For some families, Father's Day is a chance to spoil Dad with a lavish gift or high-tech gadget he's been hoping to own. For others, the holiday is all about handmade crafts and experiences that may or may not cost money.
However your family chooses to treat the dad in your life--and no matter what your budget--you're sure to find Father's Day gifts he'll enjoy on the list below.
Intangible Father's Day Gifts
Want to give Dad an experience rather than a product? Consider these ideas for intangible Father's Day gifts.
- Plan a surprise camping trip. Let the children choose the location and involve them in the packing and planning.
- Give tickets to a sporting event, such as a baseball game. The tickets could be for your whole family or you could secretly plan an outing for him and his close friends.
- With the children, make his favorite meal on Father's Day.
- Think about his personal interests and plan a day around them. Maybe he'd enjoy an afternoon at a museum or science center. Does he like to fish? Pack his tackle box and a sack lunch and send him on his way.
- Look for events in your community that might be of interest to the dad in your life. In Spokane, Wash., for example, there's a Father's Day "Garage Mahal" tour that takes attendees inside private airplane hangars, motorcycle garages and woodworking shops.
- Check off his "honey-do" list. Does his car need an oil change? Get it taken care of while he's at work. Is his car dirty? Have the kids wash and detail it. Has he been meaning to paint and organize the garage? Surprise him by doing it yourself one day and watch the look on his face as the door lifts up.
Inexpensive Father's Day Gifts
Maybe you can't or don't want to spend a lot of money on Father's Day. Don't fret. These Father's Day gifts don't cost much, but will be just as (if not more) treasured than traditional presents.
Enlarge and frame a photo of his father or grandfather or pictures of him with his kids.
Melody Plumb, a mother of two in Bellingham, Wash., once made her husband a collage of 20 pictures of him and their children. She framed it and then wrapped it in paper colored by her son.
One year, Jamie Loncaric, of Reading, Penn., gathered pictures taken of her dad as a boy and framed them.
- Buy him a book for his own reading pleasure, or buy him a children's book related to fatherhood, so he has something new to read to the kids at bedtime.
- Go old school and buy him a tie. Let the kids choose it.
- Give him movie tickets and a few nights off to go see some guy flicks. Have the kids clip out the newspaper's movie listings and circle the ones they think he should see.
- Buy him a cookbook, if he likes to cook, or a kitchen gadget he's been wanting. Have the children help prepare a meal from the cookbook as part of his present on Father's Day.
Handmade Father's Day Gifts
Kids feel proud when they give presents they made with their own hands. Help them plan a project they'll make for Dad and then let them create it on their own. Then watch their faces beam when they present it on Father's Day. Here are some ideas:
- Start by browsing this roundup of free printable Father's Day cards and crafts.
- About.com's Guide to Family Crafts also offers ideas for making Father's Day cards and crafts.
- FamilyFun magazine has tutorials for cute cards and crafts, too.
Make a book about Dad.
One year, Seattle resident Max Booher responded to his stepmother's request to write a paragraph or more about his favorite memories of his dad. Booher's six siblings did the same, and then their mom collected the responses, crafted a book that displayed them, and then presented them to Booher's dad on Father's Day.
"When I saw him, he proudly showed me his book and allowed me to read it," Booher said. "It was quite touching to see all the nice things my siblings had to say."
If your children aren't old enough to write their own memories, ask them questions and then write down what they say.
If you're looking for a creative way to make books, check out About.com's video instructions for making an accordion-style book.
- Build something for dad using About.com's Guide to Woodworking's free plans. Perhaps the father in your life would like a cornhole game board? Or a planter box for the yard?
- Another great source for online woodworking plans is called Knock-Off Wood by Ana White. Take a look at her plans for a swinging outdoor day bed. What dad wouldn't like to take a siesta on that?
- Make something truly unique, like Tracey Wright did. The Gearhart, Ore., resident and her three children decoupaged family photos and the words "Dad's Stuff" onto an old end table. "Now, that's his spot for his keys, wallet, etc.," Wright said.
Luxurious Father's Day Gifts
If you're able to splurge on this year's Father's Day gift, consider these more spendy ideas.
- Commission a portrait of his father or of him with his children.
- Send him on an adventure, such as a whitewater rafting trip, stock-car driving lessons, bungee jumping or skydiving.
- Give a gift certificate to a day spa. Yes, dads like to get pampered, too.
- Buy him a digital camera or a camcorder.
- Stock his woodworking shop with some new tools.
- Present him with a tour of a nearby wine-making region.
- Buy him a bicycle or other sports equipment.
Whatever your kids decide to give Dad on Father's Day, don't forget the two most important things they can tell him: "Thanks" and "I love you." What more does he need than that?