(Last Minute) Father's Day Cheat Sheet

E. Louise

You'd think asking someone what they'd like as a gift would net heartwarming dialogue. "What?? Oh, you shouldn't... but I could always use a book." Or, "No-no-no-don't-don't-don't, I don't need anything, honey. I've got everything I need." But at every gift-giving occasion for the last, say, three decades, my dad has voiced the latter (about not needing a thing, being happy with everything he's got, et cetera, et cetera), only he shouts it. Loudly, usually cursing, shaking his head, and waving his arms back and forth. He uses the exact same tone of voice as when I'd missed curfew or the time I accidentally killed our pet rabbits. (Plural.) 


So I didn't really ask my dad to be on this Father's Day gift-giving advisory panel. Instead, I asked these guys. Let's call this (mostly) local crew our all-star panel:


Stay Gray, founder of DigSouth, father of 2

Devin Grant, music writer, father of 2 

Bryce Donovan, writer, father of 1 and another on the way 

Tim Brennan, musician, father of 3 

Bobby Stockton, U.S. Navy, father of 3 

Zack Hoover, marketing exec, father of 3 

Desmond Kinlaw, fashion blogger, father of 2

Lee Monk, sales exec, father of 1


Now if you’re lazy and don’t feel like reading to the end, here’s what you need to know: 1) Don’t get men crap they don't need/want—these guys seem to be totally OVER material goods when it comes to dadship—and anything homemade from the kids rocks. There. That's all you really need to know.


But here's the fun version.


(Incidentally, I did get my dad a gift. I bought him a book, Photography and the American Civil War.



He's going to be pissed, then sit down for four hours with a glass of wine to go through it. My friend Martha and I caught the exhibit at the Met last month, and it was fantastic. Check out the book, could be a good option. Fun fact: Martha actually has a pet rabbit and lets me pet-sit when she's out of town. I don't think we ever discussed any sort of... ahem, credentials.)




The ever-so-cliche tie. Even a cool one…
Consensus: Mostly, a terrible, awful, anger-inducing idea... 



Not. At. All. Since junior year in high school, I made it a goal to work a job where I don't have to wear a tie. —Tim

Not only would I not be excited, I would ask my family why they woke me up to give me a stupid gift. —Bryce

I'd think they were blind. I wear shorts and flip flops to work. —Zack

No excitement here. My family knows me better. —Stan

Meh. —Devin

Fun ties are okay. I appreciate really bad ties from the thrift store. Bow ties always rock. —Lee


Breakfast in bed
Mostly a good idea. Unless you’re Bryce’s family



VERY excited. I make breakfast every weekend. —Zack

It would give me a smile to see the kids do this. —Tim

Ha. Same answer as for the ties. —Bryce

Can I get blueberries with those pancakes? And, a mimosa. —Stan

Tools, or $$ for tools
At your own risk...



Not so much. It's a message that says, "Hey, you don't do enough around the house. Go out and fix or build something for us." —Tim

Money for tools would be fine, because then I could spend it on beer. —Bryce

See answer #1.  I curse every time I hold a tool in my hand. —Zack

Fancy shaving gear



Practical, better than a tie. —Zack

Would it give me a fancy face? —Tim

Oh, hell no! None of that whiny “my-skin-gets-ouchy-so-I- use-sensitive-skin-shave-cream and-lotions-and-then-I-go-bellow-at-the-TV-during-football-games.”  Can’t have it both ways. Get Dad some Old Spice in that old timey-looking bottle for God’s sake. I’d like some Old Spice, but I don’t want to ante up 8 clams for a bottle of the stuff. —Lee

If you have kids, you don’t have any time to use this. —Stan 


Alcohol... in any form



Now they're paying attention. —Zack

At the risk of sounding like I'm just being a good sport about a gift, I would love it more than my family itself. —Bryce

A bottle of Connemara would be nice. —Tim

I don’t drink, but most dads would appreciate cool liquor. Especially in cool looking bottles rock: see “Kracken Rum” —Lee

A private tasting of local, craft brews would be sweet. —Stan


Concert tickets or comedy show... some sort of performance

Consensus: We have another winner



Definitely! —Devin

Sure. Bruce Springsteen in Ireland this year would be nice. —Tim

Actually got these once. Was totally surprised and thought it was actually a really good idea. —Bryce

I would be pretty excited to get tickets to see The Killers in Daniel Island in August. —Desmond

Baseball game with the family would be great. —Zack (Disclaimer: Zack actually lives in New Jersey. So his baseball games are a little different than our baseball games. No offense, Riverdogs.)

