Meaningful Gifts for Dad

A man stands knee-deep in a river, flyfishing with the sun overhead and his daughter on his back..
Photo by Shannon Venditti.

Typically I end up throwing something together for everyone at the last minute—I get gifts for my dad, my husband (from my kids) my godfather, their godfathers, my cousin’s neighbor’s brother … OK I’m not that Italian … but you get the gist. Gift giving has gone overboard, and I’m here to simplify and streamline it so that you can find  a meaningful, simple gift from you and yours for the type of dad you are celebrating.

So don’t worry, this blog won’t make you feel like you’ve underwhelmed Dad in the past, and you don’t have to be super crafty, super techy, or even super spendy to win at gifting for dad this year. Here are some easy ideas for all the dads, husbands, father-like figures and all those who just absolutely nail parenthood, brotherhood, grandparenting, godfathering and life in general:

For The Active Dad

  • Pack up and take him on a bike ride, or hike and picnic in one of the awesomely close parks near us!
  • If I were a dad, I would want my kids to design their own Lebo coffee & cookie crawl. Just saying.
  • Grab his fishing pole and some snacks for a fishing or camping excursion nearby. Think Ohiopyle or the Laurel Highlands!
  • Lead him in his very own personal yoga in the park (or backyard).
  • Sunski sunglasses are a gift you can physically give Dad. They’re good for the planet and his eyes!

For Those With a Crafting Den

  • If you happen to have a Cricut, you can make him (or all the men in your life) personalized koozies. If not, Etsy always has your back and takes it up a notch with a personalized Yeti can holder.
  • For those with young kids, handprint or footprint molds are always a huge hit. Add a frame and it’s a tear-jerker!
  • Use iPhoto, reels in Instagram, or whatever you can get your hands on to make an interview-style video compilation of your kids commentary on Dad. It will provide laughs for days.
  • If photography isn’t your thing, but you’d like to have nice photos, get him a frame and print out your own gift card for a professional photo shoot. This one sounds like it’s for Dad, but it’s really for Mom.

Don’t Forget Uncles & Godfathers

  • Hook him up with a “Mandle” (man candle) … I might have just coined this term. I like it.
  • A Topgolf  gift cardwill not disappoint.
  • Make him his own six pack from Two Daughters Beer and Wine Market.
  • Are you in charge of plans for the day? Throw together a simple BBQ to celebrate them all at once!

Ideas from the Kids:

  • Have the kids pretend they are servers at an at-home Ice cream sundae bar. Pro Tip: Bring napkins.
  • Bake donuts with the kids in the morning, before he wakes up.
  • You’ve seen this one before, fill out a questionnaire from your kids. He won’t be able to stop laughing.

Cover Him in Comfort

Getting Back to Activities:

  • If he hasn’t done this yet, it’s sure to be a gift he’ll always remember: take him Axe Throwing.
  • Pirate game tickets are always a win … even if they aren’t winning.
  • Looking to improve his swing? Sign him up for golf lessons at Cool Springs.

For Dad’s Who Invented Social Distancing 

  • Turn Dad into a pro in almost anything with a giftcard to a Masterclass.
  • Set him up with a movie night of his choice coupon, or if you can coax him out of the house, the summerlong movies in the park at one of the Allegheny parks are an amazing night out.

Before we say goodbye, I need to get a little something off my chest on behalf of all the mothers … Dads, if you’re reading this, you’re already spoiled, you get June to celebrate. Aka, no huge risk of torrential downpour, your BBQs and bike rides can go on, whilst us mothers fiercely battle the rain EVERY SINGLE YEAR, when all we ever want is an outdoor outing. So thank you to the genius who coordinated those dates.