The Modern Man’s Guide to Gifts

Whatever the occasion being celebrated you want to choose a gift that shows how important that person is to you. This means that your gift should show that you have put some consideration and effort into making this person happy with your gift. The ideal gift does not need to be the most expensive. It may be something you know they want or would like, that they could buy for themselves, except that it seems to them to be a little self-indulgent and cannot be justified as a purchase, even if they can afford it. A gift such as this, something a little frivolous, will be just perfect when you get it just right.


Consider your budget. A gift should be one that is fitting to the occasion, without crippling you financially. Throughout life, our circumstances change, so if your budget is limited due to a growing family or other financial commitments, you can add value to any gift by adding something homemade to eat or perhaps a lush wildflower bouquet. Wrap the gift beautifully, as good presentation adds an extra special touch.

What’s the occasion?

You want the person you are buying a gift for to feel happy because they receive something they truly like.  The best gifts depend on the type of occasion you are celebrating. For your Valentine, the focus is on passion, about the relationship, but also about indulging the other person’s passions, whatever that may be. Recognising the efforts made into choosing the gift expresses love much more than any words on a card, though that is important too.

A gift for Mother’s Day can be a DIY gift if you have a particular skill to make something she will love. This could be a craft item that plays to your strengths or the best recent photograph of the two of you together that you can frame.

What do they want?

Many people drop hints about what gifts you can buy for them.  This is not necessarily a deliberate ploy, but if you are observant you may notice their second glance in a shop window at a particular dress or pair of shoes. They may mention a new band they have heard on the radio or a new piece of technology that a friend has. You can buy the clothing online, buy tickets to the band’s next concert near to home or upgrade their phone or other technology.

Do not gift something that may be considered an “improvement” gift, unless they have made it clear they would like this. If you are unsure, steer clear of a gym membership, diet and beauty books and classes in anything they have not explicitly said they want to learn.

Elegant or practical

Broadly speaking, gifts can be either elegant or practical. Consider the other person’s wishes. If your wife wants a dressy cashmere shawl, that is what to look for, rather than a scarf that will keep her warm even when the temperature plummets below 20 in winter. If a friend wants a cordless drill then you get that, not an unusual hand drill made by Tibetan monks.

For some couples celebrating a wedding anniversary, the decision to buy a practical piece of furniture or equipment for the home to mark the day should be a joint decision. It is never a good idea to unilaterally decide that a new vacuum cleaner is just what you need to mark this day. Should you choose a practical gift, you can still be romantic on your special day, by taking time out together.