Need a Last Minute Gift? Here’s What 20 Men Really Want

Christina Pérez
what men want for the holidays

Photo: Imaxtree

Holiday shopping: Some love it, some loathe it.

If you fit into the latter category—especially when it comes to shopping for the man in your life—here’s some good news: Most dudes don’t want gifts at all.

Just kidding. Of course they want gifts. They just don’t always have to be material.

“Most guys I know would rather get something experiential,” John, a friend of mine, recently told me. “Tickets to sporting events, concerts—anything that’s associated with a good time.”

Turns out John might be on to something. More than half the men who responded to an informal survey I conducted said they’d prefer to get experiences rather than physical gifts. (Full disclosure: This was a very informal survey; I was having trouble figuring out what to get my own guy for Christmas, so I emailed 20 male pals for advice.)

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“I love when my wife takes me to an amazing show or on a trip as a gift,” a man who’s been married for five years said. “It’s something unexpected that we can do it together.”

So, does all this mean procrastinators like myself get a free pass to bypass the holiday crowds and download our presents on Stubhub or Expedia instead? Well, it depends on the person on the receiving end.

Many guys also said they loved the idea of their ladies shopping for them. “It’s not just about the gift,” one guy pointed out. “It’s sweet to picture her out searching for whatever she thinks is ‘perfect’ for me.”

If you do decide to go the more traditional gift route, there are apparently a few foolproof items. “You can’t go wrong with tech gifts: noise-canceling headphones, iPads, video game consoles,” advised one 30-something gentleman. Similarly, several guys mentioned premium memberships to streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Prime, and Next Issue ranked high on their lists.

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Surprising, fashion items also ranked high. “A good option is a watch; a vintage Rolex,” one guy said. All dudes like to sport a cool watch.”

“Or a classic cashmere sweater,” another tipped. “Those are always useful and always in style.”

Just be sure to tread carefully when it comes to fashion-related gifts. “If you decide to get him clothing, check out the brands your guy already likes and let that guide your decision—don’t try force him into being something he’s not,” warned John, who it bares mentioning, said the worst gift he ever received from a girlfriend was a pair of espadrilles. “Just because it’s a trend, doesn’t mean it’s right for him.”

Another guy agreed. “When it comes to clothing, simple is best. Nice socks in fun colors are great, but otherwise don’t try to re-invent the wheel.”

And if there’s one wearable item to should avoid at all costs, perhaps it’s this: “A chunky cable knit sweater. My wife has given me one three years in a row now,” lamented one poor soul. “News flash: 99 out of 100 cable knit sweaters look ridiculous on men—especially the chunky ones. I’d rather just have a gift card.”

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