9 best gifts for men this Christmas: Last minute ideas for him, from headphones to grooming goodies

·7-min read
We looked for quality, usefulness and sense of luxury (iStock/The Independent)
We looked for quality, usefulness and sense of luxury (iStock/The Independent)

What do you get for the man who has everything? It’s a question that many people are faced with every Christmas, and it gets harder to answer with each passing year.

Men are notoriously difficult to buy for, but there are some things that will always go down well. The trick is knowing what they are.

Over the course of a year, we review thousands of products, many of which would make perfect gifts for even the most particular of men. Below is a selection of items we’ve tried out personally and would love to receive ourselves.

How we tested

We’ve tried to feature a broad range of products, so testing varied a lot from item to item. However, the key things we were looking for across the board were quality, usefulness and luxury. We did our best to select things that looked stylish too.

From grand gestures to small tokens, these assorted goodies include something to suit every budget and taste. One thing they do have in common is that they’re all surefire winners that are guaranteed to put a smile on his face come Christmas morning.

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The best gifts for men for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Universal Works wool fleece cardigan: £115, Universalworks.co.uk

  • Best big present – Carl Friedrik palissy weekend bag: £545, Carlfriedrik.com

  • Best for active men – AfterShokz openmove bone-conduction headphones: £69.95, Aftershokz.co.uk

  • Best advent calendar – Asos 12-day grooming calendar: £32, Asos.com

  • Best practical gift – Dometic thermo tumbler: £19, Dometic.com

  • Best for winter walking – Danner mountain light II boots: £360, Danner.com

  • Best sustainable gift – Decoded recycled iPhone case: £43, Decodedbags.com

  • Best for sneaker fanatics – Crep Protect box pack: £32, Crepprotect.com

  • Best luxury grooming gift – Bolin Webb R1 razor and stand: £90, Bolinwebb.com

Universal Works wool fleece cardigan

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

We’re big fans of Universal Works’s wool fleece cardigan. It’s somewhere between a shawl-neck cardigan and an overshirt, made with thick, woollen fabric and boasting three patch pockets on the front. It makes an excellent layering piece for the winter weather, but looks great as a standalone piece over a plain T-shirt too. It’s available in a range of muted, earthy colours, but this rusty orange is probably our favourite.

Buy now £115.00, Universalworks.co.uk

Carl Friedrik palissy weekend bag

Best: Big present

Rating: 10/10

Yes, £545 is a lot of money. But then this is a lot of bag. Crafted in Italy from beautiful vachetta leather, this luxurious overnight bag is one he’ll have for the rest of his life. It’s a modern twist on a classic piece of men’s luggage and the perfect gift for someone who travels a lot for work or enjoys getting away at the weekend. To add a personal touch, you can even have his initials embossed inside, on the shoulder strap, or on the luggage tag. There are lots of colour options for further personalisation too.

Buy now £545.00, Carlfriedrik.com

AfterShokz openmove bone-conduction headphones

Best: For active men

Rating: 8/10

These clever headphones from AfterShokz carry vibrations through the jaw, allowing the wearer to enjoy music or podcasts without compromising their hearing. It might sound like the stuff of science fiction but it really does work and is great for people like cyclists and runners who need to be able to hear traffic but still want a bit of entertainment while they train. They connect to a phone via Bluetooth and feature a microphone for calls too. We were shocked at how well they work and think they would make an excellent gift for someone who likes to be active.

Buy now £69.95, Aftershokz.co.uk

Asos 12-day grooming calendar

Best: Advent calendar

Rating: 8/10

Asos’s grooming advent calendar only costs £40, but the contents are worth more than double that. Every day has its own numbered box containing a different grooming product, covering everything from hair styling to skincare. It’s everything he needs to keep him looking and smelling his best over the festive period and beyond, and there are even golden tickets inside some calendars for a chance to win even more grooming goodies.

Buy now £32.00, Asos.com

Dometic thermo tumbler

Best: Practical gift

Rating: 10/10

Anyone who gets coffee regularly should have their own reusable cup. This one from Dometic is an excellent option that’ll keep its contents piping hot for six hours. It’s designed for use in the great outdoors, so it’s durable, robust and easy to clean, featuring a bright-orange finish that makes it nice and easy to locate. We particularly like the lid, which has a neat little plastic slider to guard against spills.

Buy now £19.00, Dometic.com

Danner mountain light II boots

Best: For winter walking

Rating: 9/10

The phrase, “they don’t make them like they used to” doesn’t apply to Danner. The Oregon-based footwear brand makes some of the sturdiest boots on the planet and many styles have been going strong for decades. One such boot is the mountain light. It’s a traditional hiking boot, complete with Vibram sole, thick leather upper and bright-red laces, and features a Gore-Tex membrane to keep feet dry and comfortable in even the wettest of conditions. Speaking of comfort, the mountain lights are surprisingly easy to wear and needed no time breaking in. Just make sure you size down though, as they do run large.

Buy now £360.00, Danner.com

Decoded recycled iPhone case

Best: Sustainable gift

Rating: 9/10

There’s more to this stylish phone case than meets the eye. Part of Decoded’s re-coded line, it’s made using Nike grind materials. These are bits and pieces that have been collected from unsold shoes, recycled post-consumer trainers and pre-consumer manufacturing scraps, and repurposed into something entirely new. The phone case itself looks and feels great and features a triangular pattern on the back and embossed branding on the side.

Buy now £43.00, Decodedbags.com

Crep Protect box pack

Best: For sneaker fanatics

Rating: 9/10

This cleaning kit from Crep Protect makes an excellent stocking filler for the sneakerhead in your life. It contains everything needed to keep trainers in tip-top condition, including cleaning wipes, a brush, a suede eraser, and even some freshening pills to keep everything smelling sweet. This stuff really works too. We’ve used it on some seriously battered shoes over the years and they always come up like new.

Buy now £32.00, Crepprotect.com

Bolin Webb R1 razor and stand

Best: Luxury grooming gift

Rating: 9/10

Any man who appreciates a nice bit of design will love this stylish razor from Bolin Webb. It features a curved, weighted handle in British racing green and uses Gillette mach 3 cartridges, making replacements nice and easy. It also comes with its own stand, which will add a touch of class to any bathroom shelf. It’s so nice, he won’t know whether to shave with it or sit and admire it.

Buy now £90.00, Bolinwebb.com

The verdict: Gifts for men

Universal Works’ wool fleece cardigan is great for layering up in the colder months, and in terms of quality and looks it represents solid value for money. We think it’d make a great gift for a stylish man in your life, and it’s something he’ll have for years to come.

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on gifts and men’s clothing, try the links below:

If the man in your life is a little more outdoorsy check out our round-up of the best men’s waterproof jackets for walking that are lightweight and warm

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