Father’s Day: Another tie?

As a fairly new father, I’m looking forward to spending time with my daughter on Father’s Day and having the pleasure of her company. A Father’s Day gift is the last thing on my mind since things like walking, driving, and income earning aren’t on her radar. So, why am I writing about Father’s Day gifts? It’s to steer you away from giving the gift that you might usually get for your dad. Forget about getting another tie, golf shirt, or power tool. Why not take your dad out to dinner? If your dad is anything like mine, he never lets me pay, and you can take advantage of Father’s Day by insisting that he allow you to pick up the bill.

Always consider a consumable rather than adding to his tie collection. If he is a golfer, buy a few rounds of golf for him. Better yet, if you golf too this is a great opportunity for you to spend some time with him and you can cover the greens fees. Maybe go to a course he’s never been to or that you know he loves.

Take him out to the ballgame. What better way to spend a Father’s Day then to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the ballpark? Whether it is a Major League Baseball game or a local minor league park there aren’t many more perfect venues to kick back with dad.

Does anyone have any unique gift ideas for Father’s Day? Feel free to share them in the comments.

49 Comments for “Father’s Day: Another tie?”

  1. posted by Tyler on

    Fishing with your dad or son (or daughter) is a great way to spend Father’s Day. While fishing does tend to be a clutter-producing hobby, it’s also an excellent way to spend time with others in an activity that encourages conversation and interaction.

    Good gift ideas might be a new tacklebox/tackle bag for the cluttered fisherman, or a new lure for the organized one.

  2. posted by Nicholai on

    My dad has tons of ‘stuff’ and would buy himself anything he really wanted, so I’ve decided to do a donation gift this year and see how it goes. I’m using Changing the Present (http://www.changingthepresent.org/). Instead of just giving money, they tell you what that money will buy so that you can see what you’re doing to help, and they send a personalized card to Dad about the gift.

    If it goes over well this year, I will probably expand it out to certain other family members (some just love ‘stuff’ to much to not get them a physical item). I think of it as a gift that will extend one’s consciousness instead of shrink one’s closet space.

  3. posted by Maria in Iowa on

    No power tools? and it has to be consumable?

    Okay, then, how about hand tools? Or better yet, consumable hand tools?

    Here’s what I’m getting my dad: Chocolate hand tools by Craftsman (available at Sears, of course). I tiny’ed the link.


  4. posted by Elizabeth on

    My stepfather’s birthday is two days after Father’s Day, so I generally give him a hand-made gift certificate, with an expiration date of three days later, for his choice of dinner and movie tickets. (And, okay, we use his memberships for the various art-house theaters in New York, but that totally doesn’t count.)

  5. posted by JW on

    My Dad lives in Florida, and I’m in New York, and I see him rarely. I send NY state wine, or strange New York products that he wouldn’t see or try otherwise. I also have bought him tickets to the regional theatre in his town (theatre is my line), which he enjoys, but doesn’t think to do for himself.

    This isn’t very “green,” but one could also fill up Dad’s tank, or send a gas card in the mail.

  6. posted by sarah on

    Hidden inside a (replacement) mug for my husband will be a couple of massage certificates — I bet there are lots of dads with preschoolers who could use the same!

  7. posted by Jack on

    I actually think this is poor advice….why not buy a tie or something that can be used multiple times and return the investment. A “capital investment of 20 bucks is a more prudent investment because it brings multiple returns, then just purchasing an experience in itself.

  8. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Jack — I don’t see it as poor advice at all. For starters, Matt doesn’t wear a tie to work. Or, if he does, I’m clueless as to why since we don’t require it of our employees. Secondly, how many of our readers have fathers who still go into an office every day?? Looking at Unclutterer’s average reader age, I’d say the number is very, very tiny. A tie would be nothing more than clutter in our fathers’ closets.

    ROI is only applicable when there is “return.”

  9. posted by Joachim on

    How about some unusual cufflinks?


  10. posted by Suzyn on

    I got my husband a “photo safari” for his birthday! http://washingtonphotosafari.com/

    And um, Jack? How many pleasant memories do you have that purely consist of wearing a particular tie? Purchasing experiences is about building up memories.

  11. posted by Marc on

    One must also consider that fond memories of a day out can count as a return on investment as well.

  12. posted by Jess on

    Funnily enough my dad really likes ties, he’s at retirement age but he runs his own business so it’ll be a good long while before he stops wearing suits. However he likes designer ties that he can afford and I can’t, so instead I go shopping with him and help him choose the best ones as he values my opinion more than anything I could ever buy him.
    I think ultimately parents value your time or a simple gesture far more than material objects.

