My ex-husband was super hard to buy gifts for, and his birthday and Christmas are in the SAME WEEK which I guess could be good in that I only had to think about gifts for him really once a year, but was also bad because, well, gifts. A lot of gifts all at the same time.
I used to buy him Penn State stuff for every holiday, but he had a lot of Penn State stuff already, and I had to eventually move into the kitschy and weird, things like glass Christmas ornaments (got broken the first year on the tree) and a neon sign in the shape of PSU football helmet (also broken on its first time out). I eventually gave up on the Penn State theme and went for a music theme, buying him a new saxophone one year and a music stand and some other stuff subsequently, but that grew tired even more quickly than the PSU gear.
So what was left? After a lot of brainstorming and some Pinterest searching, I came up with the following list of potential gifts.
Techy Christmas Gifts
Amazon Echo Show – We have 3 Echos and love Alexa. We listen to music, ask questions, talk to each other in different rooms, control our tv, thermostat, and lights, get the weather report, and much, much more. You can also order pizza from Domino's, request rides from Uber, find a Chinese restaurant, or lock your front door, all with a simple voice command. It's super easy to set up and use, and any tech-loving woman is going to be completely enamored with it. These were redesigned and rereleased in October 2017; we got ours right after that.
An Apple watch with cellular service – I have had mine for 5 or 6 years, and it is amazing. I love it so much that I ended up getting one for my teen. We love our watches because they have a fitness tracker/pedometer, plus they give us turn by turn directions, play audiobooks, remind us to take our medications, and allow us to send and receive calls and texts just from the watch. Apple Watches do almost everything that iPhones can do. They're amazing.
Authentic Apple Airpods Pro – I bought myself a pair of authentic Apple Airpods three years ago, after using the following two sets of wireless headphones for about two years previous. The ones below are great, and if you don't have an iPhone, I would definitely recommend going with those. But if you do have an iPhone, Airpods are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. They are self-charging, they connect to the phone automatically, you can tap them to play or pause whatever you're listening to, and they automatically pause when you take one out. The new Airpods Pro are pricey, but they are worth every penny. They have adjustable tips for any size ears, and the noise canceling feature is solid gold.
Bluetooth headphones – It is no secret that I love these headphones. I've written about them before. I bought them a few years ago for my walks, and they are still great. They stay in place, they reduce a lot of background noise, and they have great sound. They also keep my ears warm in cold weather, which I love.
Bluetooth shower speaker – I love my shower speaker. It's a small bluetooth speaker that connects to my phone, and it's waterproof. So I can listen to music or an audiobook while I shower condition my hair, and shave. It takes time, you know?
Tile Mate – Tile Mate is amazing. You attach it to your keys, your wallet, the remote control, or whatever you frequently lose, and when that thing gets lost, you activate the Tile Mate on your phone (via an app) to make the Tile play a sound and play a game of hotter/colder with your stuff until you find it. If it's lost outside your house, you can even enlist the Tile Mate community to help you find it. We have 4 of these. If you're an Apple person, the Apple AirTag is similar.
Universal Diagnostic Computer – This is a super cool little gadget that tells you what's wrong with your car (for most cars since 1996) when the check engine light comes on. I think any husband would happily have one of these little gadgets as it would make him his wife's hero anytime her car had a glitch.
Fire TV 4K – The Fire TV 4K is perfect for anyone who likes TV but hates paying for cable. He will love you for this tiny box that would give him access to all his favorites like Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu, Showtime, Pandora, Amazon Music and much more! With over 7,000 apps, games, and Alexa voice remote, this one is sure to be a major winner!
Alexa enabled light switches – We are all-in with our Alexa, and we use her to control most of our house. She turns on the tv/DVD/Tivo (via Harmony Hub), she turns on the lights and ceiling fans, locks our front door, and I'm hoping that some day, she will control our security system, brains, and cars. (Just kidding on the brains and cars. Maybe.) So we installed these light switches because they allow us to control our lights from our beds, from the grocery store, or from a hotel. That may seem silly, but we can make it look like someone is home even when no one is home, for safety's sake, and it's so nice to be able to say, "Alexa, turn off the dining room lights" and have the lights in another area of the house turn off without ever having to stand up. Welcome to the 21st century, Mrs. Jetson.
Alexa enabled electrical outlets – See above about Alexa. These plugs allows us to control the lights that aren't on hardwired switches. We can also control other stuff like the toaster and coffee maker as if they were on hardwired switches, which gives us peace of mind when we're out of the house.
