If you’re lucky, he’s dropped some clues about stuff he wants (like that new laptop bag), but if you need to ask, you probably won’t get a lot out of him. Try to elicit clues about what he’d like to get and you’ll probably get the dreaded “I don’t care”, “It doesn’t matter” or worst of all “Let’s just forget about it” response. Instead of giving in and falling back on the typical (boring) gift choices, spend some time thinking about HIM and what he enjoys. And remember, men share this with women: they both have desires for things they want dearly but won’t justify buying for themselves. So if you know about the secret wish he’s been harboring for those flashy new tire rims, bingo, you’ve nailed it.
As with all gift-giving, the most important thing about choosing the perfect gift is to make it all about the person you’re honoring, so pick a gift that matches his personality – practical or romantic, sweet and sensitive, playful or corny, – it needs to be about him. Consider his interests and how he likes to spend his time, then choose a gift that’s a good match.
If you’re considering buying something for him to wear, forget about the itchy sweater that you think makes him look adorable – he might wear it to please but that’s not what a ‘perfect’ gift is about. Instead, get him something that makes him look and feel manly (like designer sunglasses).
Remember that your time and your undivided attention are a big part of the best gift you can give a man, so if you’re a woman honoring the father of your children remember that little acts of affirmation and devotion will boost his self-esteem and emotional security and are intensely meaningful, either alone or as the backdrop for a gift that comes with a bow on top. ‘Spending time together’ gifts are a great choice for Fathers Day – as long as it’s an activity he’ll enjoy and it doesn’t entail a bunch of fussy preparation. Hint: tickets to a baseball game are usually a better choice than a fancy brunch (most guys would rather get moving than sit around chatting).
Speaking of gifts presented with a bow, remember that gadgets and technology are the male gift of choice that’s the equivalent of diamonds for women.
Honor him by recognizing his interests. If he’s crazy about sports, his car or classical music, choose a gift that shows you care enough about him to pay attention to what he loves. Making it special can be just a matter of kicking it up a notch: instead of buying him a basic tool, you choose an artisan-style Lee Valley tool; rather than a book, present him with an autographed first edition – whatever it takes to make him realize you think he’s special.
If he’s a grill master or avid golfer, and you choose one of those passions as your theme, be sure to add a touch of creativity to your gift. Pick something unique (or personalize something that isn’t). Or give something that else that celebrates his resourcefulness, creativity, or capabilities, like a new set of woodworking tools or a model assembly kit that ties in with his fascination with ships.
Memorabilia can make for a great gift Fathers Day gift if he’s into a particular period: the 50’s, the Beatles era, Woodstock, the 80’s – he’ll get a kick out of receiving a gift that reminds him of the good times. If he’s a collector, an addition to his collection of coins, stamps, or Victorian paperweights can be ‘perfect’, but be sure to do your homework about what his collection is lacking and, most importantly, make sure he can exchange it. (This is one of the rare times that I recommend considering a gift certificate.)
For little kid’s gifts, what Dad isn’t proud to display their handmade treasures on his dresser or on his desk at the office? Handmade crafts fill the bill for little kid’s budgets and they offer a creative outlet for their boundless creativity and love (plus, shopping for the craft supplies can be a nice bonding experience to share with Mom). For store-bought gifts, personalized items that pay tribute to his status as a Dad make ‘perfect’ gifts – ‘My Dad’ picture frames, photos etched in acrylic, personalized cufflinks, tie clip or watch – all can hit just the right note.
If you’re helping your child choose a Fathers Day gift and the budget says “socks or a tie”, don’t give in to the temptation. (If there’s anything more tired than this gift idea, I can’t think what.) Instead, teach your child to think about what Dad would really like. It doesn’t have to be expensive – how about a calendar themed to a passionate interest or a location he loves? Not only will the gift be a hit with Dad, it will also teach your child an important lesson about meaningful gift giving.