  13. posted by Joye on

    Over the past few years my brother and I have started giving my parents experiences instead of stuff. They’ve seen Mama Mia (with prepaid parking!) Shania Twain, Jimmy Buffet and gone on a Segway tour of Atlanta. They still talk about the Segway tour since it’s a different mode of transport and it was a great way for them to learn more about a city they’ve lived in for years.

  14. posted by Tracy on

    I usually buy my Dad a small tree or bush for Father’s Day (or a gift certificate for him to go pick one out). He’s a very avid gardener and has a whole row of Father’s Day plants to admire every day.

  15. posted by Ms. Superiority on


    SO I read your post and immediately remembered to go online and look for stuff for my dad at macys.com (sorry not what you are preaching but my dad wants a shirt).

    but I have just been placed on hold by my computer – macy’s online has put me on hold and won’t let me enter their site yet. Seriously. I am totally in shock. I am “in line” online.

    this has never ever happened to me. I have to wait to enter a website? Has this every happened to you!? IS this good customer service? online?!

  16. posted by Karen on

    We buy my husband his Northwest World Clubs membership every year for Father’s Day. He travels frequently for work and loves the peace & quiet in the Clubs. It’s our way of giving him some TLC while he’s away from us.

  17. posted by Ann - One Bag Nation on

    We’ll be making and serving breakfast in bed, then dad and daughter plan a bike riding outing. No ties here.

  18. posted by M.R. on

    Once my mother got my father a ride in a WWII airplane. I think that was his favorite gift EVER. He buys everything he wants, so intangibles are usually a better gift for him.

  19. posted by Karen on

    I don’t live near my Dad, but last year I got him a subscription to Netflix. He’s reasonably internet savvy (I showed him how to use the web site when I visited) but I don’t think he would have subscribed otherwise. In the past, I’d bought him some DVD’s, but I started running out of his favorites. There are only so many James Bond DVD’s that you can buy!

  20. posted by Jacque on

    How ironic that the skyscraper ad — at the time I loaded this page — was hawking products at Macy’s as I read this post…

  21. posted by Lori on

    We stopped with the gifts long ago, but I would so very much like to see father’s day cards that did NOT revolve around (1) golf, (2) power tools, (3) fishing, (4) farts, (5) the remote control, or (6) offspring asking for money. None of those apply to my particular situation, and the vast majority of “light” cards out there hit one or more of those subjects.

    I whole-heartedly endorse experiences over physical gifts: memberships, special dinners, theater, concerts, workshops/classes, and so on. Our local cooking school has classes, one of which is a fancy grilling class. If my dad lived here and we were inclined to exchange gifts, that’s what I’d do.

  22. posted by Kris on

    His honey do list is on hold; he’ll get breakfast in bed and homemade cards from the boys; I’ll send him off to the driving range or the local golf course (having called his golfing buddy prior to so they can meet over there); massage gift certificate; and grilled steaks for dinner.

    My dad gets a card; although two years ago I had a redwood tree sapling delivered to him. He loved that.

  23. posted by Merlyn on

    My gift to my father is 1 or 2 books, usually acquired from half.com in perfect condition. However, the point of the gift is not that I’m giving him new books, I’m finding him new authors. He’s always delighted to see what new author I’ve tracked down for him. He’s a voracious reader and always looking for new authors and series. When he’s done reading the books, he goes to the library and gets the rest of the author’s books. The books I gave him come back to me with notes of “must read this” or “this one’s OK”. Ultimately, the books go back to half.com or a used book store. But years later my Dad still says “Yeah, this is the author you found me 2 years ago. He’s really great!” And that, to me and my Dad, is priceless!

  24. posted by Meghan on

    You’re assuming all dads like “normal dad” things like golf and fishing. My dad is not into that stuff AT ALL. He actually does collect vintage ties, though. So many people give him crazy ties that he ties them to the chain-link fence in front of his live/work warehouse space. It’s pretty when they blow in the wind. I usually just take him out to lunch. Or have him over for dinner.

  25. posted by Katharine on

    For Father’s Day, 10 years ago, we met at the restaurant near the Carlsbad Airport (near the future Legoland). Where the restaurant was located you were able to watch the old Biplanes asend and desend. My siblings, my dad and my stepmom were going to watch them while eating breakfast. We had a note saying..sorry you’re not getting breakfast now, instead here is a ticket for you to fly in the bi-plane. My dad went out to the tarmack and flew a bi-plane with a pilot. The look on his face, in the photograph, showed a man living his dream. Pure bliss!!