Rock out, kids. Especially for a Dusty Slay show. —Stan

Concert tickets are coolest if Mom and children know who Dad wants to see. I went to see Alice Cooper last year, but my wife had no idea I would like that.  “Welcoooooome toooo my nightmaaaaaare!” (Alice) —Lee


Some sort of "pass" (a pass to sleep in, to fix/buy things that don't make sense to anyone but you, to get away with something specific that is notoriously frowned upon... within reason of course)
I got the feeling this was okay, but could be dangerous territory


I'll pass on that. —Tim

For Mother's Day my wife wanted our family to go to brunch. For Father's Day I asked for the same thing. Hopefully, they'll bring me something back. —Bryce

A pass to sleep in or watch whatever I wanted (i.e. not Shaun the Sheep or Backyardigans)? That would rock. —Devin

A weekend boat pass would more than do the trick. —Stan


Bonus Gift Advisory
Consensus: Negative

I don't need shit and dislike all listed... anything I would like as a gift revolves around experiencing things I enjoyed as a kid with my children now. Currently in my Amazon "cart" I have rockets, models (cars, plane, ship), remote control stuff, skateboard, boogie boards, balls (soccer, tennis, baseball) and a baseball glove. —Bobby

Note: Bobby's my brother-in-law. I'm sensing some similarities between his answer and my dad's 30-year string of answers. Here's a great pic of him with his youngest, Luke. Father's Day picture of the year?






Anything made by my kids. —Zack

A letter from my kids when I left for Iraq. —Bobby

My oldest son (with the assistance of my wife) gave me a beautiful silver and turquoise ring I'd looked at in Santa Fe, but ultimately decided against buying. I wear it every day. —Devin

Short of the birth of both kids, the original art and cards they make each year is spectacular and always makes me smile. —Stan

Anything my little girl makes for me or has made for me is always my favorite. Her crafted gifts are truly from the heart. —Lee

Getting to go off and do whatever I want all day by myself. Now that I think about it, I'm starting to realize what a terrible person I am. —Bryce





The easiest, least expensive thing that someone can get me is some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies from either Fuddruckers, Perkins, or Subway.  —Desmond

A realistic gift that I think would be great is a wallet every year. Inside that wallet is a photo of the family taken right before Father's Day. Then when the wallet is replaced the next year, the photo is taken out of the wallet—even if stained or dog eared—and kept in a small card folder. So over time, a dad can see the changes to his family from Father's Day to Father's Day. It's as expensive a gift as you want to make it, and it can become a family tradition. —Tim

If we could all just agree to drop these ridiculous holidays and call a gift truce. That way I don't have to get my wife anything for Mother's Day and she can ask me to move furniture from one spot to another and back in our living room all Father's Day and we'll be even. —Bryce

If you can't think of the perfect gift, don't sweat not having something to open.... Gift cards are great....iTunes, favorite restaurant, sporting goods, Home Depot.  They seem impersonal, but I'd prefer over an ugly shirt. —Zack

Wine-making equipment. —Bobby 

Offering to watch the kids so my wife and I could go to a show/movie/dinner together. —Devin

Since I work in the garage on cars, boats and even lawn equipment, I always say that a dad cannot have too many safety items such as goggles, safety glasses, those blue shop paper towels, engine degreaser in a spray can, WD-40 (lubricant of the Gods, well at least the garage lubricant), mechanics’ gloves, spray cleaners, car and boat detailing kits. Why, Dad might even clean YOUR car with that stuff. —Lee

Going on a surprise trail hike and picnic with the family and our dog would make my day. —Stan