Monday, May 16, 2011

Gift Season

We’re now approaching June, which others know as the first month of summer, but which I know as the Season Of Frustration and Despair, otherwise known as Gifts For My DH. Our anniversary, the hub’s birthday, and Father’s Day all come in a row in June, and as usual, I’m sweating blood.

The problem is that my DH is a Man Who Has Everything mainly because he’s a Man Who Never Throws Anything Away. One birthday past, I attempted to give him a sports watch that would actually take his pulse rate while he was working out. I thought it was really neat. He tried to be enthusiastic, but you could tell he wasn’t really. Why? He had an ancient Timex sports watch that Still Worked Okay. He wasn’t about to retire it for something else, even if it was something better.

The same rules apply to clothes. Each year I give him a couple of knit shirts (because I know he’ll wear them—eventually). These new knit shirts go into the rotation—eventually. First he has to wear his current knit shirts into the ground, almost literally. Slowly but surely they disintegrate from use, but he won’t give them up until they have so many holes they look sort of like crocheted doilies. He wears some shirts that are so disreputable I refuse to be seen with him if he decides to wear them to the grocery store. At that point he shrugs and says “Still good for yard work,” and back they go into the rotation.

How do you buy for a man like this? What do you buy for him anyway? Power tools? He’s got just about everything he could use and he only uses them sporadically. Jewelry? The only thing he wears is a watch, which I gave to him several years ago (hey, it’s still good). Clothes? For a while I did Hawaiian shirts because we found this terrific Hawaiian shirt place in Austin (Moondog Shirt Company), but although he loves them, he doesn’t wear them often enough to wear them out so he now has a pretty complete wardrobe. Electronic gadgets? He’s one of the few men in existence who doesn’t really enjoy them, maybe because he works with a lot of sophisticated instrumentation daily.

Socks? Yes, I am desperate enough to buy them (and I know the only brand he uses), but he really doesn’t need any.

I finally found a way to finesse the anniversary present problem by going for a weekend vacation as our gift to each other (this year, Steamboat Springs). And I’m ducking Father’s Day by saying it’s up to our sons to take care of it. But that leaves his birthday, and as usual, I’m comin’ up dry. I hate to admit it, but it’s looking more and more like a couple more knit shirts for the Great Shirt Rotation.

So how about a little help here? Any suggestions for male-appropriate gifts that actually don’t get tucked away in the back corner of the closet? What gifts have you given that were real winners (or real losers for that matter)?


Maria said...

You could always gift him with a gift card to a new restaurant you've been wanting to try together or to a restaurant that's too expensive to take the whole family so that it can be an evening just for the two of you. Also on the shirt situation - I have a family member who is similiar so what we've learned to do is raid the closet when the person is gone and pull out the ratty clothes and then put in the new shirts. Then the ones that are to be thrown out are put in a trash liner and put in the bottom of the big trashcan outside where they won't look for's a little devious but works just fine:)

Jen B. said...

Every year I get my DH something with his favorite football team logo. Sometimes it's a serious gift, sometimes not (think blowup helmet). Last year he told me about a couple of albums he really wants from the 1970's. I have searched everywhere with no luck. So, I printed the search results and gave them to him along with an email I wrote to the band asking where to get the albums. He was truly moved. This year I told him to check out a website that had tshirts for his favorite band. He picked out two but one was sold out. I ended up paying $35 for a tshirt that had to be mailed from England. But, I know it will be a winner! Good luck!

PG Forte said...

You know, I think I'm actually a lot like your husband. I hate throwing out things that are still useful--especially if they were gifts. Oy! So, at this point in my life, anything that's a disposable commodity--wine, tickets to a show, a day at the spa, a weekend at a B&B, something new for the garden--will win my vote.

My son's also very difficult to shop for--but for a different reason. He's very, very picky. My daughter solved this problem by deciding (completely arbitrarily, I believe) that she was going to buy him a snow globe for every occasion that warranted a gift.

It's kind of a win-win situation. He knows there's a story behind each one(she usually picks them to commemorate something or to reflect what's happening in his life at the time)and that she really was thinking of him. She knows he doesn't really care about the actual snow globe itself, so isn't hurt or insulted if she never sees it again.

Meg Benjamin said...

I'm liking the gift card idea, assuming our favorite neighborhood hardware store would sell me one! I'm trying to get him interested in the woodworking classes offered at the local college--I can see years of gifts there ("Don't you need a new chisel, sweetie?").

Kelly Jamieson said...

Gah my husband is like that too, with the shirts. Only somehow the new ones don't make it into rotation. He forgets about them. As for ideas - I got nuthin'. The restaurant gift card is a good idea. Last year for Father's Day/our Anniversary I paid our property taxes. Pretty special gift, huh!? LOL!

daydrmzzz said...

I'm actually pretty good a prezies :) I listen all year long for different things he says he likes this year he wants a special jersey for the Rugby World Cup. My dad I got a new fishing reel and my other dad I got a light of some kind for his off road buggy.
How about a boys weekend away or even a weekend away with you, a prezie for the both of you :) Good luck

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

Oh Erin, my dad is exactly the same! Neither my mom or I can buy him anything for his birthday/Christmas that he will enjoy! With clothes it's even more problematic because he is very critical, but then puits the shirt bin his closet and he only takes it out about half a year- a year later! We have exchanged so many gifts because just like your husband he says that he still has an old watch/shaver/blazer, etc. he doesn't need a new one. We are always stumped. Lately we have given him experience gifts: theatre tickets, wellness weekend with my mom, framily dinners at restaurants. And he enjoys those. Besides that he loves chocolate, so coffee-flavoured chocolate is always a success with him, but we still haven't found a solution to the mystery either. Sorry!