Men Don’t Want Ribbon Gifts

In all the talk about handmade gifts, it’s pretty clear that most of the gifts are for women and children.

Holidays by hand - RibbonsIf you’re planning to make gifts for Christmas, I recommend you see the ideas at Almost Frugal for handmade gifts with ribbons, embroidery, and thread. (I love this embroidered scarf.)  
ribbon belt
My idea this week is a gift that takes only a few minutes and is easy enough for kids to help you make: Ribbon Belts.

But let’s be honest. Men don’t want ribbon belts, or anything else ribboned, embroidered, or bedazzled. Men like gear: tools and electronics in particular.

Desiree asked,
“I am really wanting to do mostly homemade gifts this year. The girls on the list are easy but I am having a hard time with ideas for guys. I would love some ideas…”

I asked Doug to help me think of handmade gifts when “crafty” isn’t a man’s style. Here is what he came up with:


  • manly food like good quality beef jerkey
  • peanut brittle
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • and oh yes, pies

Handmade soap that won’t dry his skin in the winter.

Something to keep his feet warm around the house.

One of Doug’s favorite birthday gifts ever was a time we went to the grocery store together. No matter what he put in the shopping cart, all I was allowed to say was “Mmm, looks good!” and “That will be great!” His friends came with us for fun. I know that’s not necessarily a homemade gift, but at least it wasn’t clutter, and it was something I could do for him.

Tell us, are there any good handmade gifts for guys?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Here’s an excellent idea list of gifts for the men in your life —

    Nancy´s last blog post..Daily Thanksgiving

  2. I’m making crocheted cotton (Peaches n’ Cream and Sugar n’ Cream yarn) “bath puffs,” similar to the plasticky ones that are commonly sold. So far I’ve only made a couple for women. If done in “masculine” colors does Doug think these would be a suitable accompaniment to the soap for men?

    Last year I made caramel corn, some with peanuts and/or almonds added. That was popular as a small or add-on gift. My sister-in-law made wreaths from tied fabric scraps, and we liked ours so much that we asked her for another one in a different color scheme this year.

    • “I’m making crocheted cotton … ‘bath puffs’ similar to the plasticky ones[.] If done in ‘masculine’ colors does Doug think these would be a suitable accompaniment to the soap for men?”

      Lorta, from a man’s perspective, gifts have to fill a need or do a job before they become desirable. Here’s how to check if this would be a suitable gift for your man… If dry skin doesn’t bother him (see his elbows and knees), he probably won’t understand what it’s for. — My wife keeps offering to get me lotion or Vaseline for my elbows or feet because my skin is rough and calloused. For her, it’s important to “take care of that dry skin” but for me, it just means I’ve been working hard.

      — David B.

    • How do you make your yarn puffs? could you share plz this sounds just about right for a couple of males I know..thanks

  3. Last year, I made my husband a no-sew fleece blanket. One side was camoflauge pattern and the other side was dark brown. He’s a very practical person (as many men are) and he uses it all the time!

    Christina´s last blog post..Tip Junkie 12 Days of Giveaways

  4. My sister made scarves and hats out of fleece for the guys one year and my husband loves them. He wears them every time he has to go out to shovel snow.

    What about sewing a pocket for tv guide and remotes that fit over the arm of a recliner?

    If they like to cook, you could always print off custom labels for them if they make BBQ sauce or hot sauces or even if they have a wine or microbrewing hobby.

  5. Isn’t it funny how all the men want food!

    Here’s an idea for your spouse – a coupon book – full of fun coupons he can redeem for married couples.

    gift cards for detailed car wash

    a collectors edition of his favorite book

    arrange a man’s night party for him in January. like a poker night.

    a journal

    I bought my Dad one year the first ever program to his favorite baseball team – Toronto Blue Jays – it was from April 1977 It cost me $3 on ebay…. and he loved it!

  6. Scarves and hats. I’m not a knitter, but every man can appreciate a warm, manly scarf and hat combo. Useful for raking leaves or taking the kids to the park. Especially cute when a matching set is made for the toddler son!

    Evenshine´s last blog post..The Whys

  7. I second the vote for scarves and hats, and would add slippers as well. There’s a great knitted then fulled vest for men in the book Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas. I’d love to make that for my guy sometime before we retire. . .

    anja´s last blog post..prayer for the earth

  8. smallnotebook says:

    I love these ideas, and Dana, a man’s night party sounds really fun!

  9. My husband loves to get spice blends. There are many recipes out there for different blends that can be used in grilling or all kinds of cooking. He especially likes the “manly” spicy ones.

