Gift ideas for men.

Gift ideas for men | Modern Mrs Darcy

Men are notoriously hard to shop for, but don’t despair. Here are a few low-key ideas for the hard-to-buy-for man in your life:

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is a new subscription service that sends high-quality razors to your door for $1/month. (Will upgraded to the $6/month plan after a few months, but the $1 plan ain’t bad.)

Grab a gift card here to let him choose his own plan. Great for the last minute: print it and you’re done.

Gift ideas for men (fathers and otherwise) | Modern Mrs Darcy


The Art of Manliness has their own line of manly-themed stationery–you can choose from 25 different manly motifs.  I especially like “true north” and “skipjack.”  ($15/box of 15)

Monogrammed note cards are always a nice choice. But high-quality plain note cards are versatile and cost a lot less.

gift ideas for men (fathers and otherwise) | Modern Mrs Darcy


Slim notebooks like Moleskines are everywhere these days and come in a huge array of sizes and colors.  My favorite is the pocket-sized notebook because of its usefulness as a productivity tool.  The Moleskine brand is a classic (and quality) choice but there are many good (and cheaper) options.

gift ideas for men (fathers and otherwise) | Modern Mrs Darcy

A nice pen

The Bullet Space Pen ($20) is a good choice for a pen geek, but if your guy’s got a favorite brand already, go with it. My husband loves the inexpensive Pilot G-2 ($2), so I’d buy him a box of those and call it a day.

gift ideas for men (fathers and otherwise) | Modern Mrs Darcy

Beef jerky

Buy it or make your own. I love Michael Ruhlman’s recipe for chipotle beef jerkyAlton Brown’s jerky recipe has 124 (!!!) 5-star reviews at the Food Network–but I haven’t tried it yet, mostly because I haven’t wanted to fork over the money for those air conditioning filters.

We love Perky Jerky at my house. Will might be getting a case of this for Father’s Day (and then the rest of us will end up feeling guilty for snitching it).

blue bottle coffee


Give him a subscription to Blue Bottle Coffee: fantastic fresh-roasted coffee that shows up every two weeks, or as often as you choose.

A homemade pie (or three)

Bake one up, or pay someone to do it for you. My neighborhood is home to a wonderful pie kitchen, and one of their bakery pies would convey as much love as a homemade one (and you wouldn’t have to sweat the results).

A Trapp black pepper candle

This amazing scent is delightfully unexpected, and not one you’d think of as “feminine.” Give him the gift of a masculine-smelling dwelling with a Trapp Black Pepper Candle. He’ll appreciate his bedroom not smelling like a flower garden.

(This is a personal gift–don’t buy a Trapp candle for your father-in-law.)

What not to give

No fatherhood books, unless hand-crafted by his offspring.

No gifts that nag: no tool to finish the long-delayed project, no gym membership, no t-shirts bought specifically so you can trash favorite (holey) tees.

No CDs, movies, or video games unless specifically requested, because they’re a little too generic. These make great just-because gifts, but steer clear of these for important occasions.

Know your guy

Men can be challenging to buy for–but it’s not impossible to find a suitable gift if you think outside the box.  When women want to show love through gifts, we tend to think on the grand scale.  But really, men just want to be known and appreciated for who they are.

So what does your recipient really like? Go with that–whether or not you’ve seen it in a magazine layout–and you can’t go wrong.

We could all use some ideas, so share your best gift ideas for men in comments. 


Leave A Comment
  1. Hannah says:

    I got my hubby a small gift card to Chipotle to be used just for his lunches instead of the brown bagging. I was surprised how excited he was about it. It was just for him and it made his work day a little more special. He used it three times before it ran out. Of course, this will only work for fellow cheap eaters! If he goes out all the time it would totally be non-special.

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m totally stealing this! My husband loves Chipotle and there is one only a block from his office, but he ALWAYS brown bags it. This would definitely qualify for “special”. Thanks.

    • Jennifer Haddow says:

      I did steal this one. My husband ALWAYS took his lunch until I gave him a Chipotle gift card last year. Now he chooses random Fridays to go get a burrito, chips and guac every now and then. It makes him feel really special and I’ve started buying these cards when Kroger runs their 4x fuel points specials and doling them out for special and just because occasions.

  2. Some of my guy’s favorite gifts have been the ones that support his hobby. He loves 4-wheeling, so last year he recieved boots specifically for riding. I don’t know which he liked better, the boots, or knowing that I want him to have special time to “be a man”!

  3. Amber @ says:

    My husband is not a fan of yard work…mowing, weeds, etc. So another gift idea (if your hubby is like mine) is to surprise him with a mowing service. It can get pricey, so it’s just a one time deal for Father’s Day. But oh how he loves to not worry about the yard for one weekend. And he can relax!

