When I think back on some of the gifts I've received in my life, the best gifts are very often the things I would never purchase for myself, yet the ones that I end up being very glad to have. And speaking for myself, I'm not the sort of guy who really spends extra cash to get something personalized, so whenever I receive a gift with a personalized inscription or something relating to me in particular, that gift tends to hold a special significance. With that in mind, I decided I'd compile a list of some personalized gift ideas for men – be that man a work acquaintance, best bud, husband, father, or son.
1. Personalized Money Clip
I figured I'd start this list off with something practical, and since every man carries a wallet of some sort, a personalized money clip or wallet ends up being up there on the chart. The one pictured above is available through Personal Creations, although a simple google search will show you numerous purveyors. Usually it's best to stick to a monogram or initials, although some wallets may have room to write more. Every time it's taken out, the owner will get a nice boost of confidence knowing that, even if his wallet is empty, he still can do poverty in style. Or give it to your son and sneak in a conversation about managing finances before he can make it to that stage.
2. Engraved or Personalized Flask
A lot of men have a lot of good friendships that were forged over some good whiskey. What better way to commemorate those friendships than with a personalized flask? It's a masculine gift that says you value your friend and that he also can handle his alcohol. Or if he can't, feel free to write about it on the side. There also many great places online to buy flasks – the one above is available on Etsy, but flasks.com is also a good place to start. A good engraved flask tends to run between $20-30, but you can certainly go more expensive if you wish.
3. The Personalized Pocket Knife
I had a neighbor growing up who had a monogramed pocketknife given to him by a buddy he had fought with in the Gulf War, which was about as cool as it got for me as a boy. Every man needs a good knife, and a quality pocket knife is the sort of item that can be given as a token of remembrance like my neighbor's buddy did or even as a gift to be passed down to a growing child. The one pictured above is a hunting knife with a rosewood handle from Remember Me Gifts, although I quite like Swiss Army Hardwood Spartan Pocket Knife from Things Remembered.
4. Vintage Map Cufflinks
Following on our recent cufflink theme, these Bespoke cufflinks are handcrafted by Ohio artist Anne Holman. Simply specify a desired location – a father's hometown perhaps, or maybe your place of engagement – and Anne will pore through old maps and vintage atlases until she finds a satisfactory antique map featuring your location to create these one-of-a-kind cufflinks. These feel like a fantastic retirement gift or going-away present since they automatically have a sense of nostalgia attached to them.
5. Custom Brass Compass
I feel like every movie featuring a man who's given a compass as a gift ends up with that man crash-landing on an island and/or being stranded for the majority of the film, so while I highly recommend this gift, there's a slight caveat that it might cause your pal to disappear for a couple years. That said, why not give a man who has helped or changed the course of your life a little literal direction? Stanley London offers a wide variety of brass compasses in all sizes and ages of distress, and most can be customized with up to 20 lines of text. This gift is high on my list because of its natural connotations of adventure and exploration.
That's it! What are some of your favorite personalized gifts or manly items?