We’re just a few days away from Father’s Day, which means there are droves of kids who are kind of clueless about what their dads like and are buying ties, cologne, shaving kits or other highly promoted products that are going to be received with a slight grimace. Gifting, it turns out, is somewhat of an art and involves knowing the recipient pretty well to know what they like and what they like to receive from others. Just because your Dad is into X-Men comics doesn’t mean you should buy him the latest issue; his enjoyment might be a lot more nuanced than that.
Still, we live in a golden era of stuff, errr, consumer goods, and there are a huge number of options from which to choose. As a consumer electronics reviewer on my popular AskDaveTaylor YouTube channel and general reviewer of cool men’s lifestyle and dad products here on GoFatherhood, I get to hear about lots and lots of products, from the fantastic to the downright bizarre. I have my own bias, of course, as does anyone who compiles a gift guide, but with that in mind, here are some of the latest products that have made it into my own home – or just my inbox – and seem well worth checking out.
We dads are pretty busy guys, always on the go, always ready for a pickup game of basketball, a run behind our kid learning how to ride a bike or even just a quick sidestep to avoid having a toddler on a tricycle crash into us. We end up losing or breaking a lot of sunglasses in the process, unfortunately, and how better to subtly encourage Dad to be a bit more stylish than with some cool new shades?
My favorite right now are the Ray Ban 4165, as offered by UK-based Mainline Menswear. Check ’em out:
They’re a bit spendy at just over $150, but I can tell you that there really is a difference between nice sunglasses and those cheapo units at the local supermarket. Dad’ll appreciate ’em, for sure.
If your Dad’s into boating or just spends a lot of time in rivers, lakes or the ocean, however, he’s going to really be bummed when these fall off and sink, never to be found again. Instead, check out these fun floating sunglasses from Rheosgear:
As a bonus, they not only float, but they’re a lot less expensive too: $50 at the Rheosgear.com site. Either way, these are the kind of gift that Dads actually appreciate… Want a second option for picking up sunglasses online? SmartBuyGlasses have quite a range too, and typically in more than one lens size. Worth checking out.
SLEEP SOUND MACHINE
Does Dad end up on the road a lot? Whether it’s covering his territory as a salesman or flights overseas to speak at conferences and expos, it stinks to sleep in hotel rooms. The worst part? The ambient noise of everyone coming and going. To solve that, there’s nothing as handy as a travel sleep sound machine. Plug it in, turn it on, and you can forget about the people in the room next door waking you up in the middle of the night. My current choice for this is the Renpho Sleep Sound Machine, and for under $40 it’s something that isn’t glamorous, but will revolutionize travel.
Oh, and it works great when you’re traveling with the kids too…
SOCKS & BELTS
If your Dad heads into work every day, odds are good he’s wearing some sort of uniform. It might be the regulation wear of a soldier or peace officer or it might just be the button-down style of a formal suit. He’d probably be wearing a t-shirt and shorts, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Fortunately, there’s one thing that can help bring some color and personality into even the most drab of outfits: socks. Yes, unsung heroes of menswear, brightly colored and patterned socks can add life to every outfit. They work great on weekends too, with dock shoes and jeans. My favorite at this point are contained in this simple Paul Smith Mens Colorful Socks gift set:
See? Aren’t they fun and cheery? They’re also available from Mainline Menswear and will cost you around $50 for the three pair. Which is not a bad price at all for socks that can survive more than a few weekends of wear.
Another item of clothing that has needed reinvention for decades are belts. Yup, suspenders are out, so don’t get your Dad a pair unless he’s a fireman (yeah, a dad joke!). Instead the big trend in belts is what are known as “track belts” and they’re really cool. Basically there’s a hidden ratchet control that makes these belts adjustable in tiny increments. One of my favorite companies offering these belts is Kore Essentials, and whether your Dad needs a belt that’s holster-compatible or just an upgrade to his dress belt, they’ve got him covered. Check out this closeup to see how they work:
I can’t say enough about how great this style of belt is with its easy adjustments and precise, tight fit. Trust me, your Dad’s going to love it. They’re about $50 for a buckle and belt pair, with lots of options from which to choose.
SPORTS STADIUM PUZZLES FROM FOCO
Got a Dad who loves sports but enjoys working on puzzles or playing games with you? You’re lucky! Why not reward his zeal with one of the new FOCO line of sports stadium puzzles? They’re beastly complex – over 3000 tiny LEGO-like plastic brick pieces – and the end result will keep the whole family engaged for many hours. Here’s Coors Field, though they have quite a few different stadiums in their lineup:
We have one in the box at my house, actually, and are a bit intimidated by the complexity. We’ll dig in soon enough, however, and just as the kids and I have enjoyed working on jigsaw puzzles, building Coors Field will doubtless be fun too. About $80 per stadium puzzle.
OTHER GIFTS FOR DAD
Stuff. Everything I’ve listed is stuff, things to buy. Just about all Dads, however, are going to be just as appreciative if you give of yourself. Time, attention, a willingness to keep him company at his favorite sporting event, concert or outdoor activity, an evening where you kids keep quiet and clean up so he can relax after a day of work, or a chance to head to the library and hunt for the latest book from one of his favorite authors. Ya can’t be a Dad without kids, and Father’s Day is just as much about that as it is about material possessions. Oh, and waffles. What Dad doesn’t love having the kids make up a batch of waffles and clean up afterwards?
Disclosure: The products listed herein are all from companies I work with. I can attest they are all good, well made and fun too, and as a Dad, any of ’em would be a better gift than a tie or cologne. 🙂