25 THOUGHTFUL & PERSONAL GIFTS every dad WILL LOVE
Summer is almost here and with it comes a special day for the most special guy in your life – Father’s Day! Finding the perfect gift for dad can be tough, especially when it seems like he’s a man who has everything. Because we know this can be a challenge, we have compiled this extensive, practical gift guide for all the dads out there.
Whether your looking for the perfect Father’s Day present or just trying to grab a great gift to show your appreciation any other day of the year, you’ll find gifts of all kinds on our list that are perfect for every budget and every Dad!
This Father’s Day surprise your father with a unique, thoughtful gift that he’ll remember forever.
THE HISTORY OF father's day
It might surprise you to learn that Father’s Day is a relatively young holiday. Many might assume it was created as a response to Mother’s Day or as an excuse for companies to increase profits through selling cards and gifts. That’s simply not the case! The truth, especially in the United States, is far more interesting.
As far as historians have been able to tell, the first Father’s Day was observed in 1908 in Monongah, West Virginia. However, it wasn’t the joyful occasion it is today. In the aftermath of a coal mining accident that left 362 men dead, a small church in the area held a memorial service for the dead in the year after the accident. This sermon was the first event to honor all fathers, and specifically the ones who had been killed in the accident, as well as acknowledge the young children and families they left behind.
It would be the next year, in 1909, that a young woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon in her hometown of Spokane, Washington. If mothers were to be honored, why not have a similar day to celebrate fathers as well?
Her own father, a Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a widower; he raised her and her five siblings on his own. With that goal in mind – and at the age of sixteen – Dodd launched a campaign to create a new holiday.
Sonora Smart Dodd (left), William Jackson Smart (right)
In 1910, Washington state held the first official Father’s Day celebration, setting aside the third Sunday of June for the day. While the tradition slowly began to spread across the states, there was no formal recognition of the observance.
After Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914, the first murmurings of the same for Father’s Day began. President Woodrow Wilson and his family observed Father’s Day in The White House in 1916, making him the first US President to do so. Though he had signed Mother’s Day though as a holiday, he was not able to convince Congress to do the same for Father’s Day out of fear of it becoming commercialized.
By 1924, President Calvin was urging the nation to celebrate by signing a resolution “to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.” More and more families continued to observe Father’s Day, despite the lack of formal recognition.
Meanwhile, several members of congress would push for an official proclamation over the years without success. Finally, in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an Executive Order recognizing Father’s Day to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. Even after this, it wouldn’t be until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the official proclamation that Father’s Day became a federal holiday.
So this year, when you’re picking out the perfect gift for Dad, remember Sonora Dodd and her quest to get all fathers the recognition they deserve.
WHY WE honor our DADS
There are few more underrated jobs in the world than parenting. It’s a full-time job that requires empathy, flexibility, and a whole lot of patience. All parents deserve a day of appreciation to be celebrated, relax, and enjoy some quality time with their families.
While Mother’s Day often takes the focus, Father’s Day should not be so easily overlooked. After all, it can be just as tough to be a Dad. They work hard all year round; it’s time to show them how much they matter!
This is the day to show all the deserving men in your life how much they matter and what an important influence they have had on you.
It’s an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices they’ve made for their families, the contributions they continue to make within the household, and the many life lessons they’ve taught us over the years.
What better way to show your appreciation than finding something he’ll love?
25 father's day GIFT IDEAS
Choosing the perfect Father’s Day gift that expresses your love and appreciation can be challenging. Are you tired of handing over the same old card or t-shirt he’ll never wear outside the house? Make this the year you find something that truly resonates with Dad, even if it’s a little unorthodox!
Not all gifts have to be expensive, especially when we know that Dad’s favorite way to celebrate is spending the day with you. With that in mind, we’ve included gift ideas for all kinds of dads – the outdoorsman, the sports fan, the foodie, and the crafty, artistic dads we all love! Many even include the whole family! You’re sure to find something that’s perfect for the Father (or fathers) on your list this year.
