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 to 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, t here'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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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood. We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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