25 Can't-Miss Father's Day Gift Ideas

iStock
iStock

Father’s Day is coming up fast. If the dads in your life are stingy about dropping gift-related hints, it's time to take matters into your own hands. Here are some shopping ideas to get you started.

1. OUTDOOR TRAVEL MUG

Man in flannel holding travel mug.
Stanley

If your dad is an experienced hiker, he already knows the importance of having the right tools on the trail. This air-tight mug is built for the mountains: The finger loop makes it easy to hold or clip onto a pack, and the grit guard keeps water free of contaminants. It also features a push-button lid so he can hydrate without breaking his stride.

Find it: Stanley, $30

2. PAC-MAN CUFFLINKS

Silver Pac Man and ghost cufflinks.
Amazon

Help your dad look sharp while embracing his inner geek. These silver-colored cufflinks depict two of the most iconic characters in video games: Pac-Man and his ghost antagonist (whether it's Inky, Blinky, Pinky, or Clyde is hard to tell).

Find it: Amazon, $25

3. ONE-WAY-MIRROR BIRD FEEDER

Cat looks at bird feeder through window.
Amazon

On days when your dad doesn’t feel like getting off the couch, he can still indulge his bird-watching hobby indoors. All he needs is this one-way-mirror bird feeder. It can be filled with up to one pound of seeds after it's secured to the outside of a window. Birds stopping by to eat only see their reflection while the people indoors get to enjoy nature up close.

Find it: Amazon, $35

4. AUTOMATIC SAND DRAWING MACHINE

Magnetic ball draws patterns in the sand.
ThinkGeek

This zen garden requires zero effort to maintain—just plug it in, adjust the dials, and watch a magnetic ball etch mesmerizing patterns on its own. The machine can be programmed to create symmetrical mandalas or draw random shapes in the sand. It makes a soothing addition to any desk, coffee table, or nightstand.

Find it: ThinkGeek, $40

5. WHISKEY TASTING KIT

Whiskey tasting kit.
UncommonGoods

Does your dad treat a glass of quality whiskey like a piece of fine art? This is the gift for him. The tasting kit includes a glass, a pen, and booklets for jotting down notes on the peatiness of a 1987 bourbon or similar impressions. If your dad isn’t yet the aficionado he one day hopes to be, he can refer to the glossary of whiskey "terms demystified" in each book.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $30

6. CARRY-ON LUGGAGE

Blue carry-on luggage.
Eagle Creek

Packing for your next family vacation will be a cinch with this luggage. It fits 36 liters of belongings and features extra panels, compartments, and outside straps for stuffing in as much as possible. Weighing less than five pounds empty, the compact bag fits perfectly into the overhead compartment of a plane—so your dad can travel the world without worrying about surprise checked-bag fees.

Find it: Eagle Creek, $183

7. LAVENDER NECK WRAP

Bird feeder attached to a window.
amazon

Being a dad is a stressful job. Cozying up with a neck wrap filled with flaxseed and lavender is one way to indulge in some much-needed rest and relaxation. This cushion can be heated up in the microwave to relieve muscle tension or chilled in the freezer to treat puffy eyes and migraines.

Find it: Amazon, $30

8. GOLDFUSION GYM TOWEL

Gray plush gym towel
Rhone

If your dad has been using the same ratty gym towel for years, it may be time for an upgrade. Each GoldFusion gym towel is infused with nanoparticles of real gold, which the makers claim gives the fabric quick-drying and odor-resistant properties. It’s also softer and silkier than any towel handed out in a gym.

Find it: Rhone, $29

9. MAGNETIC WRISTBAND

Bolts and screws attracted to magnetic wristband.
Amazon

Home improvement projects are frustrating enough—make the process a little easier with this magnetic wristband. After it's strapped on, the surface can hold screws, nails, drill bits, bolts, or whatever small metal parts your dad needs in a spot that’s easy to reach.

