A lot has changed about the traditional role of dads in parenting and family life. According to the Pew Research Center, in the last 50 years dads have nearly doubled the average time they spend doing household chores and nearly tripled time spent caring for children. In many cases, dads are more involved than ever and taking on more of their share of caring for the family and household. Maybe with all that’s changed, it’s time to take a second look at how we show our appreciation on Father’s Day.
Have you ever noticed that Mother’s Day tends to be associated with things like breakfast in bed, spa days and other acts of kindness, while Father’s Day always seems to boil down to the gift? It’s like that old joke about getting dad a new tie every year for Father’s Day – it may be a joke, but there’s some truth in it too.
Most people default to a gift because dads tend to be practical. Many dads might say that if you’re going to invest time into making him happy, it would be best to give him something he can use. All of that may be true for some dads, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a gift is the only way a family can show the man of the house how much he means to them.
That’s why we’re suggesting that this year you focus on a less-tangible display of gratitude. Sure, get dad that new golf club he asked for, but also think of a few thoughtful ways to show how much you care. Here are a few tips to make your no-gift Father’s Day a reality.
1. Don’t ask, just do.
Why not just ask dad what he wants? Because most likely, he’ll shrug the question off. Many dads appreciate a “get things done” attitude and, just like mom, he’s probably not comfortable asking for an elaborate display of appreciation. In fact, if he’s not used to it, he may not even know how much he’d like it. That’s why it’s up to you to put a little thought into the thing he’d love most. Which brings us to our second tip.
2. Mom and dad are both parents
These days, the duties for moms and dads tend to be split more evenly. That means that a lot of the same rules that apply for Mother’s Day are just as applicable here. Parents are humble, so dad may not want to feel like you made too big of a fuss over him – though it will mean a lot to him if you do.
Also like mom, the only thing he really needs is to know that he’s doing a good job. Smile a little bigger, laugh a little louder and let him know that you’re happy – that’s all he really wants. Take a family photo as a memento. If you’re set on giving a gift, give him the photo to cherish forever.
3. Avoid repetition
Even if you can’t think of the perfect way to celebrate dad, doing something new says that you made an effort to show your appreciation. That’s better than any single gift that you could give him.
4. Give him the day off
Just like moms, dads never take a day off. You may not be able to get him to drop all of his duties for the entire day, but clearing a few things off his to-do list means he’s free to enjoy more time doing what he loves. Think about mowing the lawn, taking care of some gardening or getting his car detailed.
5. Say “thank you”
Many dads pride themselves on doing the thankless tasks, but there’s still something incredibly powerful about saying “thank you” for all the work they do. It may seem small, but it’s all it takes to make your father’s day.
And, of course, if your husband or dad really does love gifts and ties and “World’s Best Dad” mugs, then do that too!
Sometimes the best gift we can give dad is relying on his experience and wisdom. He’s probably been through it all before. Check out this video about a few sons who tried going to their dads for advice instead of the internet.
Have any other tips for celebrate dad aside from the gift? Share them in the comments below!