Video Conversion Suite – I think this is the coolest product even though I can't really use it. It is a whole system that transfers your analog (read: VHS) videos to digital forms. If I had VHS home videos, I would absolutely be using this to digitize them. I think it's a great gift for anyone who doesn't want to pay a service to digitize but also doesn't want to lose all those precious memories.
Mini drone with video camera – Men love their gadgets, and this gadget is just plain fun. My ex has a drone, and he and the girls love flying it around his neighborhood.
USB charging station – I have this in my bedroom where I like to charge my phone, Kindle, and other devices. They are super handy little things even though they may not be the most exciting gift. I also keep one in my overnight bag with a selection of charger cables so that I'm always prepared to charge my devices when I'm away from home.
Wearable Christmas Gifts
Faux leather jacket – I got Joe this supple faux leather jacket from Tommy Hilfiger for a sock hop dance that he took the girls to years ago, and he has worn it often since. It's warm but not too warm, and the leather material is soft and looks authentic. He looks really sharp in this jacket, and I'm willing to bet that your sweetheart will, too.
Best Husband Ever t-shirt – Because he is, right? So why not let him wear the truth all around town?
Under Armor has a great reputation, and this quarter zip pullover is perfect for cool weather, whether he's working out or just milling around. It comes in many different colors.
UGG slippers – UGG has a reputation for super high quality footwear, so you can bet these supple slippers are perfectly comfortable and made of premium materials
Silicone wedding rings – These are pretty cool. They're lightweight and easy to remove in case of emergency. They're flexible and stretchy. Perhaps best of all, they are super cheap, so if your husband is prone to losing his ring, they would be a great option! I have been shrinking through rings so quickly that I'm going to get some skinnier ones for myself.
High Beam Camo Hat – This is the coolest hat ever. It has ultra bright LED lights in the front of the brim (three facing forward and one facing down), so it's like a headlamp but way cooler. I think I may buy these for the girls and myself when we go to Girl Scout camp
Invicta Watch – This gorgeous luxury watch is under $85, and I am certain that any man would love to have it on his wrist. It's water safe to 100m, too, so it's good to wear all the time.
Fun boxers – These are practical and really cute. What man wouldn't want to be claimed by his leading lady?
New shoes – I know most guys aren't as excited over shoes as some girls I know, but hear me out on this one. My ex never bought himself shoes. For years, he wore a pair of black sneakers to church every week because he didn't want to invest in a pair of dress shoes. I could never understand that, but he loathes spending money on himself. I thought a pair of these would really look nice in his wardrobe and would be a treat for him.
Ove Glove – I remember when my mom gave Joe one of these, probably fifteen years ago. IT WAS AWESOME. We ended up buying 4 more over the years because they have gotten lost, not because they wore out because they never wear out. Seriously, everyone who cooks needs a pair of Ove Gloves.
Outdoorsy Christmas Gifts
A hammock for two – We have a big hammock stand in our backyard. It used to have a big 3-person-wide hammock on it, but some visiting kids broke it. I never got rid of the stand because it's big and heavy and I thought we might someday use it. We ordered this one and love it.
Two person sleeping bag – I think this would be torture, but I included it because some people like to be close when they sleep and it is a pretty cute idea. (NOT ME - ugh, get away from me. I digress.) If you're big on camping, your sweetie will probably love the novelty of a bed for 2 in the tent.
Tools-Related Christmas Gifts
Dewalt Cordless Drill – I'll admit it. I think handymen are incredibly sexy, so I love it when a man breaks out his drill. I think every man should have one, even if it's only used for craft projects for his sweetie.
Wet/dry vac – Ever have your hot water tank spring a leak? Or any kind of flooding situation? A wet/dry vac like this one is indispensable. We also use ours to clean out the dumpster our kids call the back seat of my car.
A large set of tools – If your husband is your handyman, he probably loves that title even though he pretends he doesn't. If his tools are kind of all over the place and never at hand when he needs them, you should check this out. This case is small enough to be portable and big enough to hold all the essentials.
A magnetic wristband – Along the same lines, if he is always hanging something or nailing something, I think he would love this little gadget. It's literally what the name implies, a wristband with a magnet in it to hold all those bits that often get dropped.
A tactical pen – This pen is super cool. It's an LED flashlight, self-defense weapon, glass breaking tool, wrench, bottle opener, and ink pen in one. It can even go through airport security.
