The eternal question is: what does a guy want for Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Hanukkah/ New Year's/ whatever?
It could be anything from a small insider joke present that costs $2.99 but can provide eternal laughter, to a gift of a somewhat more lascivious and erotic nature - cough, cough - but with those presents I can't really help you.
Being the shallow creature that I am, I can help you find the coolest and most stylish Christmas gifts to blow your (special) friend or relative's mind!
I divided men in five categories: the Techie, the Environmentalist, the Fashion Freak, the Intellectualist and the Student/Alcoholic.
As the name already gives away, a Techie is a man who just loves to get the latest in multimedia and technology so he can fidget and explore the manifold features for many idle hours. Don't get him a book - "What, that doesn't have any chips?! All I see are unpixellated paper thingies!" - unless it's an e-book. 'If it doesn't run out of power at some time, it's not worth having' is a techie's motto and these gifts are the latest in his field of interest.
Who not get him the Jesus of computers: the newest, fastest all-in-one Apple iMac (1099 EUR).
The Samsung 360 H1 (478 EUR) is what's hot in phone land and has the following key phone features: 3.5" OLED touchscreen, 16GB internal memory, Wi-Fi / HSDPA / Bluetooth, 2.05 MP autofocus camera with flash, 58x115.9x12.9mm and weighs 134g.
The new Leica X1 may have a retro styling but old-fashioned this camera is not, with many features that are too technical for me to grasp, this camera is the coolest yet most high-tech gadget out there. The price is undisclosed and most probably astronomical. But a Leica is forever, isn't it?
This is the kind of man that recycles, rides the bus and organically grows. The kind of man that doesn't appreciate gifts that 'slowly smother our planet in the suffocating fumes of our own filth'. Like things wrapped in plastic or that are gas-fueled. I found the most eco-friendly gifts for 'the man that cares'.
'The man that cares' quite oftenly doesn't care at all what he looks like, so this personal grooming kit containing shampoo, conditioner, grooming clay and firm hold gel by the eco-friendly AVEDA ($26) is a subtle nudge towards more personal hygiene. Not to be stereotypical or anything.
And why stop at grooming? Why not get him a nice EDUN ($120) black tux button-down, woven out of 100% cotton? EDUN is an eco fashion company with a mission to drive sustainable employment in developing economies. The company was founded by Bono and his wife Ali Hewson.
And aren't these solar-powered MP3 speakers (£29.99) the best? Whenever the sun's out, which is every day - unless you live in that place in the Arctic where the sun never shines, then you're screwed -, you can charge your speakers fully in 6 hours and get 8 hours of music out of it! Eco-tastic, I'd say.
THE FASHION FREAK
Also known as: my kind of guy. This man lives and breathes fashion and adores getting fashion-related gifts. It doesn't have to be incredibly expensive (it doesn't hurt if it is, though) so don't worry about the price, as long it's something stylish!
How about these nice anker- and logo-embossed cufflinks by Givenchy (p.n.d.)? The perfect little gift for the man who knows what style means.
Another thing fashionisto's love are coffee table books. Just the thought of a thick, glossy book quasi-nonchalantly strewn on a Fendi Casa coffee table makes the Fashion Freak shiver. I love The Sartorialist's Scott Schuman's first eponymous coffee table book ($16.50) filled with his famous 'as seen on the street' style pictures, but any book by famous fashion photographers like Mario Testino, Helmut Newton or Ellen Von Unwerth (TASCHEN) will do.
And because it's the winter months, a logical choice would be a scarf. Don't get the Fashion Freak just any scarf, get him silk Hermès ($195).
The kind of man that likes thinking. Hard. Why not stimulate him intellectually with 'The Passport' by Herta Müller ($16.5)? A fictional story about a village miller in a German-speaking village in Romania, who applies for permission to emigrate to West-Germany. The book won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature, so it can't be too shabby.
If the child in him hasn't died yet, why not get him the latest in Rubik's Cubes, the Rubik 360 ($16.99). No longer a cube, but a sphere, the player must "get the coloured balls from an inner sphere into matching slots on the outer sphere by shaking them through a middle sphere that has only two holes". In other words: nothing to it.
The fun continues with the new PS3 game 'Buzz! Quizz World' ($36.99). The Buzz quizzing game series has been a huge success and allows its players to have fun while educating themselves. A present that keeps on giving because surely he'll ask you to play along.
There's mostly not much troubling a male student's mind that doesn't involve binge-drinking and lewd humor, so try finding original and playful gifts and you'll be fine.
This TOPMAN t-shirt (£12) is the perfect example: practical, bold and full of sexual innuendo. What? Everyone knows Santa's sack is always full. Ho, ho, ho!
"Booze! In a cool jacket! Sweet!". That's how I'd more or less react, so that's a score! This Absolut Limited Edition Rocker leather studded vodka bottle (£15) is great to look at and even greater to drink from. Plus the great band Wolfmother is the face of the campaign. Don't drink and drive, y'all!
And because many students have a hard time sticking to schedules and getting places on time, this wicked TIMEX retro watch ($85) is the perfect thing to give.
So, I hoped you enjoyed my Holiday Special! I know the holidays aren't all about gifts and the whole 'getting together with family and friends and basking in the holiday spirit' thing is really nice, but in the end we all just love getting really thoughtful and original gifts this time of the year.
Have an amazingly stylish holiday season!
(images and sources: www.samsung.com, www.apple.com, www.leica.com, www.aveda.com, www.envirogadget.com, www.edunonline.com, www.borders.com, www.amazon.com, www.rubiks.com, www.hermes.com, www.wikipedia.com, www.images.google.com, www.givenchy.com, www.absolut.com, www.topman.co.uk, www.barneys.com)