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What does your Dad like to do in his spare time (if he has any)? What are his hobbies and his favorite activities outside of work? With a bit of recon before Father's Day and the occasional leading question, you can get some idea of what he might like or need. Hint: if Dad is like 99.9 percent of Dads, the best choice is not aftershave or a necktie — no matter how cool the necktie is.
If you still need inspiration, try some ideas in these traditional Father's Day gift categories.
Tools – There are usually plenty of good summer deals on tools for the Dad who likes to putter around in his workshop, garage, or garden. These tools don't necessarily have to be expensive power tools; they can be accessories such as new drill bits or replacements for bent and broken gardening tools. How about a new toolbox to store all his tools? Mom would appreciate that.
Grilling Supplies – Is your Dad the neighborhood Grillmaster? You can probably pick up inexpensive supplies ranging from cleaning tools to special marinades to replacement tongs. Besides making Dad feel special, you will get some delicious barbecues out of the deal — a win for everybody.
Golf – Consider a set of club head covers or replace those golf balls that Dad lost trying to drive over the lake at #15 with a new box of his favorite brand. Tell him that if he doesn't stop trying to drive over the lake at hole #15, next year he's getting a telescoping lost ball retriever (or a wet suit and a snorkel).
Music – Does Dad have an iPhone, iPod or similar music player? Surprise him with an iTunes gift card, or if you are daring enough to figure out the kind of music he likes, download some of his favorite tunes and give him the gift of your own recommended playlist. (Even though iTunes is going away, gift cards can still be used in the iTunes store.) If you are under thirty years old, don't mix up your playlist with his. Dad is probably not ready for that yet.
Smartphone Accessories – Dad probably has a smartphone but may be too busy to look for apps that he might find interesting or useful. He may even be one of those old-school Dads that use it to make phone calls and talk with other people. Bring Dad up to speed with a selection of apps that work on his phone that you can show him how to use. Throw in a few games and teach him how to use them clandestinely in boring meetings. He'll be grateful.
Hunting/Fishing/Camping – There's always some accessory available for the outdoorsman at your local Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's. Perhaps some new fishing lures or warm hunting clothes? Maybe he can use that game app you downloaded (with the sound off) while he's waiting in a deer stand or duck blind.
If you want to go completely cheap and personalized, try homemade Father's Day coupons — good for cashing in on chores Dad hates doing or special activities.
The best advice we can give for Father's Day gifts is to ask Dad for some simple ideas. Most Dads are just looking forward to a day of relaxation and aren't too hung up on gifts. Maybe a hammock and a cold beverage would be the way to go?