Seems like all the Father’s Day gift guides I find on the internet are just blatant attempts by the retail industry to pawn off their junk on well-meaning family members looking to score paternal points with Papa. For example, the New York Times suggests you honor your father this year by wasting $64 on a bathrobe. No, thanks!
I decided to take an informal survey of my fellow AMAC office dads and granddads to see what they really wanted for Father’s Day. And the results were not what I expected. I expected to hear numerous requests for golf clubs, beer, and peace and quiet. But I was surprised to learn that fathers overwhelmingly enjoy great company, generous gestures, and quality time with family. So, ditch the ‘World’s Best Dad’ mug and forget about getting him another tie. Here are a few suggestions that could help you make Father’s Day extra special this year.
Let Him Grill
According to a reliable source, women invented grilling to trick men into cooking. It worked! Something about standing in front of an open flame turns every man into Iron Chef Bobby Flay. If dad manning the grill isn’t the norm for your family, step aside and let your father flip some burgers for the crew. While you wait to serve the charbroiled bonanza, spend the time telling family stories or ask questions about his father if he’s no longer present. Bond over things you all love. The beauty of a flame grilled ribeye, cooked to precisely 135 degrees, will be the icing on the cake. Your father may have worked his whole life to provide for your family. Now that everyone is grown, let him know you still need him. But if you really want to buy his affection, consider stocking his freezer with steak, ribs, and fish. You may even score another night off from cooking!
Help Him Out
If your father is like mine, he’s great at starting projects but not the best at finishing them. Spend the day together helping him wrap up those loose ends. Finish that garden bed, get that new roof on the shed, and clean those gutters! Offer dad a helping hand with all those odd jobs he has been putting off. He will appreciate your help even more than you appreciated his over the years!
Get Out Of Town
So, what about the dads who have a tough time hitting the ‘off’ switch both at work and at home? Plan a trip! Getting your father out of the house is the single best way to stop him from spending hours power washing the driveway or re-organizing his toolbox. The trip doesn’t have to be extravagant or exotic, but it could be.
Based on how your father likes to relax, you could visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia, or rent a jet ski and make waves in the Gulf of Mexico. Wherever you decide, it will be a great surprise and a welcome break for dad. Sometimes forced relaxation is the best!
Let Him Choose
Fathers tend to go with the flow. Every year for ten years, my mother made my dad a German chocolate cake for his birthday. After ten years I asked him why it was his favorite. He replied, “It’s not. I like carrot cake.” But he happily ate the German chocolate cake all those years and now we have a good laugh about it. Fathers will usually be happy with whatever you choose. But maybe, just maybe, you could just ask him what he would like. Much like my surprise at the answers I got from my co-workers, you may find that your dad wants to spend the day in a way you never considered. Perhaps the best thing you can give him is the choice.
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