#thebigblogmasproject2014: Gift Guide for Him

This is the last gift guide of #thebigblogmasproject2014 (as I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear!), and this time it's gifts for men. I must admit I often struggle to buy for the men in my life as most of them are very reluctant to say what they want - does anyone else's dad do the whole 'don't waste your money on me' routine? - and consequently I end up getting the same things all the time. But, if it's done well and you know the person well enough, you can usually be quite successful. So for this gift guide, instead of picking out specific items, I'm going to go through each section in categories.

Books are always a great fall-back gift in my view, as there are books about pretty much everything. For my brothers-in-law, it will be books about rugby or football (there is always a sportsman with a new autobiography every Christmas); for my dad, music books or history books; and for my husband - it still feels weird saying that! - history books again, though slightly different from the ones I'd buy my dad. I tend to buy most of my book presents on Amazon but will always go to Foyles or Waterstones to get some ideas ahead of time (and also because bookshops are my happy place) - browsing often turns up some brilliant possible gifts.

Obviously this only works for men who are old enough to drink and like the taste of alcohol, but if you know someone who fits that category then drinks aren't a bad choice of present. Both my dad and my husband drink whisky, whilst my brother-in-law is more of a gin man, but you could easily go with a set of craft beers or even a good rum. Most large towns and cities will have some kind of fancy off-licence or a local brewery selling their own beer, but for spirits I really like the Whisky Exchange as it has a huge selection so you're sure to find something that the person you're buying it for will like. Or if you're feeling a bit flush, what about membership of a wine club?

Pretty much a winner for most men as long as you pick to their taste; Nick and I are even doing food stockings this year. All the men in my family are absolute cheese fiends, so if that sounds like any men you know you could really go to town with a fancy hamper - either bought pre-assembled or put together yourself - of fancy cheese, crackers and chutneys. But equally you could go for something sweet-themed, or a hamper of posh tea or coffee, or simply just all your giftee's favourite foods! Another alternative would be a food subscription service of some kind - there are lots of different ones out there so it really depends what the person you're buying likes.

Often gadgets are thought of as a bit of a throwaway stocking filler thing, but if you get a good one it can be a great gift in itself. Again I'd subscribe to the previous rule: if the gadget is related to something they actually enjoy then you're on to a winner for the novelty factor if nothing else. I am actually slightly gutted that I'm not buying presents for my dad in the secret Santa this year, because if I was I would so be buying him this plectrum maker - he always complains he can never find a plectrum for his guitar and it's such a great use for any old bank or store cards. Whereas for my husband, who's really into his cooking, I'd go for this garlic press that you roll back and forth to crush the garlic.

I must admit that unless you know the man you're buying for really, really well, or he has mentioned a specific piece of clothing he wants - even if it's just saying 'I like that' when you're out shopping together - then I would get vouchers instead. But if you do know exactly what they'd like then often clothes can be a good purchase, especially if it's a bit more than they'd usually spend on themselves. Alternatively, a stock of nice but practical things can be a nice little extra - posh socks for instance.

What do you buy the men in your life for Christmas?

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