Beyond Power Tools and Neckties: Your Gift Guide to Father’s Day

By Kathryn Trudeau

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to guide us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.”

Somehow in the years since 1972 (when President Nixon signed a law which made Father’s Day a holiday), power tools and neck ties became the staple for gifts for dear ol’ Dad.  Of course, those gifts became popular because they are useful and appreciated by the dads who need and use them.  However, there does come a point when Dad’s tool collection is complete and his neck tie collection is bigger than his shoe collection.  What do you get Dad in that case?  Or what if Dad simply isn’t into tools or ties?  What then?  Use this guide for inspiration for gifts for Dad this year.

Mother’s DayFather’s Day Breakfast in Bed

There’s no reason why breakfast in bed has to be reserved for just mothers!  Make dad his all-time favorite breakfast and serve it up in bed.  Get little ones involved and breakfast will be that much sweeter. 

Tip: Do as much as you can the night before (such as cut fresh fruit).  You can also make dishes like egg strata the night before.  Simply pop the pan into the oven when you wake up, and you’ll have minimal work in the morning.

Live on the Wild Side

It’s not always easy heading to work day in and day out. In fact, it get can get downright tedious.  Spice things up and take Dad for a ride on the wild side.

  • Pay for a ride in a professional race car. Many indoor racing tracks are popping up across the nation. You can pay for a professional race car driver to give you the experience of what it’s like to be in a real NASCAR race.  Dad can have the thrill of a high speed race… without actually having to drive.
  • Take your zoo game up a notch. Many zoos offer VIP and backstage tours, in which you get to feed the animals up close and personal.  This isn’t like the feeding station at the petting zoo; it’s big game.  Feeding rhinos, elephants, and monkeys out of your hand.  Check with your local zoo to see if these are options available to you.
  • Wrap up a new suitcase for Dad. When he opens it up, surprise him with the news of a weekend getaway.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy getaway to an exotic island – sometimes just driving a few hours away can open up a lot of touristy options for a fun weekend.

The Standard Gifts

Does Dad actually need a new power tool or a neck tie? By all means, get Dad a new drill if that’s what he needs.  What else does he need?  It may not always be super exciting but receiving a gift you really need is really nice.  New shoes, a new coat, or even a new briefcase for work – those are all traditional father’s day gifts, but when you need them, it’s nice to receive them.

Created with Love

One of the most special parts of parenthood is receiving a gift from a child.  Not a gift that a parent picked out on behalf of the child, but a gift thought of by the child and/or made by the child.  This father’s day ask your child or children what they want to get for their dad. Their answers might surprise you! 

If your child needs a little help deciding, take them to a craft store and let them walk around to get inspiration.  From homemade cards to handmade pillows for lounging around on movie nights, your child is sure to feel pride when making a gift from scratch for Dad.

The Gift Box

If you can’t spend the day with Dad, create a care package for him.  Load it up with all of his favorite treats, a few gifts, handmade cards, and letters from the kids (and you too!).  Whether he is deployed in the military or overseas for a big work trip,  a care package can go a long way in showing your love and appreciate to Dad.

Hint: If Dad is deployed, make sure you allow for plenty of time for your package to be mailed.

Give an Experience

Just like the non-gift gift ideas listed in the post for Mother’s Day, dads can enjoy experiences too.  Experiences are wonderful “gifts” to give because it’s about creating memories and forging even stronger bonds between family members.  What type of experience you give Dad is up to you.  Before you decide on an experience ask yourself these questions:

  • What are Dad’s hobbies? Is there a way to turn his hobby into a family outing?  (If Dad loves to golf, why not make it family-friendly and head to a mini golf course followed by lunch at Dad’s favorite restaurant?)
  • Has Dad been mentioning events or places he wants to try lately? You know how it goes: you see a billboard for a live action show while driving on the highway and you say, “That looks cool!”  Instead of just thinking about it, plan it.  Did Dad see a billboard for a Cirque Du Soleil show? Or maybe a new restaurant he wants to try?  Take Dad somewhere he’s been longing to go.
  • Does Dad enjoy nature? If so, head to the beach, the park, the mountains – just get outside and soak up those sun rays.
  • Do a DIY project together.

No matter what gift you ultimately decide to give Dad, the most important thing is to spend the day together, let him know he is loved, and create wonderful family memories. 

How will you celebrate Dad this year?


Kathryn TrudeauKathryn is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting and writing. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the dynamics of a busy family life. She is the founder of the Cor Domum movement, a mission that guides families through life so that they can parent with joy. Read more at 

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