Gifts of Love for Father’s Day

It’s almost Father’s Day, so I was reflecting on gifts my kids had given my husband over the years. I’ll admit. I’m not great at figuring out gifts to give my husband. And in those early years, you do have to give them a little help with Father’s Day Gifts. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned over the years that might be helpful:

1. Don’t Try to Reinvent the Guy.

Let’s just say that my husband is not high maintenance. One time my daughters and I bought him some jeans that actually fit and a nice, black Merino wool sweater (this was a Christmas gift, thus the sweater). He received lots of compliments. But I noticed he didn’t wear them that often. He probably missed the Dad Jeans with roomy pockets. In his defense, I usually make him stuff whatever I might need in his pockets because I hate to carry a purse, so I appreciate those pockets, too. That’s just to say that when your kids say Dad really wants a puppy or a bunny, a trip to Disney World next week, a backyard pool installed tomorrow or the latest Lego kit, it may be best to guide them in a different direction.

2. Think of What He Does Every Day.

My husband drinks coffee every day. One daughter made him a coffee mug. I know he thinks of her every time he sees it. Likewise, a pound of quality coffee can be a great gift. My son shares his love of quality sweets, so that has been a successful gift from him.

Img 63963. Think of What He Doesn’t Do Every Day.

My husband could use some help with keeping stacks of papers at bay or organizing his many ball caps. One of our daughters bought baskets and organizers and organized his stuff for him. Did it last? No. But it was a great idea. Another useful gift he received was an over-the-door hanger for his hats. This is (somewhat) in use – and much appreciated by me. Our kids have cleaned out his car, washed his car and arranged things in his office.

4. Think of What He Enjoys.

The kids went together one year and bought their dad one of those kits to find out your ancestry. He enjoys researching his family, so that was a thoughtful gift. He’s received running clothes, quality six-packs of beer and chocolates. Signing up for a run together with your dad can be a thoughtful gift. My daughter and husband did a bike ride in Austin and a run in Austin. Activities that dads and kids enjoy together are great gifts.

5. Think of What Your Kids Can Make.

I don’t know about you, but handmade gifts have always been loved at our house. Here are some that my kids have done over the years:

  • Mugs don’t have to be made from scratch. Pick up a coffee mug or a cereal bowl and some ceramic markers at the local craft store. Or go to one of the paint-your-own places to create a masterpiece.

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  • If Dad is a cook, buy a white chef’s apron at a kitchen supply store and let the kids decorate it with handprints or other art using fabric paint.
  • Let your child make a picture frame using craft sticks decorated with paint or markers and put a picture of the child in it.
  • Make stepping stones. This one is a little more complicated, but very cool. There are kits for these at hobby stores, but we did our own using: cement; round, plastic bedpans; a variety of bright glass, broken tiles or whatever you can think of to decorate the stone. Mix up some cement, pour it into the bedpan mold, and stick your decorative items into the cement – you could even try a handprint or footprint. Let it dry completely and then turn it out. It usually slips out pretty easily from the plastic mold. Use them to make a walkway.

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  • Large river rocks, when painted in a special way by your special kids, make great paper weights for Dad’s desk.

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  • And, while my kids have made many, many Christmas ornaments using Sculpey clay, I saw these cute key chain ornaments that kids could make for Dad on They can be as simple as a heart shape or more complicated using stamps, paint or added layers.


The main thing that I’ve learned is that most lessons start close to home with attachments to someone children love. If we want to have children who are kind and giving, that lesson doesn’t come from telling kids they need to be generous and thoughtful. It comes from showing them how to be thoughtful and kind in a very concrete way – like giving Dad a gift for Father’s Day. When you allow kids to experience the joy of giving to others in small, meaningful ways, they will continue – and expand – that practice as adults.

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