  10. This isn’t a quick gift to make but my husband loved it and looks at it regularly. I picked up a daytimer at the begininng of 2007 and throughout the year I took pictures and recorded his golf scores and wrote down ‘thank you’s and activities we/he did and anything else that happened to us that year. It didn’t cost a lot of money to make but it did take some time to record and put it all together. My husband loves it and because I was actively aware of creating the album I remember a lot more of the day-to-day things that happened to us that year. It’s something that I will definately do again. Here’s a link to my post about it.

    • I know it’s been almost a year since you posted this… and I don’t know if you’ll see this, but just wanted to let you know how much I love that idea! :D

    • You know, I’m reading this in December of 2011, and I still think it’s a great idea!

      I just wanted you to know how relevant and meaningful this post was. My comment is just an extension of Rachel’s, to let you know (if you ever see it) how great you (and consequently everyone) are. :)

  11. Things I’ve gotten a good response from guys on:

    Brownies in a jar–layered dry ingredients, wet ones have to be added in and then baked. (though their wife or other will usually have to actually mix and bake them!)

    For my husband one year: Dessert of the month club (I printed out a ‘coupon’ for him to redeem each month for his choice of a dessert for me to make.) It was fun to see what he was craving, and gave me an excuse to try new things!

  12. I just found a recipe for lemon peper rosemary salt blend and the possibilities are endless also homemade vodka is a good one can be flavored with many things….

  13. I love your ribbon belt and your grocery shopping story! My husband loves food, socks and gifts related to his hobbies. His birthday is Dec 13, which is a challenge.

    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom´s last blog post..Marathoning Part 1 – The Decision

  14. I agree with Gay – a BBQ rub or spice blend is great, and you could pair it with a homemade BBQ handmitt.

    I’ve also thought of a fabric or wood (decopaged with “manly” scrapbook paper) valet tray.

  15. We use placemats a lot in our house and for my husbands birthday my older daughter and I made a placemat with photos, handprints and notes (scribbles) from my daughter. Then we had it laminated. He liked it.
    I also gave him the decorate your own insulated travel coffee mug for his first father’s day. Useful.

  16. I sewed a pair of lounge pants for my hubby out of a soft jersey-knit material and he bragged to everyone about them. Now my dad and brother both want a pair! They were really inexpensive and easy to make (I’m not a great seamstress). I also knitted my hubby a scarf once and he has all but worn it out.

    Nicki´s last blog post..Save Money on Personal Care

  17. There are several things you can make for the men in your life.

    For the BBQ’er in the family-homemade sauces and rubs would work well. A “manly” apron with something classic like “Kiss the Cook” or a picture of a man grilling would be appropriate. Make something to hold all his grilling gear-something made from leather or heavy canvas made a lot like a crayon roll only with more durable material or repurpose a metal coffee tin with some manly colored heavy duty paint, a few holes cut in the plastic lid to insert the tongs, flippers, forks, etc.

    A shave kit-homemade shave cream and after shave coupled with a straight razor & a how to shave guide

    Print some creative sayings or pictures on a plain Tshirt or sweatshirt. Man it up with some clever sayings=Cowboy up! (with a boot print), “Team ____” insert your last name and a large number on the back of a tee, etc.

    Some silver wire & earth tone beads can make a nice manly bracelet. A silver chain with a stamped leather square can make a great looking necklace.

    Those are just a few off the top of my head but you’ve definitely given me food for thought!

    Jennifer´s last blog post..Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

  18. I have framed some of my daughter’s art, which was a big hit.

    And I agree that food is always good! I’ve been making and giving different kinds of spiced nuts for the last couple of years and they’ve been very popular – you can get my recipes on December 9 when the Holidays by Hand theme is food and I’ll be hosting!

    Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..Holidays by Hand: Ribbons and Thread

  19. Handmade coupons for things like: cleaning out his car, one day devoted only to “him”, a back rub, etc.

    My hubs will be getting some homemade fudge, since everytime we see fudge, he ends up buying some.

    I’ve knitted him a neckwarmer, which he loves & uses all the time.
    What about some beanbag pocket warmers for the fellas that work outside?

    Rebecca´s last blog post..A Spending Habit

  20. shhh! I’m making ties and fleece sweats for Arthur for Christmas. Fleece scarves are good too.

    Andrea´s last blog post..Things you never knew about me that you still don’t want to know

  21. I’ve threatened to make my husband a patchwork belt; he blanched at the thought. :) There are a lot of good suggestions so far! I’ve given patchwork wool scarves and dopp kits over the past few years, and both were well-received. And, there’s always the good old-fashioned mix cd, which is always a fun gift in my book.

    meg´s last blog post..Ta-Da!

