Every June we’re flooded with Father’s Day gift guides. While some of these ideas are reasonable, other gift recommendations don’t seem as if they were actually recommended by any dad on the planet. Bearing in mind that most fathers truly don’t want much of anything for Father’s Day, here are a few guidelines for what not to buy.
Among the suggestions for Father’s Day gifts that I suggest you avoid are:
STUFF WITH NO REAL FUNCTION
Even if the subject matter features a father and may be amusing, does dad really want a tchotchke? Come to think of it, has dad ever even used the word tchotchke? So have a little chuckle about the sculpture of a daddy bear sitting on the toilet, but don’t actually spend good money on the thing.
STUFF THAT’S TOO CUTESY
Everybody likes strawberries dipped in chocolate. Dad probably won’t care, or even notice, that they’re decorated to look like baseballs and footballs, however.
ANYTHING THAT’LL REQUIRE HIM TO DO WORK
Unless he’s specifically requested a beer-making kit, it’s probably wise to steer clear. Ditto a donut maker. He may love drinking beer and eating donuts with Homer-like delight. That doesn’t mean he’ll enjoy making either of them—which might seem like just more chores to tend to.
RedEnvelope encourages shoppers in search of Father’s Day gifts to “Accessorize His Life.” Do you think that idea will sound remotely appealing to him? Come to think of it, “accessories” may be another word that few dads have ever said out loud.
ANY GADGET THAT’LL TAKE 15 MINUTES TO EXPLAIN ITS PURPOSE
Fewer than 1 in 10 dads put electronics on the top of their preferred Father’s Day gifts list. It’s safe to say that an even smaller number is interested in a gadget that they’ve never heard of, and that serves a mysterious purpose that’s not readily apparent. And if you think it’s difficult to explain to your father what it does, just think about how long it’ll take to convince him he needs it.
TOOLS HE ALREADY OWNS
Better than another tie, I suppose.
ANYTHING YOU MIGHT SEE IN SKYMALL
Not only overpriced, but of dubious utility too! That could be the motto of the shopping brochure found on airlines. Hammacher Schlemmer too—unless you really think dad wants a $700 Hands-Free Hair Rejuvenator on Sunday.
STUFF THAT SAYS HE’S REALLY OLD
The Reacher Grabber, for instance, or a mobility scooter. Even if he really needs something like this, don’t give it to him on Father’s Day. This is not the day to remind him he’s a frail old man. A cane is another example, though an exception can be made for a stylin’ fashion cane. But only if he doesn’t actually need the thing to help him walk.
ANYTHING THAT’LL HUMILIATE HIM
See: hair rejuvenator, Reacher Grabber, cane, mobility scooter. Also: Spanx for men. Neiman Marcus also suggests an anti-wrinkle cream for men as a Father’s Day gift, but that just seems cruel.
Feel free to overrule these guidelines if you feel like you truly know your father and want he wants. Then again, if you knew your father well, there wouldn’t be much need to consult Father’s Day gift-buying guides.