The Anxiety Inducing Experience of Buying Gifts For Grumpy old manMen

OK so it’s my dad’s 65th birthday.

This is a man who worked 7 days a week as an Engineer and now has no hobbies.He takes the struggle of buying gifts for men to a whole new level. He’s retired and if he doesn’t get some hobbies, I fear my mother may murder him in his sleep (think Sheldon Cooper with too much down time).

So what do I buy the man who has everything and no interests? It has to be interesting (he’s smart and interested in interesting things) and easy to enjoy. So far I’ve failed.

Let’s look back over the gifts of the past.

The mausoleum of gifts my father hated

It’s not just me. It’s everything everyone ever bought him. My old bedroom is now a shrine to gifts my dad didn’t really want but can’t bring himself to throw out.

My contributions include:

  • Solar lights (once upon a time he gardened, was hoping to help him get back into it)
  • Tools (once upon a time he fixed things, was hoping to help him get back into it)
  • Golf stuff (once upon a time he liked taking walks in green places)
  • Fishing stuff (getting desperate now)
  • A glass aquarium (desperate much?)
  • A mobile phone (NOPE, nothing in this world will convince him to carry one)
  • CDs and DVDs (replaced by iTunes and Netflix)
  • Books on every hobby that exists

Vouchers and hampers

Last Christmas I gave up and got him a blokey bloke hamper. The ultimate fall back gift for men – only rather posh and full of beer. Yes he liked it. Yes he ate everything fabulous in it, no, it never made it to the room where gifts go to die. But the doctor keeps talking about cholesterol and this year, has put a hold on anything delicious. A gourmet celery hamper isn’t going to cut it this time.
As for vouchers… for what? Why add some cash money to the mausoleum?

If he doesn’t find a hobby soon, my mother may kill him.

Magic Beans saved my father’s life

Magic Beans, who knew they’d be such a hit.

I bought a bag of beans with messages about how much I love my dad (despite his hatred of gifts I buy). I put them into a nice, compact, manly vase with water beads and gave it to him to put on his desk. I told him that it would grow into beans that displayed words. He didn’t believe me. The engineer in him refused to believe that this was possible. There is no way this is possible. It’s crazy talk.
IMG_3558He watched those suckers like they were a newborn baby. Every day he told me of their progress and lack of vocabulary. Finally, one popped through and opened up to display the word “Love”. In retrospect I wish I’d ordered a big bunch of “I told you so” beans…. Have you ever seen an engineer’s mind get blown? It’s awesome.

He uploaded photos to his “geek forums”. He drove my mother INSANE with progress updates. He invited my uncle Neill down to discuss this unexpected result. Yes, with the most unpredictable thing I ever bought him, I NAILED gifts for men who have everything and enjoy nothing.
In the history of buying gifts for my dad, there has never been one so well received. As an added bonus he saw the big beautiful flowers they develop and has planted the creeper vines around his car port. He’s interested in their progress… could this be a return to gardening for him? He has been looking around at the trees that could do with a lop and the tired old garden beds that need a makeover. He’s spending more time outside the house. My mother’s own blood pressure is dropping. These magic beans may just save my dad’s life.