In my experience, it's next to impossible to shop for a dad on Father's Day. From the men in my life who have been father figures to my partner and the father of my son, I never know what to buy, what to say, or how to express my gratitude on their special day. Thankfully, I've also realized that all you really have to do... is ask. So that's exactly what I did. I asked dads to share the things they really want to do on Father's Day, and their answers, while unique, all had one underlying message: don't get them anything.
Sounds like an excuse to avoid shopping, right? I mean, by all means gift the loving father in your life something special on Father's Day, if that's your thing and you know he has his eye on a specific item. But most dads, honestly, just want to spend time with their families. Sounds like a cliché, sure, but platitudes exist for a reason, my friend.
This Father's Day request is also indicitive of our culture's evolved and progressive view of dads and the role they play when it comes to parenting. According to a 2015 study, 57 percent of fathers say parenting is "extremely important to their identity," and in 2016 dads said they spent an average of "eight hours a week on child care — about triple the time they provided back in 1965," according to the Pew Research Center.
So when the dad in your life says he simply wants to spend time with his family on Father's Day, believe him. And if you're not going to believe him, you could at least try believing the following dads when they shared what they really want to do on Father's Day this year:
"Nothing special. I emphatically do not want cards or gifts (unless the kids really want to give me something, and I prefer it's something they made rather than bought). Basically just do normal family/dad stuff. The fanciest I want to get is going to the park and getting ice cream."
"I just want to spend it with [my wife] and [my daughter] and hang out with my dad for a couple hours. I don't really mind what we do as long as I get to spend some fun family time with them — and catch a few hours of the U.S. Open."
"I’m not a 'stuff' guy. I don’t really care for gifts or people making a big fuss. I’m a father because of my son and the woman that carried him. A relaxing day with them is all I need."
"Is a password protected thermostat on the table?"
"I don’t have a good answer. I want both of my girls, a mild, partly sunny day, a family trip to a nice park and then some FoMu (vegan ice cream) and a trip to the comic book store, a nap, a good night’s sleep, and a job offer for the Fall at a school that isn’t a total disaster. I might get the weather, but that’s about it.
Oh, and my laptop that has all of my music files on it to be fixed."
"Just a day with my kids. All I want and all I’m getting."
"I want world peace, a stop to climate change, etc...
... Oh, wait. Really, I just want a damn steak and a beer, maybe some scotch, and to spend time with my family."