Monday, May 22, 2017

Great Gifts For the Men In Your Life: Uncommon Goods

My dad was a good man, a kind man, and a very demonstrative man, but when it came to accepting gifts, especially Father’s Day gifts, he was a bad man. In fact, receiving gifts embarrassed him and he hard a very difficult time showing any graciousness when presented with a gift

“I TOLD you I didn’t need anything!” 

“Oh, now, why did you go and spend your money on THIS?”

that it took all the fun out of my gift-giving, and eventually, I complied with his requests and just gave him a card.

My husband, on the other hand, loves getting gifts, so when he became a dad, my delight in hunting for Father’s Day gifts returned. A sweater, a tie, running attire, a watch…all rather traditional (and boring) were all accepted with appreciation and relish. There were painted baby footprints and handprints, framed, for his office. There were group photos, framed, for his office. There were hand-tinted pics, framed, for his office. And so, with this being the 28th year of bestowing him with Father’s Day gifts, I wanted to really get something that showed a little more creativity on my part; something that he wouldn’t ordinarily pick for himself. (Although, I’m not sure he would exactly have picked out the baby handprints either.) And that’s when Uncommon Goods popped into my head…

I have been a longtime Uncommon Goods catalog shopper, often turning to them when I needed a great hostess gift or a grab bag or Secret Santa gift. I could always count on finding something there that was clever and unique. Once I started looking through the catalog, targeting gifts for men, I realized how many missed opportunities I had to purchase incredibly inventive things in the past.

The variety of options and the size of the audience to which the gifts would appeal is quite expansive: Sports fans…foodies…jokesters…beer and whiskey aficionados…pet lovers…techies, and on and on.


I know my husband loves maps of all types and when I typed “maps”  into the search bar, up came the perfect thing. Some friends who are major travelers have a map hanging in their kitchen that’s loaded with pushpins indicating all of the places they’ve visited around the world. Being the veteran travelers that they are, this created a great conversation piece, but a very messy pin-filled map all the same. The map I chose for the hubby is not only beautiful enough to frame (of course), but no pushpins are needed, just a coin to scratch off the places you’ve been, like a lottery ticket! The map will serve as a great reminder of all the cool places we’ve visited, and surely bring up memories of all those trips.  I’m going to let my husband scratch off all those places on his own, but as an extra surprise, I am going to uncover Portugal — a country we will be visiting in the fall, and a trip he doesn’t know about yet.

Another gift that kept me en pointe with the memory theme was  “Conversations With My Father,” a spiral-bound keepsake journal.  One of my biggest disappointments is that I never sat with my parents and discussed details of their lives with them. I know the big things, but the little details, like how old they were when they got their first job—what that job was. What their favorite books were. Who their childhood friends were. These are the things I know nothing about. Unfortunately, both of my parents and my mother-in-law are all gone, but my father-in-law, at 96, is still quite a character with a very good memory. My husband can fill in the pages as his dad regales him with stories from his past, and if they hit a roadblock, he can answer the preprinted questions, the book supplies as well. In addition to space for opinions as well as facts, some of the pages have spaces for photos, too. I see this book becoming a great source of comfort for my husband when his father is no longer with us, and I anticipate it becoming a family heirloom for generations to come.

The set of "Sculptable Collar Stays” has nothing to do with memories, but they looked awfully cool, and I am tired of finding those cheap plastic ones all around the house. These are made of flexible aluminum, and according to Uncommon Goods, they let you “sculpt the contours of your collar for a precisely spiffy look.” And can you really think of anyone who wouldn’t like to look “spiffy” these days?

Now I can sit back, relax, and delete all the emails I have been getting about how the clock is ticking and the Father’s Day gift-buying window is rapidly closing. My job is done…until September 20…that’s my husband’s birthday and there’s a nice set of Night-Running Headlights that I know he would love to receive…

I was compensated for this article, but all opinions are my own.