Ladies? Struggling to Find the Perfect Gift for Your Man?

After my little post yesterday with the link to a Holiday Guide for men, David Cunningham replied with a comment that is a whole blog post in itself and it’s loaded with great ideas and suggestions. I was just going to link back to the comment, but instead I’m going to repost it here so more people will see it. I hope he doesn’t mind (I think his answer is genius and hate to see a great comment go to waste). Here it is:

Thanks for the pingback. To return the favor, I’ll tell you about gifts for guys. Guys are wired to maintain a status quo, as opposed to women, who are wired to seek an emotional lift. You could almost say that we seek the boredom that women try so hard to avoid because we strive to reach an equilibrium point where everything in our purview is adequately protected and functioning and all persons in our charge are adequately fed, clothed, and content. That’s the only time that we get to relax or have fun.

That means that gifts for us can be anything that gets us closer to that goal, such as tools, or some hired help for a project you’ve been wanting that we’ve had a hard time getting to, like a closet build-out (which actually is a gift for both of you, because you get needed storage space and organization, and he gets something big off of his to-do list, plus you both benefit from the stress removal). It can also be something for us to have fun with once that equilibrium point is reached, which incidentally, can also be a tool, such as a tool upgrade that we have mentioned being impressed by but wouldn’t buy — or haven’t bought — for ourselves.

If we’re hunters, a better rifle scope, or a pair of fueled hand warmers, or some really comfortable thermal underwear (like Under Armor) instead of that “berber weave” traditional stuff that always ends up binding and itching. If fishermen, and you’ve noticed an empty stringer often enough to make you wonder if we need help, a really great DVD on catching the fish we like to go after most. Do-it-yourselfers always have their eye on some sort of tool. Car racing enthusiasts can always be counted on to enjoy a jacket, or a subscription to a racing magazine, or, well, who woulda thunk it, tickets to a racing event. Same goes for other sporting events.

Speaking of sporting events, tailgate grilling and cooking equipment can be great. Or a stadium cushion.

Or you can even help him start a new hobby he’s mentioned. If he’s a real coffee lover, an espresso machine and grinder or even a coffee roaster are great.

The main thing is to take advantage of YOUR natural assets, such as you nurturing drive, which makes you notice all the little things about a man. Then make a list of things that might either help him get to equilibrium or enjoy it once he gets there. Looks like a rifle scope is a great idea and you know nothing about rifle scopes? No problem. Google, Bing, et al, just love it when you type things like “rifle scope reviews” in their search boxes. They’ll cough up hundreds. I usually start by going to and making a short list by searching for the item (i.e., “rifle scope”) and then looking for things that have a lot of people rating them (meaning it’s very popular) and a rating of 4.5 to 5.

You don’t have to be an expert in order to choose a gift expertly. You just have to know how to find what people who are experts have left for you to read. And by the way, filter the reviews, too. If there are 500 reviews and four people say whatever they bought was junk while 450 give 4 or 5 stars, they’re disgruntled because something didn’t go as expected or the product was beyond their ability to comprehend. If you have 50 reviews, and 40 of them are 5-star but none of them indicate that they have used the product for any length of time (I REALLY hate it when I find people reviewing something that just came out of the box, and in some cases, you can even see people writing reviews who haven’t even bought the product, judging it based on a picture, or some other reviewer’s opinion!), you should extend your search, because things can be very impressive when the box is first opened only to become an albatross around the purchaser’s neck a week later when it dies and they can’t get customer service to do anything about it.

It’s not hard, and you’re actually a lot better equipped to do a good job than men are, so just grab it and growl. One other caveat: make sure you’re getting value for your money. For instance, a man might not have bought a tool upgrade, such as going from a $30 Stanley block plane to a $300 Lie-Nielsen or Veritas, for two reasons. The first is because he hates using the cheap plane because cheap planes don’t cut well and are often more trouble than their worth, the second is because he only does something that uses a handplane once a year and having the expensive one would be a total waste. Finding out which is simple: ask! He’ll never suspect you’re thinking about buying him an upgrade.

“Sweetheart, every time I see you get that thing out you’re red in the face and looking frustrated. Doesn’t somebody make something that would work better for you?”

Men have a pretty big propensity to explain things, often too much, so his answer will be revealing:

“I hate it, but I only do this when the door sticks, and it’s not worth having the better tool because it wouldn’t get used.”


“Yeah, it’s a pain in my butt. I get a blister every time I use the thing and I really should do something about it, but the good ones are expensive and I really don’t want to spend that kind of money without knowing what’s best.”

If it’s the latter, you’ve got him! “What’s that thing called, anyway?”

Now you get the name, what it does, and probably a bunch of other details that you don’t really want, like who invented it, and when, and all the other stuff guys tend to spill to try to impress you, but you now have what you need to do your research, so smelling something burning in the oven or hearing a noise you need to investigate to get away quickly before you’re bored out of your mind is fair game, but you might also find yourself impressed with how much he really does know about it, so don’t run too quickly.

I have a forum that was predominantly designed to help men understand women, and I invited a lot of women to join to help me train the men, but we also help women with their relationship issues, help them to understand men, etc., and it’s turning out to be a lot more of a two-way street than I originally envisioned, so everyone is welcome to join us.

Live well, be well, and have a wonderful day,
David Cunningham

There you have it ladies. I hope it helps trigger great ideas for you like it did for me.

In the interest of disclosure, I want to be clear that I know David Cunningham has a book to sell (indeed, I included the link to it with his name). I haven’t read it, I only discovered it last night. I think it looks great and would be thrilled if all the men in my life read it, because I’m in favor of anything that helps to strengthen marriage and family relationships. In light of this, I want to clarify: I do not get any money or any sort of kickback by referring you to his site or his book. His site has great info and you can gain a lot just by reading it.

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

One comment

  1. I don’t mind at all! I hope everyone can learn something. By the way, at that forum link I mentioned is an archive of all of my newsletters, including one on how to choose the perfect gift for a woman, and between that one and how to choose a great card for a woman, a lot of men and the women in their lives could be a lot happier this holiday season.

    Here’s the link to the greeting card article:

    and here’s the link to the perfect gift for a woman article:

    oh, and one more, how a man can best handle it when the woman in his life gains a few holiday pounds:

    Happy Holidays, everyone, and to you, ChickenDinner, a wonderful weekend as well!


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