It’s time to start planning for Father’s Day gifts, especially if you’re ordering something online. Shipping seems to take longer lately, so make sure to plan far enough ahead.
As the mom of 2 kids under 6, writing about the best Mother’s Day gift ideas for moms of young kids was easy. Really, I am the target audience of that list, so all I had to do was write about what my friends and I actually want to receive.
Figuring out what dads want to receive for Father’s Day is a whole struggle. My easily accessible source, my husband, wasn’t a lot of help, but he did give me a few suggestions. Beyond that, my other resources were all obtained from Googling, so blame the internet if I got it wrong.
My default gift for grandparents is a grandkid photo of some sort. That could work for dad, but it’s always nice to dig in further and find a really great gift for the father of your children.
I like to make gift-giving an experiment in frugality, but not for Mother’s or Father’s Day. It’s easy to make Christmas or Valentine’s Day meaningful but frugal. Maybe it’s because we’re still in the young-kid-parenting stage, but it’s a bigger deal to recognize the importance of parents.
It seems like dads care about Father’s Day less than moms care about Mother’s Day, but I firmly believe it’s really important to recognize everything dads do for their families. Some men are uncomfortable hearing how important they are, or how well they’re doing at their “job” within the family, but it’s essential to make it known.
Plan family time
In direct contrast to the alone time moms crave, my source claims that dads want to spend the day with their families. Give the dad in your life that family time that he misses out on while working.
Plan a picnic and a hike or a day of fishing and lounging along the creek. Choose an activity that he enjoys but doesn’t get to do often or something that your family loves to do together. Take in a baseball game as a family or bring your friends together for a cookout.
Tap into what dad really likes to do, even if it’s not an activity everyone usually participates in. As long as it’s safe for everyone, make it a family event and embrace dad’s hobbies and passions.
The good news for dad is that moms are used to planning and organizing family outings, so the day’s activities should be a breeze. He won’t have to worry about the kids having everything they need or what you’ll eat.
Make a Father’s Day gift
Put those kids to work creating something dad will treasure for at least the next month. If you’re lucky, daycare will take care of the task, but there are many great ideas out there. Some suggestions are listed below.
It’s nice to give your children the sense of importance that comes from creating something that dad will proudly display. I’ve seen fathers showcase their children’s crafts for literal decades. It’s always fun to look back at those crafts years later too.
When your children are small, take advantage of those tiny hands to make a craft that features them. Years later the size difference will bring up feelings of nostalgia.
Buy that thing he won’t buy for himself
We all tend to not buy certain things for ourselves or put those purchases off for a later date. It may be something that seems unnecessary or too extravagant, or we just have trouble allowing ourselves to spend. But if it’s something that brings joy, and a gift-giving occasion like Father’s Day is coming up, go buy that desired item.
For example, my husband has a mental list of the hunting gear he’d like to own. He rarely buys anything off that list though, out of respect for our financial goals. That’s why I almost always gift him something from that mental list – that usually entails telling him “buy that for yourself for your present.”
Unfortunately, that eliminates the surprise of gift-giving, but it also ensures that he gets the exact item he wants. This method of gift-giving has worked for us for years, but neither of us has gift-giving as our love language.
So, if the dad in your life shies away from buying certain things for himself, buy them for him now. This gift is especially meaningful if it’s something you usually avoid, like encouraging his beer brewing hobby that is taking over the garage or buying yet another hunting video.
When your kids are old enough, get them involved. Some children are surprisingly insightful, so lean on that if you can. They may have noticed dad’s interest in something adults usually overlook.
Another great option is nicer clothing or grooming products than he’d normally buy. A subtle hint to upgrade might be a long-term change too.
Create a photo-based Father’s Day gift
For the first two Father’s Days of our oldest daughter’s life, I ordered my husband custom photo coffee mugs with cute pictures of our girl. He is using the remaining one 5 years later, but one did break after being microwaved repeatedly.
I’ve used Shutterfly for many photo gifts and have been happy with the quality for the most part. They even have a Father’s Day sale going on right now (and usually have sales for major holidays).
You can order customized mugs, glasses, photo books, puzzles, blankets, and more. Find something that dad would be happy to display or use. I personally prefer gifts that either have meaning or are useful in some way. I’m still using a pre-kids Mother’s Day mug with photos of my dogs from 2012 because it’s so special to me.
Make sure to include a card
Although dad may not really care at the time, I always try to include a card with a note about how much he is appreciated and loved. I like to save the cards in a safe place, to look back on in the future.
When your kids are old enough, have them write their own special notes to dad on the card too. They can even make their own cards if they’d like.
The important thing here is to make dad aware of how important he is to the family, how much he matters. Having that written reminder will be nice later on.