  4. tomacco says:

    Great post! I think that finding the right gift can sometimes be difficult. What I think is that people tend to like unique gifts that are hard to find and not sold in stores. People like the gifts more this way since they cannot be replaced. I have been buying a few items from and giving it away to my friends and they all love it. They have a lot of stuff that are pretty cheap with free shipping and they deliver fast.

  5. My husband is a cake person, not a pie person. More accurately, he’s a homemade-chocolate-chip cookie or homemade-sticky-buns person. They make great “gifts” for special occasions!

    Also, a thought about cd’s/movies/video games – if he’s been rather impatient waiting to get it (new release, or too expensive, whatever) – that automatically makes it a GREAT idea for a special occasion.

    Also, another fun website for unique gift ideas is

    • Anne says:

      I love think geek 🙂

      Elizabeth, those are wonderful special occasion gifts–especially since you know you’re giving him his very favorite things.

      Good point on the new cds/movies/games. My husband loves to take new releases on trips, so these make great gifts for him because it’s so hard to get a new book from the library.

    • Katie says:

      YES. My husband HATES pie. Cake he likes; cookies and brownies he loves; cheesecake trumps all. But pie? He’ll nibble out some feeling and leave most of it on the plate. I’m the pie-loving, cake-hating desserteur in our house. ^_^

      Also: ThinkGeek. He peruses that catalog like a kid with the toy ads at Christmas. Definitely second that idea (assuming your man is a geeky kind of guy).

      These are good ideas, Anne. Except I think the DDH would think of stationery as a nagging gift…he will not send handwritten notes to anyone for any reason. I can barely get him to sign his name to cards that I’ve already addressed. He does like pens, though, and got me a nice set once for Christmas. And jerky…yum!

    • Tina B says:

      My BF is so excited when I make him oatmeal-raisin cookies for no reason. He will squirrel them away in his desk and eat a few each day. He’ll say thank you again, long after I’ve forgotten that I made them for him.

  6. My husband definitely prefers pie to cake. I make him a cherry pie every year for his birthday, but often do something different for father’s day. This year it’ll probably be key lime. And I do often make them myself, because I enjoy it. He’s happy even if I get one from the grocery store bakery however; it doesn’t have to be fancy for him to be pleased.

    The jerky sounds like a perfect gift for him & I’ll have to try it someday (it won’t be this year).

    And you’ve got me very curious about the candle – I found a store nearby that supposedly carries them so I can see how the scent is. I’m allergic to a lot of perfumes so I want to see if it’s something I can handle before buying it. I think he’d like it though!

    • Anne says:

      “It doesn’t have to be fancy for him to be pleased.” Um, yes–my husband is just like this!

      I really love those candles, and Trapp has several other scents that aren’t too feminine–like cinnamon and grapefruit. The inexpensive votives (like Glade) make me sneezy, but I generally do pretty well with the higher-end candles (which unfortunately are tons more expensive, but I love them so much that I can justify an occasional splurge).

      We also have a local candle company that does regional scents: like Kentucky Bluegrass and Bourbon Ball. I think my husband would dig one of those, too.

      • Kentucky Bluegrass & Bourbon Ball definitely sound like man-friendly candle scents!

        The shop carrying the candles (according to the Trapp website) is only about a mile and a half from my house, so I’m actually hoping I can get over there this week. Well, get over there without children is what I mean. Shopping is so much easier without hauling kids in & out of car seats.

        • Anne says:

          The local company is Black Dog Candles. I used to get them at Amazing Green Planet, but now they’re closed. 🙁 They’re also carried at the Why Louisville store and a few other places throughout town.

  7. Katie says:

    Liquor. Expensive vintages of his favorite whiskey (do whiskeys have vintages or is that just wines?), nice wines, strange flavors or unusual treats that we don’t normally keep around the house, nifty-looking bottles or labels…I usually can’t go wrong with alcohol for the DDH.

    He also actually loves to receive tools, because he likes to think of himself as handy and dreams of someday having a garage workshop. And he likes apple-scented candles and things.

    Guys are just hard to buy for, especially Guys Who Hate Sports. The DDH wants expensive video games and electronics, my brother wants expensive pedals for his guitar or weird music/electronics things. My dad keeps a long, long list of books on his Amazon wish list now, which at least saves us from the infamous Christmas where he wrote out a wish list that said:


    Therefore he received a lot of socks and underwear and a nice selection of shoelaces. He seemed pretty happy, but it just didn’t seem that special.

  8. Anna says:

    Anne-I’m not sure I’ve ever commented before but I have been a reader now for a long time. I really enjoy your writing, reading recommendations and perspective. Not sure why this post inspired me to comment but I just felt like I was becoming a selfish blog reader by never commenting on things I enjoy! I’ve heard of the Dollar Shave Club and am going to try it out for my husband. It’s just the kind of thing he would love–inexpensive, efficient and high quality. Thanks for the reminder! I’m also currently reading Quiet and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School because of your recommendations. Loving both of them. Thanks Anne!

