Beyond the Shirt & Tie: Gifts for Dad

By Pam Molnar

Shopping for Father’s Day is tough. They rarely give us hints and if they want really something, they usually go out and buy it for themselves. Here are dozens of gift ideas for the dads in your life.

The Foodie/Grill Master
Dollar Store Finds: Oven mitts, grill cleaners, butane lighters, meat thermometers and a wide variety of utensils.
Tickets: Sign dad up for a cooking class at Sur La Table or get him tickets to a local foodie fest.
Handmade: Make dad an apron with everyone’s handprint to read “Dad’s Sous Chefs”.

The Sports Fan/Active Dad
Dollar Store Finds: Water bottles, dry gear bags, cinch backpacks, cooling towels and hand warmers.
Tickets: Sporting events are the top pick, but don’t overlook meet and greet events with your local sports greats at local stores or community events.
Handmade: If Dad saves programs and ticket stubs, why not make him a scrapbook? Complete it with first-hand memories and pictures.

The Reader
Dollar Store Finds: LED book light, reading glasses (cheaters) and glasses cases
Tickets: Get Dad tickets to see his favorite author speak. Check out bookstores, libraries and author websites for events near you.
Handmade: Make Dad handmade bookmarks, hand painted coffee mugs and coasters.

The Outdoorsy Dad
Dollar Store Finds: Hand sanitizer, rain ponchos, garden gloves or all-purpose knife.
Tickets: Check out the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association website for a list of RV and camping shows.
Handmade: Have the kids create campfire starters out of coffee filters stuffed with rosemary sprigs, lavender and dried orange peels. Seal with embroidery thread.

The Dad Who Travels
Dollar Store Finds: Travel mugs, puzzles books, car chargers and travel sized items.
Tickets: Get Dad tickets to a tour or museum in the town he is traveling to for business.
Handmade: Make Dad a luggage handle wrap with fabric and Velcro so he can find his bag quickly.

The Music Lover
Dollar Store Finds: Mini speakers, armband phone holder and earbuds.
Tickets: How about music lessons for the Dad who always wanted to try the guitar?
Handmade: Create a set of music scale wine glasses with stickers or etching.

The Handyman
Dollar Store Finds: Duct tape, small tools, rope and bungee cords, plastic organizers for small parts.
Tickets: Sign Dad up for DIY classes at your local hardware store. Look for DIY home improvement workshops.
Handmade: Check out Pinterest for DIY tool kit that wraps around the side of a 5-gallon bucket.

The Car Geek
Dollar Store Finds: Air fresheners, car charger adapters, buckets and sponges.
Tickets: All car lovers would love tickets to the Barrett-Jackson car auction or a Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Handmade: Make dad a keychain with his favorite sport team or car emblem.

The Techie Dad
Dollar Store Finds: Stylus, microfiber cloth, headphones and a selfie stick.
Tickets: Buy tickets to the technology trade shows in your area so he can see the latest and greatest tech tools.
Handmade: Make a cool charging station for the kitchen or bedside table that hides the cords.

The TV Junkie/Movie Lover
Dollar Store Finds: Popcorn Tubs, microwave popcorn and theatre candy.
Tickets: Look for behind the scene tours at movie studios, news rooms and local TV stations.
Handmade: Create your own armchair caddy where Dad can store the remote, glasses, magazines and snacks.

If you’re looking to personalize a gift for dad, try Etsy, Amazon or Personalization Mall.

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. She is in constant awe of the father that raised her and the father who is helping her to raise their children.

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