It’s difficult not to turn completely Christmas-centric when surrounded by the countless lights, fake garlands, oversized trees, bedecked gardens, and rammed-full shops of the land of capitalist Crimbo. To – in a kind of roundabout, semi-negative way – aid you in your holiday shopping, I’ve thought long and hard about all those presents that prompt insincere exlamations (“AMAZING! THANK YOU! JUST WHAT I NEEDED! MARRY ME?!”), bring on genuine bafflement, and those that nudge one toward the brink of disappointed tears.
Here’s what not to buy for a man this Christmas…
A Father’s Day staple, it’s fairly sad to hastily tear apart gift-wrapping on Christmas morning only to find a measly pair of socks beneath. I mean, it’s not the most unbearable fate – most men do forget to regularly purchase socks and who doesn’t welcome a new, hole-free pair? Still, it’s the thoughtlessness, the immediate avowal of failing to bother to actually think about something vaguely personal that results in disappointment. Unless there’s a weird sock-related in-joke or personal significance behind it all, or excepting they’re crafted from wildly luxurious cotton, then give it a rest.
2. Generic Fragrance Sets
Sophisticatedly dubbed ‘smellies’ in my homeplace, fragrances are a safe-bet for Christmas gifting. That said, nothing says ‘I really wasn’t arsed thinking about anything vaguely original to buy you!’ and/or ‘You smell like s**t!’ like a generic fragrance gift set from the local pharmacy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for scents but if you’re going fragrance-way, be sure to avoid the tacky, thrown-together-in-some-Coty-factory route. Who uses those crappy miniscule scented shower gels anyway? If you’re dead set on fragrance, either do some preliminary research and simply buy them what they like (if they say they like ‘something sweet!’, they have little taste and you should really be questioning why you’re friends/lovers/family(?), never mind why you’re buying them gifts), or scope out something a little more unique that’s not simply a money-making extension of a luxury fashion brand and/or endorsed by a soulless celebrity.
3. Books on topics he’s never expressed even a remote interest in…
That means salacious crime exposés, BBQ recipe compendia, DIY guides, and anything For Dummies. He is no dummy, give him a voucher instead.
4. Overly elaborate tool-sets
At exactly what point is he going to use all 30 of those screwdrivers?
5. Clothing you think he’ll look good in
Unless you’ve spent a decent amount of time roaming around the interior of your recipient’s brain and/or stalking his shopping practices, then don’t attempt a clothing gift. Firstly, he may v. well hate it, and secondly, you may think you have an idea of what fits him but really you’re hopelessly beyond clueless.
Hint: optimal is, of course, a charity donation. One of those things whereby you donate a sum, and gift him a card detailing immense generosity shown by you to both him and those in need. If he seems even a smidgeon underwhelmed by this, he’s obviously not worth giving gifts to anyway.