Updated: Aug 12, 2019
Intro – Dads and Those Who Are Essentially Dad
This Father’s Day, take time to appreciate your father, or someone who acted as a father in your life.
The ads have started. Someone is trying to sell you a razor with memories of your father. It can be easy to complain about yet another holiday seemingly created for no other reason than to sell greeting cards.
Despite the marketing and commercialization, there is no excuse for missing the chance to tell someone how much they mean to you.
There are countless ways to give back to the one who has given you so much. Sometimes, a card just isn’t enough.
Any maybe you have a bad history with this holiday. Perhaps there were far too many times when you were younger that a craft you made at school became a last minute gift. Or maybe you signed a card purchased by your mom or an older sibling.
Perhaps your father taught you about being stoic. A life-long course in how to get through conversations about the most important topics without revealing your own emotions.
There is a difference between hiding emotions and not having them. We all want to feel appreciated and cared for. We all want to be acknowledged for who we are and what we have done.
Take some time and look at these and other ideas for this Father’s Day. Somewhere in this article or in a different one is the perfect idea: it fits your budget, it fits your schedule, and you know it will be appreciated.
Father’s Day Gift of Time Together
The best gift you can give your father is time together, if it is at all possible. Ideally, it will be time together doing something he loves to do.
Providing it to him in a way where he gets to set the date and time is ideal. That is, you can give him a certificate or an IOU for a particular event, or a voucher for the tickets, while giving him as much flexibility as possible in choosing when it happens.
So if his favorite band is coming to town, you will be unable to pick a different date. But if you know what he wants is a day in a canoe with his grandkids, most canoe liveries would be glad to oblige.
Here are some “dad things” to prompt your imagination for ways to spend time together:
A concert from a favorite band. This site can help you find out who is coming to a venue in whatever city you choose: www.songkick.com
A picnic at a local state park. Learn more here: www.stateparks.org/
Dinner at a new restaurant. Find out-of-the-way places at www.yelp.com/
Make a craft together
Attend a TED Talk near you. Find dates and locations here: www.ted.com/tedx/events
Attend a play or a performance at the local university
Cheer on the home team at a minor league baseball game
This Father’s Day, Get Him Almost Anything
Maybe your father lives further away, and spending time with him on Father’s Day is not possible. You still would like to give him a unique experience.
There is something you have heard him talk about, or that is related to his favorite sport or hobby. Maybe something he does not want to spend his own money on.
Take a chance. Let your gift to him be a new experience, a surprise, a delight he will remember for years.
Almost every imaginable activity these days allows for the purchase of gift cards. You can get gift cards at the local pro shop for his favorite sport. This innovation in gift giving really changes the game.
Gone are the days where the only way to give a gift was to purchase it and hope it fits, either his size or his interest. Giving a more narrowly focused gift card allows you to spoil him without making the decision for him. You don’t even have to be very specific in what he gets.
Or you can go broad and get him an almost no strings attached gift. Purchase a prepaid gift card from Visa or at nearly any major retailer. Add this simple note to the card:
“Dad, sorry I can’t be there this Father’s Day. Use this for $___ worth of supplies for ______ . Call me to let me know what you got.”
Father’s Day Memories
Celebrating fatherhood is as much about the past as it is about the present and the future.
Our bond with our loved ones is timeless. It includes specific memories from the past, and plans for the future. But the human memory is unpredictable. Sometimes we remember things that others don’t, or we remember them in a different way.
You could give your father a timeless gift this year by telling the stories that he does not remember.
Spend some time to think about specific memories with your father. What are the feelings in those moments? What are the smells? Where did they happen?
Be sure to capture your perspective. Maybe in your childhood he was the first to arrive after a fall or an accident. You might tell the story that ends, “when you arrived, I knew I was safe.”
Perhaps you remember him sticking up for someone else. Maybe this story starts, “I learned about justice from you.”
Write them in a paragraph to him or, better yet, send him a Llama card which is all you including a video that comes along with your chosen gift. Your Llama moment will empower that gift and make it even more sentimental. Hearing the story in your words, and seeing your face, will create a new memory for him too, drawing you closer than ever.
What not to do this Father’s Day
Our relationships with our family members is always complicated. Fathers are no exception to this rule. We have let each other down in the past. We have not lived up to each other’s sometimes impossibly high expectations.
Let’s face it. Even after growing up together in the same household, or having many of the same experiences together for years, we eventually turn out to be different, independent people.
We might not like the same baseball team or soccer club. We might like different foods, or have very different tastes in clothing.
Worse yet, we may hail from different political parties, or even have dramatically different opinions about popular music.
This Father’s Day, pledge not to bring up those differences.
This is no time to try and change the habits and beliefs that form the core of who your father is. The good comes with the bad. He’s got a head start on being who he is, and a pretty good idea of who you are.
Father’s Day is not a time to focus on what makes you different or causes conflict between you. It is a time to celebrate what you have in common.
By focusing on those things that you both enjoy, or even just giving him the gift of the things that you know he loves, you can help create a great Father’s Day for him. Sometimes just this thoughtfulness makes the day a little more special for him.
This Father’s Day, give dad the gift he will cherish for a lifetime.