What to give to Dad when you’ve moved beyond the construction paper stage of your life.
By Stephanie Rogers
Thanking Dad for all he’s done for you doesn’t have to stop at a greeting card and a gift-wrapped tie. But coming up with fresh, unique ideas for Father’s Day gifts can be hard, especially when you’ve outgrown homemade construction paper cards. Instead of focusing on expensive material gifts or worrying about how to outdo your siblings, think about fun ways that you can surprise your father or spend time with him, even if you don’t live close enough for a visit. Here are 10 fun Father’s Day activitiesand gift ideas for grown children.
1. Treat him to his favorite things. If you live near your Dad and can spend the day with him, taking him out to enjoy his favorite activity is hands-down the best way to spend Father’s Day. Whether you just tag along on a fishing trip or organize an all-day outing of picnics and paintball, having you there with him will make it more special.
2. Give him a new experience. Maybe your father has always wanted to go to a music festival or a wine-tasting tour. Perhaps he’s been harboring a secret desire to learn how to paint or to visit a nearby town. Talk to him before Father’s Day arrives and try to glean some inside info that will help you craft a plan of action. We tend to focus on childhood memories when we think of our parents, but we should never stop making new ones.
3. Take a spa day. A gift certificate to a spa is traditionally more of a Mother’s Day gift, but who says men don’t want to be pampered? There’s nothing quite like a massage for sore muscles, or a nice soak in a mineral tub. He could even get an old-fashioned professional shave. Group relaxation time is great for bonding, too.
4. Do all of his chores. If your father is too busy to take the day off and spend time with you or to relax at home, help him eliminate some of his chores. Arrange to have the lawn mowed, or to have somebody else take care of his errands. Swing by and do all of the things around the house that take up the most of his time. At the very least, he’ll be able to kick back for a day — and that can be priceless.
5. Send him a video card. Live too far away to visit? Record a video greeting. This is especially fun if you can get together with your siblings, or if you have children who’d like to participate. Recount a funny story from your childhood, or just send a sincere message of love and gratitude.
6. Organize a video chat. If you can’t get home and a telephone call just isn’t enough, plan to meet via Apple FaceTime, Skype or video conferencing software. Few Father’s Day activities are as rewarding as a simple chat, and it’s nice to see each other’s faces.
7. Create a custom photo album. If you’ve got the time, going through old photographs to choose your favorite memories of your father and put them in a special album can be very rewarding. If you want to keep the originals, scan them and them use an online photo service like Shutterfly.com to design and print a custom photo book.
8. Create a montage of home videos. Many of us have drawers full of old VHS tapes or even film reels taken when we were kids. Among all of the long, boring clips of dance recitals and Christmas mornings are bound to be some funny and touching gems. If you’re tech-literate, you can likely learn how to transfer these moments onto a DVD or digital medium, or you can take it all to a video editing company.
9. Put together a personalized basket of goodies. Does Dad really need another generic gift basket full of stale crackers and salted meats? Give the standard Father’s Day gift basket a little more thought. Purchase an empty basket and fill it with things your Dad likes — specific foods, wine, movies, gift cards and small objects that will make him smile.
10. Try your hand at something creative. So maybe you’re not an artist, and you’re long beyond the age when a clay handprint is an acceptable Father’s Day gift. But something made with your own hands is just as meaningful now as it was when you were 10. Doodle, paint, sculpt or sew. If it results in a horrific mess, all the better — it will get a laugh.