Find it: Amazon, $25

10. PEPPER AND GARLIC JERKY KIT

Box of jerky curing supplies.
Williams Sonoma

This kit makes a great weekend project for any meat lover. It includes a garlic pepper spice mixture and a cure made from saIt, sugar, and sodium nitrate. All your dad has to do is provide the beef and he’ll have a savory snack that lasts for months.

Find it: Williams Sonoma, $12

11. SMARTPHONE CAMERA REMOTE

Smartphone camera remote.
Amazon

No more setting up camera timers and racing to squeeze into the photo in time. With the Muku Shuttr, your dad can snap a photo on his smartphone when he’s standing across the room. The device connects to a phone or tablet via Bluetooth so users can press the button and activate the camera instantaneously. It’s perfect for family photos—or artistic selfies if that’s your dad’s style.

Find it: Amazon, $39

12. SPOCK OVEN MITT

Pulling a pan from the oven with a Spock oven mitt.
ThinkGeek

Your dad can live long and prosper through his next cooking project with this oven mitt shaped like his favorite Star Trek greeting. Protecting his hands while holding hot pans definitely sounds logical.

Find it: ThinkGeek, $15

13. EQUATION CLOCK

Equation clock
UncommonGoods

Math geeks should have fun with this sadistic timepiece. Each number on the face is presented as a roundabout equation. If losing track of time is a concern, the clock does come with a cheat sheet.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $30

14. COLD BREW COFFEE INFUSION BOTTLE

Pouring coffee from a cold brew infusion bottle
ThinkGeek

Instead of spending $4 on iced coffee from a cafe, your dad can brew his own at home with this infusion bottle. After it’s filled with water and ground coffee, the bottle sits for 12 hours in the fridge. In the morning, simply remove the built-in coffee filter and pour the drink into a glass or mug. Cold brew tastes smoother than hot coffee, but it’s also stronger—so remind your dad to dilute it to avoid a caffeine overload.

Find it: ThinkGeek, $20

15. DESKTOP GAMES

Desktop version of a bowling alley.
ThinkGeek

With these desktop games your dad will forget he’s at work—at least briefly. Each box comes with all the miniature sports gear needed to play an actual game. Whether your dad prefers golf, pool, or bowling, there’s a tabletop set for him.

Find it: ThinkGeek, $15

16. TITANIUM SUNGLASSES

Titanium and hardwood sunglasses
Shwood

Here’s how you can convince your dad to finally ditch his plastic drugstore sunglasses: Buy him this pair from Shwood. The frame is cut from light-weight, vacuum-plated titanium. The arms that extend past the temples are made of hardwood—the maker’s signature touch.

Find it: Shwood, $189

17. BACKGAMMON SET

Backgammon board
UncommonGoods

It would be a crime to let this backgammon set collect dust on a shelf. Crafted from real wood and brass with hand-printed designs, this game is meant to be taken out and shown off. The board folds up into a convenient traveling case, making it a great option for the beach, the park, or an extended rest stop during long road trips.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $120

18. WET SHAVE BOX SUBSCRIPTION

Supplies in shaving kit.
Wet Shave Club

Personal grooming doesn’t have to be a chore. A subscription with the Wet Shave club comes with monthly boxes of shaving supplies your dad will be eager to test out. Packages include blades, soaps, aftershaves, and other pampering products that vary month to month.

Find it: Wet Shave Club, $50 for first box

19. BEER CHILLING COASTER SET

Beer bottle in granite coaster.
UncommonGoods

Lukewarm beers have met their match. These coasters, hand-carved from New Hampshire granite, are built to keep bottles cool. Just store them in the fridge and pull them out when when it’s time to crack open a frosty beverage. The stone keep drinks chilled for up to 30 minutes.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $68

20. DARTH VADER SOCKS

Darth Vader "World's Greatest Dad" sock.
Amazon

Hopefully your Father’s Day is less awkward than Luke Skywalker’s. These officially licensed Star Wars socks fit men’s shoe sizes 6 through 12.

