What Do You Give The Man Who Has Everything?

It’s a known fact that men are the worst to shop for.  I mean, what do you give the man who has everything?  This question has stumped women for centuries.  TV commercials and magazine ads will tell you cologne, a sweater, a tie….  But I dare say it’s toothpicks in jar.

A Cowboy's Toothpick Holder | The Thinking Closet

Let me explain.

My Father-in-law loves to relax after a meal with a toothpick in his teeth.  On our family cruise this past May, I remember excitedly grabbing a toothpick for him on the way out of the dining room, only to find he had already acquired one.  It’s like he has a honing device for toothpicks.  It was then that the idea first sparked in my mind to make him a toothpick holder for Father’s Day.  I figured he should have access to toothpicks at all times…and a jar overflowing with toothpicks for his office desk seemed to fit the bill.

The cowboy-theme was Mark’s idea.  My FIL rocks a cowboy hat and boots with the moxie of John Wayne.  And my sweet MIL is quite the cowgirl herself.  What a pair they make!  (In these photos, they’re not dressed for a costume party…this is how they enjoy dressing up for church…in Florida!  Isn’t that so cool?)

A Couple of Cowpokes!

So, with the help of a free Playbill font from FontSpace, I whipped up some vinyl labels on my Silhouette, slapped them onto a small jar I picked up at Hobby Lobby, and glued on a black leather cord using the Amazing E6000 for some added flair of the wild wild west.

Here’s how “A Cowboy’s Toothpick Holder” turned out:

A Cowboy's Toothpick Holder | The Thinking Closet

In case you thought they were yours….

A Cowboy's Toothpick Holder | The Thinking Closet

A friendly reminder.

A Cowboy's Toothpick Holder | The Thinking Closet

Sunday afternoon, around the dinner table at my in-laws’ home, I felt like a giddy little girl watching my FIL unwrap the tissue paper encasing his gift.  With eyes closed, he felt the jar, trying to guess what it was.  Of course, he had no idea.  How could he?  This is the first cowboy-themed toothpick holder that I’ve ever seen!  And from his surprised reaction, I could tell it was the first one he had ever seen, too.  {He’s a fan.}

Back to the Question:

So, what do you give the man who has everything?

Something just for him.  Not cologne, or a sweater, or a tie (though don’t get me wrong…I still get those in a pinch).  But I’ve learned that you don’t have to spend big bucks to show him you care.  In fact, I think some of the most meaningful gifts don’t cost much at all.  Those gifts say, “I know you have an affinity for toothpicks.  And cowboy boots.  And I’m going to celebrate those two affinities in a gift made just for you.”  Those gifts say shout, “I love you.”

A Tip

Oftentimes, the week or days before a birthday or Father’s Day feel too late to come up with a creative gift idea, but if you’ve got a list of ideas to pull from, you’ll have no trouble at all.

So, I suggest keeping a running list of gift ideas for the men (and women!) in your life.  That way, when that spark of inspiration strikes you about making a toothpick holder or a punny t-shirt, you have a place to record it before it flies away.  I’ve been doing this for over a year now, and it has proved useful on many occasions.

Here’s a snapshot of my list, which I keep in my “Stickies” program on my Mac.  This is what it actually looks like (minus the blurring out and purple circles, of course).  I keep it minimized to keep a certain husband from seeing it…though guessing he is going to read this post eventually, I might have to come up with another top secret location.  {Dope!}

Gift Ideas List | What to Give the Man Who Has Everything

Punny T-Shirt in Action

And remember the punny t-shirt I made for my Dad for Father’s Day?  You may not remember because it was ages ago (a first for me).  Well, I thought I’d give y’all the update that he l-o-v-e-d it, just his smile in this photo my Mom texted me suggests.  He wore it all day on Sunday.

I Prefer My Puns Intended Tee | The Thinking Closet

Father’s Day 2013

Your turn!

Dear reader, I want to hear your response to the question, “What do you give the man who has everything?”  What gifts have you given to the men in your life (little men included) that were particular and unique to them…like the cowboy-themed toothpick holder was to my FIL!  Do share your stories in the comments below.  I’m curious to know!


Lovely comments so far...

