Men don’t get enough credit when it comes to understanding what their partners really want.
Ever notice how the conversation around men and gifts tends to focus on how bad they are at giving them?
I’ve always found this viewpoint frustrating. Not only have some of the best gifts I’ve received come from men, but I also find that men are REALLY good at understanding what someone wants and literally making it happen. I’d say my handmade gifts from friends are pretty much 50/50 in terms of being from men or women. So why do men get such a bad rap when it comes to gift-giving?
In reality, men are just as likely, and capable, of giving a great gift. Whether they are skilled at drawing, building, or writing, men have a way of creating gifts that speak more than words. Here are a few examples of handmade gifts that show how much they care.
One of my favorite things to get is a handmade card. Nothing says “I care” like taking the time to create a card that has just the right look and feel for your loved one. As a kid, my family tradition was to make our own cards for each other and I always looked forward to seeing each person’s vision come to life. My dad’s cards to me were always colorful, fun, and full of beautiful nature drawings.
I still remember the way those cards made me feel. The visuals and sentiment of each card left me feeling calm, safe, and loved. And isn’t that the sign of a good gift? It’s ability to leave us feeling better than before?
Paintings, Drawings & Sketches
I’m blessed to have a talented and diverse group of creative friends who put their skills to use in gift-giving. One wall in my home is filled with paintings, photos, and illustrations that friends have gifted to me and my family. And it just so happens that the majority of those were made by men.
Similar to homemade cards, giving a piece of visual art as a gift is incredibly meaningful. This past December, a close but fairly new friend surprised me with a watercolor and ink illustration of a camping trip that in many ways launched the now close-knit friendship of our group. Every time I look up at my wall when writing, I’m reminded of that trip and how close we’ve all become since then.
And, again, it’s not just a beautiful gift but a gift that also makes me feel happy and reminiscent.
Hopefully this one is obvious, but with the takeover of technology maybe not.
Only a few months into my husband and I’s relationship I went to study abroad for a semester in Accra, Ghana. We went from seeing each other every day to only being able to talk on the phone a few times a week. I firmly believe that the only thing that kept us going strong was our letters (and emails) to each other.
The letters weren’t necessarily emotional or romantic, although some certainly were. But having his words on paper meant so much. I would regularly look back and read his kind and funny words when I was feeling sad or lonely. And those letters are still one of my most treasured items, because they will forever show how close we are and how much we’ve been through together.
Carpentry & Other Workshop Gifts
For men whose idea of handmade involves more power-tools than pencils, gift giving can be just as meaningful and exciting. That’s the beautiful thing about gifts; they don’t all need to include writing, art, craftmanship, and fashion. As long as a gift is made with the intention of telling a story and expressing an emotion, it’s going to be powerful.
My grandfather was an amazing man who had the ability to make everyone in my huge family feel loved and cared for. Before I was born my grandfather made a swing set and other playground equipment for the kids in my family. Despite working long hours and raising 6 kids, he spent countless hours building these toys for his family. He knew how much these things would mean to them and how much joy they would get from these things he built with his own two hands. The playground equipment is still in the yard at a church in our town, and I know he’d be grateful to know how many kids have enjoyed an afternoon playing on them.
Just like women, men have a wealth of different skills that they put into their gift-giving efforts. It’s time we start giving men the credit they deserve when it comes to their skills at making and giving heart-felt and kick ass gifts. What are some favorite gifts you’ve received from the men in your life?
Photo: Getty Images