Blokes are notoriously hard to buy for (or so the old adage goes). And if the well of ideas has run dry when it comes to your present buying, then we’re here to lend a helping hand.
We’ve picked out a range of gifts that we think cater for the dads, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, sons, nephews, uncles, cousins and mates. It features everything from high-tech headphones to a collection of really good beer. And what’s more, we’ve divided them up into budget categories, just because we’re kind like that.
Taroko Design A5 Notebook: £7.95, Bureau Direct
Here’s one for the stationery nerds. Tomoe River paper is big in manufactured wood pulp game, with a reputation as the best thing to write on with a fountain pen. It’s smooth, light and doesn’t allow the ink to bleed through – basically, it’s an absolute pleasure to write on. There are 64 pages (32 sheets) of the good stuff in this stapled notebook, which can either be dotted, lined or simply plain (for all those diary-writing free spirits out there).
Charbonnel et Walker Sea Salt Caramel Truffles: £13.95, Selfridges
Nothing is certain but death and taxes, and the way things are going, we reckon you’ll soon be able to add “salted caramel” to that list. It’s the food trend that refuses to quit and, quite frankly, we’re not complaining, especially when it means being able to get our grubby mitts on truffles like these. Charbonnel et Walker is a royally approved chocolatier, and these eight delicious salted caramel offerings are fiendishly addictive.
Muji Organic Cotton Flannel Herringbone Button Down Shirt: £29.95, Muji
When it comes to simplicity done well, and sold at an excellent price, we’re not sure many brands can rival Muji. The Japanese outfit specialises in minimalism across fashion and homeware, and we’re big fans of its shirts – especially ones like these, made out of soft organic cotton. The fit is relaxed enough for casual wear, but can also suffice in a smart-casual office. They’re durable, too, and at this price, you can’t go wrong.
Score Draw Holland 1994 World Cup Final Retro Football Shirt: £30, Score Draw
In case you hadn’t noticed, football kits from the Eighties and Nineties are currently enjoying a bit of a resurgence in popularity. Particularly blessed with excellent shirts at that time were the Dutch (with some rather good footballers to wear them, too), but an original from the era will set you back a pretty penny. So we’d suggest one of these from Score Draw, which specialises in replicas of classic kits, all of which are officially licensed. Made from good quality polyester, they look and feel great. Check out the rest of the collection to find classics from a number of English clubs and iconic teams from around the world.
Beer Hawk Belgian Mixed Case (15 Beers): £39, Beer Hawk
Is Belgium the best brewing nation in the world? You won’t have any trouble finding beer connoisseurs who believe so, and we think this mixed case makes an excellent argument for just that. It features a mix of some of the most famous names in Belgian brewing, such as Hoegaarden and Westmalle, as well as some newer contenders you may not have tried before. With 15 beers and a range of styles and flavours, this is one to savour long beyond the Christmas holidays.
JBL Clip 2: £49.99, JBL
We’re big fans of JBL’s portable Bluetooth speakers, and are particularly fond of the fun but practical Clip 2. First and foremost, the sound quality is excellent for a speaker of this size (it’s small enough to be a carried in one hand), delivering detailed, loud and wide sound. It’ll last for around eight hours on one charge, and it’s waterproof with a IPX7 rating (that means you can submerge it in water, although we’re not entirely sure why you’d want to). With a clip on the top for added portability, it comes with four colour options.
Really Good Dog Photography: £35, Hoxton Mini Press
This independent publisher from east London is one our favourites when it comes to books of brilliant photography, and it certainly isn’t barking up the wrong tree with this release, in collaboration with Penguin. With words by the journalist Lucy Davies, it features a goldmine of really good photographs, taken by really good photographers of really good dogs. Sure to delight anyone who truly believes that canines really are a man’s best friend.
Glerups Open Heel Slippers: £59, Oi Polloi
We reckon these slippers look like something a trendy caveman would wear – and we mean that in the best way possible. Coming from the Danish footwear specialist Glerups, they’re made with an entirely woollen felt upper, and a comfortable calfskin sole. They’re excellent for indoor use, but we reckon they’d survive a couple of quick dashes out into the garden, too.
Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza 100ml Eau de Cologne Fragrance Gift Set: £96, John Lewis
Now, we know gift sets can often be rip-offs, but that isn’t the case with this one – a 100ml bottle of this eau de cologne from Acqua di Parma would normally set you back close to £100, so you’re already quids in here. The fragrance itself is for someone who likes to keep it light when the weather gets darker, with pleasant citrusy notes, albeit offset by some woodiness. Rounding up the gift set is a hair and shower gel, alongside an after-shave balm (both 75ml).
Tom Dixon Plum Cocktail Shaker: £95, Heal’s
If your recipient is hosting a New Year’s Eve party and fancies themselves as something of a mixologist, this might be the ideal gift. Coming from the British designer, Tom Dixon, it’s an elegant, stainless steel cocktail shaker, finished in copper. It’s easy to hold and mix with, and he can use the end-cap as a shot glass, meaning he can test his boozy concoction before delivering it to the masses.
Matt & Nat Munich Backpack: £115, Matt & Nat
Veganism is on the up, and that’s not only when it comes to food – the fashion world is taking note, too. Canadian outfit Mat & Nat (short for material and nature) is one of our favourite brands committed to using no animal-derived materials in its pieces. It specialises in stylishly understated accessories – we’ve gone for this unisex backpack, which is smart, durable and comfortable to wear. Its inside is deceptively spacious and there’s a zipped pocket on the front. Available in 10 shades.
Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT: £149, John Lewis
Audio-Technica is one of the most-trusted names in sound tech and its products are always keenly price. This is one of our favourite pairs of headphones, which offers hi-resolution sound when using a wired connection. And when the connection is wireless, the quality is still excellent – snare hits are crisp, orchestras sound fully realised. It’s got an incredible battery life too, with a five-hour charge giving your recipient up to 38 hours of listening time.
Neal’s Yard Dairy Cheese of the Month Subscription: from £149 for three months, Neal’s Yard Dairy
Buying for a cheese fiend? Then why not treat them to a rolling subscription that will deliver kilograms of the good stuff directly to their door? There are a number of excellent cheese subscription services out there, but this one from the famous Neal’s Yard Dairy is one of our favourites. Each month there is a differently themed selection – in November, it was celebrating some of the UK’s best female cheesemakers. A number of subscription plans are available, starting at £149 for three months, with the price per month decreasing the longer you subscribe for.
The Verdict: Gifts for men
We think the JBL Clip 2 strikes a good balance between price and quality, and hopefully it’s something that they’ll get a lot of use out of, all year round.