Gift Guide for Him

Gift Guide for Him

Boys are so hard to buy for. Gift-giving for my dad? Forget about it. If he wants something, he’s probably already bought it. And my boyfriend goes through interests so fast that if I buy too far in advance, the gift might not fit his likes anymore, so I tend to stick to the last minute. I’m sure those of you with brothers face similar struggles. The point is, boys are unnecessarily difficult, so my gift search has been long and arduous. Since I got so much experience, and found so many great ideas that don’t quite work for the guys in my life, I thought I’d share some cool stuff, just in case it’d be good for the guys in yours.

15 Gifts Under $30


Gifting just got easier || Stock photo from JD HancockCC licence

I’m well aware that people aren’t stereotypes, but for ease of navigation, I’ve split this post into 3 broad categories – one for geeky guys, one for music lovers, and one for the active types. Geek covers everything from science to videogames to fandoms; music is for music makers and music lovers; and active covers health, fitness, and sports. Unless the guy you have in mind lives under a rock, at least some of that should appeal to him.


Whether its science, games, or fandoms, there’s something for him. || Stock photo from Texture XCC licence

Steam card – I’ll be really honest, I don’t know much about video games. But I do know that the Steam Sale is a holy time for many geek boys that culminates in MASSIVE discounts on video games. For some reason, the online games company doesn’t offer online purchase of giftcards, but they’re sold a lot of places, including Target.

Beaker Mug – $15.18 – Keep the scientist in your life alert and focused with the perfect receptacle for his morning cup of coffee. Probably warn him not to take it with him if he actually does work with beakers, though, to prevent lab accidents. Although, that might be a good way to become a superhero…

Chocolate Game Controller – $16.90 – Easter is for chocolate bunnies, so make Christmas for chocolate game controllers. Combine video games and delicious chocolate with this tasty gift. A quick Google search reveals this one to be based off of PlayStation controllers, so if he’s a hardcore XBox fanboy, this exact brand might not be for him… It’s the thought that counts, right?

Gallium – $26.00 – That’s right. Get him cold, hard metal. Well, actually, fairly warm, soft metal. The cool thing about gallium is that its melting point is ridiculously low, so despite being pure metal, it’ll literally melt right in his hand. This is cool for a lot of science reasons, but also, it just looks like a lot of fun to play with.

Science Books$10.80 – $29.48 – The best gift I’ve ever received was a book, so maybe I’m biased, but a book in his area of interest is a thoughtful and timeless gift. For the science geeks, Hawking’s A Brief History of Time ($10.80 on Amazon) is a must read, and Neil deGrasse Tyson and Adam Goldsmith’s Origins looks great, too ($15.30 on Amazon). Jane McGonigal (who is sadly not a Hogwarts professor) has written an interesting book on video games called Reality is Broken ($12.40 on Amazon). And if comics are his game, you can get Marvel or DC specific encyclopedias full of trivia for less than $30 here and here, respectively. Whatever he’s into, I’m sure there’s a great book on it out there somewhere.


All it takes is making or loving music. || Stock photo by JamieCC licence

Earbuds – $14.99 – Music lovers need headphones like everyone else needs air to breathe, so another pair never hurts. While no one wants to break the bank with earbuds – especially since they’re so easy to lose – no one wants to put up with awful sound quality. A comparison by The Verge named these the best in-ear headphones under $50 on the market – for less than $15! They’ll deliver the sound quality he needs without the fear of ruining an expensive bit of tech.

Guitar Strap – $12.95 – This one may not be for everyone, since not all musical guys a.) play guitar, or b.) need a new strap. But this is a soft, comfortable strap with a convenient pocket for guitar picks, and you can even use dyes or fabric paints to personalize it with a favorite color, pattern, or quote (though a different color might work better for dyeing). If you’re willing to customize it, or he really needs one, this could be a great gift!

His favorite movie’s album – varies, usually around $10 – Let’s face it, music lovers and movie lovers often go hand in hand, and a good score can solidify a music lover’s favorite flick. Figure out his favorite movie and pick up its soundtrack. Bonus points if you choose his favorite childhood movie and make him all nostalgic.

Pocket Stylophone – $23.99 – Music should be portable and spontaneous, so give him the option to make a (frankly, annoying) melody just about anywhere with this pocket-sized synthesizer. Fully functional and reminiscent of synthesizers from the ’60’s, this little stylophone puts the creative power right in his hand. It even has a headphone jack, so he can jam quietly.

His Favorite Album – On Vinyl, of Course$15.00+ This idea assumes that he’s got a record player, but many music lovers will. Albums on vinyl are making a comeback, and finding one by his favorite band should be easy with Amazon’s vinyl section – which is much less expensive than I expected, and has a great selection. You could even get him TSwift’s 1989, if he’s in to that.

Whether he runs ulta marathons or watches a lot of NFL, this should help || Photo by Jeff Blackler - CC licence

Whether he runs ultra marathons or watches a lot of NFL, this should help || Photo by Jeff BlacklerCC licence

Massage – Workouts are hard, so give him a break with a gift certificate for a massage. Your local spa or physical therapist will likely have these available for purchase, either as a dollar amount or towards a specific service. If he’s planning a marathon or other strenuous event in the near future, this could be the perfect post-event reward.

Smart Water Bottle – $23.15 – Have you ever wished your water bottle would track your hydration and tell you about it? Me neither. But there’s a bottle out that can, and it’ll be the fanciest water-drinking experience of his life. This water bottle knows how much you need to drink and tells you if you’re on track to meet that goal, ensuring that the active guy in your life never suffers from dehydration again.

Exercise Mat $10.50 – $18.00 – no true fitness guru would ever neglect their core, but that means spending an awful lot of time on the ground. Whether it’s crunches, planks, or a little yoga (no judging!), concrete or carpet can tear up his back, hands, elbows, or knees. Make his exercise experience a little more comfortable with a thick, cushy exercise mat, like this 1/2″ thick one, which comes in two lengths.

Light Up Sports Balls – $22.95 – It gets dark so quickly in the winter that there’s not always a lot of time for sports. Whether he loves basketball, football, or soccer, he can keep practicing past 4 in the afternoon this winter with these light-up balls. Even when winter ends, keeping the game going on summer nights will get a whole lot easier when he can see the ball.

Table Tennis to Go – $21.99 – Is table tennis considered a sport? I’m not sure. But I can definitely see a group of sports-loving guys getting really into this, so onto the list it goes. With this kit, anywhere there is a table, there can be table tennis, with an expanding net, two paddles, and balls, all with a convenient pouch.


And that’s a list!

Hopefully, something on this list has looked right for him – or maybe given you an idea as to what might be. To be clear, I’m not sponsored by any of the brands or products here, or Amazon – I just do most of my online shopping through them. Friendly reminder than anyone with a .edu email can get six months of free Amazon Prime with their Amazon Student promotion. Amazon Prime is beautiful because it means free 2-day shipping on a lot of products, and for last-minute buyers like me, that’s a godsend.

What about you? Any great ideas when it comes to buying for guys? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given (or received!)?

  • Meg

    I’ll trust your science knowledge on that one – good point!
    And thank you!

  • tiffzny

    Those ‘geek’ gifts are totally on-point, especially the Steam Card one. That beaker mug and Gallium are also super neat (although it would be important to read the “Precautions & Tips” section of the Gallium Amazon page)…

    I love your posts! <3