Buying the right Christmas gift requires a lot of thought, attention to detail and a good feel for your loved ones’ personalities, likes and dislikes, so of course most guys are terrible at it. At most we can usually summon up the mental energy to buy good, creative gifts for maybe one or two people on our list per year — after that the tiny cortex in our brains devoted to thinking about gift giving is fried and we go straight for the Standard Guy Gifts. These gifts probably aren’t going to delight their recipients, but they aren’t going to horribly disappoint either. They fit easily in a box, generally cost fewer than 50 bucks, and are pretty much guaranteed to at least elicit a smile — they get the job done.
Unfortunately man’s best friend, technology, is rapidly pushing a number of the most reliable Standard Guy Gifts towards extinction. Sorry guys, this may be the last Black Friday you can fill up your cart with some of the following easy gifts…
DVD Box Sets
Could there ever be a more perfect Standard Guy Gift than the DVD box set? They’re easy to wrap, not too expensive, and as long as it says “HBO” or “AMC” on the cover you know you’re getting something good.
Unfortunately disc-based media is not long for this world — at this point chances are very high the person you’re buying for has long since watched whatever show you’re getting them over some sort of streaming service. Or if they’re under 30 they probably just pirated it.
See above, only more so.
For years no actual thought had to be put into buying gifts for kids. Just grab ‘em a video game. Even if it’s a bad video game they’ll like it more than pretty much anything else you could get them.
Well, at least it’s not like, a board game or something.
But these days a lot of kids have never actually had the experience of struggling through the cellophane to get to their new video game printed on physical media. The majority of kids these days spend most of their time playing 99-cent downloadable games on their phones. The days when you could pick something off the used-games rack for 20 bucks and be the awesomest uncle in the world come Christmas is over.
Books only halfway work as a Standard Guy Gift. On the plus side, they’re not too expensive and easy to wrap, on the negative side who has the space in their brain to keep track of what kind of books your sister/girlfriend/parents like to read? I mean, come on.
The books contained in “humor” section are the perfect compromise. You know the type of books I’m talking about — “The Big Bathroom Reader’s Guide to Farts” — that kind of stuff. They provide a brief chuckle, will sit on the coffee table for a couple weeks and then be promptly tossed in a closet somewhere and forgotten by the recipient, freeing you to buy them a similar book next year.
Sadly these days the funny book section has been more-or-less completely taken over by books based on blogs. Chances are very good any funny book you buy this Christmas will be met with an “Ohhh yeah, I read this blog. Heh, yup, all these entries were pretty funny back when I saw them a year ago!” response.
Crappy Electronic Gadgets
Gimmicky little gadgets that are cool for about five minutes are a staple of male gift buying, but the days of people being even mildly impressed with that kind of stuff are finished. These days people all have laptops, iPods, and tablets that look like something out of a sci-fi movie — the solar-powered reading lamp and remote controlled car that can drive on the wall from Radio Shack don’t cut the f–kin’ mustard anymore my friend.
The situation is bad, and only going to get worse, so I’m making this plea on behalf of guys everywhere — just let us know what you want. Especially you ladies. You don’t have to write a list, just you know, drop some hints. Big obvious ones are preferred. Otherwise you’re at the mercy of our flawed male gift buying logic…
I foresee a looot of gift cards being purchased this year.