this time you start seeing the ads for electric razors. Over the decades the prices have changed – now you can easily spend $150 on one – but the claims remain the same: “Shaves as close as a blade!” No it doesn’t. If you ever need concrete evidence that people respond to advertising, consider the fact that pretty much every man and woman in America has at one time or another given or received an electric razor, when everyone knows that they simply don’t work as well as a blade.
At the start of this article I said that men – as opposed to women – like things that plug in. But note I also said that they like things that move, have lights, or make noise. A toaster oven doesn’t do any of these things. Table saw? Absolutely. George Foreman grill? No, thanks. Besides, I do my grilling where all men do: on the patio.
So what’s left?
If you don’t know what to get him, just ask. Guys are usually straightforward and open about what they want. If he has no idea, your best bets are technology, tools, and car accessories. If it’s practical, that’s great. If it’s fun to play with, that’s even better.
OK, guys: I coughed up my worst gift. What about you: Ever get a really horrible gift? Enter our Worst Gift Ever Contest. Tell us your story and you might win a Flip MinoHD video camera – a great gift for anyone on your list!
Sign up for our free newsletter
Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's '205 Ways to Save Money' as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.