Find it: Amazon, $12

21. BASEBALL TEAM NAMES POSTER

Poster charting baseball team names.
Pop Chart Lab

Ever wonder how many baseballs teams are named after royalty (11) or punctuation marks (two) or meteorological phenomena (15)? In this ambitious poster, Pop Chart Lab traces the etymologies of close to 600 major, minor, and international baseball teams. It goes beyond popular favorites like the Philadelphia Phillies to include slightly more obscure teams like the Holyoke Paperweights.

Find it: Pop Chart Lab, $29

22. EARBUD WRAP

Earbuds wrapped around leather detangler.
Amazon

Give your dad the gift of tangle-free earbuds. Cords coil smoothly around this compact accessory and stay snapped in place. The wrap is made of durable leather, so it can survive long stretches of time spent banging around your dad’s pocket or desk drawer.

Find it: Amazon, $7

23. KATANA BOOKENDS

Books with katana book ends.
Amazon

If you're hesitant to buy your samurai-obsessed dad a real katana, this playful set is a safe alternative. Magnets and metal bookends tucked within the books given the sword the illusion of stabbing straight through to the other side. Thankfully no literature was harmed in the making of this gift.

Find it: Amazon, $19

24. PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

Portable Bluetooth speaker.
Amazon

Thanks to Bluetooth technology, your dad can listen to his favorite tunes in high quality no matter where he is. The Wonderboom from Ultimate Ears delivers loud, clean sound up to 100 feet away from the signal. It’s also waterproof, which makes it the obvious choice for a day at the beach.

Find it: Ultimate Ears, $100

25. CAMPING HAMMOCK

Camping hammock.
Amazon

A camping hammock offers all the serenity of sleeping under the stars without the hard ground or dirty sleeping bag. The nylon parachute material is strong enough to hold 600-pound loads and light enough to carry on long hikes. But if your dad doesn't have any camping trips planned, there’s nothing stopping him from setting it up in the backyard, perhaps for some eclipse action later this summer.

Find it: Amazon, $19

12 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Easter Bunnies

This child clearly can't get enough Easter Bunny in her life.
This child clearly can't get enough Easter Bunny in her life.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Every year, thousands of families, church groups, and event planners enlist entertainment companies to dispatch a costumed bunny for their Easter celebrations. These performers often endure oppressive heat, frightened children, and other indignities to bring joy to the season.

It can be a thankless job, which is why Mental Floss approached several hares and their handlers for some insight into what makes for a successful appearance, the numerous occupational hazards, and why they can be harassed while holding a giant carrot. Here’s a glimpse of what goes on under the ears.

1. They might be watching netflix under the mask.

Has a bunny ever seemed slow to respond to your child? He or she might be in the middle of a binge-watch. Jennifer Ellison, the sales and marketing manager for San Diego Kids’ Party Rentals and a bunny wrangler during the Easter season, says that extended party engagements might lead their furry foot soldiers to seek distractions while in costume. “We book the bunny by the hour and he is often booked for multiple hour blocks,” she says. “Listening to music definitely helps the time pass.” One of her bunny friends who does a lot of shopping mall appearances has even rigged up a harness that can cradle a smart phone. “It sits above the bunny's nose, resting right at eye level for the performer inside, easily allowing the performer to stream Netflix, scroll through Facebook, or check emails.”

2. They can’t walk on wet grass.

Bunnies that appear at private functions, like backyard parties or egg hunts, have to maintain the illusion of being a character and not a human in a furry costume. According to Albert Joseph, the owner of Albert Joseph Entertainment in San Francisco and a 30-year veteran of Easter engagements, one of the cardinal rules is never to set foot on wet grass. Why? “They wear regular shoes under their giant bunny feet,” he says. “If they step on wet grass and then walk on cement, they’ll make a human foot print, not a bunny print.”