1. START WITH A PHONE CALL
Sometimes spending Father’s Day with your loved ones can be difficult if not impossible. You may live far away for one another or you may find yourself out of town or unavailable for a visit. On those occasions, it can be the simplest gift that means the most.
The best thing you can do is give your Father a call to catch up and wish him well on the holiday. Quality time isn’t always spent in person, especially when circumstances keep you apart. The most important aspect of the day is to simply show that you care.
Even if you do have something else planned for the day (or have a gift in the mail!), Dad is sure to be happy to hear from you, especially if you catch him at the beginning of his day. You can make Father’s Day special whatever the distance.
2. PLAY CATCH
Nostalgia can play a big part in holidays like Father’s Day. It’s a great opportunity to take time to reconnect with your father – and perhaps the entire family – by sharing an activity the two of you enjoyed when you were young. For many sporty dads, that can include a good old-fashioned game of catch.
You only need a couple of mitts and a baseball, or a football, to make this gift into a reality. It’s a relatively inexpensive gift, especially if you already have those things on hand. It can also be a gift with more meaning and heart than you might expect. It’s also a great chance to catch up and share some old stories about your childhood (or his!). You can spend the time chatting and just being with each other.
If you live in a heavily populated or urban area, you can also plan a trip to the park or open space for the afternoon. Dad is sure to appreciate it.
3. GO ON A HIKE
It can be tough finding a gift for the Great Outdoorsman. He most likely has just about every fun gadget or piece of camping gear that catches his eye. If that is the case, why not plan a day hike for the two of you to enjoy?
You can spend the day out in nature, have an adventure, and get a little exercise in the process. Depending on the length of the hike, you can make it a family affair. If you have kids, it’s a fun activity for them to share with their dad or grandfather, creating memories for you all the enjoy.
Most National Parks charge a small entry fee but may other state parks and local trails are free to enter most of the year. Websites like All Trails help you quickly find trails in your area that are within your skill and time allowance. Who knows, you may find a new favorite spot for future hikes?
4. WASH HIS CAR
While it may sound odd at first, let us sell you on this gift. Is Dad proud of his car? That’s not unusual! It’s likely a model he put through and effort into choosing. Why not show him you care by helping, too? Little acts of kindness – or acts of service, as they are sometimes called – are a great way to show others that you love them.
Doing a relatively minor chore for your loved ones can be just as meaningful as purchasing something for them, especially if the giver is particularly young. If you’re a Mom looking through this list looking for ideas for your husband or partner, you may think about suggesting it as an option for the kids. Odds are, they’ll have a blast doing it.
This is also a great way to help aging parents, too. It may be more difficult for dad to clean and detail the car the same way he once could. Having a helping hand could make all the difference.
5. SPEND THE DAY DOING HIS FAVORITES
Nothing shows how much you care more than remembering the things your loved ones enjoy. Why not surprise Dad with a day out doing something he loves most? You cannot discount the importance of spending quality time with a parent for Father’s Day. It’s a great way to make him feel special.
It can be as simple as visiting a pub he likes for a drink or watching some of his favorite funny old movies at home from the comfort of his couch. If he’s a big fan, you can also think about grabbing tickets to a professional sports game in the area. It matters most to do something he loves with him.
6. CLEAN THE GARAGE
How many times as Dad mentioned what a mess his garage (or toolshed or even office) is and then bemoan how he just doesn’t have the time to clean it up? Father’s Day a great opportunity to tackle the task he’s been putting off.
This goes along with the same general rule as washing the car. It’s a gift that’s also an act of service, providing him with a clean space that shows you care about his interests even if you don’t share them.
If you’re a co-parent looking for a gift that includes everyone, you can grab the kids and make it a family affair. After a little organization, it will be a relief when he can finally find what he’s looking for!
