Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gift Ideas for Dad

I've begun seeing ads for Father's Day (June 17 this year), but I have a more pressing matter: my dad's birthday is in two weeks! Birthdays are a big deal in my family. They always have been, but it's also one of my opportunities to show my family how much I love and think of them since I live so far away and don't get to see them very often. Not only that, but I've been known for coming up with some great ideas (disclaimer: I've also thought of some real duds). What's strange is I was thinking about his birthday just a few weeks ago and it never even crossed my mind to think, "Present!"

What makes my dad's birthday particularly hard is that he is the quintessential guy who has everything. If he needs or wants something, he just gets it for himself at the time instead of waiting. That means either the family imposes a "no buying" time the month before his birthday and makes him write down everything he would have bought (this actually worked moderately well when we were all younger) or all gifts need to anticipate something he doesn't even know he needs or wants.

The double hard factor is that almost everything I handcraft is feminine in nature. My dad doesn't want a bracelet or a necklace or wine charms (I already gave my mom a party set of wine charms for entertaining, but as a personal gift, I still don't think he'd be interested).

Now I need to brainstorm, and fast. I need something special that I can get in the mail by Saturday. I need to consider both store bought and handmade. I need to consider his likes and dislikes and the things I've given him in the past.

Whew! That's a lot of needs!

First, things I've given him before which might help you brainstorm and helped me weed out what not to get him.

My dad likes golf, so here are some of the golf items I've gotten him:
  1. Golf shirts: You can never have too many. Unfortunately for me, my dad has just enough.
  2. Golf ball identifier/engraver: It's pretty cool - it comes with a set of letters and ink and you can press your initials in so that whenever you get new golf balls, you can mark them.
  3. Golf balls: Yeah, I know, but they get lost so easily! You should know your dad's preferences, though, because there are a lot of brands and varieties.
  4. Golf course certificate: I talked to my brother, who golfs with my dad a lot, about his favorite course, then I bought a certificate online for a full round, enough to be used at peak times if that's when his buddies are going out. I then printed the certificate, glued it to pretty card stock, cut around the outside with scrap booking scissors and put it in a nice envelope.
  5. Golf ball marker: I took a 1" sterling silver disc and hammered it to look like a golf ball (dimples!), personalized it by hand stamping his name into it, and shined it up. To do this you need some advance planning, but if you don't have any stamping supplies, look on Etsy and you can find a lot of shops to personalize this in a variety of ways, not necessarily with sterling silver.
Here's a list of other generic things I've gotten him which he's enjoyed:
  1. Socks: Yes, I don't know why dads always want socks. I guess it's one thing he doesn't like to get for himself.
  2. Books: My dad was a history major, and he particularly likes reading things about the civil war, so I've gotten him books on specific people/events (not just broad history books, which aren't as interesting), and also books specific to that time of history and the region I live in now (South Dakota). I am discerning, though. I once didn't get him an awesome book of first hand accounts of a battle because when I skimmed random pages, it was extremely bloody, violent, and gruesome with a lot of terrible kinds of deaths. I feel responsible for people not feeling worse after they've read a book I've given them.
  3. Books Continued: I've also gotten him a US Atlas and magnifying glass.
  4. Movies: Kind of cliche and I avoid this if I can, but the truth is my dad likes to collect movies, and if that's what he wants and I can't think of anything better, should I argue?
  5. Music: I try to pay attention when I'm visiting to the music groups he says he likes. It's usually something nice from the 70's which we both enjoy listening to.
While all of this is great, I want to think of something that doesn't take up a lot of space. He doesn't really need more "stuff" to lay around the house, so I'll also try to come up with something useful.

Okay, this post is getting really long now, so I'm going to use this information to come up with a list of things I think he'll like that I can find or make in a few short days. Tune in tomorrow to see what I've come up with and leave a comment with things you've gotten your dad that he's enjoyed.


  1. what about some socks for his clubs? How about these?

    You can also find regular ones too, but how boring, lol.

    1. That is cute! I'm not sure what his sock status is :)

  2. Does he carry keys? Customized keychains are a great universal gift - mom, dad, kids, boyfriend, etc. Guys usually like wood... DustyNewt on Zibbet has some cool cut-out name keychains; and I've been know to make a custom keychain or two...


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