Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Father's day is coming soon...

Father's Day, 2010, is on Sunday, June 20--which means there are only eleven more shopping days until Dad's big day.

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?

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?
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.

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?


Anonymous said...

I got my husband a German-style game for his birthday and we haven't had an opportunity to play it until last week. He loves it and we have played it several times since then. I ordered one of the expansion packs to go with it as a Father's Day present because he has already started talking about wanting it.

In answer to your some of your questions, my husband probably doesn't care a bit about celebrating Father's Day, but I use it as an excuse to buy him something. (Because he doesn't care about celebrating his day, he doesn't do anything for me on Mother's Day, or even say Happy Mother's Day. I probably wouldn't "reciprocate", except as I said, it is an excuse to get him something and I like buying things for him.)

He wouldn't care for a card, but I know he would love chocolate. I would buy it for him, except that he has particular chocolate tastes and none of the types he likes are sold anywhere around for hundreds of miles and it is too warm to order online.

He probably would like getting a tie because he has to wear one to work every day and likes to have variety. Yes, I know what styles of tie he likes and doesn't like. I probably would get him one, except that the only store that sells them nearby is Wal Mart and he wouldn't want one from them. I would have to buy one online from a department store, which I am not going to do unless I found a good sale and decent shipping.

I know he would like certain tools, but he hasn't elaborated as to what kind he would like so I am clueless in that respect.

I know there is one restaurant that he would like to go to in town, but it isn't one for children, so that kind of misses the point of Father's Day for us.

Lastly, he probably will send his father a Skype message saying something like, "Happy Father's Day, Dad" and that will be that. His father does the same thing to him on his birthday, so neither of them will think anything of the minuscule amount of recognition.

Barbara C. said...

Sometime between now and June 20th, I plan to present my husband with his fourth daughter. He will just have to be content with becoming a father again. ;-)

Pam S. said...

My husband has told me he either wants a fancy new coffee maker which grinds it's own beans or to have his teeth whitened. He'll probably get both as his birthday is the week before Father's Day and he is also graduating with a Master's degree the day before FD. He's not so fond of cards, but we give them to him anyways--the kids like to pick out special ones. Chocolate is also not a winner. We will grill steaks for him, have some beers and a special dessert.
I'm chipping in with my siblings for a Garmin GPS for my dad. I do buy for my husband's dad but he is getting really difficult to get a gift for. We've done gift cards, restaurant cards, photos of the kids, etc... He's 85 and can buy anything he desires. And he really doesn't desire much.

Robyn said...

We always tease my husband that he got the gift that keeps on giving for 18 years as my oldest son was born on Father's Day 9 years ago. We don't go all out because frankly money is tight since I am not working right now, and we are ecpecting our 3rd child in August. The kids will get him a card and I will make his favorite lasagna for dinner. He will be happy with that though as he is not one to make a big deal about things.