7. PICK OUT DADDY DAUGHTER JEWELRY
This is a trend that’s been around for a long time. Usually, the recipient of such a gift is the daughter. Why not flip the script this Father’s Day and get dad something that reminds him of his daughter while still being wearable and fashionable at the same time? Finding great jewelry for dad can be hard, especially when he isn’t the type to wear it.
However, there are a lot of great, masculine options out there, including this silver My Heart Belongs To necklace set which includes two necklaces, one for him and one for you to keep. The shape of the pendant is a classic dog tag, making it a great option for a serviceman, and the smaller heart-shaded pendant matches the cut out in the original.
Customized jewelry is popular for all ages and you can have any name custom engraved on this piece. This is the perfect gift from daddy’s little girl, whether she’s five or twenty-five.
Like What You See? Shop The Trend!
8. TRY OUT A BEER CLUB SUBSCRIPTION
Does Dad enjoy trying new things? Does he like beer? You can easily combine those two things in a gift that is both physical item and experience wrapped into one.
Subscription services have become increasingly popular gift options as more of us turn to the internet for shopping. With a craft beer club subscription, you can have delicious, regional brews from around the country delivered directly to his home.
Most beer club subscription services deliver twelve beers monthly, providing the opportunity to try new options from micro-breweries and well-loved brands. You can choose monthly, every-other-month, or quarterly options for whatever fits your taste (and your budget!). We recommend trying out Craft Beer Club.
9. TAKE A WEEKEND FISHING TRIP
Fishing is an honored pastime for many Americans. How many of us remember spending an early morning or a lazy afternoon with dad, sitting on a local dock, or in a motorboat waiting for just the right fish to bite?
Those days were likely as memorable for dad as they were for you, especially if he’s an avid fisherman. Recreating these moments from your childhood just might make the perfect gift this Father’s Day.
You’ll want to do some planning if you have to go any distance to find the perfect fishing spot. If you’re feeling particularly nostalgic, you can rent a cabin on the lake and take a long weekend reliving those good old days together!
10. FIND THE PERFECT STEAK DINNER
Everyone deserves to be wined and dined, even good old dad! If you don’t feel like cooking (or if you don’t trust your culinary skills) on Father’s Day, you can always treat your father to a nice dinner at his favorite restaurant or decide to try something new together.
You can choose someplace fancy or if it’s more his style, just a casual spot for dinner and maybe catch a show or event afterward. Who knows, you may start a brand-new Father’s Day tradition?
11. GET HIM A GREAT BOTTLE OF WHISKEY
There are always options for the spirit connoisseur. Whiskey is a popular choice for many people, including those who appreciate finer spirits.
Whether he’s a fan of scotch or bourbon, presenting dad with a great bottle of whiskey will be an immediate win for the holiday. If you need some additional assistance, you can refer to this list of great options for high-quality and affordable bottles perfect for the occasion.
As a note, we acknowledge this is a decidedly adult gift. It’s undoubtedly best coming from mom or older kids who have reached adulthood themselves.
12. DELIVER A GREAT GROOMING KIT
Practical gifts are great for a practical man, especially one who likely has just about everything he needs or protests that he “doesn’t need anything,” as many fathers are prone to do. Still, Dad needs to shave, especially if he’s sporting a beard these days.
Even if he’s not likely to splurge on these things himself, we’re confident he’ll enjoy a little luxury once it’s at his fingertips. The trick will be finding a scent you think he’ll enjoy and use.
If you already know the brands he likes, it should be easier to choose an option that is refreshing and masculine. If not, you can always pick up a full gift set from a brand like The Beard Club or even a subscription to the Dollar Shave Club.
Odds are that Mom will probably appreciate the added care to his routine, too.
13. MAKE HIM SOME CUSTOM SOCKS
Some gifts are just too much fun (and funny!) to pass up. These custom socks like the ones from Make Face Socks are exactly that! They are a unique, personalized gift that will appeal to his funny bone while still being practical. After all, everyone needs socks! (They also serve as a funny nod to all those Christmas’s when you received that year’s pair of socks).
