“He’s so hard to buy for.” “I never know what to buy for him.” “He already has everything.” Everyone knows the common laments of those struggling and procrastinating to come up with a suitable Father’s Day gift. What should you do when you’re stumped for gift ideas?
In order to choose a Father’s Day gift that your father will truly love, approach it in terms of choosing something not only that he would like, but that would emotionally resonate with him insofar as it relates to something very special between the two of you.
For example, on what trip did you and your dad have the greatest bonding experience when you were a child? Was it the last time you went camping near Mount Shasta before the family moved down state when you were 12? For Father’s Day, tell Dad you want to have a little adventure to revisit the past. Then load the camping gear into the car and journey back to that special area of your childhood, just the two of you.
Do you remember when you were a little girl, and your dad would read to you when he put you to bed, before you were even old enough to read yourself? Remember the books that developed into your favorites, that you wanted him to read to you again and again? He may not even remember them himself (though actually, he probably does, since I’ll bet those times meant every bit as much to him). And those books have probably long since been thrown away or fallen apart. Well, now you have a little child of your own. I’ll bet you could find some or all of your old favorites, even if it means buying them used off Amazon or elsewhere. For Father’s Day, you could wrap them up and present them to your dad, and tell him when his granddaughter spends the night, you’d love for him to make it as special for her to be put to bed by Grandpa as it was for you to be put to bed by Daddy.
Or maybe on the all too rare occasions when you’re back in town as an adult, one of the things you and your dad most like to share is to go to a Cubs game together. Is there some kind of really cool Cubs memorabilia that you know would mean a lot to your dad, and that he would always associate with your going to the games together? Maybe you could find some kind of collector’s item on eBay signed by his all time favorite, “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks. (Or perhaps for Father’s Day you could take your dad to a public event to meet Mr. Banks and get his autograph in person.)
Is there something special about your relationship with your dad that even he doesn’t know? Maybe there was a time you were really scared or upset about something, and he took you out for pizza to take your mind off it and have some fun together. To him it may be one of a thousand such parenting moments that all run together in his mind by now. He may have no idea how much you were hurting on that occasion, or how much his gesture of taking you out like that to try to cheer you up really helped. So for Father’s Day this year, take your father out for dinner. But take him specifically to that pizza joint in the old neighborhood, and during your meal, tell him the whole story of why you’re there.
So the key to a really great Father’s Day gift isn’t how much money you spend or anything like that; it’s making the holiday very personal by choosing something that relates to your memories, to the relationship you’ve shared over the years with your dad. A gesture like that is the kind of Father’s Day gift that will be remembered for a lifetime.