Father’s Day Gifts: From Homemade to High-Tech

By Laura Carlson

Although Father’s Day arrives like clockwork each year, choosing the right gift might be an annual challenge for you. Whether shopping for electronic items or making homemade presents, you’ll find great gift solutions within your reach and price range. There's something for everyone -- whether he's a new dad, single dad, grandpa or dad of teens.

To get started, take notice of the preferences and tastes of dads in your life. Then scan the categories in this article to find which ones align with those main desires: (Average prices are shown for items in each category—before taxes, shipping and handling fees.)

CRAFTY IDEAS OR HANDMADE GIFTS

  • Scrapbook or poster – If your dad or granddad delights in crafts, why not try making a family poster or scrapbook together? Make this a creative family project and write captions, too! Items needed (which you likely have around the house already): Construction paper or poster board, glue, stapler, hole puncher, markers, yarn, stickers, family photos.
  • Knitting – Some famous, sexy guys (like Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe) actually find it relaxing to knit. Supplies you’ll need: Knitting needle ($4.49), yarn ($3.29), “How-to” book (see e-book on Google Play for $9.99; or go to Barnes & Noble to get First Time Knitting: Step-by Step Basics and Easy Projects, $11.49).

  • Needlepoint Same concept with different materials: Start with a complete Mini-Needlepoint Kit for Beginners ($11.44 to $20 amazon Prime, Knit Picks, Joann Fabric and Craft Stores).

Other craft ideas:

  • Hand-painted mug – Take fathers to “Color Me Mine” or other craft store to paint a mug. Most mugs run about $12 - $20 plus you’ll need to pay studio fees to use shop supplies (approx. $10 per adult).

  • “Goodie basket” – Make a personalized basket of treats for dad. Start with the basket ($8.99 - $14.99) at Joann’s, Michael’s or your local craft store. And fill it with your dad’s favorite food treats (bake cookies yourself for under $15).

TECHY

If you are buying a gift for a spouse/dad/granddad who is clearly opposite of crafty (in other words, tends toward “techy”), then consider these alternates:

  • Recharging station (with multiple ports)– $30 > $90. You’ll find a good selection at Target, amazon.com or Pottery Barn.
  • Universal wireless charger – available at retail stores like Fry’s Electronics or Best Buy for about $30 - $50 (e.g., Belkin, Samsung). You can also get one online at chewy.com and Google Express.

  • External hard drive, starting at $55 (depends on the storage capacity desired). Western Digital and Seagate are popular models.

  • Roku streaming stick (pronounced ROH-koo, is a more cost-effective way to watch TV). Pick up a Roku Express Streaming Stick for $29.99 at Target or a certified refurbished Roku Premiere 4K at amazon.com. Or get a new Roku Ultra Streaming at Best Buy for $112.99 and up.

MUSIC & BOOKS

  • Gift card from Amazon.com or iTunes – a $15 or $30 gift card could be a hit. Your dad and granddad can pick out their favorite music or books. And you won’t have to wait in line to return a random purchase of a “bad” CD or e-reader that you thought he’d like.

GREEN THUMB / GARDENER

Small gardening tools or supplies are popular for fathers who enjoy the great outdoors. Check out these standbys:

  • Gardening gloves – Nitrile gardening gloves $20 - $30 (e.g., available at amazon.com, local hardware stores and craft shops)

  • Good-quality trowel - Help dad get his garden growing with a sturdy, rust-resistant, aluminum trowel (about $18.99).

HARDWARE / TOOLS GEEK

Lots of guys love the sound and feel of power tools. Here are some smaller tools that won’t break the bank:

  • Hand-held drill (e.g., DEWALT cordless hammer drill – 18V (½-inch). Only $129 (tool only – see northertool.com). This “strong drill” received excellent reviews for its price and size; Home Depot also has a wide selection of cordless drills below $200.)
  • Sander. Get a Bosch corded 5-inch variable speed random orbital sander for $132.99 or a basic general sander from Black & Decker for $39.97. Both can usually be found at mainstream hardware stores.

OUTDOORSY & SPORTS

When the summer sun comes out, many dads head outdoors to reconnect with nature. Whether that means a fishing trip or headin’ for the hills, here are some knickknacks to check out:

  • Fishing supplies (lures, fishing hat) – You can find a variety of supplies at online shops like Tackle Direct or Fishing Tackle Warehouse: http://www.tackledirect.com & http://www.tacklewarehouse.com. (e.g., Lures start at $3.39 or pick up a snapback hat for $19.99.)

  • Hiking supply kit (Hat, hiking stick & water are basics for a hiker!)
    • Coleman trekking trail pole for $18 on amazon.com, or
    • Black Diamond trekking pole (on sale) for $149.99 at backcountry.com.
    • Sunscreen - Don’t forget to pick up sunscreen, such as Banana Boat Sport (SPF 30) for $6.44 at Walmart or a local pharmacy.
    • Add a portable water purifier and you’ll keep dad hydrated on his hike… e.g., Ultralite purifier bottle for $59.50 from rei.com.
    • Choose a cap at Walmart or Target or other local department store. Or go with a stylish, moisture-resistant cap for $22 from backpacker.com.

  • Sweat bands / gym shorts – Pick up a decent pair of gym shorts at a local retail shop like JC Penney, Old Navy, or Macy’s—for as low as $25 - $30. And pair it with a sweatband or sport headband for under $5. Or go higher-end by ordering circuit performance shorts at a specialty online store such as Hylete.com for $60 - $80.

FOOD & WINE

For the guy who likes a good meal and to “do-it-himself”… why not consider cooking supplies with flourishes?

  • Tasty bottle of wine (choose one from $6.99 - $28 at Trader Joe’s, or stop at a winery, starting at $26+)
  • BBQ spatula – At places ranging from Walmart to Pampered Chef, you’ll find a range of BBQ tools. A basic stainless steel model starts at $14.99 at Walmart. Or get the grill tongs ($26) + grill spatula ($22.50) from Pampered Chef.
  • Blue ApronMail-order meals are especially popular for granddads or people who have demanding jobs and want a nice meal to pop in the oven after work. Blue Apron often has promotions to try a few meals for free, just to get started. Prices start at $59.94 for 2 people for 3 meals/week (that's 6 meals/week); cancel anytime.

CLOTHING

Neckties are cliché and passé… so let’s move onward to modern Father’s Day! Most guys like to relax on the weekends, and it’s nice to have a “go-to sweatshirt” that’s comfy and looks good for everyday wear.

  • Casual sweatshirt – dark color (i.e., navy blue men’s sweatshirt from Lands’ End $35.)
  • $40 - $50 Gift card to a men’s specialty shot like Men’s Wearhouse or Lands’ End catalogue

IN TRANSIT / GOING PLACES

When going to and from their workplace or just knocking around on weekends, it’s nice for dads to have a little treat for themselves.

  • Gift card -- Pick one up at a local coffee shop ($5 & up)
  • Ice-cream -- Treat your dad at Thrifty’s or Baskin & Robbins (double-scoop for about $4)
  • Power drink/smoothie -- For the more health-conscious dad—why not take him for a veggie drink or fruit smoothie at a “Juice-it-Up” or “Jamba Juice.” ($5 & up)

Dads and granddads deserve a special day plus gift as unique as they are. If you still are not sure and looking for something very unusual, hop online to places like uncommongoods.com or mancrates.com. After you've settled on your gift's price and uniqueness and you've made your purchase, then clear your schedule for the most important gift—spending time with Father.