The Most Difficult Task in the World; or, how to shop for boys

This is a post of complete ignorance masquerading as knowledge.  I have been shopping for boys my entire life; at least, since I’ve had the resources to do so.  With a twin brother, father, stepfather, guy friends, and a boyfriend, you would think that I would have discovered the magic answer to appropriate gifts for men.

Here’s the short answer: there are no appropriate gifts for men.

Women are (comparitively) easy.  I’m not being sexist at all. I’m just saying that hook most girls up with bubble bath, a cool scarf, a Barnes and Noble gift card, or an interesting notebook to write in, and they’re set. Boom. Done. Girls also have this habit of saying what they want.  Example: my mom says that she doesn’t want anything for Mother’s Day every year.  And yet most times we go out shopping, she says, “Oh, I love this perfume/sweater/salad dressing holder!  But…I’ll get it some other time…” There you go.  Boys, in  my experience, don’t do that.  My boyfriend: “That looks like a cool video game.” Me: “oo! oo! Do you want it?????” “Nah. Hey, look, Mickey shaped waffles!” So, so much for that.

The Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy) got me thinking about this post.  I’ve been shopping around for his coming birthday for what feels like years but has really been a couple months.  No sooner do I see something cool then I discount it for price, or because he “won’t really like it.” (There are levels of liking, you know.  They range between “shoved to back of the closet” to “put on an altar and worship from afar while hugging the best girlfriend in the world.” Haven’t quite gotten to the second one yet, but I have high hopes).

I finally settled on a whole shmorgasbord of presents, because, complicating everything, The Boyfriend is still living on base for a few more months, so I will have to ship some stuff.  Sigh.

Through our year and a half of gift giving experiences, I have come up with a few tips that I will share with you now.

1) Think Simply

I still think one of The Boyfriend’s favorite gifts he recieved from me was our first Valentine’s day.  He sent me beautiful flowers and chocolates, but I didn’t really have any idea what to get him.  After much debate, I finally sent a care package for which I baked about five different kinds of sweets, along with his favorite snacks and some silly dollar store Valentine goodies.  He LOVED it.  I thought it would be small change compared to his gorgeous present for me, but sometimes the best presents are the ones that remind us of home.  As I write this, I’m getting ready to bake him a whole mess of stuff for his birthday box…pray for me.

2) Think Food!

This probably goes without saying if you read my tip 1, but food is an awesome choice for gifts! Figure out his favorite recipe, and prepare a lavish dinner, or just some cookies.  It really doesn’t matter. Guys will eat it up…literally. Haha. Sorry. I’ll stop.

3)Think Personal

Whatever gift you give, make sure it’s personal. I’ve often been tempted to just throw in the towel, buy the guy a gift card to Walmart and call it a night. But taking a little more effort can go such a long way.  For Christmas this past year, I got the Boyfriend a Nook HD.  This was a big ticket item, and could have seemed just flashy.  But I bought it because I know how much he loves reading comic books, and the Nook makes them look incredible! I’m also a huge fan of writing little explanations.  For example, the cool notebook that is coming with this package (sh! it’s a secret!) is for sketching or D and D campaigns.  Little things like this let them know that you’re listening to what they like.  It’ll bring you closer.

4) Don’t worry about it.

This one can get hard for me to remember.  I love giving presents so much that I want them to be perfect.  But this past week, amidst the stress of working full time and trying to figure out what size box to ship this stuff in, I realized that the Boyfriend would be happy if I just cooked him dinner and hung out with him for the night.  That’s the important thing about holidays: knowing that your person cares about you, and is thinking about you.  Everything after that is just fluff.

p.s. The Boyfriend’s present? Yea, it rocks. Scoreboard.

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