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Buying gifts for men is notoriously difficult. Younger men will usually appreciate some expensive gadget or video game, while older men might be annoyed that they have another object cluttering up their space.

When Christmas or my birthday is coming up, I will procrastinate setting up a wishlist. I feel lukewarm about it. My wife, on the other hand, has a list she seemingly maintains year-round with anticipation.

Standard Gifts for Men Suck

I search online for inspiration bi-yearly with queries like “gift ideas for men” to fill up my wishlist. If you have, you’ll get the impression us men love watches, knives, smoked meats, socks, and hokey novelty items like talking fish.

There’s nothing wrong with coming up with lists like these, but it’s really more for your partner and/or kids. I know a guy whose wife has made it explicit that his birthday is for her and his kids and not for him. He says, “Sure, wife, you can have it.” I admire the honesty and can appreciate wanting to give his family an excuse to celebrate.

It does make me wonder though. If it is to be about me and what I want, then what am I missing? What should I be doing differently?
With my birthday coming up, I’m thinking differently this year. I won’t be hunting for random crap to fill up a list. If my birthday can be something which adds to my life, then it’s worth exploring.

Ultimately, what I want is to be best positioned to get what I want out of life.

Men Like Sex

The serotonin and testosterone gained from sex are a great start. I’ll put that at the top of my list.

Proper serotonin levels are important for a stable mood, enabling me to meet life’s challenges better and with a positive attitude. Testosterone, similarly, regulates my mood and is great for promoting healthy risk-taking.

Men’s ability to take healthy risks is why we have civilization.

I will honor and celebrate this fact with sex.

Men Like Clarity

Next on my list is clarity. For example, time away from everything to help me relax. I’m partial to massage, but I’ve also tried sensory deprivation tanks and meditation.

This sort of relaxation helps me create space within myself – the space to think clearly and choose my response.

Men’s calm has been necessary for our species to make it through hardship and carve a clearing in the wilderness.

I’m grateful to the men of the past and will honor them with my own calm.

Men Like Personal Development

The development of my mind, body, and my skills will also be on my list this year. Listening to audiobooks on my commute has been enormously valuable to me, but consider also tools for posture correction, free weights, tools for home improvement, or anything that helps you do your job more effectively.

The attention to my own personal development alone creates an entirely different kind of awareness, openness to possibility, and creative problem-solving.

Men have historically had to prove themselves reliable resource providers. When I was younger, I would resent that women didn’t have to prove themselves in the same way. But this pressure has made me far stronger and comfortable in my own skin.
I am thankful for the challenges I have to become more resourceful.

Men Love their Families

It’s been said that men built civilization for women and children. Men risk their lives every day to protect and provide for people they’ve never met (think firemen and deep-sea fishermen). But even for us men who have less heroic professions, we are still motivated by love for our families.

My wife writes poetry and is good at it, but has neglected her art. For Father’s Day this year, I asked my wife to write me a poem. When my children are older, I’ll ask them for the joy of seeing them work on something they’ve been neglecting.
Now that I have a toddler, having a date with my wife alone is what will be on my list. But as my children grow older and more independent, I’m sure quality time with them and my wife together will be my go-to.

What To Give Your Husband

So, you could get the man in your life a random nick nacks, socks, or a tie, as any Father’s Day rack at Target will have you believe men want. Or consider something that will be closer to men’s values.

My wife wrote a great article on ways to show your husband love, but here is what you should give your husband this year:

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