  26. posted by Bex! on

    When I was a kid we had a tradition with another family of backpacking in to a cabin for the weekend and who wants to haul a gift in/out? That definitely helped create the guilt-free non-gifting holiday we enjoy to this day.

  27. posted by Lin on

    2 years ago, I took my dad to a MLB game. It’s surprising how inexpensive decent seats can be. (He reciprocated a few months later for my birthday). Last year, I used my membership at the Natural Science Museum to send him to a tour of the National Weather Service branch for our area. He’s always been a weather nut, to the point that when I was a child, I thought weather was the purpose of the 6 o’clock news. He loved it. Check for special events at museums that you hold memberships to. The staff at my museum was more than happy to allow me to purchase the tour for my dad. In my experience, gifts like this have been better received, easier to pick out, more fun to pick out, and in most cases cheaper than the tie or shirt or PJ pants or golf gear. (although I am still searching for this year’s gift).

  28. posted by Scott James on

    As a new father, I am now a fan of the classic [big hug + “thanks for not disowning me when I was an insane teenager”] gift for Father’s Day. I owe my Dad alot of those hugs.

    – Scott James
    Fair Trade Sports
    Blog: http://www.fairtradesports.com
    Eco-Certified Fair Trade soccer balls and more!

  29. posted by Cynthia on

    I don’t live near my dad so a phone call usually works. If I send him something, I usually ask my Mom what he needs and buy it for him. But since my dad is a simple man and all he wants to know is that his children are okay and happy, a phone call just to wish him a Happy Father’s Day is all he wants. Plus, he usually will tell us who hasn’t called him yet, I think it’s a hint to us that we need to remind the others to call him.

    But for my boyfriend, we’ll be heading to the local rodeo on Sunday. We’ve done dinner in the past and homemade gifts. All my boyfriend wants is to spend time with his little boy, so what better way to do that than to spend it together at the rodeo.

  30. posted by allen on

    We live in Wisconsin, and i got my nature bug from my Papa; this year, i got him a “Birds of Wisconsin” book that contains a CD of their calls, to help identify them.

    Guess what i’m saying is: Personal gifts that reflect that you really do know/care about the other person have got to be better gifts, be they consomables, or not. Just becuase it is “nice” or “expensive” don’t mean jack.

  31. posted by ell on

    I’m making my dad/family dinner for father’s day, not only because he likes the dish when I make it, but because it’s less stressful than being in a restaurant (and costs about 1/10th of the price for ingredients versus the restaurant bill). If we went to a restaurant we’d probably spend 1-2 hours there, because staff want the table for new customers, but at home we can stay as long as we want.

  32. posted by Kate on

    One idea is a commemorative brick, particularly if it is a fundraiser for something that your parent has a personal connection to. For instance, the organization that I work for is currently doing a brick fundraiser to restore a historic fountain and plaza area in our downtown, and I’ve been surprised by the number of people who have shared memories of the plaza, which used to be a popular gathering spot. The great thing about a brick is that it doesn’t create any household clutter and it is a way for the community to recognize the charitable contribution for prosperity. I’ve noticed that many organizations, such as the women’s basketball hall of fame, animal shelters, and skate parks, do brick fundraisers, so there’s something for every taste.

  33. posted by Sue on

    We are giving my dad a gift catalog of food items—steaks, lobster, chicken breasts, chops, etc because he LOVES to grill.

  34. posted by Andamom on

    We’re replacing my husband’s wallet, making cards, and having a BBQ. Here are some other ideas:

    1) Volunteering with him (especially for an organization that helps kids)
    2) Visiting a gallery together
    3) Cooking a meal together
    4) Taking a trip together
    5) Offering to help him with a project
    6) An investment for his portfolio
    7) Cleaning his office, apartment, kitchen, etc.
    8) Painting a room in his home/office
    9) A hike in a National or local park
    10) Going bowling
    11) Checking out a concert
    12) Renting a movie that makes you both laugh
    13) Taking a helicopter or boat ride
    14) Going to a boat, car, etc. show

    There are any number of other thoughts depending on his needs and interests… I’m in favor of creativity and thinking outside the box too.

