Q: “My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year, but this our first Christmas together. I want the gift I give him to be special and memorable, not the stuff my mom gets my dad, like shirts or cologne. Do you have any ideas for something I can get him that he’ll really, really like?”
A: The first thing you should do is try and go with something that has sentimental value to him. It doesn’t have to include or involve you, necessarily — because, you know, this isn’t really about you. But it should be something that makes him happy in a way that’s additional to the happiness you feel when you find out someone decided to spend some serious cash on something that they’ve given to you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy him something dope that he’s had his eye on for a long time, but those big monetary gifts tend to lose some of their luster as you get older and more financially independent. (If I want something now, I basically just go ahead and buy it. I’m wearing a lovely jean jacket I just purchased for myself on Treat Yourself Tuesday.)
Here are a few suggestions of areas you can play in when looking for a meaningful gift for your boyfriend. These aren’t prescriptive by any means, but maybe they’ll help you figure it out.
Something that meshes with his main interests. If you were to buy me Pittsburgh Penguins tickets or some sort of memorabilia, or something I don’t yet have that has to do with my favorite writers or television shows or films, I’m going to really extremely appreciate it. It indicates to me that you know enough about what I love to take an interest and find a gift that has to do with my interests.
Meaningful jewelry. I feel like jewelry is often too quickly overlooked when people are shopping for gifts for men. (Though maybe it’s just my individual interest in accessorizing.) People think dudes don’t dig jewelry, and I’d say that for the most part that’s not true. It’s just that men tend to wear jewelry that really means something to them, instead of exclusively for fashion reasons. And it doesn’t have to be extremely expensive, either. If you give him, say, a bracelet or necklace with some sort of adornment that means a lot to him, it can be on a leather chord and he’ll still wear it and love it. For example, I know a person who has associated a certain thought or feeling or whatever with rubber bands, and he wears one ALL THE TIME. They cost, like, less than a penny each.
Something nostalgic. I have no idea why, but it seems to me like Millennials are the most nostalgic group of people to have ever lived. If you got me something that had to do with Magic: The Gathering or Star Wars, it would mean more to me than if you dropped $300 on a Jambox or some sh*t. This also shows that you weren’t off daydreaming when he was telling you about his childhood or whatever.
Booze. This is a utilitarian gift: most guys who drink will think this is great, and will definitely use it. Get his favorite kind, or, even better, get a step up in quality of the same spirit that he normally drinks. Go up a label or two of Johnnie Walker and he’ll be super stoked. Note: if you think he’s a secret alcoholic or is on the way to getting there, maybe skip this one.
Food Delivery Gift Card. This probably shouldn’t be your only gift to him, because a gift card is viewed as kind of a cop-out. Dudes love eating food, and they love having it delivered to their door. If you hook him up with a Grubhub, Seamless, Delivery.com, etc. gift card, he’ll love that you’re enabling his laziness.
Sex. Trust me: most guys do not like anything more than they like sex things. Actually, make that most human beings. We can’t help it. Biological imperatives and whatnot.