3. There’s a reason they might not pick up your kid.

Bunnies might be amenable to posing for a photo with your child on their lap, but they’re probably not going to grab the little tyke and sweep them off their feet. According to Steve Rothenberg, a veteran performer and owner of Talk of the Town Entertainment in Rockville, Maryland, deadlifting a kid is against the rules. “The last thing you want is to lift them up and have them knock off your head,” he says.

4. Giant carrots will invite inappropriate behavior.

A person dressed as the Easter bunny.
As the 3-foot-long carrot proves, adults are easily the least mature guests at a child's Easter party.
lisafx/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Joseph’s warren of party bunnies usually come equipped with a 3-foot-long giant carrot as a prop. While children are amused by the oversized vegetable, the adults at the parties usually can’t help making observations. “Practically every visit, there’s always someone saying, ‘My, what a big carrot you have,’” he says.

On one occasion, Joseph attended a function at a retirement home. One of the women, who he estimated to be in her 80s, commented on his big feet in a lascivious manner. “She told me she was in room 37.”

5. Clothes make the bunny.

Easter bunny at the White House.
Every year, a well-dressed Easter bunny visits Washington, D.C. for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

While “naked” (i.e., unclothed) bunnies remain popular, Ellison’s lineup also includes Mr. Bunny, a “classy lad with a top hat and vest,” and a Mrs. Bunny sporting a purple dress. Why would kids care if a bunny has sartorial sense? “Kids can probably better relate to a giant, furry character if it's dressed like a human,” Ellison says. “[And] we just thought the costumes looked cute.”

6. They can’t wear dark clothing underneath.

If a bunny wants to wear a black shirt under his or her fur, it stands to reason there wouldn’t be any issue: It's all hidden from sight. But Joseph insists that his cast stick with white apparel only. In addition to being cooler, it serves a practical function. “There’s always an opportunity to see a little something around the neckline or near the feet,” he says. Light clothing helps preserve the character.

7. They use an upholstery cleaner for their heads.

Most bunny costumes can be tossed in any regular washing machine, with the feet going in a larger commercial-use unit. But the heads, which are typically massive and unwieldy, get special attention. “You know those upholstery cleaners you can rent from a grocery store?” Joseph asks. “We use those. There’s a wand attachment to it for cleaning carpet.”

8. There’s a trick to keeping cool.

Costumes made of fake fur in the spring can be a recipe for disaster—or at least some lightheadedness. While none of the bunnies we profiled had experienced fainting spells, Ellison says that the trick to staying cool is actually adding a layer underneath the outfit. “Light, breathable clothing underneath the suit usually does the trick, but some people choose to wear an ice vest under the suit as well.”

Many bunnies also work in intervals: 45 to 50 minutes “on,” and 10 to 15 minutes in a private area to cool off and drink water. “Clients are usually understanding and sympathetic of the bunny and will allow even more breaks if necessary,” Ellison says.

9. Mints are essential.

Bunnies may favor carrots and grass, but their human operators need something other than that in order to deal with the humidity. Rothenberg says that his bunnies usually nibble on mints while working a crowd. “They’ll typically chew gum or have some kind of mint to keep their throat from drying out,” he says.

10. They use bunny handlers to prevent knockdowns.

A person dressed as the Easter bunny.
An Easter Bunny makes a young girl's day.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Any professional bunny knows that having an assistant watching their back is the best way to ensure an appearance goes smoothly. “Your vision is limited and you can’t really look to the left or right,” Rothenberg says. “Having an assistant prevents kids from running up behind you.”

11. They have damaged butts.

In order to ease apprehensive kids, Joseph advocates for his bunnies to squat near a child rather than bend over. “It gets them at a child’s level so they can touch and feel for themselves,” he says. “But a bunny that does a lot of squatting winds up needing their [costume] butts re-sewn. I’ve repaired a lot of them.” Joseph will also invite mothers to sit on the bunny’s lap so fearful children are more likely to approach. “You don’t want to prod the kid,” he says.

