I tend to stress out over Father’s Day. I always forget that it’s in June and then stores don’t start advertising it until a week before and suddenly I’m scurrying to think of something.
This year I’ve remembered to look up the date (it’s June 16, by the way)…and I think I have an idea of what to get.
Dads are always incredibly difficult to get presents for. I see a ton of homemade things on Pinterest all the time, but let’s be honest, do we really think these are dad-appropriate? Homemade cards, ties, candy in a pretty jar? No. All of those presents were obviously thought up by girls who just have no clue what men like. There are some homemade gifts that would be pretty nice and I’ll get to those in a moment. They seem to be the exception, though, and not the rule (if the lame gifts my Pinterest search brought up has anything to say about it…don’t get your dad M&Ms in a mason jar…it’s not as thoughtful as you might think).
Of course, many simpler gifts are pretty appropriate and meaningful when coming from a young child or toddler. But once you’re an adult, it’s not so easy. Adults tend to be held to higher standards. Who knew? 😛
A tip that I always find helpful when I’m searching for a present for my dad is this: is it useful or fun? I have never met a man who liked home decor (I seriously saw a Father’s Day gift idea that was a wreath…are you kidding me?). The idea of having one more thing sitting in the way is usually fairly irritating to a guy. (This is, of course, not true for all guys. But in my own experience, men don’t actually like home decor items unless it’s really meaningful for or made by a small child.)
But a useful item or an item made for entertainment…they love that. Over the years, I have given my father a long line of crappy gifts that I honestly thought he would like. I can’t remember what any of them are.
As for what works…here’s a list of things most men would appreciate–some are cheap, some are more expensive, and others are free (but require a good bit of effort):
- Clothes–he hates shopping, so he usually appreciates it when someone shops for him, as long as you get him something he’ll like. A shirt with the logo of his favorite sports team or band is a guaranteed winner. You can never have too many of those, as long as they’re relatively unique.
- Some specialty food item–his favorite store in the world is The Pepper Palace. If I can get my hands on something from there, I’m golden.
- A book he’s been wanting to read–my dad works on the road, so anything to keep him occupied on long trips is great. He loves John Grisham.
- A computer game–I got him Monopoly for his laptop last year and he plays it all the time. The digital version is the only one he’s allowed to play, because he gets very angry and throws the board if we play the physical one, which we haven’t done in about fifteen years for that very reason. If you’re dad isn’t very good with computers or just doesn’t like them, then this probably isn’t a very good option. Though a real, physical board game is also good.
- A favorite movie–not just any movie, but a movie that he’s wanted for a long time and hasn’t been able to find or a special edition of a movie he loves usually goes over well. A season of Seinfeld also works 😛
- Electronics–the most successful gift I ever got my dad was a solar powered phone and portable device charger. Since he travels a lot, he sometimes doesn’t have access to an outlet so he can charge his phone or laptop (which is important, because he uses both devices for work…mostly to send paperwork to his main office). This charger uses suctions to a windshield in a vehicle and collects sunlight to charge itself and then holds that charge until you plug it into your device (you can also plug it into a wall, if you want to charge it before heading out on a trip). He loved it so much that he bought one for my grandfather…who just loves technology. (I know that’s weird, since most people around his age hate it…but my grandfather is so amazed by the things mankind has come up with. He reminds me of Arthur Weasley with Muggle technology. :P)
- Having his truck detailed—any dad would probably love his. There’s just something to be said about driving around in a clean vehicle.
- Cleaning out the basement and the garage–this is not one I have tried, but I know he’d appreciate it (this is something I would need my brother’s help with). See…my father turned the basement into “Man World.” Unfortunately, people go into Man World, make a mess, and never clean it. Man World also has a door that leads to the garage. Eventually, my dad really wants to remove the wall separating the two rooms and turn the garage into an extension of Man World (with a wet bar). The garage is basically useless because of where it sits in relation to the main road (you can’t see cars coming if you park by the garage…it’s like playing Russian Roulette, basically…”When will I get hit?” So they park on the street in front of the house). So right now there’s just a lot of old junk sitting in it. And leaves. I don’t know how it happened, but it is covered in leaves.
- Cleaning out the attic–this one I have done (though not for Father’s Day). Even though he never goes into the attic, it still went over well. (It should have. It took me two days. Ugh.)
- Basically, anything that will make his life easier–because here’s the mindset: “I work really hard and my home should be where I relax.” Which is easier to make happen now that none of us live with him (since we were the ones making a mess of things). Messiness stresses Dad out a lot, so cleaning a room (like an attic or basement) is appreciated because it’s one less pain-in-the-ass chore that he has to do. Which means more time watching TV or golfing or whatever it is he wants to do in his free time (most likely, it’s reclining with a beer in hand and watching his kids do the work he usually has to do…dads are sadistic like that). So make some “Chore Cards” that he can hand you anytime he wants something done around the house and doesn’t feel like doing it himself. Or just spend all of Father’s Day weekend cleaning the house (that includes: kitchen, bathroom, living room, basement, garage, attic–every room in the house, plus any yard work that needs done). And to top it all off, maybe cook dinner. It will not go unappreciated.
Here’s the biggest problem I have with buying presents: what can I get that won’t weigh him down while he travels? My dad carries a lot of stuff–a duffel bag, a suitcase, a briefcase, a cooler, and a bag for his electronic devices all make up his usual luggage. So whatever I get him either has to be a nice treat for when he finally goes home, or needs to be really useful and very compact so he’ll want to take it with him, but so it doesn’t take up a lot of room.
This year, I’m thinking about some speakers for his iPhone, because he listens to Pandora constantly. I haven’t completely decided, so we’ll see.
Now…all that said, I did find homemade gifts that would be good for a dad whose children are a little older, or even no longer living in his house (which is what I’m going for…there are plenty or DIY gifts for young children, but not so many for adult children).
1. A picture of you (and your siblings) holding the letters that spell “dad.”
This is the lowest on the list, actually. It’s nice, but still probably better if you’re not in your 20’s when you make it.
2. Pictures surrounded by your favorite dad-isms.
This is best if you can find old pictures of yourself or old pictures of you with your dad.
My favorite dad-ism: “I oughta knock you back down those stairs.”–when I came up from the basement and got mouthy about doing the laundry. 😛
SOURCE: The Instinctive Scrapper
3. Lucky As Can Be Handprints
This is obviously best done as babies…. But if you can find your old handprints (or footprints) in a baby book or something, then you can scan them to your computer, put them through some photo editing software, print them out (maybe on some nice scrapbook paper), and mod podge them. If you can make it work, I personally think this is the best option (especially for my dad, who loves how small babies’ hands and feet are.)
SOURCE: The Handmade Home
4. A pocket watch turned photo album.
This would be a great Mom gift, too, if you do it with a locket. But the pocket watch is perfect for a dad, especially if you and your siblings have children. You can fill it with family pictures of your individual families, or put individual pictures of you and your kids in it. Dads love to show off pictures of their kids and grandkids (especially their grandkids). This would be a beautiful, unique way to do that without taking up valuable wallet space.
SOURCE: The Mother Huddle
5. A luggage handle cover
This is great for the dad who travels frequently by plane. Finding your luggage is a huge pain and this would make it much easier.
SOURCE: Little Birdie Secrets