As parent of a boy, you face many challenges. Raising them to be respectful, kind and empathetic, and not fall into the traps of previous generations that leave them stuck suffering silently when times get bad. It’s vital for boys to be taught how to process their feelings other than with violence or silence.

But when a birthday comes around, or Christmas, all of that well intentioned rearing goes out the window and you scrabble for something, anything you can wrap up that will give your son a smile when he opens it.

When he’s a child, buying gifts are relatively easy: trends among children are unsubtle and not difficult to spot, with everyone on the playground pulling in the same direction, and the hot new toys getting coverage on primetime tv as Christmas approaches!

As your son becomes an adult, finding the right gift gets more and more difficult: you lose the close insight you had into his life as he grew up, and guessing the perfect gift gets harder and harder. Directly asking for gift ideas helps you zero in on something he’s really going to like, but it does remove the element of surprise, which is one of the most rewarding things about giving the perfect gift.

One of the things you can do is look at your son’s everyday routine, and pick something to improve with a gift that they could never justify buying for themselves. If your son prides himself on being well turned out, well dressed and well groomed, and then a present of clothes fitting their style or even a luxury men’s shaving brush set will be highly appreciated!

Another approach is to subtly sound out the people around your son, and use their suggestions to pick a present close to his heart without tipping him off. If he has any siblings, they are a perfect source of the inspiration for gifts that you’re looking for. They’re more likely to talk about their shared interests, the things they want, and items that they lack. Similarly, if you have a good relationship with his partner, they could provide you with ideas.

If you can’t think of a physical gift to give, consider the world of experiences, memberships and subscriptions. You can become a member of cinemas, theatres, galleries and even bars, and if this is something they love, you could have found a regular present for every year!