Sure, you could give your dad a gift card for Father’s Day, but why not make this year’s present a little more personal? Fortunately, it’s possible to give a thoughtful gift that’s also affordable, says shopping expert Trae Bodge.
“A great way to give Dad an affordable gift he’ll love—and use—is by making it a companion item for something he already has,” says Bodge. In other words, think about what your dad already likes to do and build on that. Here are some options for all types of dads.
“Buy him a set of grilling tools,” says Bodge. “Or see what he already has and invest in one tool that’s most in need of replacement.” Want a no-cost gift? Clean the grill for him (it takes only a few minutes!).
“If Dad listens to music digitally, a Bluetooth speaker or new pair of headphones will give him new ways to enjoy his tunes,” says Bodge. If he likes his tunes analog, pick up original LPs at thrift stores and specialty record shops.
Get him a new travel pillow or toiletry kit to make him feel more at home when he’s on the road, says Bodge. Other on-the-go ideas? Buy him an organizer for his cords and chargers, a monogrammed luggage tag or a refillable water bottle.
“Is he handy?” asks Bodge. “Take a look at his stash of tools and see what he might be missing.” (Here’s how to build an easy tool kit.) Or consider a new set of drill bits or a compact wet/dry shop vac that’ll clean the garage and the car. Another option: Organize his workbench for him—it won’t cost you a thing.
Find a cool pocket square or pair of colorful socks that he can wear with his favorite suit, Bodge suggests. A lightweight scarf can be a sharp (and useful) accessory.
For the dad who always has the latest gadget, consider a portable charger or a home multi-USB hub that can charge several devices at one time. (And share our story with him about how to create a cutting-edge, connected living room.)
If he loves to cook, he probably already owns a heavy-duty stand mixer—but he may not have all of the accessories. A meat grinder, pasta maker or vegetable slicer and shredder are all cool add-ons. Or have his knives professionally sharpened.
He probably has all of the basic gardening equipment, so look for something specialized, like a pruner for his rose bushes or sturdy new cages for his tomato plants. Gardening shoes, gloves, a hat and sunscreen are perennial favorites.
“If he’s a runner or a gym rat, a holder for his smartphone or a moisture-wicking towel will help make his workout more comfortable and efficient,” says Bodge. Or get him a gym bag with a set of refillable bottles for his shampoo and other products.
Road Warrior Dad
If he spends a lot of time commuting—or loves to take trips in the car—Dad might like a new insulated travel mug that keeps liquids hot or cold, or an audiobook to listen to while he drives. And he’ll likely appreciate a first-aid kit or other emergency essentials for his car.
Instead of the obvious—another book—gift him something that’ll make reading more enjoyable, like a clip-on book light or a fun new pair of new reading glasses. You could also wrap up an oversized magnifier to help him to read books and magazines more easily, or get him a subscription (print or digital) to his favorite magazine.
Find an accessory he doesn’t have or something that needs a refresh. Maybe it’s a comfortable glove with a good grip, or a sun visor—anything to improve his game. And to help him stand out on the green, order some personalized, monogrammed golf balls.
Maybe he could use a new headlamp, to guide him to and from the campfire at night or light the way on trails before dawn. When the sun comes up, he’ll need a lightweight day pack with side holsters for water bottles. And you can also never go wrong with a multi-tool pocketknife, good for opening bottles or slicing into a steak.
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By Ellise Pierce