A home decor upgrade
If you’re close enough and notice that one area of his house is particularly busted, redo it for him. Keep his tastes in mind and pick out towels and a rug for his bathroom along with a soap dispenser so you aren’t using the industrial size he buys at Costco and keeps on the counter every time you visit. It’s something he won’t do for himself, but he’ll appreciate every day.
A bespoke suit
Every guy needs one excellent suit (navy or dark grey) and you get get a good one in the $800-$1,000 range. It’s a luxurious gift that invests in his future and will be used forever. Plus it’s a fun activity, going together to pick out the materials and linings and getting measured.
If he’s expressed interest in a new hobby, give him entry to it. Buy a month’s membership to a rock-climbing gym or a woodworking class for him. Other ideas: boxing lessons, a fly-fishing rod, a molecular gastronomy kit, or a beer-making kit.
A magazine subscription
Nothing feels as luxurious as flipping through an actual glossy paper magazine to people who are on email/the internet all day. It’s fun, short, interesting reading — but you can slow down and enjoy it. Whatever his interests are, get him a subscription or two so he has a few to read every month: GQ, The Economist, New York Magazine, National Geographic, Popular Science, The New Yorker, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, or Outside Magazine are all great ideas.
A walnut iPad case
This is great gift for a guy who likes to relax with a drink or has friends over a lot. It’s a fun, unique way to serve liquor, and everyone will comment on it. Gift it with a bottle of his favorite booze and whiskey stones. (If you’re on a budget, whiskey stones make a great gift on their own).
This is a gift I discovered when I was shopping at a boutique in a tourist town one afternoon. I bought one for a friend with an upcoming birthday. She adored it and used it with her boyfriend, he asked me where to get one at least four times afterwards. It’s exactly what it sounds like, one log that burns as a fire for 2-3 hours. It’s small and controlled so you can use it on a deck (with the proper precautions) or in your backyard without a fire pit (or take it with you to the beach or another outdoor location, it’s very light). It’s something he’s never heard of before and it will be a fun night you two can have together. Gift with s’more supplies!
This boss looking bottle opener magnet
Turns any fridge into a man’s fridge.
For the city guy who still loves to grill — a charcoal grill that you can affix to the railing of even a teeny city balcony.
Get the version of it with his favorite sports team on it. It’s not a super classy gift, but he’ll love it and it’s useful. My sister got this for my Dad a few years ago and he hasn’t stopped using it every night in the fall/winter when he’s watching TV.
This is so cute I wouldn’t mind storing it in my fridge.
Unless you’re 17 he probably doesn’t want Beats. Try Seenheisers or Shures.
You can buy prints of something he’ll like and get them framed, so all he has to do is hang them. It’s fun to find someone local instead of a popular painting everyone’s already seen a million times. I really like this cool series of “Nonsensical Infographics” by Chad Hagen.