A multi-use hammer tool – I love this and want one for myself. It's a small hammer but also has 13 other gadgets inside including 2 different pliers, a knife, a serrated blade, 3 screwdrivers, a can opener, and more. This would be perfect for any man who camps or who is outside a lot. I picked this one because it had the most 5-star Amazon reviews, but there is another one with great reviews that also has an ax head on the back of the hammer. I think that might even be a little bit better, although the nail claw on the one pictured would also be quite handy.
Wallet Ninja – Okay, so this is another multi-use tool item, but I think it's super cool. It is the size of a credit card so it will fit into his wallet, but it is made of high quality steel that will not deform. I love this because it has 4 screwdrivers (including an eyeglasses screwdriver), bottle opener, can opener, nail puller, peeler, 6 standard hex wrenches, cell phone stand, bottle opener, letter opener, and ruler all in this one tiny metal card. It's also TSA approved if your man travels a lot.
Other Practical Christmas Gifts
AC Car Inverter – If he spends much time in his car, he's probably wished for a regular outlet at least a time or two. This brilliant little device plugs into the car's power outlet (remember when they were called cigarette lighters?!) and supplies regular AC current to power any electric device, even a laptop.
Portable safe – This is the coolest little safe. It's designed to be used at the beach or the pool or anywhere that you need to lock up your valuables. I am planning to keep my money and phone inside it, locked up to my chair next summer at the pool. Super safe peace of mind.
Beard King – I wasn't sure if I should include this as it isn't a very sexy gift, but it is ultimately incredibly practical so I went ahead with it. Unless your husband is one of the Robertsons, he probably shaves and/or trims his facial hair. And hopefully he cleans up after himself by removing all those teeny tiny hairs from the bathroom sink when he's finished. This handy-dandy bib attaches to his neck and the bathroom mirror to catch all that wiry stuff, making clean up take about ten seconds instead of 5 minutes.
A nice duffel bag is worth its weight in gold. It can be his go-to overnight or weekend bag, it can haul his clothes to the gym, and it can serve as a carry-on during a flight. This one is the perfect size for all three.
The Game of Things – I'm not sure how practical this game is, but it is a lot of fun. Imagine Apples to Apples, except that you write a response to the prompt instead of choosing a card. This is one of my family's favorite games. We play it for hours on Thanksgiving.
Food-Related Christmas Gifts
Beef jerky gift basket – Ah, beef jerky. Is there any food more manly? Maybe hot sauce, but I digress. This is a big, black cooler (useful!) stuffed full of dried, seasoned meat. Men everywhere are salivating at the thought.
Home Brewing Starter Kit – I've known a decent number of men over the years who enjoyed home brewing beer. I think any beer aficionado would eagerly gobble up this kit.
A CraveBox Snack Sampler – My kids went gaga when they saw me pull up the Crave Box on Amazon. It's a huge box of 50 different snacks, both sweet and salty. Any guy (or kid) would love to get one of these and gorge himself on the sugary and salty goodness inside.
Smoked sausage and cheese gift basket – When I was little, my dad lived on these things. He probably still would if my sister and his doctor would let him have salt. Joe really likes them, too, so I think they're pretty much universal for men.
Gourmet chocolate covered Oreos – I think this gift box would delight any Oreo fan or anyone with a sweet tooth.
A box of nuts – If your man is more health conscious like me, he might appreciate a box of gourmet roasted nuts from this family owned business. It's got almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and corn nuts in it.
Other great gifts for men
Millenium Falcon Lego Set – A big time Lego set - My ex saved up for almost a year to buy the Millenium Falcon Lego set for himself. He built it. He left it in a not very secure location, and Allie broke it. It was an accident of course, but the pieces got lost and he couldn't fix it. He never said anything, but I know he was very disappointed. I bought him a new one the following Christmas. Hopefully, you don't have a similar story, but I bet your man will still be interested in a Lego set from Star Wars or Marvel or a scale model of his favorite car. Lego has all kinds of grown up sets to build these days.
Squirrel Buster bird feeder – We are bird nerds at my house, and my ex erected a twelve-foot high post in front of my living room window so that my bird feeder could hang there and delight me. It does. I have the Squirrel Buster Plus which Amazon won't let me link to, but it is the best. The squirrel haven't figured out a way to breach it, and the feeder has been hanging there for almost ten years. If you don't already have a good field guide, make sure you pick one of those up too. My favorite is the National Geographic guide to North American birds.
So there you have it, 40+ ideas for Christmas and birthday gifts for your husband, boyfriend, brother, or dad. What will you buy this year?