  35. posted by Hippykidz on

    I don’t see my Dad much anymore these days. When the last of us graduated he bought a Harley, He and Mom have been gone ever since. So this year maybe not so personal but very appropo he’s getting a gas card. With fuel prices the way they are I figure it’s more time he can spend doing what makes him happiest.

  36. posted by Mary on

    My dad gets a big chunk of change every year to go towards his purchase of Lady Vols season tickets (GO VOLS!) With four kids, we manage to give him enough to purchase 4 season tickets and they go on sale during the summer. He enjoys taking his wife and inviting others to attend the basketball games with them.

  37. posted by Jennifer on

    Maybe this is too late, but last year I did a “7 Days of Father’s Day” for my husband… I don’t remember everything, but a few were:

    1 mowed lawn
    2 bags of beef jerky
    3 favorite candies
    4 empty trash cans

    My kids and I did his chores and gave him little surprises all week long, and every day I hung a little tag in the kitchen that said what we’d done or left for him.

  38. posted by Sandra on

    @Lori – at some point you just have to give up on the greeting card industry and make your own cards! You can even recycle while doing it. It’s great to be freed of that industry, and allows you to be really creative if you want (or just get an idea from an e-card online – or send an e-card!)

    The last time I bought greeting cards was because I had a gift certificate. Otherwise, I am all about making them 🙂

  39. posted by Sandra on

    Oh, and to the first post: we often get him socks… it sounds boring, and maybe it is, but I feel like the gift of preventing him from being so lazy that he keeps wearing holey socks is a good gift. 🙂

  40. posted by Looby on

    My dad loves to get ties for gifts, he wears them 6 days a week. On the other hand he hates sports and fishing.
    This year my gift to him is picking up some model railway stuff he has ordered- the ultimate clutter? Makes him happy though.

  41. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    My dad’s in his 80s and lives across the country from my brother and me. Some of the best gifts I’ve given my dad:

    1. Stock in the company I worked for, in my corporate days. Dad follows the stock market avidly.

    2. A framed professional photo of me and my brother.

    3. A digital photo frame, loaded with old family photos.

  42. posted by Amy in Ann Arbor on

    My husband is getting a tricked out Mini Maglite flashlight (LED conversion, other doodads) and a tiny Leatherman Squirt multi-tool in a nice sheath that is designed for just that–a small flashlight and multi-tool. I hope he will use them.

    My 85-year-old, rocket scientist father died last November. I want to do something this Father’s Day in his honor. Any ideas? All I have thought of so far is a gift of creatures from Heifer International.


  43. posted by Janine Adams on

    Great ideas!

    Here’s a link to a relevant article by professional organizer Geralin Thomas on clutter-free gift ideas for father’s day:


  44. posted by Susan on

    If you live a long way from your parents, a PHONE CALL is DEFINATELY the BEST GIFT you can give your parents – unless you can go to VISIT THEM – no matter what the holiday or occasion.

  45. posted by PsychMamma on

    My hubby LOVES to get specialty coffee drinks at our local downtown coffee joint, but feels guilty spending the money since we’re down to one income with me staying at home. He’s getting a gift card to the coffee joint, a massage and the day spent however he would like.

  46. posted by Sarah on

    I’ve always been a big fan of memory gifts as opposed to physical gifts.
    My hubby has asked for video editing software. I’m looking for a place to download. Who needs CDs?

    My dad is getting a copy of “Go Green, Get Rich.” He loves to read, but doesn’t take the time to pick out his own books.

    I wrote a blog about gift wrap options. It’s focused on recycling and reuse. http://greenfamilies.info. Perhaps it will be helpful to those giving physical gifts.

  47. posted by Kyle on

    My dad and I normally play in a father-son golf tournament each father’s day. Golf is his biggest passion, and he already has far more “stuff” than he wants (he HATES clutter), so this is perfect.

    This father’s day will be particularly special for him, because it also happens to be my birthday. I was born on father’s day 22 years ago this Sunday, so every time my birthday happens to fall on that day is extra special.

  48. posted by Sarah Lewis on

    My dad’s not local, he doesn’t golf, and I was thinking of getting him a movie (though I like the Netflix idea much better but can’t afford).

    This post made me rethink the DVD and taking some inspiration from Etsy, I’m going to make him some yummy candy-type treats and send them. He’ll enjoy them but they won’t make my mom crazy by adding clutter. 🙂

  49. posted by Neddy on

    Im late but we gave father a portrait from http://www.canvaspress.com it was from a picture of him and mother when they were young.

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