  1. says

    Your Dad looks so happy with that shirt! Awesome.
    My Dad is actually fairly easy to shop for; he loves photography, cooking and reading, all things that I love (we mostly enjoy the same kind of books as well), so I always get him something that I would want to have – added bonus: it’s kind of like a present for me, too! 😉 I have printed out some of his photography and framed it for him, that was nice.
    My brother is really hard! He never asks for anything, and I refuse to buy him booze (college students! sigh), so it’s always a bit of a gamble. I bet your FIL loved his gift, it’s really sweet :)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      How fun that you and your father share so many common loves and interests. That really does make the gift-giving process so easy…and fun at that! It’s like that for me with my sister. Although we’re three years apart, we might as well be twins for how much we share in common, in looks, speech, humor, and passions. I pretty much just give her something that I would love…and it’s always a WIN.

      Your brother sounds like a challenge, though! Whenever his b-day is coming up, feel free to use me as a sounding board for ideas. I love a good gift-giving challenge! :-) (Seriously, take me up on that.)

  2. says

    Great gifts, Lauren! I like the idea of keeping a running list of ideas…I don’t know how many times I’ll have a gift giving epiphany but then forget all about it when the occasion rolls around.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      I like the way you put it: “a gift giving epiphany!” No, we mustn’t lose those epiphanies…because I can never really count on them to strike when I need them to. I’ve gotta grab ’em and get ’em down onto the page while they’re fresh. #mymindaintwhatitusedtobe

      P.S. Met up with another blogger today at Hobby Lobby…made me think of you and our first (but not last) rendezvous! What fun that was!

  3. says

    Such a great post Lauren! Full of wonderful ideas, as always. One gift that I gave to my husband a few years ago was his old violin that he still had from high school. It had really taken a beating over the years, so I had it completely restored for him. Two of our daughters play and he was always borrowing one of their violins or another to play duets with them on occasion, because his wasn’t in playing condition. He was so surprised and delighted to be able to play his old violin with both of his daughters, making the sweetest sounding trio I’ve ever heard. He doesn’t play it a lot, but it’s there for those special occasions when he does, and that makes us all happy.


    • thethinkingcloset says

      Debbie, what a heartwarming story! I’m sure your hubby was so touched to have his old violin restored and back under his chin again. I’m sure it was a gift to YOU as well to get to hear him play with your two girls. Hopefully, they will enjoy many more trio performances together to come!

      And what a blessing to have such a musical family! Do you play or sing? My family is quite musical, too, and my Dad jokingly calls us the Von Crap Family Singers…ha ha. It’s the only time I’ve really ever heard him use the word “crap,” and it always makes me chuckle.

      Happy Thursday night to you, Debbie!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      It is one of my greatest goals in life to give people chuckles…so hopefully I’ve succeeded with this gift! 😉 Hope you’ve had a great week thus far, Kelly! Stay cool. (I say that in part because it’s so stinkin’ hot here in Florida these days…how ’bout in your neck of the woods?)

  4. Kristin Schroeder says

    So adorable, Lauren! I did a nice little personal gift for my hubby for Father’s Day (pinterest inspired). I took a picture of all 3 kids in his work boots (had to hurry while he was in the shower so he wouldn’t know…3 kids ages 11, 6 and 11 months is NOT easy to do in 5 minutes time by the way). I bought a picture frame that holds 4-4×6 photos and placed the 3 pictures in there. Then, on cardstock, I created a border and typed in a cutesy font, “With every step, I try my best to walk in your shoes…” He loved it! You can see it on my Pinterest page here…

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Of course he loved it, Kristin! Those pictures are too cute for words. Plus, they’re of three of his favorite four people in the world. What a wonderful keepsake. And way to be speedy and stealthy in snapping those pics! (Thanks for the link to your Pinterest page. Great idea to keep a board for completed projects.)

  5. Mom L says

    You are over-the-top sweet and thoughtful ~ yes, Dad is thoroughly enjoying his very own toothpick holder, and the love put into the gift is the best part! So good to be with you guys this past weekend.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You got it right on the over-the-top part…ha ha. I’m glad to know Dad is enjoying his lil toothpick holder. It’s fun to celebrate those little things about a person that make them so special…and Dad certainly has a lot of special qualities worth celebrating! Excited about the potential of getting to see each other 3 weekends in a row!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks for making me smile, Hannah! And for reading my lil blog. (Glad that bloglovin’ is working out for you.) See you tonight!

