Gift Ideas for a Divorced Dad on a Budget
Practical or Cheerful
If your gift list includes a newly divorced dad, chances are that he's also on a budget. It is possible divorce was a relief for him. It is far more likely, though, that his mood is on the blue side and that he's a little more vulnerable or sensitive than usual. The challenge is to find something that is practical yet cheers him up.
I've looked around and collected the best advice I could find. Some of the things I discovered may also come in handy for some of the other people on your gift list. I hope it all helps.
Who is he?
What turns him on?
First thing we need to do is try to get into his head and discover what makes him happy. What makes him feel loved? What is his passion? What type of guy is he?
In gift giving context Amazon has identified about a dozen categories of peronality. They're a start, but as you will see, there are other considerations to take into account. Divorced dads on a budget aren't your average guy.
Give him presence
Chances are slim that you're the ex-wife, but if you are, extra time with the kids might be at the top of his wish list. If that happens and you're the new girlfriend or anyone else in his circle of friends, it's probably best to get out of the way. If he wants to include you, he will seek you out.
At all other times, your presence is no doubt the best gift you can give him. It's easiest if you're a guy. You may already be friends. If you are, you probably have at least something in common that you both like to do. If not, figure out what he likes even if it's not your favorite and then go do it anyway.
If you're a girl, it gets trickier. This may come as a surprise to you, but trust me on this one. For guys, divorced dad or not, there is no such thing as just friends. Chances are that he is a little emotionally unstable even if it doesn't appear so. He might be somewhat confused about this relationship stuff and his judgment is a little off. The challenge is to be completely honest with yourself and him about what the nature of your relationship is exactly. Once you have that out of the way, you can confidently give him the gift of your presence. It may be a bit more challenging for a girl to find something you'll both enjoy. Stretch a little and the gift will be that much more appreciated.
Give him stuff
Newly divorced dads are often on a tight budget and stuff is appreciated. Wishes generally come in two categories:
1. Necessities of life
2. Nice gadgets or hobby items
Listen to him. Make a mental note when he talks about things he needs or would like to have. If necessary, try to steer the conversation in that direction. If your budget allows, try to get a little something from both categories.
If you can't come up with something specific, go for a gift card. Gift cards may be tacky in other situations, but for a divorced dad on a budget, they are manna from heaven. Make it as generic as possible so he can use it at the grocery store, gas station or wherever. Pack it up in a nice gift basket.
If you're a girl and clothing is on his list and he's a hopeless dresser, you could take a chance and just buy it for him. Better yet, offer to go with him to the store. Offer him guidance, but avoid judging. If he has his heart set on that awful sweater, let him.
Let's get specific - First some practical stuff
Parenting will no doubt be up front in priorities followed by practical household items.
A classic in divorce and parenting. Kids are totally dependent on their parents for everything. With this book, he won't let them down.
And now something more fun
Fun time probably involves the kids first, but don't forget about him when he's on his own.
The emphasis here is on family.