Planning the Best Father’s Day Ever

If you think most dads want cool gifts, think again: 'We always reminisce about a moment we shared when I was a little kid'

As the smallest of the American gift-giving holidays, Father’s Day is a blip on the retail sales radar compared to Christmas and Mother’s Day. But consumers will never overlook the sentimental importance of the occasion. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Father’s Day Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average person will spend $113.80 on neckties, tools, electronics, and other special gifts for dad.

David Rogers of West Palm Beach, Florida, skips the tools, ties, and other useless trinkets that dads are “supposed” to want or need on Father’s Day. “The best gift is being with my dad, spending time doing things he likes to do, like going out to eat at his favorite restaurant,” he told LifeZette. “We always reminisce about a moment we shared when I was a child or young adult. This always brings a smile to his face.”

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Darryl Bradbury of Haines City, Florida, said dads only want one thing: their children’s time. “It’s really simple. Take me to dinner, put the phone down — and talk!”

Some dads love the attention while others prefer to be left alone. Jeff Zbar of Coral Springs, Florida, enjoys both. The father of three grown children, he and his family are on the go all the time. So when they’re all together, he appreciates a little peace and quiet on Father’s Day. “A perfect Father’s Day to me is when I can enjoy my favorite cigar and a glass of scotch,” he said. “A nice steak dinner at home with my family is also a bonus.”

We live in a world of constant distractions and commercialism — so it seems that time trumps ties and memories trump mechanical items. In Lynn Burch’s case, some memories never fade. He lost his son, Levi, several years ago in a drive-by shooting. Lynn’s wife, Ingrid, said his most cherished Father’s Day gift is a handwritten card from the heart. “Before his death, Levi wrote Lynn a beautiful card and I put it in a frame for him so he can see it every day,” said this Florida woman.

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Yelena Jackson has a tradition of thanking her father for at least one important lesson she has learned from him. “This year I will thank my dad for teaching me how to dance, because dance brings me so much joy and is one of the greatest blessings of my life.”

Here are some other gift-giving tips for Father’s Day.

Treat Dad to his favorite activity. Perhaps your dad enjoys golf or tennis, or has a favorite sports team. Give him a gift certificate or, better yet, take him on an outing that he will enjoy and remember. The gift of time is priceless.

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Keep it low-key. Spend quality time with your dad by doing something he loves such as playing cards, going to the park, taking a short drive, or renting a movie and watching it together. If you have more than one person to celebrate, like a father, stepfather and grandfather, know that Father’s Day can be celebrated the entire month of June. There’s no need to stress and try to see everyone on the same day or weekend.

Related: Tips from My Dad, for My Kids

Get crafty. If you’re short on time or cash, make something with your own hands. Your gift might mean more because of the love you put forth. For example, make a homemade gift basket with dad’s favorite cookies, coffee and magazine.

Take on “Daddy duties.” For just one day, take care of those things that dad would normally do — things like mowing the lawn, watering the plants, trimming the hedges, or painting the fence.

Make a delicious meal. A meal at home is sure to be more peaceful than going to a loud, crowded restaurant. You don’t have to get fancy. Cook burgers and hot dogs, pick up some beans and potato salad, or make a large pan of lasagna so everyone can enjoy the leftovers.

Related: Why Dads Are Called to Be Heroes

Acknowledge other father figures in your life. If you aren’t close to your biological father, of if he has passed away, find someone in your life who is like a father. Send him a card or note expressing in a few words what he means to you. If you don’t have time to send a card, pick up the phone and call. Let this special person know how much you appreciate him.

This will leave a lasting impression and is more meaningful than a text or email.

Jacqueline Whitmore is an international etiquette expert, a bestselling author, and the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. 

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