What to get dad for Father’s Day? It is a question that dates back at least to 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation urging the official observance of Father’s Day. While a lot has changed in the last forty years, some advertisers, books and pundits still play to the outdated stereotype of a dad as a bumbling caretaker or hapless cook. Here are several unique father’s day gift ideas for the kind of man who parents actively, cooks enthusiastically, and dresses with a sense of style.
1. Not your father’s father’s tie. A slew of entrepreneurs are helping men add a little flair to their style with fresh ties, patterned pocket-squares and punchy socks. Pocket squares are the accoutrement of the moment. Find some patterned gems through DC’s Hugh and Crye or Vanda Fine Clothing, a company which began life selling through Styleforum.net in 2010. Pair with a tie from Pierrepont Hicks, founded by Mac and Katherine McMillan in 2009 “out of a desire to make the perfect tie,” General Knot & Co or Vanda. Sock entrepreneurs like Dapper Classics, OW Socks, Unsimply Stitched, and Zkano, are making bright socks that can add a touch of personality to an otherwise understated outfit. Find a variety of accessories at digital retailers including Mind the Chap, Stag Austin and Wittmore.
2. A book for the cook. Bypass the “men don’t know how to cook” stereotype pushed by books such as Man Meets Stove, “a cookbook for men who’ve never cooked anything without a microwave,” in favor of Mark Bittman’s classic How to Cook Everything, or Esquire’s Eat Like a Man by Ryan D’Agostino. Combine the book with a tool or gadget, like the Lodge Double Play Reversible Grill/Griddle for making the pancakes found in Bittman’s book.
3. A musical trip down memory lane. Men of a certain age will recall childhood LPs and Phish bootlegs from high school. It’s a good bet most dads still have them lying around somewhere. Give dad a reason to dust off those tapes or records with a cassette deck, turntable, or combination player that can convert analog music to MP3s or other digital formats. The Pyle Retro Turntable with USB-to-PC Connection, TEAC CD Player and Cassette with USB Codec, or Pyle Vintage Turntable with Cassette/CD should do the trick. B&H Photo has a useful guide for other ways to transfer music from cassettes to a computer.
4. Hard to find beer or wine. Companies like France44 and BeerShip will ship hard-to-find craft beer directly to your dad’s door. For the wine connoisseur, online wine clubs, such as Club W and Plonk Wine Merchants, which focus on affordable bottles, and Avalon, a Northwest wine specialist, are a way to encourage a wine lover to try something new.
5. A day away or together. While some moms would ague that dads get a lot of time to themselves, the reality for many households is that men are taking greater responsibility around the home. Give dad a day off with a gift certificate to a favorite bar to share with his friends. Alternately, promise him a day to do something he loves as a family. Instead of sending him to a Sunday afternoon baseball game with his buddies, get tickets for the family and buy him a hot dog and beer. If he says how much he loves the outdoors but can’t remember the last time he went hiking, carve out a day to trek together in the Blue Ridge mountains.