  6. says

    Your in laws look like they belong in my family…we all rock the boots & hats! I have something of a toothpick problem myself….I love your idea!!!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. Your family sounds like a hoot n’ a holler! And I chuckled to learn that you possess a “toothpick problem” like my FIL. Perhaps I need to make you a toothpick holder of your own…? :-)

  7. says

    I just love this . . . both the dads with *personality plus* AND the gifts and the thoughtfulness behind them . . . what an amazing daughter and daughter-in-law you are!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. “Personality plus” is right, Katherine! They give me a lot to work with when it comes to gift creation. Also, they’re both such amazing Dads, it makes my role as daughter/DIL a walk in the park. I really feel so blessed. (And you’ve met one of them, so I know you know what I mean.) 😉

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You’re too kind, Danielle! If only I had the same zest for cleaning the house as I do for creating gifts. Oh well. We can’t have it all! :-)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You know it delights me to give you a good laugh, Karen! It’s what powers me through! And you’re right about guys appreciating the simple. Speaking from experience, we gals can tend to overcomplicate things, when really, it doesn’t take a big production to show ’em we care. :-)

  8. says

    You are the world’s greatest gift giver, Lauren! I love seeing your creative gifts! I laughed when I saw the jar and your story about your FIL because my earliest memories have my father with a toothpick in his mouth, flipping it. I still don’t know how he does that, but he’s recently stopped because it scares my daughter! On a side note, there’s a special Cowboy Christian Church up yonder road from our little Texas home that your in-laws would LOVE to visit…cowboy gear a plenty and people “park” their horses outside the sanctuary tent. I wish I was a good gift giver to my special man. So far the best gifts I’ve ever given him have come in the form of little people that look a bit like him and a bit like me, but I’m guessing I’ll have to come up with something else now. So glad to hear both dads loved their gifts and I hope you and Mark had a wonderful Father’s Day visit with his family!

    • thethinkingcloset says

      World’s greatest?! Wow, that’s a new title…and although there might be some slight hyperbole in that statement, I’ll take the confidence boost from you, my friend. (You always make me sit a little higher in my chair with your comments.)

      And that’s hilarious that your father has had to curb his toothpick flipping, so as not to scare your daughter. A sharpened splinter of wood inside the mouth can be a frightening sight!

      And how cool that there’s a church just for cowboys in your parts! I bet that’d be a goldmine for people-watching…. (I’ll have to tell my in-laws to stop by during their next visit to Texas.)

      Lastly, I must say that being married to Jessica is gift enough for your hubby! Not to mention those three precious gifts of little people…. So, no pressure to come up with anything else in the gift arena! I know he would agree.

  9. says

    That’s so funny!!! Listen the little things like that are awesome and always the best. I have a hard time getting James gifts or even making food for occasions b/c he hates cakes and sweets and quite frankly I think I’ve made him everything under the sun.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Hates cakes and sweets? Can he send them my way? I’ll eat his share! :-) But seriously, I am certain your hubby appreciates the gifts you make for him. How could he NOT when his wife whips up cards with stamped metal mending plates on them?

  10. says

    I absolutely love your creativity and the way you think up the perfect gift for everyone! I never would have thought of something like this, but it is literally the perfect gift for him! Such a sweet daughter in law you are! Hope you’re having a great week, friend!

    ~Abby =)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Aw, thanks for the kind compliment, Abby! Sometimes my gifts are a bit “out there” and require a fair bit of explanation…maybe it’s creativity as you say…or perhaps just outlandishness! :-) Thanks for your well-wishes. Back atcha, friend!

  11. Marmie says

    Perfect gift for D! Unique and specific to him. That’s a gift in itself to pay attention to details of what people like, and honor those simple habits and pleasures.

    Your Silhouette is so versatile! That black leather cord adds a nice finishing touch.

    D. and R. look like models for Western clothing!! We could use them to add to the ambiance and delight in our church this week for our Western-themed VBS. Your dad is also rocking the cowboy hat as he leads the kids in their songs!

    I’ve started a private/secret board on Pinterest to keep gift ideas for the future…thanks for that great tip! xxoo

    • thethinkingcloset says

      “Unique and specific” handmade gifts are some of my favorites…and I know that I learned a lot about gift-giving from my parents (wink wink).

      And I’m glad you approve of the black leather cord. It was a beast to glue on (because E6000 is so powerful, I had to use rubber dish-washing gloves…which didn’t quite allow for the same precision of medical rubber gloves). But in the end, she was well worth the effort! 😉 What’s a handmade gift without a little bit of a furrowed brow?

      Ha ha, and you’re right about D & R looking like country Western models! I think they may have happed upon a nice side job…if not for the pages of magazines, then as “ambiance and delight” at church Vacation Bible Schools! Ha ha. They really do wear the look quite well. As I’m sure Dad does, too. Wish I could see him up on stage in his element.

