Gift giving has always been really difficult for me. St. Patrick's Day is one of those occasions when I'm put to the test.
My first challenge, self-centered as I am, is to forget about myself and focus on the person I'm getting a gift for.
The second challenge is not to get caught up in the consumer mentality and get something that will last and be a joy to keep around for years to come.
Pretty tall orders, wouldn't you say? If it was easy, then, perhaps it wouldn't be much of a gift, would it? Because it is hard, even when we fail, we succeed because we did our best.
If you're a woman charged with selecting a gift for a man, you have an additional hurdle to cross. It is no surprise that men and women are different, but wherein lies the difference? And how does that affect the kind of gifts each of them will appreciate?
Men see themselves as providers first. They are very sensitive to criticism, especially when they fail to fill that role. They like to have hobbies. They like to play with grown-up toys. Try to stay with something practical. Most men aren't into anything pretty or decorative.
If you're a guy and you know what kind of interest or hobbies your friend is into, the job should be pretty easy. Just be sure to remember, the gift is for him, not you.
Your Particular Man Specifically
You could try to ask what he wants. Sometimes you're in luck and he knows exactly what it is. Other times, he will tell you he doesn't need anything. When that happens, listen for clues during conversations and make mental notes.
Before you run out shopping consider that some gifts are completely free. Especially, if he's a little on the narcissistic side he'll appreciate your undivided attention. He might also like for you to show an interest in his favorite pastime. Go with him to a ball game even if it's not your favorite thing to do. Just don't complain about it. Otherwise he'll wish he had gone with the boys instead.
Gift cards might seem tacky to you, but guys are generally practical and will appreciate the freedom to get exactly what they want. Make it as generic as you can so it can be used anywhere.
You're also in good shape if he has a hobby or passion. The tricky part is that his wish list is likely to be very specific down to the exact model or brand. The gift will still be a gift if you have to ask about that. He'll appreciate that he won't have to go exchange it.
If he's one of those guys who either doesn't need anything or already has everything the following list of guy types might help you narrow it down a bit.
Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on February 23, 2013:
Great ideas for St. Patrick's Day!