If you need advice this Father’s Day, then you are not alone. Dads are notoriously difficult to buy gifts for.
Think like him and you are halfway there. Then, importantly, you do the thinking. This combination will make the gift acceptable and attractive. After all, nobody knows Dad better than himself – except you.
Every man has a cave – a shed or study or even the inner recesses of his mind. It is one of the places he feels most comfortable. It is a retreat when the world turns crazy. In his inner-cave he surrounds himself with personal artifacts. That is why he goes there. Your job is to identify the gift that would make his cave a more attractive place to be.
Do not be too traditional. Go off topic. Surprise him with your talent for spotting a chink in his masculinity. Put him slightly out of his comfort zone. Your Dad may think he knows everything, but he does not always know what is best for him.
Note To Self:
Father’s Day is another way of saying ‘Pop, we want to spend quality time with you,’ – so why buy him new golf clubs if you hate golf? Focus on gifts you can share together, like a day at the race track or a night at the theatre. This is the fabled win/win scenario.
Stay away from alcohol, too – he probably thinks he drinks enough as it is – and if he does not, would you want him to drink more? So leave off the 12 year old malt – that is a one way trip to a red, wrinkled nose.
Word to the wise
Money is not everything, so adjust these recommendations to suit your pocket. Ultimately, it is always the thought that counts. So, without further delay, here are my top ten picks:
1) Classic leather wallet with picture inserts
Wallets. Dads might not have much in them, but they can’t do without them. An old care-worn wallet is a sad sign of neglect. Stick to slim, pocket-sized, high grade leather examples, as wallets take a lot of bashing and can deteriorate easily. Avoid press studs or name tags too – they damage pocket linings. Pay attention: The most important aspect of buying any Dad a wallet are not the sleeves for the cash. It is the inserts for the pictures of his beautiful family that he will carry everywhere with him – because he loves you….aaahh
2) Bespoke Cupcakes
Hmm…cupcakes, as Homer once said. And I don’t mean the ancient Greek poet. I mean the father of the most famous family in global TV history: The Simpsons. Cupcakes take men back to the days when they were six years old and their grandmother cooked them good things in an old-fashioned kitchen. Now grandmother is gone sadly, but she is not forgotten, and anything that reminds him of her, sweeps his masculinity aside like a childhood chocolate tsunami. Culinary artists at Rachel’s Kitchen deliver fresh and beautifully presented cupcakes of your choice, anywhere in the UK by next day delivery. For the inner-Homer in every man. Sit back and watch him indulge. And of course, he has to share them with you.
3) Shirt, Socks and Tie Set
Rule No.34. Never buy your Dad socks without an accompanying shirt and tie! These items are indivisible and compliment each other, adding a flash to any outfit and giving your father the WOW! factor on the way to work. Socks on their own just won’t cut the mustard. Remember, he needs to impress his clients. If you get Dad dressed for success, you are helping his career and anything that helps his career, helps you. Gieves and Hawkes are, by Royal Appointment, class personified.
4) An old-school laptop satchel bag
Every Dad wants to rough it like Indiana Jones. They want to run through the jungle getting chased by natives, hanging off rope bridges while stuffing precious artifacts into their trusty, weather-worn satchel. Yet, there are no jungles where you live, except the concrete jungle – but hey, that will do. The precious artifacts we have in in mind are the Kindle, the Ipad or the ultrabook, so make sure it fits the equipment, and Dad and bag will be inseparable for life. Next up – a brown hat and a bull-whip.
5) Clint: The 35 film box set
I cannot think of any man who does not like Clint. Not one. He is the man all Dads would like to be: the strong silent type. This 35 film box-set is an absolute must for the movie buff, and highlights the breadth and depth of Eastwood’s extraordinary Hollywood career: actor – auteur – ambassador – icon – legend. Just like your old man.
6) Two tickets to his favourite sports event (the other one is for you)
This choice is a win/win situation for the Dad who loves sport, who loves spending time with you. He works so hard he seldom gets the opportunity to do the things in life he really likes, so much of his time has been caring for his family by dishing out notes from his ever-decreasing wallet. Somehow his Grand Prix/Ashes dreams never materialised. He might never get to do it either, if you don’t intervene now. Remember, this is a present that must be shared, so pick an event you both like. A day at the races – a day to remember.
7) A Bushcraft knife
Your father may have hundreds of tools, but the likelihood is, he has never been made a gift of a handcrafted bushcraft knife. The feeling here is primeval and earthy. So, Ok, he may not be as fit as Bear Grylls – more like a cuddly Ray Mears – but why not buy him his own beautiful and useful knife – carved from antler, walnut or ash, with an engraved leather sheath. It is uber-country-cool. Stay away from the commando-style killing tools (this is not Bravo Two-Zero) and go for a Scandinavian design that will last an Ice Age. For the inner-cave man who ventures outside.
8) An Ipad
Great for the technophobe older Dad. The reasons are simple. There, I just said it: Ipads are simple to use. Children and seniors find the tablet so intuitive and easier to navigate than a standard computer. There is no fiddly mouse or stylus pen to lose. It is wireless with nothing to plug in other than a charger. There are multitude of apps so he can explore interests, communicate with family, lift his mood or help him relax. He can enlarge the font for reading and Ipads are so light and easy to carry. So if your Dad still has trouble adjusting to the dictates of the 21st Century, switch strategies, and check out the latest slice of genius from Apple
Never, ever, under-estimate the emotional value of a new pair of slippers. The older men get, the more they love them. Skipping barefoot around the house was OK in their youth, until they discovered how wrapping your aching tootsies into a pair of deeply-cushioned comfort-bunnies could feel so…divine. They are pillows for your feet. They are your own personal foot massage. Try classic black loafer style or penthouse faux leather slip-on’s from classic retailer, Marks and Spencer.
A universe is contained within every book, as the saying goes. If your Father has not encountered the sheer pleasure of listening to his favourite novel by MP3, then this is an inexpensive and yet surprisingly magical gift. My personal favourite is the Lord of the Rings trilogy, unabridged, narrated by Rob Inglis. It is utterly compelling and completely relaxing, especially on the busy commuter-train when the stress of life becomes too much. Ultimately soothing for Dads everywhere to drift out of our world to the land of Middle Earth. Ah, yes, Mr Frodo, sir.
Amy Fry is a joyful stay at home mum who writes for a large variety of topics and industries including education, health and Lifestyle.