I don’t know when I turned into my own Mother, but they say it happens to all women, and its latest manifestation is trying once and for all to get ahead with birthday and Christmas presents instead of leaving it til the last minute and then hurriedly sending a Moonpig card and an Amazon e-voucher the night before (if they’re lucky). Nobody seems more neglected than men in the gift department, so I’ve decided to take action and look for ideas for all the dads, grandads, brothers, grown up sons and favourite work colleagues who are so often palmed off with giant Toblerones and novelty socks (both of which I am particularly fond of, if anyone’s looking for ideas for me!).
One of the great stocking fillers of the modern age is Face Masks and when I dished these 7th Heaven face masks out to my male guinea pigs they all enjoyed a good pamper. No longer the domain of teenage girls or the terminally vain metrosexual, these are a great treat for the morning after the night before, after a long flight or difficult week at work.
Probably the most popular face pack brand on the market right now, pick them up from the supermarket or chemist for just over a quid (which means you can get a handful for Secret Santa and still come in under budget!).
Red Vape Gourmet E-Cig Liquid
Gone are the days that 300 duty free B&H make a suitable present at any time of year, but vaping is both a healthier alternative to fags and a booming business, with gourmet brands pushing their way to the fore. Did you know there’s even Vaping Conventions and magazines dedicated to it? No wonder something of a connoisseur scene has developed.
With the rather posh Reserva range to choose from (we tried out the lower strength ‘Shade’ and ‘Havano Gold’) or even the ‘dessert’ liquids ‘Trinity Creme’ or ‘Noble Mint’, vaping shows no sign of stopping. This Premium UK E-liquid from British company Red Vape, in its classy black packaging, makes great stocking fillers or Secret Santa presents for under £10 – especially for someone you’re trying to help kick the habit.
From luxury British brand Smythson of Bond Street to quality German stationers Leuchtturm, nothing beats personalised notepads for those ideas that’ll make him a millionaire, lyrics that’ll propel him to number one, or as a head-clearing journal. Adding their name or initials turns what’s already a nice piece of stationery into an even more thoughtful gift.
My favourites are the Italian brand Moleskin favoured by famous scribblers Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh. Either shop online, on London’s Regent or Oxford streets, or in many branches of Waterstones across the UK.
Olverum Bath Oil
This iconic bath oil is the kind of thing that you’ll want to keep for yourself and not give away. Which is precisely what I did – I tried it and love its grown up scent.
Whether you buy it online or head to Harvey Nicks, Liberty or Fenwicks (and accidentally run up an impressive credit card bill on yourself while you’re there), the blend of ten essential oils has unisex appeal and will guarantee a relaxing soak whoever ends up as the recipient.
Taken from the Latin name meaning ‘true oil’, the aromatic mixture of natural plant extracts has been going for nearly 90 years and is a luxury brand that’s perfect for anyone who enjoys the finer things in life and loves to hog the bathroom!
Braun Multi Grooming Kit 3080
Such a stereotype to say men love anything remotely electrical or gadgety I know, but anything that needs a plug or batteries always seems like such a substantial present, doesn’t it? I got the nearest available hairy fella to try out this Braun Multi Grooming Kit for me and it got the thumbs up:
“The packaging was really nice – it shouldn’t matter but it did. You know where you stand with Braun, I suppose don’t you. I mean, I’d use anything, me. I’d use a tin opener if I thought my nose hair was tickling too much. But it was nice trying out a quality brand. How dya say it? Like Brown or Brooooorn? Anyway I did a great job on my sidies and shaping my beard.”
Now if that’s not a sterling endorsement, I don’t know what is. The 100% waterproof wet and dry shaver comes with 9 different attachments, including a body trimmer (woo!) and nose and hair trimmer (yay!). Have a browse online to find the best deal.
Drinks by the Dram
This is the stuff dreams are made of. Imagine the Brownie points you’d score with a whiskey lover if you presented them with an Advent Calendar from Drinks by the Dram packed filled with 24 different wax sealed drams of whisky from all over the world! That’s what I did last year and everyone was asking me where I got it from. I won’t lie, I basked for many weeks in the glory of this massive diversion from an Amazon e-voucher.
Not a fan of Whisky? You can get Gin, Rum or even Bourbon instead. Not a fan of Advent (er, what? it’s only the best three-and-a-bit weeks of the year!) then check out their Christmas cracker sets. And if you’re just not of the Christmassy persuasion at all then they have Tasting Sets that you can give all year round, featuring everything from Absinthe to Armagnac, Vodka and Tequila.
They’d impress anyone who loves a tipple; from occasional drinkers to fully fledged connoisseurs. Perfect for special occasions like big birthdays, anniversaries, first Father’s Day, or graduation. Defo too good for the office Secret Santa!