Beyond Ties and Coffee Mugs: How to Make Father’s Day Memorable for Your Dad

Father’s Day–it comes along every June, and with it comes the challenge of getting your father a gift he will enjoy. When we were little, it was not so tough: we could press painted handprints onto a piece of paper and he would consider it an artistic masterpiece. Although our dads would probably still love a handmade, crayon-and-marker card, as adults we have the resources to do more than that.

Walk down the aisles of any megastore and you will see the usual suspects: golf balls, ties, and coffee mugs. But really, how many of those do our fathers really need? Although my dad still goes to work every day, many of my friends have dads who have retired and don’t even wear ties except for weddings and funerals.   To break out of the gift-giving rut, I have a few suggestions.

Upgrade: Many of our fathers would give anything for their families, but rarely think to do things for themselves. This combined with the ‘if it still works keep it’ mentality, means that many of them are relying on the same gear they have had for decades. For instance, my sister and I took my dad golfing last year; his woods were actually made of wood. How could you help your father move into the 21st century? A new grill, upgraded tool box/tools, new golf clubs, or a better fishing pole are all possibilities. My sister recently got my parents new sling chairs to take to their grandkids’ sporting activities, replacing their bulky, circa-1970s lawn chairs. Just think of one thing you could upgrade for your dad that would make his life more enjoyable.

Do keep a few things in mind when it comes to gift-giving. First, be sure your dad is open to new experiences if you go that route. There is no point buying the latest GPS system if you know it will sit in the box indefinitely. Also, think about any inherent expenses that come with a new gift: a Blu-ray player is great, but the discs cost more than standard DVDs; music downloads/apps will cost money to add to any mp3 player or upgraded cell phone, etc. Ultimately, the fact that you took time to choose something that is important to your dad will be as special to him as the gift itself.