12. They’re not just for easter.

While bunny costume season is a fleeting few weeks, companies are happy to roll out their rabbits for other occasions. Once, Ellison sent out a bunny for a customer’s Alice in Wonderland-themed gathering. “The client wanted the White Rabbit, so we dressed up our bunny in a vest and top hat and gave him an over-sized pocket watch. It worked out great.”

This piece originally ran in 2017.

The 48 Most Frequently Banned Wedding Songs

Bogdan Kurylo/iStock via Getty Images
Bogdan Kurylo/iStock via Getty Images

Who among us hasn't attended a wedding and cringed at the playlist? In 2017, stats/polling site FiveThirtyEight asked more than two dozen professional DJs who had DJ’d around 200 weddings what songs couples ban from their weddings and, after surveying 182 wedding playlists, came up with a list of 48 songs. They gave each song a percentage, which represents the share of weddings that banned the song.

The first 10 on the list represent silly dances people like to do but shouldn’t do, like The Chicken Dance, The Macarena, and The Electric Slide. After that, the list starts to see overplayed songs like “Don’t Stop Believin',’” “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “Dancing Queen,” and “Sweet Caroline,” and call-and-response songs like “Shout.” The list contains a mix of new and old hip-hop, R&B, and pop hits, and several songs ended up tied.

Interestingly, a few songs from FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 ultimate wedding playlist also appear on the banned list, including “Hey Ya!,” “Uptown Funk,” “Sweet Caroline,” and “Call Me Maybe.”

You may or may not agree with this list, but don’t feel bad if you decide to ban any of these songs from your own wedding playlist—chances are, someone out there agrees with you.

  1. “The Chicken Dance”

  1. “Cha-Cha Slide” // DJ Casper

  1. “Macarena” // Los Del Rio

  1. “Cupid Shuffle” // Cupid

  1. “YMCA” // Village People

  1. “Electric Boogie (Electric Slide)” // Marcia Griffiths

  1. “Hokey Pokey”

  1. “Wobble” // V.I.C.

  1. “Happy” // Pharrell Williams

  1. “Shout” // Isley Brothers

  1. “Love Shack” // The B-52's

  1. “We Are Family” // Sister Sledge

  1. “Blurred Lines” // Robin Thicke

  1. “Celebration” // Kool & The Gang

  1. Cotton Eye Joe” // Rednex

  1. “Dancing Queen” // ABBA

  1. “Don’t Stop Believin’” // Journey

  1. “Single Ladies” // BeyoncÉ

  1. “Sweet Caroline” // Neil Diamond

  1. “Turn Down for What” // DJ Snake & Lil Jon

  1. “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” // SilentÓ

  1. “Hot in Herre” // Nelly

  1. “Mony Mony” // Billy Idol

  1. “All About That Bass” // Meghan Trainor

  1. “Baby Got Back” // Sir Mix-a-Lot

  1. “Booti Call” // Blackstreet

  1. “Gangnam Style” // Psy

  1. “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” // Big & Rich

  1. “Stayin’ Alive” // Bee Gees

  1. “Sweet Home Alabama” // Lynyrd Skynyrd

  1. “Uptown Funk” // Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars

  1. “Wagon Wheel” // Nathan Carter

  1. “What Do You Mean?” // Justin Bieber

  1. “All of Me” // John Legend

  1. “Bohemian Rhapsody” // Queen

  1. “Brown Eyed Girl” // Van Morrison

  1. “Call Me Maybe” // Carly Rae Jepsen

  1. “Footloose” // Kenny Loggins

  1. “Get Low” // Lil Jon

  1. “Hey Ya!” // Outkast

  1. “Hotline Bling” // Drake

  1. “I Will Survive” // Gloria Gaynor

  1. “My Heart Will Go On” // CÉline Dion

  1. “SexyBack” // Justin Timberlake

  1. “Shake It Off” // Taylor Swift

  1. “Sugar” // Maroon 5

  1. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” // Bonnie Tyler

  1. “You Shook Me All Night Long” // AC/DC

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