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A last-minute Father’s Day gift guide

Jun. 15, 2018
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We all know that dads are notoriously hard to buy gifts for, and if your dad is anything like mine, he doesn’t really ask for anything, which can make a Father’s Day gift seem like an impossible task. My dad’s birthday is right around the time of Father’s Day, so I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts that are good for dads that don’t really want gifts at all. To help out fellow panicked, last-minute Father’s Day gift-buyers, here is a list of easy, semi-dad-proof gifts for this upcoming Father’s Day. (If you’re really worried now because you didn’t know Father’s Day was coming up, it’s on June 16th this year). 

A Plant $

A cactus is sufficient too, depending on your dad's green thumb. But a plant is a simple gift that can be good if your dad doesn’t particularly want anything. A house plant can also double as some nice room/office decor if your dad isn’t the kind of dad who would buy that for himself. 

Also, if you don’t just want to give your dad an object, you can buy a pot, soil, and seeds, and the two of you can plant it together. 

A Picture $

This is a cliche gift! I was not promising these would be original ideas, just moderately okay ones. In my opinion a framed picture (preferably of the two of you, but feel free to get creative, you know your dad better than I do) is an easy gift that shows your dad you care. And again, it doubles as some room decor that at least my dad probably wouldn’t buy for himself (except for a bizarre collection of wooden animals, but we don’t need to discuss that). 

A Book $

I sometimes feel bad for giving people books as gifts, because it can feel a bit like giving someone work to do. But at the same time, a thoughtful book can be a really great gift. Books are also great, because they’re usually budget-friendly and can be customizable to your dad’s personality. Here are my suggestions for books for your dad:

If your dad is a thinker… How Not to Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg

If your dad is into music… 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery

If your dad is a foodie… Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever

If you dad is into sports… It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins

If your dad is a business guy… New Ideas from Dead CEOs: Lasting Lessons from the Corner Office by Todd G. Buchholz

If your dad loves politics… Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

A Tie $-$$

Because of the usual things like hegemonic masculinity, a lot of dads don’t feel like they can explore their fashion sense and thus don’t really have one. Ties are a good way to help your dad up his style game, while also being a simple, size-independent gift. Ties are also a good gift, because you can make them fit for a bunch of different budgets; some ties can sell for around $15 and others can go for as high as $80.

A Mug $-$$

I know a lot of parents work very hard and sleep very little, so a mug is a solid gift for a coffee-drinking dad. It’s also another gift that is easy to mold to your dad’s personality and your budget—you can get a huge mug as a gag gift, an on-the-go thermos, or a modern glass mug. It isn’t an incredibly personal or meaningful gift, but if you’re in a pinch and looking for a cheap, easily found gift a mug works great. Or, you can add it on to another gift.

A Massage $$-$$$

We love our hard-working dads, and most of the time they don’t take a lot—or any—time for themselves. Even grown men need self-care and relaxation. While this gift may not be for all dads (a lot of people don’t like to be touched by strangers, understandably) or for all children (it’s a bit on the expensive side), it’s unexpected and can be could be a really great way to say thank you to your dad for all that he does. 

An Activity $$-$$$

This is a very general category, because it really depends on your budget, what you and your dad both like to do, and how you two get along. Like I said before, a lot of the dads I know don’t usually want things, so a meaningful way to still give a gift without having to buy a thing is to do an activity together. You can sign the two of you up for a rock-climbing class, go to a pottery studio, take a cooking class, or go kayaking together. There are lots of fun activities you can do with your dad, and spending quality time together is probably the thing your dad wants the most.