Men are notoriously hard to shop for, present-wise. Most already have what they want or don’t seem to want much at all, leaving you scratching your head around Christmas. Most men don’t have Pinterest boards you can scroll through for inspiration (but bless him if he does), so here’s a guide to help you figure out what to get him based on where you are in your relationship.
Just talking: Keep it simple. If you’re not exactly dating but steadily heading that way, you’re probably wondering if you should bother with a gift at all. Giving a gift at Christmas will show him that you’re definitely interested in him and looking to date, but don’t worry too much about what you should be buying. At this stage, nothing is serious so keep it that way. Buy him something simple like a beanie or cool printed socks.
Early dating: A nice but straightforward gift. You’re just beginning to get to know each other, meaning you can still get away with something generic that doesn’t require a ton of thought. The key is to not overthink, meaning stick with classics like a quality leather wallet or high-end cologne.
Just starting to get serious (1-6 months): Show you understand his interests. When you become an official couple, everything feels new and you’re constantly smitten. You’re probably still getting to know each other’s interests and personality quirks, so prove you really get him with a well thought out gift. Is he obsessed with a certain TV show or movie? Get him the DVD box set, poster, or t-shirt. If he’s a total game nerd, you can buy a new game or GameStop gift card. Is he more of sports guy? Get him a team jersey or snapback hat. If he’s constantly listening to music, consider buying his favorite album on vinyl or a new speaker.
Getting comfortable (6+ months): Get sexy. By now, your relationship is probably getting hot and heavy, if it hasn’t already. You’re committed to each other, you know them pretty well, and you may have already said those three little words. Get him a gift that will truly put him in the holiday spirit like sexy lingerie or a couples massage. No man has ever been disappointing when receiving the gift of a sexy Mrs. Claus.
Long-term (1+ year): Splurge a bit. You’ve made it a full year despite the ups and downs, so you most likely want to get him something special and slightly more expensive to show how much you care. Obviously, Christmas isn’t solely about gifts and the price shouldn’t matter, but it feels marvelous to spoil someone you care for and seeing their reaction makes it all worth those extra dollars and cents. Get him a pair of nice new headphones, an expensive watch, that top shelf liquor he’s been eyeing or a box of cigars.
Basically married: Something you can enjoy together. You’ve been in love for 2+ years, are living together, and are more or less married but without all the legal mumbo-jumbo. Despite your grandmother shaking her head at living together before marriage, you’re definitely more than roommates and are looking for more to do together at home. Pick a present you can both enjoy like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, drone, or VR headset.
Engaged: Save that money. Even if your parents are paying for the wedding, you’re most likely strapped for cash with other wedding preparations and the honeymoon. Your soon-to-be-hubby should be more than understanding about going a little cheaper this Christmas. A knife, flask, or beard trimmer should get the job done.
Actually married: Something for the home. You’re building your home together and becoming full-fledged adults. Spring for a gift that he’ll enjoy but will also be a nice little addition to your home. This could be something on your registry you didn’t receive such as a Keurig, french press or whiskey glass set. Maybe it’s something that wasn’t listed on your registry, for example, a cuddly new fur-baby that will make your house feel like home.
The old married couple: Something sentimental. You’ve been married for several years and have seen each other through all the ups and downs of life. They’ve been by your side through every major accomplishment and devastating fall. They’re your best friend, cheerleader and life coach all wrapped in one good looking package. You may want to skip buying some mundane gift and show them how appreciative you are with a heartfelt DIY present. Try making a memory jar, Sharpie mugs or get even craftier and knit a scarf. A handmade item that requires time and effort more than dollars spent is truly special and something he’ll cherish.
With children: Time away or things he won’t buy himself. Whether you’re married or not, parenting is a full-time job that deserves some time off every once in a while. Children are stressful enough without adding a hectic holiday, so treat him to a night out whether it be with you, like a dinner, or with the guys, like at a cigar club. Parents also usually focus on the child’s interests rather than their own and often don’t buy themselves simple luxuries. Get him a new jacket, nice pair of shoes, or even a typical dad gift like a fleece robe so he can scar his children for many years to come.
It’s complicated: A ‘whatever’ gift. Since you’re on a break, you may be wondering if a gift is necessary or if he deserves one. If you’re afraid he’ll read too much into you not buying him a gift, go for something cheap and simple. Some divorced couples are still on good terms and also buy each other presents when the holidays roll around. A new phone case, gift card, or book is a no-nonsense present that doesn’t require you to spend more money on them than you’d prefer.
Long Distance: Something for him to remember you by. Long distance relationships are tricky and difficult. Naturally, you want something that will make him think of you every time he sees it. Sexy photographs, a care package, matching jewelry or a long distance touch lamp may make the heart grow fonder than the distance will.
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