  22. smallnotebook says:

    Meg, now I’m feeling all nostalgic for mixed tapes!

  23. Great ideas!
    I knit wool socks for my husband and father-in-law… they loved them!
    On the food front. I have not seen anyone mention Granola. It has been a great gift over the years. The kids help make it. We put it into mason jars with holiday material over the top. The guys love it and have to stop themselves from eating it all up Christmas morning!
    Photos of family in a frame for the office was a favorite for my husband. He brings it home for me to update each year.
    These guys take a little more thought but well worth the effort!

    Dawn´s last blog post..Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

  24. This is not really a viable suggestion, but it is a sweet memory. When I was attempting to learn to knit, I made a little patch, maybe 3 inches square, just as a practice. Then I put loops on it and called it a nose-warmer and gave it to my husband. He still has it.

    Dawn’s idea of granola is *great*! Anyone (Dawn?) got a good granola recipe? I can never get mine to clump nicely. Tastes great but the texture never quite works. Help!

    Naomi´s last blog rant

    • Check out Alton Brown’s granola recipe on the Food Network site…it’s delicious & easy! My whole family loves it.

  25. My husband loves the things I’ve knitted for him. His arms are really long and a custom knit sweater can have extra long sleeves!

    He’s definitely in there with the food crowd; he once received a soup in a jar kit thing that he enjoyed making.

    I also noticed that he loves plants. There are low light plants that can be easily propagated making inexpensive but welcome gifts for cubicle dwellers.

    If words are important to your guy, consider making him a small scrapbook with photos and words that would mean a lot to him.

    One last suggestion for a personal gift for a guy is to make him a CD featuring a great mix of songs that means something either just to him or to both of you. You can make or decorate a CD cover easily – there are plenty of instructions on the Internet. I played some of our grandson’s favorite songs for my husband recently and it put the silliest grin on his face — you can’t be depressed and think of goofy little kids at the same time!!

  26. smallnotebook says:

    I can’t believe how good all these ideas are!

    Does anyone want to share help for a good granola recipe? I’ve tried to make it before, and like Naomi, I couldn’t get the oats to clump either.

    Word gifts are great, especially the “Reasons I love you” kind.

  27. My husband recently made his own aftershave. He’s getting into straight razor shaving and wanted something refreshing for his face after a shave.

    Since I make all our own soaps and lotions he thought he’d try his hand at it too. The aftershave turned out really well but I haven’t had a chance to post about it yet. He’s planning on giving it to the “men in our life” for Christmas.

    renee @ FIMBY´s last blog post..sigh

  28. I have tried at least 5 different Granola recipes and have had the same “clumping” problem – or should I say lack of clumping…
    My current favorite granola recipe does clump more than the others but not like you get from the stores. It is super yummy- I will post it on my blog this week – I was planning to do a recipe ideas for Christmas post anyway – this line has given me even more ideas!
    I will let you know when I get it posted!

    Dawn´s last blog post..California Economy – World Economy

  29. this year, for my dad, my husband plans to make a lure box for his fishing lures. we made coasters for him mom from wood scraps, but those would be good for a guy too. pair it with a cold weather drinks book or cocoa mix and a mug?

    for my husband this year, i am making a scrapbook of our home. we bought it 4 years ago and have spent most free moments fixing it up ourselves, so i have a before/after album to remind him how much we have done.

    i love the ribbon belt idea!

    nicola´s last blog post..snot & giggles

  30. Like Christina, I also made my husband a no-sew fleece blanket for Christmas last year and he LOVES it. He always uses it while he’s playing video games or watching TV in our family room. If I try to use it, he gets mad that I’m using HIS blanket!

    His is striped primary colors. Very manly. :)

    Cindy´s last blog post..Video: Screaming after dinner

  31. Seriously, this is the bane of my existance! Maybe I just don’t understand men! I have done the scarf thing for my husband, and he liked it ok. One thing though….the yarn MUST be soft with not one speck of itchiness. One idea I would like to try sometime is making a phone/portable music player case.

    Kate´s last blog post..Holidays by Hand – Ribbons and Thread

  32. After reading all these ideas I am seriously considering soup in a jar and a manly spice rub. I also thinking about fire-starter basket for some of the guys on my list. In the past I’ve made a slideshow (with music) of family pictures for my husband. That was a big hit!

