Otherwise, gifts on a budget, for the dudes, can be much more of a challenge than for the dudettes.
My husband is always happy with edibles. Christmas is a good time to make a couple of items that are particular favorites of his. For instance, I don't care much for Rice Crispy treats, but he LOVES them. So a container of his very own Rice Crispy treats is always appreciated. My husband also loves, loves, loves salsa. Normally, I just make the regular tomato salsa. It's good, he enjoys it, but it's nothing special. For Christmas, I'm planning on making him a small batch of a special salsa, like this roasted pepper salsa, from from onetomato-twotomato.com:
I can make the salsa late this summer, and keep it hidden until Christmas. And with a large bag of tortilla chips, he'll be a happy muncher.
Other years, I've made a large coffee can filled with homemade poppycock/cracker jacks for my husband.
I've used this pattern to make cotton boxer shorts for my husband, in past years. I had the fabric on hand, and only needed to buy the elastic.
This year, I'll use the same pattern to make some lounge pants for my son. (Hubby's got all the lounge pants/pj pants and boxers he can use for now.) I'll extend the legs on the pattern, for his height, and use some elastic that I have leftover from making boxer-shorts. My only cost will be about 2 yards of fabric -- probably fleece.
Last winter, my husband lost the fleece hat that I'd made for him, several years ago. Soooo, guess who'll be getting another hat this Christmas? I'll check my supplies for making one, here at home, then price supplies to make one from fleece or yarn. If I can make one for under a dollar, then I'll make it. However, Dollar Tree always has a large selection of hats. If it looks like I can buy a hat from DT for less than making one, I'll buy one. It could be that I'll have enough fleece leftover from making the lounge pants for my son, to make a hat for my husband. BTW, fleece hats are super-duper simple to make, no pattern required.
Hand-crafted soap is not just for the ladies. I'll also be making some soap for my guys. Only for them, I'll be making soap-on-a-rope and shaving soap/cream.
Remember all of those Christmases when you gave dear old dad a soap on a rope? I've given my son SoaR a couple of times. It's kind of a novelty, but also very practical for those who only shower. The soap can hang from the shower head or faucet, and not sit in a puddle of water in a soap dish.
I'll have some soap base leftover from making almond-oatmeal soap, so no cost there. I'll add some sandalwood fragrance oil, for a manly-man scent ($3.99 for a .5 ounce bottle at Michael's, with a coupon, as little as $2). I won't buy a mold, but will use a container from home. The rope or cord doesn't need to be anything specific. I'm thinking bleached, used shoelaces, with the capped ends cut off, should work fine. My bars of sandalwood soap-on-a-rope should cost about $1 each.
I'm thinking the soap on a rope will turn out something like these two, with the soap poured around the rope:
For the shaving soap, I'm not sure yet, if I'll make a hard disk of soap, using my soap supplies and an empty chip can as a mold (then slicing), like this:
Or a creamy shave soap, in a glass jar, like this:
One more consumable, inexpensive gift for men
A couple of years ago, I put together a shoe-polishing kit for my son (blogged here). He wears dress shoes every week day, as does my husband. He likely needs some "refills" for that kit, more polish, and clean flannel cloths. My husband probably also could use some refills. The cloths I make from fabric I have at home, and the tins of polish are inexpensive (under $3 at Wal-Mart).