Many of us find selecting gifts for men a challenge. As women, our tastes can be very different and it is hard for us to get inside our men’s heads. To make matters worse, getting them to actually communicate what they would love can be an uphill battle. So if you want to treat a man in your life but don’t know where to start, here are 5 great ideas for men’s gifts that should help put a huge smile on his face.
Isn’t it great to see the return of watches on wrists? I think there was a period where we thought our mobile phones would do when it came to telling the time. We forgot that watches can express individuality and are a key style item. I love a watch with a good leather strap and a really interesting face preferably showing different time zones or similar.
It is easy to see jewellery as the domain of women but why not treat the man in your life to a jewellery item that he can show off and keep long-term as a memory of a special time together. I remember college friends wearing bracelets and how fine they looked often choosing one that showed who they were as a person. Nowadays, there are beautiful and creative bracelets for men available or perhaps your man would prefer a pendant necklace?
A lot of men I know love a gadget and a really simple one is a key chain with various useful items kept conveniently all in one place. It might include a screwdriver and a bottle opener which as we know can get you and your man out of many an emergency situation.
Bags are a good option for most men although obviously you should take his individual lifestyle into account when making your selection. If he like to be outdoors a lot, a rucksack may be the very thing. Perhaps he travels a lot on business and would like a retro looking holdall in leather? Hip packs are a great option for the festival goer in your life. You could even pop an extra present inside the bag as another treat.
If you decide that none of the above are quite right for your special someone, you can fall back on old favourites like scarves, gloves and even socks. This is where you can bring in your creativity in finding brands that are new to him online. When it comes to shirts which always go down well with my husband, I have gone for a Charles Tyrwhitt men’s shirt and am so excited to see him open his gift come Christmas morning. If all else fails, if you get a gift card you can be absolutely sure that he will like what he buys but I think a personal touch is better as it really is the thought that counts.
How do you have the perfect Christmas? That is what we are all asking ourselves at this time of year. The television tries to tell us how to do it in a certain way often with mixed messages even within the same programme. Your perfect Christmas might include dinner on Christmas Day in Cheshire or even a trip overseas. We are all different and today I am sharing my ideas on a perfect Christmas or at least a good enough one.
We plan so much food for Christmas and yet often forget all about breakfast in the rush to get to the piles of presents. You could just grab toast but on a special day it is nice to do something that little bit different. I highly recommend Spanish baked eggs or perhaps some special pastries. One thing is for sure if children are hungry, their behaviour is likely to be worse so do treat breakfast as a priority.
Get outdoors for a perfect Christmas
I have often made the mistake of staying in all day on 25 December. Over the years I have learned that every day is a better one if I get out to enjoy nature and to fuel my emotional wellbeing with Vitamin D. Take the dog and children out early in the day. If you think that might be a challenge, ensure some of the Christmas gifts are to be used outdoors whether a bike or swing ball. If older relatives fall asleep in the afternoon, this is also a fantastic time to take a stroll.
Make it easy on yourself
Too many women get so very stressed at this time of year. That leads to everyone having a great time except the very person who has probably put most effort into the whole deal. I admire my Mum so much who one year announced that would be the last time she did Christmas dinner. We were all shocked but we went out after that mixing with other happy families and eating a meal prepared for us at various restaurants. Whatever aspect of Christmas you struggle with most, ask yourself whether it really needs to happen at all. If you feel you do have to do it, work out just how you can make it easier on yourself. It is your Christmas too!
Do it your way
The perfect Christmas is the one that is done your way. As well as ensuring you don’t feel overwhelmed, you can incorporate things that make your day special. For me, that is ensuring we keep to simple traditions that remind me of my childhood. We open our gifts in age order from youngest to oldest. That means you get the enjoyment of your family members’ reactions as well as just a focus on your own presents. You don’t have to do Christmas the way that your neighbours, folks on social media or the television suggests you should.
Christmas Day is just 24 hours in one whole year. Have a good one if you can but if that is challenging for whatever reason, aim to have a peaceful one. Look after yourself so you can have energy for your loved ones. Be realistic about your budget for the day. That will save a whole heap of stress and mean you are not facing a mountain of debt come the New Year.
A chocolate mince pie is a brand new idea for me but I tried it and even the children who normally hate mince pies were begging for me to make another batch.
Chocolate mince pie muffins
This delicious twist on the classic mince pie will have your guests reaching for more
Prepare 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
225g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp sea salt
80g Tate & Lyle caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
130ml whole milk
50g Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Yogurt
30g Country Life Unsalted Butter, melted
½ lemon, zest
½ orange, zest
75g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6; line a muffin tray with 10 cases. In a bowl, combine the flour, raising agents, salt and sugar. Add the egg, milk, yogurt, melted butter and citrus zests. Gently combine the mixture, taking care not to overmix or the muffins will be tough (a few lumps are fine).
2 Add in dollops of the mincemeat, about ½ tsp at a time, so it is broken up into little clumps. Stir in most of the chopped chocolate and gently fold everything together.
3 Divide between the muffin cases and top with the remaining chocolate. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Christmas goodwill is my favourite part of the festive season outside my own family celebrations. I love how everyone gives their time and attention in a more generous-spirited way. I see people reaching out to help others and more forgiveness too. I love how charities benefit from unexpected donations at this time of year. I asked bloggers to share times when such goodwill made a big difference to their lives.
“My friends doing the pick up and the drop of the my kids when I am in need. They are such stars. I will never forget” www.ethannevelyn.com
“I worked in America doing door to door sales one summer when I was at Uni. I hated it. One day it was wet and I was so miserable. Some people found me, took me to a local church for a coffee, to warm up and gave me some money too” Counting to Ten
Today I am sharing a Campari and gin cocktail with the rather intriguing name of Winter Aviation. It includes gin which I know so many of my readers have as a tipple combined with Campari which my brother-in-law adores and lovely cassis.
Campari and gin cocktail
40ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
Juice of 1 clementine
10ml British Cassis
Cherry to garnish
Shake the ingredients well over ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
Do you have an unusual recipe for a Campari and gin cocktail?