Choosing gifts for a pipe smoker can seem a daunting task. His pipes all seem to be the same on first glance, you have no idea what he likes to smoke, other than some vague mumblings about “Latakia” or “Virginia”, and he seems to have every possible gadget, gee-gaw and accessory known to man. So, how do you purchase a gift that will excite him and let him know that you are paying attention to him and his hobby?

Purchasing a gift for a pipe smoker can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Enlisting Help
  2. Gathering Intelligence
  3. Making the Purchase
  4. Presenting the Gift

With these four steps, it is possible to present any pipe smoker with a gift that will have him amazed with your taste and insight.

Enlisting Help

The first, and most important, step in selecting a gift for a pipe smoker is enlisting the help of someone who can help you make sense of his pipe stuff and guide you in selecting a gift. This should not be any of his pipe smoking friends. They will blab to him as soon as they get a chance. You will also deprive the recipient of your gift of the smug satisfaction he will get when he springs the gift on his pipe smoking buddies. You see, all of us pipe smokers love to play “Look what I’ve got” in order to make our pipe smoking friends a bit jealous. The most admired and envied man in any group of pipe smokers is the one whose significant others allow him to enjoy his hobby in peace. Imagine the fun he will have explaining that the pipe or accessory that he has is not only something they don’t have, but that you gave it to him!

So, to whom do you turn for help? Your best bet is to enlist the help of someone from whom he buys pipes. You will have access to someone who knows all about the hobby, and possibly what your significant other likes, if you do a bit of digging and contact someone that he has purchased pipes and accessories from in the past. Call them up and explain that you are looking to purchase a gift for your significant other, and you will have a strong ally, ready to help in any way they can.

Gathering Intelligence

Now that you have made contact with a friendly ally, it is time to gather the appropriate intelligence in order to make an informed decision about what your significant other would like to receive as a present. Your new ally will help guide you along the way and tell you how to determine certain pieces of information, but here are a few handy tips to speed this process along:

  1. Take a look at his pipes, noting the style and shape of them. Make notes about what is stamped on them, particularly if the same stampings come up over and over again on his pipes. Are they mostly similar shapes, or do they vary in style a lot? Do they mostly have some sort of jewelry on them, or are they mostly bare wood and stem material? Are they smooth finished, or do they have a rusticated or sandblasted look to them? Knowing these things will help you, and your enlisted help figure out his tastes in pipes in short order.
  2. What pipes has he been looking at recently? This is east to find out. Just go to his computer, open up the web browser, and click the little down arrow to the right of the address bar. You will likely see a long list of website addresses. By clicking on any of these in the list, you can visit the web pages he has visited. Visit several of these to get an idea of what pipes and accessories he has been looking at recently. Take special note of items he has looked at that are not like his current collection of pipes, maybe that is something that would surprise him…

Making the Purchase

Now armed with the fruits of your intelligence gathering, you are ready to purchase your gift. The most basic financial rule of pipe purchasing, and of almost any other purchase is this: "Buy the absolute best you can afford." You can't go wrong by buying quality. Pipes are available in a vast range of prices, from under $20.00 to well into the thousands, with plenty of well-made pipes in each price category. You should strive to get the greatest value for your money, The reason this is the final consideration is that pipes are not cheap or expensive, they are either good smokers, or bad smokers, and without careful consideration of the aesthetics and mechanics, a cheap pipe and an expensive pipe are equally likely to be a good smoker, or a bad one. Rely heavily on your enlisted help at this point to help steer you in the right direction.

Presenting the Gift

Presentation is a huge part of giving a gift, so be inventive. If the gift is for a special occasion, like Christmas or an Anniversary, offer to bring him his pipe, and return with the gift, instead of what he asked for. If it is not for a special occasion, one sure-fire way to present the gift is by sneaking it into his collection to be “found”, perhaps with a note tucked in the bowl if it is a pipe.