Or, what to get that Man Of A Certain Age who has everything.
I can’t really presume to know what your average old geezer would put on his Christmas Wishlist, but I do have some thoughts. (Maybe what I’m doing is subconsciously making my own list, checking it twice and wishing for something naughty and nice.) So what we have here is pure conjecture, but maybe it will plant a seed or two of an idea for that special old guy in your house.
Let’s do this categorically.
This is a tough one for me, and especially for anyone who might be gift-shopping for me. I don’t color outside the lines apparel-wise. I like one brand and style of jeans, sweaters, shoes, underwear, socks, coats and hats. I don’t wear ties—in fact, don’t ever buy a tie for a guy for any occasion.
If your guy still has fantasies of being an athlete, you’re in luck. If he’s a golfer, take a peak in his golf bag and see what brand of balls he likes. (A golf pro I know recommends TaylorMade Project(a) balls.) Check out his golf glove for brand and size. If he’s a tennis player, put together a bag with a can of balls, grip tape and a couple of energy bars. If he still thinks he’s a baller, get him a jock strap and a reality check.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to put a toy or two in his stocking. There is an eternal child in every guy. Get him a yoyo. Make sure it’s a Duncan Imperial. It’s the brand he spun in his heyday. Think an egg full of Silly Putty is silly? Throw one in his stocking and watch him entertain himself for hours. He’ll be like a junior-high girl with a smart phone or a ten-year old boy with an iPad.
While we’re stuffing the stocking: Be sure to put in some beef jerky. Don’t buy that convenience store crap. Shop for some good locally made jerky. A little tin of Burt’s Bees can’t hurt anyone. I like finding a pack of bandanas in my stocking. I use them for handkerchiefs. If there’s a gang in your hood, make sure your bandana matches theirs, otherwise…
He may not need a pocket-knife, but most any guy will love opening a package and finding a knife on Christmas morning. It’s like saying, “You’re the Man, dog. We know that if something needs to be cut up, stabbed or whittled, you’re there for us.” If your man’s a hunter or fisherman, you can go to Bass Pro blindfolded, pretty much grab anything and you’re gold.
A nice pair of leather work gloves could be affirming without being condescending. A pair of gloves says, “I recognize that if you chose to get up out of the recliner and unhook the hose from the house before it freezes and bursts, you could. You’re a dude.” On the other hand, to get him a flannel shirt and an axe, could come across as harsh and insulting, sort of like if he bought you something from Victoria’s Secret (oh wait, he probably did).
Speaking of leather: if you have some cash and really want to impress, shop at Saddleback Leather. I have several items from Saddleback and have bought gifts from there as well. Their stuff is the best. Their slogan is, “They will fight over it when you’re dead.” It is really that good.
Don’t just take my word for it.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ― Oscar Wilde
Get him a book. A few posts back, I listed six (actually, eight) books of fiction, I would keep if I could only keep six. On that list is The Catcher In The Rye. If the old guy on your list has never read, buy it for him. If he has read it, he probably read it as a teen, when it was banned from schools.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Here’s another idea: if he has grandkids, give him a book he can read with his grandkids. I highly recommend The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” ― C.S. Lewis
You might want to choose an author that is still alive and writing. That way if he likes the book you given him, he can read others from the same author. I highly recommend Empire Falls by Richard Russo and Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry.
“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson, Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island would be the ideal book for a grandfather to read with his grandson.
Need other ideas for books for guys, check out this list from Goodreads.com.
Back to that Stevenson quote, the one about two books; one to read and one to write in. Buy your man a journal. It could be the start of a great hobby. I love Moleskine journals but they’re expensive. So, I use Field Notes. They are wonderful and come in some interesting special editions. Field Notes motto is: “I’m not writing it down to remember it later. I’m writing it down to remember it now.” That’s esstential for us Men Of A Certain Age.
If he needs some help with how to get started journaling. Lead him to this post on The Art Of Manliness.
Every guy needs music. Always has, always will. One year for Christmas, My Amazing-Missus gave me a little apple shaped computer drive with every Beatles album recorded, along with album artwork. It is a gift I cherish to this day. She paid more than I’m worth for it, but the value of it is in the fact that it is gift she chose just for me.
What was his favorite album in his first Coming-Of-Age? Find it and frame it for him. Or maybe his old turntable is in the attic and this will be the incentive he needs to bring it back to life. Careful though. I tried that, and ended up buying a new turntable. With my old hobby of album collecting renewed, I wouldn’t mind finding an album under the tree.
If he doesn’t have a good set of headphones, that would be a perfect gift. DO NOT go to Best Buy or someplace like that and buy a pair of BEATS or the like, unless you’re also getting him a skateboard. There is no better headphone for the money than Grado. I recommend the Grado Prestige Series SR80e. They’re under $100 and sound like they could cost $500.
Again, don’t take my advice. I’m no expert. For me personally, and forgive any sentimentality, but what I want most for Christmas is to sit at the table with our family. My Amazing-Missus makes the most amazing brunch. Her biscuts and gravy are renowned, and she serves it up with cheesy eggs, tater-tots, and fruit salad. I want pictures of our Grand-Girls. I want to hear laughter. I want to hear Luke’s version of the first Christmas. I want to hear my oldest Grand-Girl play the piano. I want the Grand-Girls to sit on my lap and watch Hugo or Peppa Pig. And, if it's not too much to ask; I want a nap.
Oh, and for you guys out this "Black Friday" shopping for the little lady, I found this.