Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Handmade Christmas: Gifts For Guys

Guys are so hard to shop for!!! Unless you have a) tons of money, or b) a guy who has an obsession - a favorite sports team, video game, movie, etc. If you have one or the other (or both!) of these things, then you're set. Even then, though, there are only so many sports jerseys, memorabilia, etc, that you can give a guy. And guys are hard to make gifts for, because whatever you're making can't. look. cute.

I feel like I have it especially tough because neither my dad nor my bro are into sports - as in, I don't think either of them could name three professional teams in any sport - nor are they gamers. Generally - as in, all the time except Christmas - I like these traits. :) When Christmas rolls around, I wish they were a little more stereotypical.

This year, with my goal of making every gift, I must have googled "handmade gifts for men" a dozen times, and read through literally hundreds of ideas. Here are the best of them!

First, a few I came up with:

Homemade car "emergency" kit - My brother is sixteen this Christmas and just a few weeks away from getting his license, so for Christmas I made him a "car kit." While I did buy the contents of the kit, I did assemble it myself (lol) and I sewed the actual case (although I didn't use a tutorial, this one right here looks exactly like mine - shh, don't tell the guy in your life that it's a makeup case! :) I made my version out of vinyl and a heavy-duty zipper, so it's water resistant and hefty).

With the exception of jumper cables, which I got on a fantastic sale on Black Friday, I got all of the following items at the Dollar store: a roll of duct tape (in his favorite color), a clip-on booklight (I figure it's useful if he has to make repairs by himself in the dark), a regular flashlight, an ice scraper, a tube of super-glue, a box of bandaids, an interchangeable-head screwdriver, a tire gauge, a roll of shop rags, and a can of auto wipes.

I'm not much of a mechanic (can you tell? lol) so I focused more on filling the kit with things that were "generally useful" (i.e. duct tape, super glue, flashlight) than tools. If you're a little more mechanically minded, you can google "emergency car kit" and get more ideas!

Barbecue kit - Some of my favorite memories from this year are of grilling with my BFF's fiancee, Joe, so when I started thinking about what I could make for him, some sort of grilling/barbecue related gift came to mind. This is sort of like the above gift, in that it is mostly buying things and "assembling" them (lol), but it still counts in my book. :)

My barbecue kit included: 2 hot mitts that I monogrammed for him using fabric paint, 2 towels, also monogrammed, and a jar of bacon salt (if bacon isn't his thing, swap it out for a jar of smoky BBQ rub). If I knew how to can, or if Joe lived locally, I'd totally throw in a jar of the best barbecue sauce ever. But since I don't, and he doesn't, and the jar would have to survive a 12 hour road trip unscathed, I can't. :(

Other ideas (that I had, but that didn't work for the guys in my life):
  • An iPod or iPad case - if your guy is tech savvy. The great thing about this is that by varying the material and/or embellishment, you can make them as masculine or feminine as you want.
  • Make a "movie buff" kit - mix up some homemade popcorn seasonings in salt/pepper shakers (check thrift stores and/or Ross or Marshalls), a box of plain microwaveable popcorn (or loose popping corn, dependings on how you like to make your popcorn), or make a batch of kettle corn. Put it together with a couple of new movies (raid the $5 at Wal-Mart), tickets to the movie theater, or a gift certificate to his favorite movie rental place (did you know that you can give gift certificates to Redbox? I didn't either!).
  • If your guy is a reader - well, you've scored a good one! :) Make a book kit instead! Include a manly bookmark (Check the thrift store for old copies of titles like "The Last Of The Mohicans," "Ivanhoe," etc, and replace the raffia/ribbon with leather thong). Add the fixings for his favorite hot beverage, and why not make some coasters (using the covers of the book you cannibalized for the bookmark, lol) while you're at it? Last (but not least), slip in the book you know he's been dying to read, or a gift certificate to the local bookstore. Or the Kindle store. :)
  • Fill his fridge - What guy doesn't love food? If you have a bachelor on your list, why not make a huge batch of lasagna, mac-n-cheese, or whatever your signature dish is, portion it into individual-size containers, and freeze? Print some labels that include reheating instructions, and you're set to go! (If you really want to go all-out, include a homemade "gift certificate" that entitles him to one free refill). Or try making a sweet edible bouquet. :)

Other people's ideas:

These are all the ideas I could come up with! :) What have you made for the guys in your life?

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