If your dad is anything like mine, he buys himself what he wants. There are no Father's Day or Christmas wish lists, because he's purchased it already (other than that monster tractor with a plow that my mother will just not agree to). Finding a gift that truly expresses how much I appreciate him is hard to come by.
One thing that my dad can't buy is time. Whether it's my time, or his time, this fact provides the opportunity for gifts that will be truly appreciated. Before my father retired, he and my mother trekked off to their boat up north every weekend during the summer, and he spent an hour or so getting the boat cleaned up each time. One year, my Father's Day gift was a summer of boat washing, so that he didn't have to take the time. Whether it's help with a project around the house, cottage, or boat, checking an item or two from Dad's "to-do" list is likely to be appreciated.
If scrubbing the vinyl siding, power-washing the deck, and those sorts of projects don't appeal to you, giving the gift of your time to enjoy a leisure activity is also likely to please. Chances are, you don't spend nearly as much time with your dad as you'd like. A round of golf, tickets to a game, a paddle down your local river, or a hike or bike ride that ends with a trip to a good local brewery provide a chance to reconnect.
Cool toys are also a fun option. My dad has a t-shirt that reads, "He who dies with the most toys, wins." And while he buys most of his toys himself, it is fun to surprise him with toys he hasn't even heard about yet. Identify a gadget that matches up with your dad's interests. Digital diagnostic kits that plug into the car's computer system and connect to your smartphone to let you know why that "check engine" light is on, speakers that sync with a smartphone, so that Dad can ditch his CD collection and old-fashioned stereo; a top of the line cooler and accessories for fishing trips, openers that allow you to uncap a beer with the same hand holding the bottle, a propane torch weeder for those pesky dandelions, or a portable media hub to stream YouTube and Netflix on television will appeal to Dad's love of gadgets and toys.
In the end, it's not about how much money you spend, but how well the gift shows your dad you know him.
Article written by Jennifer Reynolds, staff writer for West Michigan Woman
Golf Course photo: Photo courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids
Comerica Park photo: Photo courtesy of Vito Palmisano