Some time ago a Spo-fan suggested I write on the ticklish topic ‘what to buy the man who has everything’. This is a timely as Someone’s birthday is pending (12/12) and then there is Christmas.*  I want my own advice. I hope something inspires me as I write this entry. 

Let’s start with what NOT to buy the man who has everything. 

#1 – Do not buy a“Tom Spo gift”. 

A “Tom Spo gift” is a prize the giver gives that the recipient doesn’t really want or plan on using but the receiver sure will. Once upon a time my father Thomas was visiting my house. He was rummaging around the kitchen asking where was my coffee machine. I reminded him I drink tea and I didn’t have one. That year at Christmas I got as a Christmas prize a Mr. Coffee.** You get the point. 

#2 – Avoid prizes of self-improvement.

Clothes are well intentioned but won’t likely work to better his (poor) taste in dressing or to replace that awful worn out favorite shirt of his. Exercise devices evoke suspicion you are telling him to shape up. Worse are the self-help books. Ugh.

#3- Knick-knacks.  Most men see these as dust-collectors 

#4 – shoes.    That includes cha-cha heels. Black ones.


With that out of the way, here are some notions:

#1 – Virtual things. Rather than buy him an actual book, buy it on audiobook so it does’t take up space on the shelf waiting for the next garage sale or trip to Goodwill. Wrap the receipt or a printed photo of the dust cover to put under the tree for him to unwrap. Subscriptions to podcasts and on-line magazines work this way as well.

#2 – Comestibles.  Food and drink maybe transient but enjoyable. Fancy cheeses, meats, and smoked fish (no rubbish) are all good and one never goes wrong giving a really good bottle of whisky.  This is starting to border on a ‘Tom Spo’ wish list so I will stop now that you get the gist.

#3 – Hobby stuff.  If he is into tools or collectables or leather gear consider getting him something along that line – but here is the important part: save the receipt. The item is unlikely to be exactly what he had hoped for so this way he can exchange it for what he really wants. Hopefully he will appreciate the thought. 

#4 – Ask others. He may be mum as an oyster with you disclosing his fancies but his pals and relations and coworkers probably have heard a thing or two. 

#5 – Threats. Announce you need a list of wants and give him a clear deadline to provide such or you will be forced to get him “X”. Make “X” as loathsome as eating rats at Tewkesbury.

If all else fails, get him a ‘Tom Spo’ gift. Over time he may learn his lesson. 



*I vow every year I will gather ideas throughout the months so my future self won’t be crazed bereft of ideas. No such luck. 😦 

**Turns out it was a good gift; later visitors were most grateful I had such.