Christmas Gift Giving Guide: John, The Connoisseur

CameyDr. Camey, what can I say?  He knows about all the best things.  The best suits, best cigars, best wines.  When we worked together, I enjoyed seeing him and his fellow professors stand around and compare their smart phones and (somedays almost matching) Joseph A. Banks outfits.

His advice will help you find gifts for the dignified, classy men in your life.  His gift buying philosophy is low maintenance and will resonate with most of you guys.  Consider Dr. C. your new guru.  Because he wrote an awesome preamble to his blog, he needs no further introduction!


When I agreed to pen a Christmas shopping blog for my friend and colleague Sarah, I did not anticipate the high quality, detailed blogs that her other invitees would provide. Suffice to say I was feeling a bit intimidated until I reminded myself that I am one of the GUYS  she asked to the dance.  When it comes to Christmas shopping most of us guys are considerably less detailed.  If we are married, our wives graciously do most of our shopping for us or tell us what to buy.  If we are single, we try to ignore it until the last minute.  So, I will share my philosophy (approach) to gift selection, mention some generic gifts that guys might (should) like and finally toss out a couple of guilty pleasures.


Far too much time and effort is put into finding out what people need or want for Christmas.  The truth is that in most cases if it is something we really need we can get it for ourselves.  As for “wants” one has to use discernment to decide if it is really only a temporary desire or something that will be a hit.  I generally try to ignore both of these.

Gift giving at Christmas is an opportunity to share part of you.  Give something that represents who you are. For example, anyone who knows me knows that I am a lover of books.  Years ago I started giving books for Christmas.  Not just a few books either.  I give books to every single person in my immediate family from the youngest to the oldest.  I give books to friends, colleagues and even former students.  I pick books that I like or am interested in and want them to have.  In the past I have tried to get the books purchased early enough that I can read them if I want and sometimes make margin notes as I do.  Do they like it?  I’m not sure but they haven’t complained and I certainly enjoy it.

Alternatively, gift selection is an opportunity to share that you really know the person.  Pay attention throughout the year to what they like to do or where they like to go or dine.  Select a gift that lets them know you pay attention.  Think about some of the gifts you have received.  Isn’t it much more pleasing to think, “How did you know?” rather than, “What were you thinking?”

Gifts Guys (Should) Like

Art of Manliness Book

This is pretty well addressed in previous posts.  If you give a book now you have to make some effort to find out if the recipient is an ebook person and, if so, which reader they prefer.  Amazon makes gifting easy in that you can give the book as a gift and print out the gift card/code to give directly to the recipient.


iTunes Gift Card
If you are buying for an Apple person (iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.) there are few better more appreciated gifts than this.  The card can be used to purchase books, movies, music and apps.  Trust me.  This will be a hit (and not just with men!)


Most grown up men appreciate clothing for Christmas.  Our wardrobes can pretty much always use some spiffing up with dress shirts, ties or accessories.  Men don’t obsess about their wardrobe too much but let me make a suggestion.  Before you go to J.A. Bank, Dillard’s or even Nordstrom, try going to a real men’s clothing store where you will get personalized service and advice.  In OKC I recommend The Pinpoint Resource in 50 Penn Place.  Tell the owner Chris Khrais I sent you.  Ask around if you are not in the OKC metro.  There are always good local haberdashers.

Personal Accessories

  • Personalized note cards – everyone should have them and most do not.
  • Leather Portfolio – I received a number of gifts when I completed my Ph.D. This is the only one I still have and I think about the good friends who gave it to me every day.
  • High End Shaving – I recently started using The Art of Shaving supplies.  You can get a starter kit.  He will need a good double edged safety razor as well.  The Merkur long handle is a good one.  Don’t forget a selection of blades as well.  Oh, there’s nothing “safe” about a safety razor.  A styptic pencil would make a good stocking stuffer.

Dart Board

Guilty Pleasures
WARNING: I don’t know you or for whom you are buying, so you may find some of these to be inappropriate.

  • Remote Controlled Anything – Helicopters, cars and tanks are pretty popular right now.  If you go here don’t cheap out, especially on flying toys.  Nothing is worse that a remote controlled toy you really can’t control.
  • Dart Board – Everyone loves darts and you can get a board for soft darts at attractive prices.  It can go in the den, family room or maybe even in his office.
  • Wine – Wine can signal who you are or what you know about the person and can range from under $10 to infinity in price.    This time of year Beaujolais Nouveau is an inexpensive and fun gift.  Lindeman’s Bin anything is safe as is anything from the Russian River Valley if you don’t know much yourself.   If you are a wine person pick something you would like to give.  When in doubt ask your wine merchant he/she is always a good resource.
  • Liquor/Cigars – Only you can judge here.  Suggestions?  Single Malt Scotch, Small Batch Bourbon, Rocky Patel or Fuente Opus.


There you have it.  What can I say?  I’m a guy.  I hope you all have a Merry and Blessed Christmas filled with family, fun and successful gifting.

Leave a Comment