Of course, just like Mother's Day, Father's Day was originally created as a day to honor fathers without resorting to crass commercialism. The commercialism came later, and yes, it can get out of hand. Just as there are hopeful advertisements around Mother's Day suggesting jewelry, expensive electronic equipment, and, in particular, cell phones for mom, so too are there ads suggesting that Dad really needs an expensive new barbecue grill, riding lawn mower, video game system or other electronic gadgets, or pricey tools.
But despite retailers' suggestions that love for one's father equals a really expensive gift, it's not necessary to go there to celebrate with your father, father-in-law, and husband. There are any number of thoughtful things we can do to celebrate the fathers in our lives, without plunging into that crass commercialism that the original creators of Father's Day hoped to avoid. A nice meal with a good dessert, a card and/or small gift, and plenty of expressions of appreciation for dads and husbands is usually all that is required to make the day special.
I've written about Mother's Day on several occasions, but I want to refer back to this post, here. The list I included in that post seems like a good one to include here, too--with the necessary alterations, of course. Wives, can you answer these questions?
1. How does your husband really feel about Father's Day? Would he like some token of appreciation from his wife and children, or not?As you can see, with just some minor adjustments that list works as well for women as it does for men--which shows that when it comes to tokens of appreciation, there's not really as big a division between men and women as we sometimes think there might be.
2. Who is buying the Father's Day gift/card for your husband's father (if he's still alive)? If you take care of the shopping, did you discuss with your husband what you're planning to do, ask if he has any ideas, and maybe try to get a hint from him about what he'd like?
3. Does your husband enjoy getting a tie as a gift? If he does wear ties and likes receiving them, what styles/colors does he like?
4. Can you give your husband chocolate/candy, or is there a reason this wouldn't be a good gift at present? If you can give him candy, is there a type he particularly likes? What is it?
5. Is there some unique thing (not necessarily expensive) your husband has been hinting that he'd like to have? Would Father's Day be a good time to surprise him with this?
6. Would your husband rather be treated to dinner out at his favorite restaurant instead of being given a gift? What is his favorite restaurant (if he has one)?
7. What hobbies, interests, etc. does your husband choose to pursue in any leisure time he might have? What books is he reading, and what authors does he like? Does he collect anything?
8. What kind of cards does he like to get: sentimental ones, funny ones, handmade ones, or is he not really into greeting cards at all?
9. Is there some chore or task that your husband has been planning to do himself but would really like to have done by someone else--yardwork, painting, etc.? Would surprising him with the accomplishment of this chore, either yourself or by hiring someone to do it, be a gift beyond his wildest imaginings?
10. Would your husband really like the gift of time this Father's Day? Can you take over his daily (weekend) tasks, e.g. mow the lawn, clean out the fish tank (ahem), clean the cat's litter box (double ahem), or otherwise do something that ordinarily he'd spend part of his Saturday or Sunday dealing with?
Readers, I'd love to know: what are you planning for Father's Day? Is it usually a good day, or are there special challenges you need to deal with (e.g., juggling the needs of extended family etc.) that make it complicated? I'd especially love to hear from the dads who read this blog: what makes a good Father's Day, and what is the best one you've ever had?