  33. God's Dancing Child says:

    I am making men and women cosmetic baskets, catering for each gender. Women are getting face cream that smells girly – men get masculine smelling foot lotion. Ladies get homemade perfume – men get homemade bay rum aftershave. The ladies get foaming hot chocolate bath mix – men get homemade shaving cream. Lip balm for both. Etcetera.
    All inexpensive and fairly easy to make.

    • I did that for Christmas last year and it was a HIT! I put nail clippers and pumice stones and hand crocheted washcloths for the men. They loved it! I also handmade all of the body care stuff-soap, lotion bars, lip balm-the whole shebang! It was fun for me and everyone enjoyed it!

  34. I just found your blog (and linked to you today from mine!) and I totally love all these great gift ideas for men!! I’ve been enjoying the Holidays By Hand series and you are right…most of the ideas are for women or children.

    I echo the food idea! My former college roommate gave her boyfriend a ‘base’ recipe of the dry ingredients for cornbread (his favorite) so all he had to do was add an egg, oil, and milk. He barely cooked, so it was perfect for him. Other ideas for guys I’ve used in the past include photo gifts where I made a collage of a special event or memory. Even guys can get sentimental sometimes. :)

    Sarah H.´s last blog post..I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas: Gifts Using Arts and Crafts

  35. Jill Whitney says:

    My husband is a napper. So, two years ago I made him a “napping blanket”. The kids like to steal it and lay on the sofa, but it is Dad’s blanket. When it was time for Christmas idea’s last year, he asked me for a second one to take to work (he’s a firefighter and spends the night a the station). I made it out of 2 layers of flannel, with no batting in between the flannel. It’s lightweight enough, but is still really cozy. One of the posters toward the top made her husband a blanket out of fleece, which is an excellent idea as well–considering last year I found fleece on sale at the fabric store for about $2.00 a yard. I think I used about 4 yards of flannel for the blanket, it looks like it would fit nicely on a twin bed.

    I think the bottom line here is that men want gifts that are for THEM, and reflect the things that they like…which usually isn’t the same stuff women like or like to make. Think about what your guy does or likes to do and see if you can find something to make that reflects those interests.

  36. I used artists canvas stretchers to frame two tin ceiling tiles from the 200 year old church we were married in. My husband really liked the gift because he’s family’s been going to that church since it was founded. Awww.

    condo blues´s last blog post..Three Easy, Natural, and Free Fall Centerpieces

  37. Is it okay to give a very good male friend a couple Air Force fleece blankets for christmas?

  38. MF – I don’t see why not!

  39. I made a homemade hot chocolate mix for my dad one year and now every year if I don’t bring it, he asks about it and when he is going to get some more. I put in a large mason jar. One of the simplest gifts I’ve ever given but one of the most remembered, for some reason.

    I LOVE the idea of the trail mix and the homemade aftershave– I’m already planning to try those this year (I plan Christmas 9 months in advance!) Thanks for the great suggestions!

  40. My husband coaches high school football. This past Christmas I took pictures of him at each game and also I made sure to take a picture of the score board. At the end of the season I put them all into a scrap book and game it to him for Christmas. He loved it. Another helpful item to go with this… At Walmart, I used the one hour photo and was able to put each picture in its own border and type what I wanted to say on each picture…all for the low cost of just the one hour developing.

  41. AlaskanAndi says:

    I’ve researched this topic quite extensively. Here is what I’ve come up with:

  42. A friend of mine does the no-sew fleece blankets in sports team logo prints. A big hit with the men!


    niki´s last post…Come, Follow, Follow, Follow…

  43. Rachel, I came back to this post almost a year later and found some great additional ideas in the comments. THANKS!

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last post…Good Reads: Candy Corn – Yea or Nay?

  44. Aaaah, only thing I want as a gift is something I can eat or drink. Dont need more stuff. Not all men are like this for some uncommon gift ideas check this site out.

    mens gift ideas´s last post…Voodoo Knife Block

  45. Thanks for all the great ideas. Here is mine… this year we decided no purchased gifts. Things must be homemade or a chit for a service at the will of the owner. I am making our grown sons a recipe book from home. I will give them each a hard copy and one on a CD. Know they will appreciate this as both cook.

  46. I have no idea what to get for my boyfriend. He’s a picky person but i love em.

  47. Key fobs made from fabric their favorite team logo, also beer can coozies.

  48. Christina says:

    I am making a friend an oatmeal tweed afghan for Christmas. I am hoping he likes it!!

  49. HELP!!

    gift I was getting for my husband STILL hasn’t shown up.

    I need something quick and hand made to give him…

    He doesn’t like sports and I’ve done coupons before…