Making Christmas lists seems to get harder every year you get older, and taking your girlfriend's budget into consideration doesn't make it any easier. Luckily for you procrastinators, we've taken all the hard work out of it and picked 10 great gifts you'll be happy to receive.
As we get older it seems harder and harder to come up with a list of Christmas ideas we want for ourselves. One of the biggest reasons it's so hard is because your parents most likely spent a lot more money on your Christmas gifts than your girlfriend will.
So when she asks you what you want for Christmas it's unrealistic to ask for expensive things you may have put on your list when you were a kid. While you may have received a Super Nintendo when you were 7, you're unlikely to get a Playstation 3 when you're 27–unless your girlfriend is REALLY awesome. But that of course means you're dropping $400 on her gifts too.
Christmas is a great opportunity to get things in the $25 to $150 range you wouldn't normally convince yourself you need. As we come down to the last remaining shopping weeks before Christmas, and her calls for gift ideas have grown desperate, offer a few of these suggestions.
Unless of course you need another new tie.
This may be the pinnacle of what a guy would never buy for himself. “$30 for a box with compartments? I'll just dump my keys on my desk, thanks.” But if you can get one as a gift they really are useful. They're great for putting your keys, wallet, watches, Chap Stick, change and other daily carries all in one place. I like to keep all my collar stays (those little plastic things you stick in your collars) in the center so they're all in one place.
Some even come with phone and iPod chargers.
2. Electric Toothbrush
$50 may seem like a lot when the dentist will give you a regular toothbrush for free, but if your girlfriend's buying it, awesome! Some research suggests electric toothbrushes with “rotation-oscillation action” can remove more plaque than regular brushing. Whatever the science, they're pretty cool.
If there is one person that is qualified to pick out your scent for the next 12 months, it's your girlfriend. Besides having to smell you for all that time, she's probably more up to date on newer fragrances and what girls like. And after all, that's why we wear cologne anyway. Sure picking out your own cologne will result in a scent that's truly you, but that may not be a good thing. The last time I picked out my own cologne, my girlfriend told me my Old Spice Original smelled like her grandfather. Ouch.
4. Pull-Up Bar
A pull-up bar provides a complete, fantastic upper body work out. Coming in at around $15 for your standard model, one of these serves as a great gift to ask for from your family. If you still need more convincing, check out The Best $15 I Ever Spent: A Pitch for a Door Jam Pull Up Bar.
5. Electric Razor
If you've never shaved with an electric razor you're missing out on a really convenient way to trim the bristle each morning. Some people may argue nothing is as close as a blade, but the practicality can't be beat. While you may not need something with a 360 degree blade curvature and internal skin purifiers, ask for a mid-level model with a wet-dry option and a short recharge time.
Put your under-used Netflix subscription to instant good use with this media player. Touted with having “12,000 movies at your fingertips,” this box the size of a paperback allows you to view the available “watch instantly” films from Netflix right on your TV. Only for $99, no monthly fee. With a small investment (on your girlfriend or family) up front, this little box really makes the monthly Netflix fee worth it. Check it out at Roku.com.
7. A Really Nice…Sweater?
If this list is full of things we'd like to have but would never spend our own money on, a nice sweater definitely tops it. I have a hard enough time spending $50 on a pair of jeans that I'll wear all year, let alone $60 on a really nice sweater I'll wear, I dunno, seven times a year. But they are definitely an important part of a well-dressed man's wardrobe and mom's always like buying their sons sweaters, so take them up on it.
8. An Obscure Tool
By this point in your life you probably have the necessary staples of a good tool box. If not, take “obscure” off of this idea and check out 10 Tools Every Man Should Have. Unfortunately, by the time we realize we need a hand clamp, stud finder, or laser level it's too late to go buy one.
Take a look at your toolbox and think back over the last year when you needed to fix something but didn't have the right tool for the job and didn't want to buy one.
Electric meter? Mallet? Hand Saw? Put it on the list.
9. Pocket Knife
You have no idea how often you'll use a pocket knife until you start carrying one. A quality knife can easily run you $50 to $100 but it's worth every penny, especially if someone else is paying for it. There are several options available, all great. There are traditional pocket knives, lock backs, and Leatherman type multi-tools.
10. Small Powertools
Unless you're building a house, powertools probably don't have a place in your budget. However, they can make hanging shelves, putting together furniture, or installing your new pull up bar much, much easier. Take a look at Black & Decker's Firestorm drill, a cordless jigsaw, or a Dremel toolkit. While you may not be able to justify buying these types of tools, they'll make perfect gifts and definitely come in handy.