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Alternative Father's Day Gift Ideas (or out with the socks...)

Updated on June 12, 2012

Fathers Day

Are you fed up with buying the same old gifts for father's day? Then ditch the socks, ties and handkerchiefs and try one of these alternative gift ideas for your dad.

Father's Day is celebrated on different days in different countries, from Russia on 23rd February to 26th December in Bulgaria. However the vast majority of countries (more than 50 at last count) celebrate Father's Day on the 3rd Sunday in June, which in 2012 is June 17th. Traditionally, a card and sometimes a gift is bought. For some reason people often struggle with what to buy their father - socks, ties and even handkerchiefs are the gifts of choice, or after shave if they are really lucky. Whole drawers at home are taken up by hankies that are never used. So what alternatives are there to the traditional (i.e. boring) Father's Day gifts? Here are just a few ideas.

Go to a sports event together
Go to a sports event together | Source

Out with the jokey ties...

  1. A gift experience to do together - depending on where you live, there are potentially hundreds of great experience days which you can do together, which the women in your lives probably would go to great lengths to avoid. Blokes day out include Formula One race days, going to a Casino, Horse Racing, any sort of sporty activities, anything really, whatever your dad enjoys.
  2. From the active to the passive, why not take your father to a sports match if they are into sports. This is a particularly good idea if you used to go to the football/cricket/baseball etc together when you were young. He's bound to enjoy the reversal where you take him for a change...
  3. A trip down memory lane. What does your father reminisce about from his childhood? You might find you can pick up something cheaply on ebay that will bring the past flooding back. A couple of years ago I picked up for next to nothing an old issue from a classic comic/magazine I remember my dad telling me he used to read avidly when he was a child in the 1950s. It really brought it all back for him, and I think this was one of the best received presents I've given in years.
  4. Is Dad into sports? Then get him something to do with the Olympics which is going to be *the* big event of the summer. There's lots of great merchandise available, or if he's got a Kindle (or Kindle app on his phone, iPad, computer etc) then why not him a Guide to Olympic Sports.
  5. Help him out with something. Take an interest in something he's working on, if he's been wanting to do that DIY project for ages, suggest you take a day and work on it together. Not only will he be glad of the help, he'll like spending the time with you too.
  6. Start him on a new hobby (or an old one.) Men are notorious for always starting a new hobby (and often never finishing them!) Particularly if he has a lot more time on his hands (retired perhaps, or maybe the children are all grown up). Buy him a model to make, a kite to fly, a game to play...
  7. Get a personalised gift - either with his name on, or a photo are the most common. If it's a photo, either one of your father and mother together (or father and partner if different), one of the children, or grandchildren. Equally something nice personalised with his name on often goes down a treat.
  8. Make something for him - if you have a skill and are good at making something, be it pottery or painting, wood carving or engraving, make a nice piece for him. Men aren't generally as mushy about this as women, but they'll be more touched than you'd think. I had a spell of doing some bookbinding, and made my dad a nice notebook. If you've got young children, get them to make something for granddad, under your guidance. He'll like that even better.
  9. Buy something handcrafted - if making something yourself is out of the question, then take the time to choose something unique - sites like are excellent for that sort of thing.
  10. Time - if they have young children (in which case, you, mum, are probably choosing a gift) then giving them the time to do something they want to do - or even to do nothing - might be such a big treat for them. If they're older and don't see a lot of you, then make time for them. An hour or two just for them is going to matter so much more than an expensive gift in the post.
  11. Finally, tell them how important they are to you. This is invariably harder with your father than your mother, all the more so for sons and their fathers. If you can't do it face to face, then write a really nice message to them in a card, but in person is better.

Choosing a Father's Day Card

Finally, a brief thought about buying a card. There are so many cards on offer these days, take the time to choose a nice one, something appropriate which you know they will like. Some dads will not be bothered about the card, but many will. If your father is one who does think they're important then choose carefully. Buy a jokey card where the joke is really appropriate, or buy a photo card where the picture is of a significant place or thing to them. Or just a picture that you know they'll like will do. Again, sites like Etsy have hundreds of people selling handmade or hand painted cards. These are often cheaper and nice than those you will get on the high street/out of town stores.

Share your ideas

Do you have any other good ideas, or maybe you've got a great story about a fathers day gift that worked really well? If so then feel free to share it, just leave a comment below.


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    • profile image

      Plantasticone 2 years ago

      My Dad loved growing the Zombie Plant at home!

    • nakmeister profile image

      nakmeister 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      The thought that certain family members might read this did cross my mind at one or two points, yes! Thanks for your comments.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great Idea! This isn't something you wrote and will be hanging as a hintidy hint hint hint at your house is it? LOL Voted up all the good buttons pushed!