True or not, dads have developed a reputation for being harder to shop for than moms—which probably explains why the tie has become the go-to gift. Bo-ring.
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This Father’s Day, get creative.
Your present doesn’t have to cost a lot of money (even though the National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend $20 billion celebrating dads this year).
Just be sure it’s tailored to the father figure in your life.
“Show me that you know me, know what I am into, where I spend my time,” says John Starr, 70, of Cerritos, California. “Then, if you must, buy me something that would draw me further into it. Or send me a note with an invitation for lunch somewhere. Anywhere. What is important is to say that I am important to you.”
Here are six ideas—all of which steer clear of the dreaded tie—for showing Dad you care.
1. Encourage experimentation in the kitchen
Good seasonings and sauces up the ante when it comes to culinary pleasure. They can add depth to a mainstay meal or be a fun introduction to foreign cuisines.
“Most dads love to experiment with different sauces and seasonings in the eternal pursuit of perfect flavor,” says father-of-five Rick Fickhesen, 56, owner of Buffalo Artisan Food Traders in Amherst, New York. “I think as guys get older, it kind of takes on a hobby-like feel.”
Fickhesen recommends versatile add-ons such as steak seasonings to complement all kinds of foods, from hamburgers to popcorn. “It’s a little different,” he says.
If fiery condiments are more your father’s thing, search for hot sauces that will test whether he can handle the heat. Or make your own. Depending on how much he loves to feel the burn, consider using Scotch bonnet or ghost peppers—rather than jalapeño peppers, which are more common and mild—to ramp up the “wow factor.”
2. Be the grill master
Turn the tables on Dad by offering to take charge of a cookout.
In Jeff Schoonmaker’s house—both the one he grew up in and the one he lives in with his wife and two children in Eugene, Oregon—backyard cooking is the responsibility of one person and one person only. “That’s always kind of been the dad’s role,” he says. “We work the grill.”
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