Can you imagine Dad’s face when you present him with a delightful pair of socks with his own face on them? What about the beloved family pet? Or maybe your face, so he can be reminded of you (and your quirky sense of humor) whenever he spots them in the drawer!
14. BRING THE DAD JOKES
In the last few years, there has been a resurgence of popularity in terrible dad jokes. We’ve all heard them. They’re corny, silly, and outright punny most of the time. They’ve taken the internet by storm and continue to be well-loved (and loudly groaned at) by just about everyone.
If you are looking for a gift that comes with a sense of humor, why not give your dad a book that will give him even more ideas for embarrassing the kids (or grandkids) for weeks or even months to come? A book of dad jokes!
It’s a silly gift but one that we know anyone with a sense of humor will love to have around, and it comes with the bonus of both annoying and delighting the whole family.
15. SIT DOWN FOR A FAMILY DINNER
When was the last time you all sat down together to share a meal? For many families, it’s a much rarer occasion than you might think. Busy schedules for both kids and parents cut down on quality time families spend together in general, so consider taking the time to sit down at home and enjoy one another’s company over a good meal.
If you enjoy cooking or would like to challenge yourself, you should consider doing the cooking yourself. As a bonus, consider making his favorite meal or dish. Showing appreciation for Dad is the primary focus of Father’s Day, after all.
16. GO FOR A BEER TASTING
If your father enjoys beer but enjoys the experience of sharing it with others even more, then you might consider taking him out for a beer tasting for Father’s Day. This is an experience the two of you can share and enjoy a few tasty new beverages while you’re out.
Most cities have local breweries that hold regular tastings. You can usually reserve spots in advance for a small fee. They are often accompanied by tours of the facility, too.
This is a great gift for an adult child to give to their father or for a parent to give to their partner. If you want a relaxing afternoon with your partner away from the kids, this can be a great way to sneak in a date night as well.
17. TAKE A COOKING CLASS TOGETHER
What about a gift for the foodies? Whether Dad is a culinary artist or just a man who enjoys working in the kitchen, no one is ever too old to learn new skills. Or new recipes!
You can sign dad – and yourself – up for a class and learn how to make an entrée, appetizer, and dessert. Not only will you have fun, but you’ll also have a new talent to bring home!
Companies like Sur la Table offers classes in many stores and other locations across the United States. Many local businesses offer the same.
18. BUILD SOMETHING TOGETHER
This is another great option that’s perfect for dads that value experience over traditional gifts. Setting out to create something together is great for crafty dads that are always trying to show you their latest work, whether it’s woodworking, leather-working, or even 3-D printing.
Maybe it’s a skill you both share and you haven’t been able to make it into the workshop recently. Or perhaps it’s something he’s always enjoyed sharing with you when you were younger. Either way, it’s a great chance to spend the day with him!
19. MAKE A PLAYLIST
This is a great inexpensive, long-distance gift for a music lover. It’s also admittedly a little unorthodox but we know that some parents can often be just as unorthodox themselves. Music is a profoundly personal thing for many people. It evokes emotion, brings us closer together, and triggers memories with only a few notes.
It makes sense that you’d like to share that with Dad, especially if you have strong musical associations with him. It can also be a gift for musicians, anyone who attends concerts regularly, or someone who just appreciates music. To make the gift more meaningful, you can add a note that explains why you chose each song on the list, making the whole endeavor more personal.
This gift is recommended for teens or even young adults who may not have much disposable income but still would like to do something thoughtful. You can also pair this one with another option on our list if you’d like.
20. PAMPER HIM
We aren’t advocating you send Dad to the spa for a day of mani/pedis (unless he would enjoy that) but rather consider booking an afternoon in a massage or sauna. It’s a relaxing opportunity to get out of the house for a few hours and focus on him.
If dad does a lot of physical labor, he may have aches and pains or even muscle tension that never quite goes away. Massage is therapeutic and can have bonus health benefits when it comes to stress reduction, increased blood circulation, and increase joint flexibility and movement.
