10 Creative DIY Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Man (That Are Under $20)

You don't need a lot of coins to pull off a special Christmas.


December is a month that's always super crazy to me when it comes to how I process time. The reason why is because, no matter what has transpired in the months leading up to it, once the final month of the calendar year pops up, I'm always caught off guard. Something tells me that a lot of you can totally relate—especially since we're literally just days away from Christmas Day.

Whether you're the consummate last-minute shopper or you're struggling a bit to figure out what to do this year because money is tighter than it's been in a while, I've got a few ideas on gifts that you can make for the special man in your life that are sweet, thoughtful and that you can put together for under $20 (before tax and wrapping paper). Hopefully, this will give you one less thing to stress out about before Christmas comes.

1. Date Calendar


I believe I've shared in an article on this platform before that, to this day, one of my favorite DIY gift ideas comes from a husband, who, on one of his wife's birthdays, he gave her an annual calendar. It wasn't just any ole' calendar, though. He actually went through every single month and pre-planned dates for them to go on. He also included a handwritten letter about how, no matter what life would bring their way, she would always be his top priority. How thoughtful, romantic and—one of my personal favorite words—proactive was that?

You could do the same thing by picking up a calendar and pre-planning some dates. For the record, it doesn't always have to be something that's over the time; you can have some dates right from the comfort and convenience of your own home (check out "10 Romantic Dates You Can Go On (In Your Own Home)"). Shoot, you could really put a smile on your man's face and throw in a few sex datestoo.

If you really wanna DIY it, you can make your own Instagram calendar (check that out here), create your dates in the form of a journal calendar (some easy instructions for that are located right here) or, you can even make a pencil holder type of calendar for his desk (tips on how to do that are here).

2. Personalized Candle

Two things I've come to learn that a lot of men like are flowers and candles. So yeah, if you and your partner happen to be apart this Christmas and you know that he enjoys a fresh bouquet from time to time, having one delivered could definitely put a smile on his face. Or, if he enjoys coming home, turning on some music, opening up a bottle of wine and lighting a few candles, a sentimental approach would be to carve your initials (you know, like how kids used to do on trees back in the day) or a short 'n sweet message onto one. All you need to do this is a linoleum cutter, a metallic pen and some tape. Oh, and a (tall) candle, of course. If you want to take a stab at this, you can get some step-by-step instructions here.

3. Beard Oil & Aftershave


There is something that is oh so sexy about a man who rocks a well-manicured beard. But something that a lot of us—and by "us", I mean women—don't really think about is a great beard goes well beyond a shape up. Self-care products like beard oil are necessary too. So, why not make your man some to put into his Christmas stocking?

All you need is a carrier oil and essential oil, along with the right kind of storage bottle and you're good to go. If you'd like a CliffsNotes read on which oils are able accomplish what (as far as facial hair is concerned), Wise Beards has a cool article entitled, "7 Do It Yourself Beard Oil Recipes—The Ultimate DIY Guide". If you'd like to accompany the beard oil with some homemade aftershave, I found some great recipes for that here, here and here. (Arts and crafts stores typically sell bottles to package items like this in, by the way.)

4. Customized Gift Basket

Sometimes, when funds are low and I want to do something thoughtful for an individual in my life, I'll go to an arts and crafts store to pick up a basket, some cellophane, some tissue paper and a bow and then fill the basket up with random stuff. Maybe some homemade muffins or cookies. Some homemade spices or infused sugar blends. I've even been known to make body washes and lotions too. It really depends on what kind of theme that I want the gift basket to be.

Well, another cool DIY Christmas idea is to make a gift basket for your partner. It can have a food theme, an office theme, a car theme, a sports theme, a self-care theme, a sex theme—it's totally up to you. For instance, on the self-care tip, you can put in some travel-size toiletries, a beard brush, some shaving razors, some DIY massage oil and a new nail kit.

5. Wallet Cards


Who hasn't heard of a love (or sex) coupon book? A masculine twist to those is to make wallet cards instead. It's the exact same thing, only you print your "free for one massage" or "free for your favorite kind of movie night" on a card that fits conveniently into his wallet, so that he can carry his coupons wherever he goes. Click here to print off some that are already designed with messages on them. Also, if you want to laminate the cards so that they'll last longer, there's a YouTube video that can show you how to do it without an actual laminating machine here.

6. Sex Box

There's a young Black couple on YouTube that I check out from time to time (mostly because I remember when the guy was a playboy online and now he's all in love 'n stuff; it's cute). Their channel is called Cey & Jai. Anyway, Jai recently got Cey a PS5 for his birthday and ever since, pretty much not one video goes by, where she doesn't slay something slick about wishing that she never got it…because he is always on it.

If you can totally relate, I recently saw a "fix" for that—a DIY sex box. What you do is create controller pieces and add duel-adhesive foam stickers to them so that they end up having a 3D effect. Then you write sexy messages on the back; you know, things that will make your man want to put the game down and play with you for a while. If this has piqued your interest, you can get the deets on how to make your own sex box here.

7. Throw Blanket


Who doesn't like to cuddle up with their boo under a comfy blanket during this time of the year? Well, even if you're not a master knitter or crocheter, you can still make one for your partner. How? By doing something that is known as finger knitting. Basically, you get yourself some Bernat Alize Blanket EZ Yarn, download some instructions (some are here) and you're all set.

The long short of it is this works because, since there are already loops in the yarn, you can use your fingers to connect the loops rather than applying an actual needle (how cool is that?). Just select your man's favorite colors and then, once you're done, put his favorite scent (on you) on it. It'll easily become one of his favorite presents of all time.

8. Lipstick Art

Here's an idea that is super easy while being both cute and sexy too. If you want a subtle way for your boo to think of you while sitting in his office, why not give him some lipstick art? All you're literally doing is choosing different shades of lipstick, kissing a piece of blank paper and then framing the final result once you're done. Then you can put a personal message either in the corner or on the back of the frame. You can get an idea of what the final result would look like by going here.

9. Personalized Coasters and Cup Sleeve


What if you want to get something for your significant other that is more on the practical side of things? How about some customized coasters and a couple of personalized cup sleeves for his favorite drinks—hot and cold? A site called Thinking Closet can walk you through a whopping 30 different DIY coaster ideas (check it out here). Some felt and Velcro can help you to make the cutest cup sleeves (DIY instructions are here).

10. DIY Bedroom Board Game

I write way too much about sex on this platform to not end this DIY Christmas gift idea piece with some kind of gift that will get the fires burning in your bedroom. If you and your man enjoy unplugging and doing something as simple as playing a board game sometimes, The Dating Divas offers up some helpful tips on how to make your own (right here). Just make sure that you've got a mistletoe, a Santa hat and a prize for the winner close by. It's sure to be a naughty with a side of nice night once he opens this up. Merry Christmas, y'all!

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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