I’ll admit that in the early days of my parenting adventure, father’s day was typified by cliché gifts like ties and cologne. Odd, really, since I wear a tie about once every decade and cologne? Really? I don’t even know if I own any at this point. Even when I worked in an office, a dress shirt and jeans was very much my uniform de jour. Still, as any adult learns early on, being able to gracefully accept gifts that you don’t really want or value is a necessarily adulting skill. Perforce, I was delighted to receive new ties I added to my collection and cologne that I immediately dabbed on my wrists to test. And I was appreciative of these gifts.
Fact is, though, that we dads still generally receive less recognition than moms get for our parenting efforts. We might be in a more enlightened age, but a lot of people still have underlying assumptions about mothers being the nurturing, parenting member of the team. Dad? They still imagine that he’s out in the world, earning a salary and hopefully remembering ball games, school plays, and anniversaries. You can even see it in the stats: CBS News reported a few years ago, “Father’s Day spending is forecast to reach $15.3 billion, [a figure] dwarfed by the $23.1 billion consumers were expected to shell out on Mother’s Day.”
The long and short of it is a gentle reminder that we dads deserve love and respect too. We deserve to be honored every day for our contributions to the family, not just on Father’s Day. But Father’s Day is a thing and your dad is going to expect something, so why not get something fun and cool? Don’t forget grandpops and papas too, for that matter.
To help out and try to avoid any tie and cologne disasters, here’s my list of cool father’s day presents that any slightly geeky dad would love to get!
APPLE TV 4K — 2021 EDITION
Lots of us Dads like to watch a favorite sport or series, whether it’s Mythic Quest, Rick and Morty, Thursday Night Football or the Discovery Channel. What better way to enjoy all of the great streaming content than with the latest generation of AppleTV? The newest version not only features a full 4K output, great Dolby Atmos sound, support for Apple’s game channel, and (finally) a completely redesigned remote that’s way better than the old one.
I’ll admit that this is a bit spendy at about $179 on Amazon, but it’s really a great way to turn a nice TV into the central hub of all streaming video, music, games, and so much more. With support for AirPlay, Dad can even watch class lectures on the big screen without any wires cluttering up the room so he can keep up with his middle school kids! Not only that, but add a soundbar and that Dolby Atmos can really shake the walls (it’s also great for those Fast & Furious movies, which you can watch while playing the boardgame, as I’ll share just below).
AppleTV 4K 2021 Edition. $179-$199 on Amazon.com. [click here to learn more]
WALMART ONN FHD STREAMING STICK
Love the idea of the AppleTV but it’s way out of your budget for Dad? Turns out that there are a lot of ways you can get Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN on that TV, whether it’s a shiny new unit or an old one tucked away in Dad’s mancave. One that I’ve been testing out and finding a great option at a startlingly low price is the ONN FHD Streaming Stick, exclusively at Walmart. For under $25 (it’s $24.88) it gives you access to just about everything streaming online today, with the one exception of AppleTV+. Instead, it offers Google Chromecast, which means that it’s even easier to “cast” content from any digital device to your TV wirelessly. YouTube has Chromecast support built-in so any of its billions of videos can easily be shared, for example.
The unit even features its own fancy remote control – with voice input! – and can hook right into the back of any TV with HDMI input. Just plug it in, turn on the TV, and it’s instantly a fancy new smartTV with a fun and easy-to-navigate on-screen menu of streaming channel choices, from Disney+ to Netflix, HBOMAX to Amazon Prime Video. I even recorded an unboxing of the unit on my YouTube channel: ONN FHD Streaming Stick unboxing. Worth noting is that it’s not 4K so really works best with a regular HD TV. Still, that price is hard to beat!
ONN FHD Streaming Stick. $24.88 on Walmart.com. [click here to learn more]
DOLLAR SHAVE CLUB SUPER ULTIMATE SHAVE GIFT SET
Whether your dad is a full-on hipster or just a regular Joe, he probably has to deal with facial hair. Here’s a secret most guys won’t tell you: Shaving is a pain and few men actually enjoy the daily ritual. Heck, during the pandemic I imagine that a lot of dads just decided not to worry about it, but now that we’re all starting to be out and about again, it’s time to shave that face clean, or trim up that beard or mustache. Many dads use fancy electric trimmers or shavers, but they’re expensive and tend to get dull and work less and less effectively over a short period of time.
Enter Dollar Shave Club. With a mission to make shaving affordable and easy, the company offers a variety of disposable razors that are a nice alternative to fancier shaving gear. They don’t just sell razors and blades, however, they sell kits and gift sets too, along with their signature new-razors-each-month club. One place to have Dad get started with a classic multi-blade razor is the Super Ultimate Shave Gift Set. A bit spendy at $50.00, it’s still a great Father’s Day gift for the kids to pool their allowances and buy for dear old Dad.!
Dollar Shave Club Super Ultimate Shave Gift Kit. $50.00 at DollarShaveClub.com [click here to learn more]
TRENDHIM DARK GREY CANVAS SATCHEL
Maybe Dad’s already got all the gear he needs, from a fancy smartphone to a laptop, fancy razor to the latest generation smart TV. What he probably doesn’t have, however, is a rugged and handsome satchel or messenger bag. Solution? The Trendhim and its Delton Bags Dark Grey Canvas Satchel.
I’ll admit it, I have a thing about computer bags since I carry one every single day, and I’m always on the hunt for the next great bag that combines lots of pockets with solid protection for my laptop and, yes, good looks. Delton Bags has nailed it with this one that I would call a messenger bag but they call a satchel. While it’s a bit spendy, it’s definitely something any dad would be proud to tote around, whether it’s his computer and tablet inside, a couple of books and notes for his next lecture, or even board books and craft activities to keep the kiddos entertained while traveling.
Delton Bags Dark Grey Canvas Satchel. $75.00 at Trendhim.com [click here to learn more]
FUNKO FAST & FURIOUS HIGHWAY HEIST BOARDGAME
Finally, if Dad really does have everything, then there’s no better option than picking up a board game and committing to playing it with him. There are thousands of board and card games out there, but one that I’ve just bumped into that I think is terrific fun is the Fast & Furious Highway Heist Game from Funko. Based loosely on a great truck heist as featured in the very first Fast and Furious movie. In fact, the scene in that movie is known as “Assault on the Rodgers Truck” and it’s what causes LAPD to assign Detective Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) to solve the crime.
While you wouldn’t think that’d be a fun board game, it’s actually great fun and even better, it’s a cooperative game, so it’s not pitting family members against each other, but instead requires everyone to work in sync to accomplish the heist. We play lots of games in my family and the coop ones definitely produce the least hurt feelings and upset when someone doesn’t win. And seriously, what dad doesn’t love the goofy Fast & Furious action franchise and its endless iteration of the importance of family?
FAST & FURIOUS HIGHWAY HEIST GAME. $24.96 at Amazon.com. [click here to learn more]
WHAT ABOUT IF YOU HAVE NO MONEY?
What if you love your Dad but just don’t have any discretionary income (or allowance)? No worries, it turns out that the best gift for any Dad is your time and attention. Take him on a walk, shoot hoops, promise to watch his favorite sports team play, even just keep him company while he drives around on errands once in a while. You can make a loving card for free – a piece of paper and a pen is all you need – and at the end of the day, we Dads just want to be loved and appreciated, just like we love and appreciate our children (even if we sometimes forget to say so).
Happy Father’s Day, fellow Dads.
Disclosure: some of the companies herein sent me product samples to check out and evaluate for inclusion in this guide. Thanks, y’all!