We start every holiday shopping season with the same mindset – shop early, shop value, shop locally and shop with a plan.  

And here we are again. It’s December, and you’ve made little headway buying gifts for your loved ones. Children are the easiest to buy for, while everyone struggles finding the perfect gifts for fathers and husbands. 

Buying gifts for men can be a challenge, but it’s not an impossible task. This year, three categories of “Ts” are topping wish lists for men in Southwest Florida: tools, tech and totes. 

Tools 

Not everyone is a DIYer or handyman, but every homeowner needs tools. Many Southwest Floridians were ill-prepared as Hurricane Ian approached. Every homeowner, even non-DIYers, should have these tools in the garage: 

  • Drill kits: Those without corded or cordless drills had three options before Ian: (1) Use hand tools to install hurricane shutters; (2) Borrow a drill from a neighbor; or (3) Hire a professional. Cordless, rechargeable drills are best because they still work during power outages. Combo drill kits include an impact driver, hammer drill, battery packs, chargers and carrying case, and should have a matching screwdriver and drill bit set. 
  • Outdoor power equipment: The morning after Ian, Southwest Floridians emerged from their homes and started the cleanup process. Not everyone joined in the fun, though. The three most desirable pieces of equipment for post-storm cleanup were chainsaws, pole saws and leaf blowers. Obviously, gas or electric power equipment is preferred. 

Tech 

Electronics manufacturers and retailers advertise cellphones, laptops, streaming devices and gaming platforms as holiday gifts, but technology is integrated throughout the home. In fact, the term “smart home” references any device that can be controlled remotely, either through a computer or cellphone. Ideas for smart tech include the following:  

  • Wi-Fi-enabled devices: Sure, you can always flip a switch manually, but smartphones can now control thermostats, lights, security cameras, deadbolt locks, doorbells, garage door openers, water leak detectors and more. 
  • BBQ grills and smokers: Grill masters no longer have to miss the big game to check the grill; smartphone users can now monitor and control temperatures through an app. Wireless meat thermometers allow grill masters to take meat off the grill as soon as it’s ready, preventing meat from being overcooked. 

Totes 

Let’s face it. Most garages are an unorganized mess. Buying a storage solution as a gift is a subtle nudge to start cleaning. 

  • Modular storage system: Interlocking toolboxes, organizers and totes are versatile, durable and portable. These are perfect for individuals who may have projects in the backyard or regularly help a neighbor or friend with projects around the house. 
  • Steel storage cabinets: Metal cabinets are durable and functional, serving as a “statement piece” for a garage like artwork in a living room. Make sure to buy a cabinet with wheels; moving toolboxes full of wrenches, hammers and other gear is nearly impossible. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the rearview mirror, but there is still time to shop locally and shop bargains. Hardware stores essentially are giant gift shops stocked full of tools, tech, totes and other gifts for the holiday season.