21. GET HIM CUSTOM SPORTS TAGS
Are sports a big part of your household? If you can’t make it out to the big game, there are many ways to commemorate Dad’s favorite pastime. If you’d like something understated, these Name and Numbers Dog Tags are a perfect choice.
Not only can you have his favorite player’s number and name engraved on one of the tags, but you can also make it more personal. Perhaps Dad played sports when he was younger; you can give him a way to relive his youth by putting his old jersey number on the tags
Do any of your children play sports? Dad may want to remember their winning season, too! The customization options are endless! Messages in Metal offer custom dog tags for every sport!
Like What You See? Explore The Collection!
22. DIY PROJECT WITH THE KIDS
Are you looking for something to give Dad “from the kids” that is a little more than a handmade card? If we’re being honest, Dad will love anything the kids give him, but you may want to find something that won’t just be slipped into a memory box next week.
Why not consider a DIY project that’s fun, clever, and practical for everyday use! Good Housekeeping has put together a comprehensive list of projects you and the kids can make together with a little extra time. Not only are they all adorable, but they are also things he can proudly display at home or in the office.
23. SNAG SOME CUSTOM CUFFLINKS
Every man needs a good pair of cufflinks. Depending on his line of work, he may need them frequently. Even if he rarely needs them, Dad will appreciate having them in his closet when the time comes. Instead of purchasing something generic, you can have a personalized pair crafted for him with very little added expense.
You may consider an elegant monogrammed pair for the traditional straight-laced dad or a kitschy but still stylish dinosaur skeleton set for the eccentric dad who likes to stand out.
24. TAKE A LOCAL TOUR
Would your dad enjoy a spooky ghost tour of the historic district? What about a boat tour out in the bay or harbor? Maybe he’d like to tour a local museum or art district? You never know what sort of hidden gems your city might offer until you take a look.
Most urban centers have a variety of walking tours available seven days a week. Some larger cities have bus or boat tours as well. Whatever his hobbies are, you may find a new way to explore a familiar city together that piques both your interests!
25. CHECK SOMETHING OFF HIS BUCKET LIST
Father’s Day is the chance to do something unique and special. It may be time to turn to Dad and see what things he’d like to do for the day. Everyone has a bucket list of some kind, even if it isn’t a finite thing. There are always things we’d like to do or experience.
Why not take this year’s holiday to check something off his list? It could be something as simple as taking a road trip to a certain city, trying a new experience like sky diving, or even check out a new cuisine he’d always wondered about.
It’s never too late to try new things. By experiencing these things together, you’ll be making the memories of a lifetime.
REMEMBERING OTHER father figures IN OUR LIVES
Father’s Day is a time to honor all the important men in your life. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. It’s likely many of us know great men who have provided role models, mentors, or even a shoulder to cry on throughout our lives. We should celebrate these men as well.
The uncles, older brothers, our grandfathers, and even close friends who stood by us during hard times, even sometimes when our fathers could not. In so many ways, they deserve the same recognition for their part in our development into being who we are today.
Father’s Day is the perfect chance to reach out to the important men in your life and show your appreciation of them. For many, these surrogate fathers were the most important figures for them and there is no shame in showing them exactly how much they matter.
There’s even room to celebrate the dog dads on this day! Not everyone has children, but many pet owners share a kinship with their dogs or cats that make them prime candidates for gifts on this day. While you may not celebrate in the traditional sense, you can always pick up a treat for the pampered pet or even a fun pet-themed accessory – like one of these amazing and hilarious pet portraits from Crown & Paw – that you and your guy can hang in your home to amuse and bewilder your houseguests.
GIFTS not to give DAD
There are thousands of amazing gift ideas for dad, many of which are highlighted above. However, there are almost an equal number of gifts that are tired, inappropriate, or just overdone. It should come as no surprise that Father’s Day just isn’t as popular as Mother’s Day. This is often reflected in the caliber and spending budget of gift offerings on the day. We know that Dad will love whatever you give him because it came from you, but we’d also like to highlight some of the common pitfalls in gifting to avoid.
