Linda Lewis Griffith

5 tips on finding great gifts for men

The Philadelphia Daily News/TNS

Let’s face it, ladies. Buying gifts for our men is a losing proposition. No matter how hard we look or how cleverly we shop, the end result is usually another strikeout in the gift department.

Why are men so hard to shop for? Lots of reasons.

First, if they want something, they tend to buy it. Most men aren’t keen on delayed gratification. So when an item catches their eye, they slap down the credit card. Done deal.

Women don’t understand men’s toys. My husband bought himself a drone last Christmas that he delighted in maneuvering throughout the house. (It was too fragile to use outside, he insisted.) Not only was it a threat to every vertical object in our living room, but it emitted a migraine-inducing whine. He loved it. It made me cringe.

Men’s favorite toys are prohibitively expensive. Trust me. They’re not pining for a cuddly sweater or a Fitbit. What they secretly want is a Learjet. Or maybe a Ferrari.

Women imbue gifts with emotions. We think fondly of the giver whenever we use it. Even if the item isn’t exactly what we wanted, we still love it because of the memories associated with it.

But most men harbor no such emotional attachment. If they don’t want it, they’re just not interested.

On the other hand, men can be incredibly picky. They want a specific item in a particular model or color. Creativity isn’t high on their wish list.

Gifts require a certain standard of etiquette. Regardless of the item, the receiver is obligated to act pleased and say, “This is perfect! Thank you so much.” Anything less is perceived as boorish. Yet some guys see no reason to adhere to the protocol and, in fact, view it as being unnecessarily phony.

There’s no go-to gift to buy men. You can always buy a woman a scarf, a piece of jewelry or something for the kitchen. Guys aren’t so easy. A bottle of wine works in certain settings. After that, the pickings are slim.

Of course, we don’t want to neglect the men we love. Especially at the holidays, we’re driven to locate those just-right gifts for him. It’s OK if he’s not thrilled with the results. We’ve done the best we can.

Linda Lewis Griffith’s column is special to the Tribune. She is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her, visit

Shopping tips

  • Lower your expectations. Don’t set your sights on a home run. Be content with a few things he likes or needs.
  • Ask him to make a list. Have various items that span price ranges. Be sure he includes relevant order numbers or links.
  • Buy gift cards. Select stores you know he likes, then let him pick something special.
  • Plan an event. Get tickets. Rent a cabin. Give him flying lessons. This is a chance to let your creative juices flow.
  • Don’t take it personally. If he’s still not elated with your present, don’t sweat it. There’s no need to make gift-giving a sore spot in your relationship.