      And what a great idea to start a secret board on Pinterest for your gift ideas! Brilliant use of the secret boards feature. I just may have to do the same! Thanks, Mom.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks for your enthusiasm, Ms. Tara! I’ve been blessed with two pretty incredible Dads…so it was fun to have the time to get crafty and creative with Father’s Day this year. I’m not always so on-top of things! I’ve definitely pulled a last minute run to Sports Authority a time or two in the past. Did I really just admit the for the world to see? Oh well. Who am I trying to impress, right? 😉

  12. says

    Love BOTH the gifts. Handmade is the way to go and you really worked on something that was something they would love. Those are the kind of gifts I like to make and receive. I had intentions to make him a shirt, but I don’t have any hgtv. So I got him a HD Kindle Fire.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Thanks for your kind words, Tanya. And I hope you can get your crafty hands on some HTV soon (though don’t get me wrong, an HD Kindle Fire is a pretty awesome gift! Way to go on that one, Tanya!). But before you start knocking out homemade t-shirts left and right, you’ve gotta get well frist. So rest up!

  13. says

    Love the toothpick holder you made, super cute. I was thinking of making some flavored toothpicks for my Dad, and a personalized holder would be perfect to place them in. Thanks for the inspiration. I am pinning your post. ;o)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ooo! You can make favored toothpicks?! What a genius idea. If you end up creating a personalized holder or even just the flavored toothpicks (still rocking my mind), please let me know, Paula. I’d love feature you in my next Reader Showcase.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. And if not this, then something such as random and quirk that celebrates their unique preferences, right? Hope your Wednesday is a good one, Jennifer!

  14. says

    What a great and thoughtful idea. I never thought of keeping a gift list for others. I just have one for my family so I can email the list to grandparents at bday and christmas time. Thanks for the great tip.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You’re welcome, Christa. Glad you were able to glean a little tip! And that’s smart to keep a list to send the grandparents! I probably need to keep a wish list for myself since my Mom always asks for one at Christmas…and inevitably, my mind goes blank…much like this meme jokes about.

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Wow, that’s a lot of “love”! Thanks, Bev! Can’t wait to see all that you create with vinyl once your new Portrait arrives…. Eek!

  15. mark says

    aha! now I know where your ideas come from. a harmless-looking list on your computer. great project… I think it might go viral.

  16. says

    Experiencing technical difficulties- you may end up with two comments from me :) Thanks for lining up at Two Girls and a Party! I just made a unique gift for my dad for Father’s Day as well (although this is super adorable AND useful) Pinning! 365ish Days of Pinterest

  17. says

    these are my kind of gifts! I love them because you know that the person who is giving them to you knows you, loves you, cares about you and listened to you! & you make the sweetest daughter-in-law Lauren! I’m sure he appreciated it. I always have difficulties finding gifts for hubby, he doesn’t like shopping and never says what he wants so I always bake him cake or prepare him desserts with Nutella, he loves Nutella and I know that’s what makes him happy! :-)
    sorry Lauren to be reading your post so late, I’ve been having a really hard week, we had some bad news and blogging/reading e-mails has not been on my mind! anyhow, my friend I wish you a great weekend! :-)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Ha ha. I love that a baked good with Nutella is your husband’s love language! Sweets speak to my heart (and belly), too! :-)

      And no need to apologize if you don’t get to read one of my posts or are “late.” I’ve fallen behind on my bloggy reading lately, too. It can be hard to stay on top of it all with daily activities and projects and trips…trust me, I know. So, please never feel obligated to comment (though know I treasure your comments when you do). Grace abounds!

  18. Janay Bromley says

    Hi, your website is wonderful, there are so many amazing ideas! I was wondering if you could help (I really need it) my boyfriend turns 30 at the beginning of February and I am really struggling for an idea for a present! He really is the guy who has everything… Could I possibly pick your brains for any ideas….. Thank you so much :)


    • thethinkingcloset says

      Aw, thanks, Janay! And I’m honored you would ask for my advice on this. So, I have a few ideas for you. One is more labor-intensive than the other…but both are EXTREMELY loving.

      1) 30 Gifts for 30 Years. You could give him one gift for thirty days starting on his birthday and going through early March. This is what my parents did for me on my 30th birthday, and it rocked my socks off. The gifts can be simple and small.

      2) 12 Months of Pre-Planned Date Nights! I’m actually sharing this project and a free printable to go with it TODAY. So, stop on by in a few hours to see that one for another creative gift idea.

