This post is by Sarah Powers, Happiest Home contributor and Managing Editor, and blogger at Powers of Mine.
On the other hand, there are only so many times that a coupon book for FREE HUGS gets any real sentimental play – with anyone. And I know I find myself, most years, wanting to do something to honor and appreciate my kids’ dad – even if it doesn’t require spending $100 at the mall.
If you’re looking for simple, inexpensive Father’s Day gifts this year, here are a few ideas that, while not necessarily free (each may involve spending a little money), center more around a thoughtful gesture than a trip to the store.
Spiff up one little corner of his life
Once a year or so, I take all the framed photos from my husband’s office at work and replace the pictures with more recent ones of the kids and our family. It’s something he really appreciates, but would likely never (ever) get to on his own.
Is there an act of “organizational kindness” your partner would appreciate? Maybe his car needs detailing, or his iPod hasn’t been updated with new music and playlists in two years. Of course, you know him best – if it’s something he’s picky about doing himself or you’re not sure if he’d appreciate the gesture (“But honey, I thought you’d LOVE the new way I organized your sock drawer!”), tread lightly. But if there’s an area of his life where your help would make his day, I think it’s a great way to say “I appreciate you.”
Give the gift of time (to do something he loves)
Since Bryan travels quite a bit during the week, weekends in our house are pretty fiercely protected for family time. And admittedly, when something does come up that takes him away from us in his “off time,” I sometimes feel – and probably act – a teensy bit put out.
If it’s golf he loves, a guilt-free day to play and linger afterward can be a great gift. If he hasn’t had a late-night video game binge with his best friend in too long, your sincere blessing – and the offer to get up early with the kids the next day – might be a simple way to show that you care about him making time for the things he loves. As for my husband, he loves to cook – a carte-blanche trip to Whole Foods without my nagging about the cost of random obscure ingredients and an unhurried afternoon to play in the kitchen pretty much makes his day.
Give the gift of time (off from something he doesn’t love)
For Bryan’s first Father’s Day I bought him a one-time yard care/cleanup service. At that point in our lives he was doing all the weeding, mowing, and trimming, and while he never complained, it took time away from our new little family and became increasingly low on his list of weekend priorities.
We all have chores and duties we do but rather loathe (mopping, anyone?), and if there’s one in particular you can give your partner a break from – either by hiring it out as a gift, or doing it yourself – it goes a long way toward freeing up his time to enjoy the fun parts of fatherhood and family life.
Talk him up to the kids
When your kids are little, it’s easy to take on the Father’s Day celebrations yourself. But don’t forget – he’s their dad. I think even really little kids can get excited about celebrating a special day – especially if you build it up ahead of time.
Spend the week leading up to Father’s Day talking about what you appreciate about their dad (and prompting them to come up with their own ideas), coloring pictures or making cards, and plotting together about how to make him feel great and honor him on Sunday. If they feel involved in the excitement, they’ll naturally contribute to a special day.