Father’s Day seems to be less complicated than Mother’s Day – at least in my little world. Most fathers I know are happy with a couple hand-made cards from their kids and maybe a tie and a nice meal. But some fathers have more specific hopes and needs.
My father requests a poem from each of his children and grandchildren on Father’s Day. (I’m wondering if I could start recycling some of my poems – maybe he wouldn’t notice…)
My friend’s father really likes a whole day of fun activities with his grandkids the Saturday before Father’s Day.
Another friend’s husband gets annoyed when she buys him things because they’re on a tight budget and he “really doesn’t need anything at all” but loves simple handmade gifts from his children.
One friend spent hours and hours making a gorgeous framed collage out of her husband’s old ties and was sad when he didn’t seem completely thrilled and didn’t proceed to tell everyone he knew about this amazing gift. But after further thought, she realized that he just isn’t that into artistic handmade stuff. He’d have much rather had a coupon for his favorite burger place. (Still, SHE loves that tie collage and he did appreciate the effort – it’s now a lovely piece of art hanging in their hallway.)
So I guess great Father’s Day gifts, like all gifts, are dependent on understanding the interests and needs of the recipient.
Now, I know that many members of our community are raising their children without a lot of consistent or helpful involvement from a father-figure. And I know that many moms have very complicated relationships with their own fathers. My heart goes out to the many mothers for whom Father’s Day can be quite painful. But since many of us have fathers or father-figures we do want to celebrate this weekend for Father’s Day, I’ve compiled some ideas to help make Father’s Day as meaningful and stress-free as possible.
I think the first step to great Father’s Day gifts is understanding the “love language” and interests of the man involved. Is his love language “words of affirmation,” “gifts,” “physical touch,” “quality time,” or “acts of service”? What really means a lot to him? Does he care about how things are presented? Is he into sentimental stuff? What does he love doing? Has he been dropping any hints about things he needs or would like? Asking yourself these questions before planning gifts can make for much happier givers and receivers.
Here are some simple ideas for Father’s Day gifts and activities that address different love languages and interests:
- WORDS OF AFFIRMATION: Have each child write a top-five (or ten) list of things they love about dad (or use the cute photo-collage idea below that puts some great “words of affirmation” into a nice framed collage); write a letter about your favorite memories of great things he’s done as a father (little moments that are beautiful memories); make a list of your favorite things about him as a father or great qualities he brings to fatherhood.
- ACTS OF SERVICE: Make him his favorite meals (but don’t stress yourself out by doing lots of complex things – a grumpy, stressed wife on Father’s Day won’t be a great present!); work with the kids to secretly clean out the garage or basement or do some other act of service you know he’ll be excited about.
- QUALITY TIME: Create some great new fatherhood memories. Plan a family excursion involving some of Dad’s favorite activities (a bike ride and picnic with some favorite treats, a night out at the movies seeing HIS kind of movie, a hike, bowling, etc.); make coupons for a few activities he’d love that he can “cash in” throughout the year (see cute coupon ideas below).
- GIFTS: Buy him something he’ll really enjoy doing with the kids and wrap it up pretty (a board game if he likes games, tickets to a game if he loves sports, a new ball if he loves playing catch…); buy him a tie (the traditional Father’s Day gift) but add a twist – work with your kids to pick a tie with colors and patterns that you believe represents different things about dad (red for courage, white for peacefulness, blue for strength, purple for nobility, yellow for cheerfulness and making things fun, stripes for staying on the straight-and-narrow, swirls for fun and excitement). Come up with your own interpretations for the symbols in the tie and have the kids write up or simply explain the interpretations to their dad.
- PHYSICAL TOUCH: Have the kids attack and hug and kiss dad like crazy several times on Father’s Day (with the kids, plan a fun “code word” you’ll say when it’s time for another hug and kiss fest); encourage the kids to start a tickle fight; give dad a foot or back massage (one year, we had one kid massaging his head while two massaged his feet and one massaged his neck and shoulders – he sure loved that!); snuggle the whole family in bed together on Father’s Day morning; give coupons for hugs and kisses or a coupon for a professional massage.
- COMBINATION OF LOVE LANGUAGES: Make a video of favorite photos of dad and kids through the years (put it to some of dad’s favorite music).
Plus there are SO many great ideas on Pinterest that would fit the bill for a wide variety of dads with different interests and love languages. I found a great blog post on Craftionary featuring 50 Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas. (If you’re craft-impaired like me, don’t worry, many of the ideas were totally something I could do.) Here are a few of my favorites (click on the photos to go to the original source and get “how-to” info):
“WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT DAD” PHOTO COLLAGE:
I love this one – wish I’d thought of this when my kids were too little to write their own notes to their dad.
Wouldn’t this look great on dad’s desk at work? The chalk board is cute but you could just type up and print out what the kids say they love about their dad (or what you know they love about their dad in the case of the youngest kids) and put it on cardboard so the child could hold it straight for the picture. If you click on the photo above, you’ll go to a post where the author walks you step-by-step through how to create a collage.
Every year, my kids love to give their dad coupons for stuff like hugs and back scratches and making him cookies. He loves it. Maybe this year we’ll take this gift up a notch by improving our presentation on the coupons. Click on each photo below to go to a great blog with templates and instructions for making your own great coupon box.
I’m going to do this next one. I’ve got a husband who loves his candy (and doesn’t get much since he has a wife who’s not too keen on candy around the house) and the kids will have so much fun coming up with which candy bars to get and what to write.
I also loved many of the ideas offered by our friends over at Crafting Chicks here. A few of my favorites are below (click on the phoro or the link below it for details):
It doesn’t need to be fancy. It doesn’t need to be expensive. What matters is that you think out what kind of Father’s Day gifts and celebrations would REALLY mean a lot to the dad(s) involved and then act on your ideas.
Please share additional ideas in the comments below. These ideas are just the beginning!