What to Buy for the Man Who’s Hard to Shop For

The holidays should be a time of joy, but they can also be a time of stress. Getting the perfect gift for the ones you love can seem like an impossible quest. We all have that one man in our life—father, husband, brother, son—who’s impossible to buy for. They may have everything they need and most of what they want. Worse yet, they probably shrug and say, “You don’t have to get me anything,” when you ask them for a wish list. If this sounds familiar, don’t despair. Here are some ideas for gifts you’ll love giving and they’ll love getting.

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Collectibles: The best gifts, big or small, are the ones that have personal meaning. A collectible item is a great way to show that you notice what he’s into. For example, if that hard-to-shop-for man in your life is a baseball fan, consider a ball signed by a favorite player, an autographed photo of his hometown team, or a personalized jersey. Or maybe he’s into films, or music, or comics. Whatever his interest, there are unique items geared to his taste. (Be sure to check out reputable auctions, rather than retail stores, to get the best value.)

Luxury items: Even if he has everything, chances are he would enjoy having a nicer replacement for something he already owns. If he’s still rocking the Timex he bought when he was fresh out of school and couldn’t afford anything better, surprise him with a Breitling or a Rolex. (Again, there are great deals to be had at auction, so shop there first.) Or take him out for a fitting to have some custom-tailored shirts made to wear to the office. These kinds of gifts tell him how much you think he deserves the finer things in life.

Relaxation: For the highly stressed man in your life, whether he’s an executive or a student, a gift that encourages him to slow down and take care of himself (even if only briefly!) is a great option. A gift certificate for a massage or a facial at your favorite local spa, or to have a professional shave or beard trim, is just the nudge he needs to indulge. Pair one of these gifts with shave balm, a quality razor, aromatherapy lotions, or other related items to help extend the experience and give him something fun to unwrap.

Experiences: Maybe it’s that new restaurant that opened up downtown. Maybe it’s that race driving course he saw an ad for. Maybe it’s that cruise or camping trip you’ve been talking about taking, or the paintball outing he’s wanted to put together with his buddies. If he doesn’t need more stuff, then arranging for him to do something he’s always wanted to try, or that he hasn’t made the time for lately, is the perfect gift to bring a smile to his face.

The bottom line is that it really is the thought behind the gift that counts, no matter your budget. Knowing you took the time to consider what he enjoys will make whatever you get him extra special.

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