In decades past, gift baskets were a purely feminine market. Baskets filled to the brim with lotions, candles, sweets, stuffed animals, etc… flooded the market. These made Valentines and birthdays much easier for men to navigate. Let’s face it, gift baskets for the woman in your life are still a good way to go if you know what she likes. But gift baskets for men were a lot harder to come by.
As time has gone on, gift baskets became more universal by holding food items like mini muffins or going the whole edible arrangements route. These are ideal as “thank you”s or “get well”s, but honestly are a little nondescript. Don’t get me wrong, people love receiving free food and other generic items like flashlights or drawstring bags. Doesn’t matter if you’re a starving college student or the richest man alive: free food is the best. However, I think we can agree, men like personalized gifts just as much as women do. We all want to feel known and appreciated on a personal level. This is a normal human desire.
Well, it took awhile, but the male gift basket has finally come onto the market; and it is fantastic!
Tip #1: Pick a Gift Basket that Shows You “Get” Him
Whether you’re looking for a basket for a friend, colleague, or boyfriend, everyone likes to feel known and understood. Consider their hobbies. What do they do when they’re not working? What are they passionate about?
Do they drink craft beer or are they more of a coffee shop aficionado? An engraved flask is all well and good for someone who likes liquor, but if they’re a hipster running a protest to bring back prohibition, a coffee mug would be a better way to go. Make sure you understand what might offend them so you can avoid potential misunderstandings.
I know it’s easy to say “Show that you ‘get’ him”, but sometimes that can be easier said than done. One applicable way of doing this is to imagine yourself in his shoes– literally. No, I don’t mean literally “literally”. Please don’t steal his shoes. What you should do is mentally take yourself through his day. What is his morning routine like? The commute to work? What stresses are there throughout his day that a gift might help with? Your gifts don’t need to solve his problems, but even bringing a smile can help him get through a stressful day.
At the end of the day, show that you take interest in his interests. A good gift basket uses simplicity to show that you care.
Tip #2: Practical Gifts
Practicality is the number 1 best seller when it comes to gift giving. Receiving something that you really want is always nice, but if it is something you really want and need, the joy factor multiplies by ten. Not only do practical gifts win out when they are received, they are the types of gifts that a man uses over and over, and each time remembers the giver with gratitude.
How do you find practical gifts? Again the secret is to take into account who the receiver is. A tech-lover with young kids? Maybe add an indoor camera to the mix of classic men’s essentials. Does he enjoy birdwatching? Add a pair of binoculars. Don’t forget the simple gifts– favorite beers, movie snacks, socks, shaving kits, nice fountain pens– these are all winners on the practicality scale. They show personality but also show an awareness of another man’s needs.
Now of course, do not take the practicality thing too far. While most men enjoy receiving grooming tools like a straight razor kit or beard oil, the grooming line is drawn at things like toilet paper. Don’t go into someone’s bathroom and think, “you know what would really spruce this place up? Monogrammed toilet paper.”
Just. Just no.
Good rule of thumb, when going with practicability, also go with common sense. You want this to be a gift that makes them go “Wow, they really care!” Not, “Whoa… dude this is weird and a little insulting…”
Tip #3: Send a Message
One of the best gifts I gave my dad was a hand carved chess piece– a bishop, poorly shaped out of dry willow. It wasn’t very high quality, but it was carved from a tree on our property that had fallen down and was being removed. The tree was so old that both he and I had climbed on the same tree in our childhood years. It wasn’t that the carving was very good, or that it was an especially useful gifts, but it sent a message.
For those men whom you aren’t close enough to to send a handmade gift, (I never would have given a homemade item to my boss) you can send a message through something as simple as engraved glassware. Inscribe a thank you message on a glass for them, and they will hang on to your memory for a long, long time.
One easy way to send a message is by including personalized photos. Have the thank you basket sent to your address, include some personal photos and drop it off on the receiver’s doorstep. Worry more about what memories the photo contains than the quality of the photo. Nobody will mind a little red eye in a memory of a great fishing trip.
There are easy ways to send a message with a gift basket! In any case, the most important message of “I appreciate you” will be heard loud and clear.
Tip #4: Surprise!
Naturally, a certain element of surprise is in order when it comes to gift giving. Just like in thinking practically, ask yourself the following question:
What sort of things has my friend always wanted but would never give to himself?
Do they like quality liquor but always purchase the cheap Walmart bottles to save money? Do they constantly talk about hunting, but have rusting hunting knives? Maybe they really want a close shave, but do not have the resources to make it happen—or do not know where to start.
Spring for something they don’t expect, but really want.
Another way to add surprise to the gift basket is choosing something they can share. By grabbing a basket that has food, they can then host a movie night for you and their other buddies. Getting them a drinkable arrangement with glassware for two is a great example. It’s a meaningful gift because it creates meaningful memories.
You can create a gift basket that is a surprise to receive and helps the receiver create their own memories. That way you don’t only give physical objects, you give experiences.
If you still are not sure how to make your thank you gift personal, you’ll never go wrong with the manly staples. A drinkable arrangement with a cigar package and a pack of jerky will never be a bad gift for a man. That said– if you are close enough to the receiver, or know them well, take a few gambles and include elements of surprise and personalization. The element of choosing a gift basket is really simple. Look to the spirit of the person rather than the gift itself, and you’ll never run out of ideas.
Let us know your thoughts on the perfect gift basket for a man in the comments bellow.
The Guys @ TheBroBasket.com