      Hope that gets your creative juices flowing! I’m sure that whatever you do, if it comes from the heart, your boyfriend will be so touched. You’ve got this.

  19. Janay Bromley says

    I love the idea of 30 gifts for 30 years! Such an amazing idea! Thank you so much for your help :) this site is fab! Love it :)

    • thethinkingcloset says

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad that one resonated with you. And you’ll have to keep me posted on how the gifting goes!

  20. Eclectic Chick Designs says

    Hi Lauren:)

    I just came across your blog tonight. I loved this post! My husbands birthday was last week and yes, he is hard to “buy” for. He doesn’t wear cologne or ties. He is an avid Consumer Reports reader so some purchases are left to his research, lol.

    He and I began “dating” when I was a single mom and he was going through a divorce. I say “dating” because we were introduced online via mutual friends. We courted via email and phone conversations for over a year before we physically met face to face. I had fallen in love with him months before that moment….but we had agreed we were not going down that road officially. Two weeks after meeting him, we began dating …still not officially declaring we were dating, lol. He lived in Delaware, I in PA. We didn’t get to see each other too often due to distance. I wouldn’t let him meet my kids because I didn’t want their hearts broken again. We refused to declare the “L” word. (This is making me chuckle as I type) I was putting myself through massage school and he happened to be working in NY state for a week. We were meeting for breakfast before school…and I was late, very late. There had been an accident on the way (no cell phone, single mom) and I had no way to reach him. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, he was pacing. He turned o see me and almost angrily asked, “where have you been, I was so worried, I love you!” :) I responded with “I fell in love with you before we met”. Needless to say, he met my kids, we continued to date and eventually married.

    The reason I told the long story is because as a single mom, I got creative in gift giving and I enjoy making gifts and/or coming up with something unique. Ive made my husband custom CDs of some of his favorite music for when he is traveling, coupon books for things like an action movie and popcorn or football and wings, a shadow box with a skeleton key in it reading “you have always had the key to my heart”. One year I had an older fading picture of his parents (both deceased before I met him) restored and I custom matted and framed it myself.

    This year was a bit different as Ive had a medical situation going on for a bit. While I still don’t have all of the answers, I did get the news that I do not have cancer so last week, we took a week off together and just lived:) A home cooked roast beef dinner and from scratch Boston Cream Pie for his birthday has become a tradition….and that was enough this year:)

    Sorry this is so wordy, but what is a girl to do with a 101.9 fever and a seal like cough when her hubs is away on business?

    Looking forward to checking out more of your blog,

    • says

      Michelle, I just have to share with you that as I read your comment late at night in bed the other night after receiving an email alert of its arrival, I couldn’t respond then, but I felt like I had reconnected with a long lost friend (or twin!) and thought, “Wow…it’s like she crawled inside my head!” You see, I’m actually working on an eBook right now, my very first one, and it’s probably one you could written yourself. My title is Thinking Outside the Gift Box: 21 Money-Saving and Meaningful Gift Ideas. And many of them are the exact gifts you mentioned to giving to your sweet husband (a mix CD, a book of date night ideas, memory boxes)…basically, all things personalized and infused with lots and lots of love. Anyway, it just gives me great joy to know there are other folk out there who share my gift-giving philosophy: that it doesn’t have to cost a lot to mean a lot. And my creative wheels are spinning trying to scheme up a way I could use your story to encourage others. Anyway, let’s stay in touch, shall we? And no pressure, but if you want to join my eBook Insiders Club, I’ll be sharing free drafts of the book with Insiders, other exciting goodies, and inviting them preview copies to review if they like. You just seem like the perfect person to share this with! No apologies for your wordiness. Seriously, I so delighted to hear more of the beautiful love story you share with your husband…and how kindred we really are on the gift-giving front. Sending hugs to you, Michelle, and a prayer for your fever and medical situation.

  21. Loretta says

    My fiancé can buy anything he wants so it’s very hard to find a present just for him. Whatever I would buy with my money ( which isn’t much ) I wouldn’t be comfortable buying for him. So I got him my favorite men’s cologne called “Paul Sebastian “. It has to be the one that has just the PS on it. This is the best cologne a man can wear if you trust him. When my youngest son was planning on going on a date with a girl he really was impressed with I told him something’s about this cologne. I can’t write here but if you want to email me I’ll tell you. But while he was on his date. He called me and kept repeating to me “thank you mom”.


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