GENERIC GIFT CARDS
Admittedly, gift cards are an easy gift. You can pick them up at almost any retail establishment, including most large grocery store chains. They are versatile and universal. All said, there are plenty of times when giving a gift card is appropriate. Father’s Day is not one of them.
Gift cards are generic, open-ended gifts that require very little thought, especially if they are for large retailers. If you want a gift that will wow, avoid them.
ANYTHING WITH WORLD'S GREATEST DAD
Unless you are celebrating the first Father’s Day after your first child’s birth, skip this one altogether. He’ll likely up with enough things saying some form of the slogan of the years without adding to it on Father’s Day.
He probably doesn’t need another mug, t-shirt, or keychain with some cute and ridiculous saying on it, even if he does get enjoyment out of being the Best Dad Ever every day of the year. Keep this in mind
for Grandfather gifts as well. Save the fun slogans for another day and instead focus on something just for him on Father’s Day!
We’ve all been tempted by these nifty little trinkets before. You’ve seen the Remote Control Cushion or a Bluetooth toaster and thought they might make fun presents.
Don’t be swayed; they never stay funny or charming for very long. But after the novelty wears off in a few hours, where does that leave them? They’ll likely become clutter and junk for Dad to deal with.
When choosing a Father’s Day gift, try to find something that will be practical, provide a memorable experience, or be a keepsake he’ll love. Useless but fun gadgets, no matter how catchy their name, just don’t cut it.
A TEXT MESSAGE
Unless you have serious extenuating circumstances, you should make the effort to call on Father’s Day if you cannot be there in person. A text message is perhaps the single worse gift your dad could receive outside of forgetting that it’s Father’s Day at all.
If you must send a digital message, try emailing him a heartfelt message instead. The effort will be appreciated more than a few lines of text.
WHEN DAD is hurting ON FATHER'S DAY
On a day celebrating fathers, it can be difficult to participate in festivities when you’ve recently lost a loved one. Father’s Day can look vastly different after your father passes away, as many of you might already know. It can be just as difficult after your father’s father has passed. It can certainly make the day bittersweet or even painful. Knowing how to navigate the day may require extra care and understanding from the whole family.
If you’re facing the first Father’s Day without grandpa, you may want to be prepared to see how Dad is handling the loss. Grief is a complex, difficult thing to understand, predict, and navigate.
Even if he’s had time to process his grief, the day may bring back memories and unexpected emotions he might not anticipate. As Father’s Day approaches, reach out to your Dad and encourage him to talk about any concerns or if he has any preferences for the day.
If Dad doesn’t feel up to celebrating as he usually does, don’t take this as a personal slight. Everyone grieves differently and what might appear as indifference might be a coping mechanism. Include him in your plans early this year, making sure he’ll be able to enjoy the experience. If not, you might consider a raincheck or push back the day you choose to celebrate.
This might be especially hard if you have kids who do not understand why their grandfather is struggling or not fully engaged with the whole family. It will help if you’re prepared to talk to them about why grandpa is sad or, if they are very small, be ready to distract them from the situation.
One thing you should always keep in mind is that you are allowed to grieve, too. Losing a loved one is never easy. It may be that you spend the day reminiscing about Grandpa and doing things that remind Dad of the good memories the two shared. In the end, there is no wrong way to observe Father’s Day; it is always whatever is best for your family.
SHOW DAD some love THIS FATHER'S DAY
Father’s Day comes once a year. With it comes the opportunity to share our love and appreciation of dad – and all the other important men in our lives – through gifts, acts of service, and quality spent with him. The best gifts aren’t always the most expensive or flashiest on the market.
What matters most is finding something meaningful and heartfelt that will make Dad feel special long after the day is over! Whatever choice is best for you, we know your dad will love and appreciate the thoughtfulness you’ve put into making his day special.
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June 5, 2020 by Conor Daniels