  9. Afton says:

    I don’t understand why this is:

    (This is a personal gift–don’t buy a Trapp candle for your father-in-law.)

  10. Tracy S. says:

    I just signed up for the Dollar Shave Club as a father’s day gift, even though I already got him something else. He is training for his first race, a 10K, and I took him to a running store where they filmed his running gait and helped him choose the proper running shoes. Pricier than what we normally do, but a gift that affirmed his resolve to train for the race.

  11. 'Becca says:

    Nice ideas–and not a smelly aftershave in the bunch! Also, you avoided Dear Abby’s snappish advice in the ’80s to someone whining about her man being hard to buy for: “Never mind what he’d like. Give him a tie.” It made me laugh, but undoubtedly a lot of good ties go to waste hanging in the closets of men who have too many ties for the frequency with which they wear ties.

    For vegetarians, Primal Spirit jerky is delicious and is available made from several different meat substitutes with not all that many ingredients–I mean, it’s not like those fake chicken patties that contain a paragraph of multisyllabic stuff.

  12. Tim says:

    Like Jenn said, that Dollar Shave Club video (even with the bleeped out word) is hilarious!

    For this Father’s Day, my wife asked me if I wanted a Garmin wrist GPS or a Wavemaster punching bag. I run a little bit, she runs a lot. I lift weights, she takes kick boxing. Guess who the GPS and punching bag are really for? Gotta tell you though, knowing that she’d use them would make Father’s Day special for me.


  13. Maggie B says:

    We give all of our men tools, or gift cards to tool stores, because that’s the only thing they ever ever ever ask for. And… they are total tool heads too, so it makes them happy. But I’m always sure to include an extra nice card with something sweet written inside of it (by me) and I usually bring food. =)

  14. Barbie says:

    Have to disagree about the fatherhood books – I got Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan for both my husband and my father. (To be fair, this was as much a gift for myself as my husband, so I paired it with a box of really nice artisan chocolates from a local shop). My husband enjoy watching Jim Gaffigan’s comedy together, so I thought we could read the book aloud to each other over the next month or two.
    My husband’s birthday is in July, so I also promised him the rest of what I would have spent for a really quality tool chest he’s been wanting.

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  16. Anne says:

    I’ve given matching sports team t-shirts/jerseys on Father’s Day (father/child), made a montage of Daddy/child pictures set to music, and sent him off to movie solo, which he really likes. iTunes cards are big hit all the time, as are electronics. Gotta check out Dollar Shave Club. 🙂

  17. Anjanette says:

    You do the best gift idea posts, Anne!

    On the homemade front, I try to print out a picture of my husband having a really fun or memorable moment with each of our four kids from the year (sadly I’m generally pretty neglectful about doing anything with photos), and my older kids will write a memory to accompany it. These are my favorite things to receive for Mother’s Day too. 🙂

  18. I come from the perspective of no longer being married to the father of my children … and also desire to honor the man who now chooses to parent them in our home as step-dad. So, it can be complicated (mildly put). Also, I want to instill generosity into my children and teach them to honor those they love.

    For my ex (father to my children): Usually an “experience” gift he can do with the children – movie tickets and ice cream gift card. I’ve also framed the children’s artwork and had them make him something before. They will spend the day with their dad.

    For my husband (step dad to my children): a photo of them together and a guitar pick with custom stamping. They will help me make homemade choc. chip cookies – his fave.

    For my husband (bio father to my step daughters): Bose ear buds, an indulgence that coincides with his hobbies. We will spend the day together, we will take him to lunch and I will encourage the girls to do something special like watching am movie together or give him a back rub.

    For our dads/Papas: They live far away, so we will send meaningful cards and a gift card to their favorite restaurant.

    For our Grandads: They also live far away, so cards will do.

    • 'Becca says:

      Missy, this is a really nice and thoughtful approach to the situation of your kids having multiple father figures and your husband having two different fatherly roles!

    • Anne says:

      Missy, I just wanted to say I love your classy approach to giving gifts to your children’s father. And those are such great gift ideas for him, too.

  19. Pies have always been a big hit with my dad (for every occasion! When I thought he might be getting tired of that I tried to give him something else and he was really disappointed by the absence of pie).

    I’m sending my husband a Spotify playlist (kind of like a modern mixed tape) and writing a heartfelt letter of appreciation. He’s a words of affirmation guy and he listens to music and books all day while he works.

  20. Beth Anne says:

    Giving a hot shave at a local barber shop this year! My husband has gotten hooked on the old fashioned shaving since he got a kit for Christmas, so this will be super fun for him.

  21. I wanted to get my husband some lawn mowing! There’s a local teen who mows our lawn when we’re on vacation, so I thought of paying for one or two weeks’ worth of lawn mowing so my husband doesn’t have to do it! 🙂

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