Father’s Day is a great time to show Dad you care. But how do you do that when his closet is already stuffed with unworn ties from Father’s Days past, his cabinets packed with too many “World’s Greatest Dad” mugs to count? If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift or activity to express your love this Father’s Day, here are 15 creative ways to show Dad how much you appreciate all he does.
1. MAKE A DONATION…
Show Dad you care by donating to a charity or cause that is close to his heart. Did your dad serve in the army? Identify a charity that assists veterans. Does he love the family dog more than life itself? Make a donation in his name to a local animal shelter or animal protection group. No matter his background, there’s sure to be a charity or non-profit that fits his interests. Making a donation lets you support Dad by supporting the issues he cares about.
2. … OR VOLUNTEER TOGETHER.
Get the whole family together to do some volunteer work. Whether you’re helping out at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a local park, you’ll be spending quality time together as a family, and making Dad proud of the civic-minded family he helped raise.
3. WRITE HIM A LETTER.
Instead of buying a mass-produced greeting card, write your dad a heartfelt letter explaining how much he means to you. Share some memories or anecdotes, or just make it clear how much you appreciate him. Your dad knows you love him, but writing it out can have a real impact.
4. SWAP STORIES.
Sit down with your dad and swap some favorite childhood stories. To see how your memories differ, write out your own separate accounts of a significant event from the past, and then compare them. Whether it’s the memory of a favorite birthday gift or the first time you rode a bike, it’s likely you and your dad have very different perspectives on the same event. You might just recall the joy of opening that gift, while Dad might remember saving up to buy it for you, or the excitement of watching you open it. You can even use a video or audio recorder to record some important memories and create a short oral history that Dad can revisit whenever he wants.
5. PARTICIPATE IN HIS FAVORITE HOBBY.
Whether he’s an athlete, a music lover, a bibliophile, or an avid crossword puzzler, spend some time with Dad doing what he loves. Even if his hobby isn’t your cup of tea, he’ll love being able to share an activity he enjoys with you. It can be tempting to just purchase a gift to fit his hobby, but spending time together is often more rewarding.
6. DIGITIZE YOUR HOME MOVIES.
If you grew up before the advent of digital video, there’s a good chance your parents have a pile of old home movies collecting dust somewhere. No matter what format they were recorded on, there are plenty of companies out there that can digitize your home movies for you. All it takes is a quick internet search. Once they’re digitized you can watch them with your dad on Father’s Day, or even cut them together and add some narration or graphics to make a short Father’s Day video.
7. GET OUT OF TOWN …
Plan a weekend trip with the whole family, hit the beach, or if schedules are complicated, just go for a drive together. The important thing is you’ll be spending time with Dad and the rest of the family.
8. … OR PLAN A FUTURE TRIP TOGETHER.
If you’ve grown up and moved out of the house already, a great way to spend Father’s Day with your dad is to plan a family trip together. That way, you’re not only spending quality time together on Father’s Day, but ensuring you’ll get to spend more time together in the near future.
9. COOK HIS FAVORITE FOOD.
Cook Dad his favorite dish or throw a Father’s Day barbecue for the whole family. If your dad is a great chef, ask him to teach you his favorite dishes. If you have children, ask your dad to take them under his wing, and pass on his cooking secrets to a new generation.
10. MAKE A CUSTOM GIFT BASKET.
Instead of purchasing a pre-made gift basket, why not design your own? That way, you can make sure it includes all of Dad’s favorites. Fill a basket with Dad’s favorite foods, snacks, beers, or liquors. Toss in some small non-edible items that fit with his hobbies, like books for book-loving dads, some new golf balls for golfers, and so on.
11. COMPILE HIS BEST ADVICE AND WORST JOKES.
There are two things most dads are great at: Giving good advice and telling bad jokes. Make your own custom Father’s Day card using one of your dad’s worst zingers—or best pieces of advice. Or, get really creative and put together a scrapbook. The captions? All the best bits of advice and jokes he’s told over the years.
12. GIVE HIM SOME ALONE TIME.
While it’s always a great idea to spend quality time with Dad on Father’s Day, you can also show him you care by helping to clear his schedule, and carve out some time for him to relax on his own. Find some time on or around the big day to give Dad some quality alone time to watch some TV, take a snooze on the couch, or tinker with his latest project.
13. PLAY HIS FAVORITE CHILDHOOD GAMES …
Find out what kinds of games Dad loved to play as a kid, and help him get back in touch with his childhood self by playing them together. If you have children, playing your dad’s favorite games will help them feel connected to him, too.
14. …OR WATCH HIS FAVORITE MOVIE TOGETHER.
Dad spent hours watching and re-watching your favorite movies with you when you were a kid. Show him you appreciate it by returning the favor and offering to watch his favorite movie with him. Don’t forget the popcorn!
15. RE-CREATE A CHILDHOOD MEMORY.
Think of one of your favorite childhood memories and re-create it with Dad on Father’s Day. Whether it’s a weekend camping trip, a visit to the zoo, or just an outing for ice cream, re-creating a cherished memory will bring you and Dad closer together.