Put the singing Big Mouth Billy Bass back on the shelf and walk away slowly.
You’re doing better than that this year.
Father’s Day gifts, as recommended by big-box retailers, universally seem to be a waste of money.
Seriously – we don’t need anymore worthless junk cluttering our houses and garages.
Unless your dad is Ward Cleaver, he’s not going to be impressed by the same golf and/or fishing themed novelties that have been kicking around since the late 1950s.
It’s time to ignore nine-tenths of the junk labeled “for dads” and make some choices of your own.
How to Pick a Gift That Doesn’t Suck
Dads are doers.
That’s the theme you want to keep in your mind as you gift-shop: stuff for doing, not for looking at.
We’ve made some recommendations below.
All of them were weighed with the following criteria in mind:
1. A Father’s Day Gift Should Be Useful
Is Dad going to use this thing every day?
Maybe every week?
Or is it going to sit on a shelf 364 days a year?
You want a gift that’s going to become part of your father’s life.
It should be immediately relevant to what he does and love.
You know better than we do what that stuff is, so let it guide your purchase.
The ideal gift should be something a father uses at least once a month, and preferably more often than that.
One exception we’re willing to make: a really good specialty tool for a job that comes Dad’s way once in a while.
It’s okay if he doesn’t use it often, so long as it’s the absolute best choice for the task when he does need it.
But mostly, strive for as close to daily relevance as you can.
Ok, let’s face it.
Father’s Day isn’t the biggest holiday out there.
This is not the time for huge, flashy, over-the-top gifts.
Be smart in your shopping. You don’t need to get your dad a diamond-encrusted inkwell and matching fountain pen from Tiffany’s to show him your love.
What you’re looking for is something that’s got significant value because of its usefulness and craftsmanship.
It’s valuable because of the thought and effort you put into it.
If you’re laying out cash, lay it out smart.
No father wants to think he raised a child to be stupid with money. Avoid flash. Seek value.
If you score a really good deal, it’s not being cheap — it’s being smart with your investments, just like Dad always taught.
And if he never taught you that, it’s okay. You can still impress him by doing it.
Hand in hand with value is the idea of craftsmanship.
The longer a gift lasts, the more use it will get.
The more use it gets, the more fond thoughts of you your father will have.
Cheap items from big box stores will not last. It’s not a hard and fast guide, but you can generally be wary of anything “Made in China,” or places like Vietnam and Malaysia where cheap labor and very lax oversight laws make for great prices but terrible quality. To be fair – the US & Europe make some poorly made items as well.
The point is you have to examine and look at the item for signs of quality craftsmanship. In clothing, I always tell my students to look at the inside of clothing as that’s where manufactures often cut corners – if the stitching is poor on the inside of a jacket – you can be they didn’t make the shoulder pads with quality material.
You want things that are, if not handmade, at least carefully made with strong quality assurance testing.
If you’re not sure what a good brand is for the gifts you’re considering, do some reading on Consumer Reports or product-specific forums and community websites to get a sense for what most people prefer. Amazon reviews are also an excellent resource for opinions and solid feedback!
A good minimum lifespan for clothing is five to ten years, with minor repairs along the way. For tools, think more like 20-25 years minimum. Jewelry should easily last the rest of your father’s lifespan (and yours, for that matter).
And if you’re getting consumables, well, lifespan doesn’t really come into it at that point, but if the whiskey’s younger than ten years, you can probably do better. Just sayin’.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendations
Need some recs that fit the requirements above?
I’ve made a list of 101 awesome dad gifts for this Father’s Day. Click Here to see them all!
All of them are useful, a good value, and a quality build. It’s what matters, remember?