For the second in our series of gift guides, I thought I’d ask my sons what were the crucial, stylish must have items for every teen and twentysomething boy about town. The conversation went something like this….
Me: what are all your friends asking for for Christmas?
Youngestson: (without even looking up from his phone) Drones.
Me: What! They cost hundreds of pounds!
Youngestson: (still multitasking on phone) Yeah no one will get one but that’s what they’re asking for.
Middleson: Cash mum, just give us cash.
Me: but that’s so dull..
Middleson: Well call it ‘money for travelling’ and that’ll make everyone feel better.
Youngestson: (still on phone) PS4 Games, everyone still wants those. And I’d like a weird funky jacket, preferably vintage.
Middleson: No boy will ask for beauty stuff but they like it when they get it, y’know, nice shower gels, after shave (eyeing up my WWP fragrance mountain) and hair stuff, it must smell good.
Eldestson: Bike vouchers, from their local bike shop in Camberwell, do you want the number?
Here are a few other suggestions that might hit the spot.
Spotify premium. Middleagedad and I have a Spotify Premium account and we can never listen to it because one of our children is always on it. I thought young folk could access all music for free, but apparently Spotify (premium) is better than the free services, specially if someone else is paying. You can buy six months of premium Spotify (without the annoying adverts) for £33 if I worked that out right, there’s a special offer on at the moment where the first three months cost 99p.
Some fabulous smelling, manly grooming products. If money is no object, head to Aesop and buy the deliciously ginger-beerish Marrakech Intense fragrance, or the new, more lemony Tacit. Both are good and if you have a particularly pungent boy with a sense of humour, we’re big fans of the Post Poo Drops.
But for most of us, ASOS has the best range of well priced grooming gifts from boys, try the Uppercut Deluxe Hair Monster Hold Wax Set, boys are always fiddling about with their hair.
While we’re on ASOS, both Middleagedad and Teen/Twentysomethingsons love this site. It’s a great place to trawl for well priced gifts (see the men’s Gift Guide) and I love how it has a ‘gifts that look good on Instagram‘ section. Very On Trend. A back pack is always a good bet too.
For good value smells that are also wittily named, go to the Demeter Fragrance Library, now selling in Boots, and look for Eau de Snow, Clean Skin or Fresh Laundry (mothers of boys will appreciate the irony here…)
Muji nail clippers. Sali Hughes recommended these in her Guardian column this week, I thought this was brilliant, as no boy can ever find his nail clippers and when they do they are blunt. Actually many things in Muji are good for boys.
A good dressing gown. Dull maybe, but eldestson (who lives, regular readers may remember, in his own flat) says his White Company Hydra cotton gown has been ‘a game changer’ and stops him from freezing to death in the short walk between shower and bedroom. Good too for students who can’t afford heating. Ditto warm PJs.
For sartorial dudes, anything from Albam. This seems to be the ‘try our luck with the price’ brand of choice for clothing. The beanies are good, and consider a subscription to Inventory or Fantastic Man if your boy is stylish. Whistles Man is also excellent (I love the back packs) and passes the cool test.
A record Player. Y’all know there’s a big surge in vinyl love, but you’d be amazed how many boys (and men) don’t have a record player. I spoke to an actual rock star recently who has only just bought himself a record player to play all his stored vinyl. Urban Outfitters sell em, and the matching vinyl records, or you can pick up well priced ones on eBay.
A typewriter. Weird though this sounds, it falls into the non-digital-retro-love moment that vinyl records are going through, they are thought of as novel things by teens, they can use to write song lyrics, or leave abusive messages for each other if you have more than one child (our house…) Again, you can pick them up very reasonably on eBay.
A giant bar of chocolate. I don’t think you can go wrong with Hotel Chocolat’s Giant Slabs. It’s even doing chocolate wreaths this year.