Time to Thank Dad is Father's Day, June 20th

June 14, 2010

Fathers come with all sorts of passions and hobbies, from golf to armchair sports, from voracious readers to avid collectors. If your father has a great interest, buying gifts is a no-brainer.

Fathers come with all sorts of passions and hobbies, from golf to armchair sports, from voracious readers to avid collectors. If your father has a great interest, buying gifts is a no-brainer.

Before you rush to the mall, though, why not stop for a few minutes and think of some great gifts he'd love that come with no price tag at all, but with your time and effort? How about these ideas for a start?

Ask him to tell you a story. Take your dad to the local coffee shop and spend all the time talking about HIM! If you have kids, bring them along to make it a "tell-us-a-story" time with Dad/Grandpa where he tells stories you and your children would never find in books. Ask Dad his favorite subjects in school, what games he played, his first job, the first time he rode a horse, airplane, or train. Sit back, enjoy your coffee and donuts, and let the stories roll! Take some photos of him regaling your kids with stories and use them for the next gift idea.

Make a scrapbook. Ask anyone facing a hurricane or fire what they grab for before escaping, and the answer will always be the family photos. Dad will love a new book of photos of you and your siblings, you and your kids, his siblings, and friends. Arrange for a new family portrait for the cover of the book or its first page. Your dad will love looking at this and the shared memories these photos say; each time he looks at them spell love, love, love. Make a couple of tumblers of iced coffee, sit around the table, and laugh and talk about all the photos and what they mean to your dad and your family.

Share his passions. Whether it's scouring the garage sales for old baseball cards or visiting the annual convention of Trekkies, tag along with him as he pursues his collectibles. Start the day with his favorite breakfast and some freshly-brewed coffee, then off you go ... it's fun, it's easy, and you'll have even more to talk about next time you meet up for coffee.

Play with him. Yeah, dads love games, too, whether it's a ball game or a video game, chess or Scrabble™ ... bring out the boards, get the family together for cards, or just toss a few balls in the park this year. Add a picnic and your time to make this a special day indeed. Bring along thermoses of his favorite brew.

Send him somewhere. Has dad always wanted to see a certain performer or to visit a nearby landmark? This year, make it happen for him; get the tickets, and send him on his way along with friends or family. It will be a time he'll long remember, and a treasured gift because it came from you.

Ship him a love package. Does dad live across the country and you cannot meet up? Why not send a gift basket of some things you know he loves: the latest Tom Clancy novel, a bag of his favorite coffee or a certificate for the local coffee shop, poems or drawings your kids make for his special day, their latest school pictures, and a note from you listing 10 Great Reasons why he's been such a great dad.

Make old dads comfy. Is your dad elderly or frail enough to need assisted living? A visit may mean more than any store-bought gift to him. Short of that, send a box of those little things that make every day life a little easier: a phone with large numbers and a very audible musical tone - and you pay the bill; stamps for letters and some new stationery - if he loves to communicate the old-fashioned way; large print books or audio books; a masseuse or therapist to ease the aching joints; earphones and a great MP3 player - nobody gets too old for great music. If he still has his collection of records or CDs, program them in for him. He'll love it.

Nearly-Dads are special, too. Uncles, fathers-in-law, mentors, teachers, older neighbors - all of these men can play a vibrant part in our lives. When a mentor or friend touches your life, remember them, too, on Father's Day; tell them now how much their involvement in your life has meant to you.