Gifting For Guys
By Melanie Christiansen

Making holiday gifts for friends and family adds that personal touch that many find rewarding and sentimental. Crafting gifts for the males in our lives, however, can be quite a challenge. Finding something they will enjoy and appreciate is not an easy task. Most men tend toward utilitarian tastes: They want something useful; something that won't take up space unnecessarily; something that has meaning.


For sports fans, we can make gift baskets complete with a referee book. These come in handy when the ref appears to be watching a totally different game and the at-home viewer can safely throw the book at the television to vent his frustration.

Take several pieces of felt and secure them in the middle to serve as the book's binding. They can be hot-glued or sewn by machine or hand. On the "cover" of the book write the recipient's favorite sport and the word "Rules," plus that person's name (i.e. SPORTS RULES! or BASEBALL RULES! by John Q. Public).

Use permanent marker, fabric pens, paint or glitter glue. On each page write something that a viewer might yell at the television such as, "Are you BLIND?" "What game are YOU watching?" "He was totally safe!" and more.

Dear Darlene, I miss your cookies. Oh, and I miss you, too.

Homemade "gift of the month" clubs can be creative gifts that are also fabulous budget stretchers. First you must determine what type of gift you will give the person on a monthly basis. It can be a home-baked treat, a mix in a jar, a book, a necktie, art or school supplies, coloring books, or any number of items limited only by your imagination and your budget. This is perfect for guys who find it hard to keep in touch on a regular basis. It is also great for younger boys to learn the concepts of exchange and correspondence.

Once you've decided on your monthly gift, use your word processing software to create a certificate and a dozen coupons printed on cardstock. The certificate should explain the plan and include the recipient's name, the dates available, and the requirements of redeeming the gift coupons. Each coupon should be placed in a self-addressed stamped envelope and the stack can be tied with a colorful ribbon. The certificate can be rolled as a scroll and attached likewise.

Each month, the recipient must use one coupon, mailed to the giver, in order to redeem that month's gift. This allows opportunity for additional correspondence such as snapshots, drawings, letters and more. A great motivator for staying in touch!

My Father Says

You may also collect clever sayings about fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, friends -- or any title that fits. Print these clever quips to make personalized magnets, stationery, sweatshirts or plaques for your male recipient. Search the Internet, poetry books, the library or create your own. The special touch will remind the recipient of your caring gift whenever it is used.

Man-Made Memories

A friend recently created a memory book for her father's sixtieth birthday. She used her Creative Memories scrapbooking supplies to create a wonderful keepsake for him. It depicted moments with him and each of his grandchildren. He reportedly loved it, complimenting it over and over. Usually a man of few words, he commented that this gift was "priceless" to him, and I am sure he will treasure it forever. This type of heartfelt craft can bring out the tender side of guys. Even for a graduation gift or thirtieth birthday, creating a book of memories from his childhood, or that of his kids or grandkids, will be a gift with a special place in his heart.

Sock it to Him

Still at a loss? Everybody needs socks! Buy two pairs of identical socks and have some coordinating buttons and thread on hand. Find a small dowel or heavy wire that you can fashion into a miniature clothes hanger. Arrange the first pair of socks on a table in front of you so the soles are touching and the cuffs are pointing away from each other, opening towards you. The toes will be pointing away from you. The other pair of socks should be placed so that the feet overlap and cover the toes of the first pair. The socks should look like a pair of long johns. Stitch the socks together loosely so that they hold that shape, adding a few buttons down the middle of the front. Attach the following poem with a small safety pin:

"I made these dandy long johns
They shrunk a bit it's true
But cut the strings that hold them
And you'll find brand new socks for you!"

A little creativity and a touch of imagination can go a long way when crafting for men. Start by thinking of what you know about your guy and build on his interests. Something that will require minimum output from him and without requiring dusting will satisfy even the most elusive gift recipient. Have fun with it and make it fun for him, and everyone will have a heartfelt holiday!

Melanie Christiansen lives in northwest Ohio with her husband of 12 years, their two cats of 11 years, and their two-year-old child. Raising their daughter is her full-time job. On the side, she runs an online support group for housewives and sells educational toys, along with her own handmade crafts. Her website is mamalanie/craftycrafterson..

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