PSA: Father’s Day is June 18. Do you know what you’re getting the dads in your life? We’ve polled some actual dads about what they really want this year, as well as the best things they’ve ever gotten … and we used that intel to put together the 2017 guide to excellent gift ideas for every sort of dad there is. So: No flasks, money clips or shammy cloths this year, okay?
The theme: Spoiling Dad
The ideas: A massage is a gift idea that comes up a lot, and there aren’t that many men (or humans) who would object to the four-handed massage at the Rittenhouse Spa & Club. (You can also tack on a 15-minute scalp massage, as well, which is good for the hair and feels like heaven.) The place has a slew of other delightful services that most guys rarely, if ever, experience, and they are a true treat: Luxury shaves, a back exfoliation and hydration, foot-and-leg massages, manicures, and more. If that’s more luxury than he can handle (or you can afford), then there’s also the safe bet of a favorite bottle of booze or case of beer — a perennial favorite for many dads we talked to, who mentioned by name the local Dad’s Hat Rye, Jameson 12-year and the very summery Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado double IPA. And last but not least: One dad told us that all he really wants for Father’s Day is some chicken liver mousse, housemade beef jerky, smoked wild boar ribs and Weisswurst sausage … a.k.a., a dinner at Center City’s meat-centric Butcher Bar. Sounds good to us.
The theme: A small but thoughtful gesture
The ideas: As one pal put it, “It’s always the thing you asked for, but didn’t know you were asking for: Having your knives sharpened, or a vintage newspaper from the World Series your team won, like that.” Another dad says: “I don’t need more things in my life. I would, however, love for someone to come to my house and clear out all the junk. Like, take all the non-essential items and clothes.” You might check out local professional de-clutterers Cluttershrink or The Organizing Professionals, to be followed with a visit from a firm like 1-800-Got-Junk or College Hunks Hauling Junk. And then there’s this: A few years ago, on a whim, I burned my father an old-school mix album of his favorites for the CD player in his car: The Ultimate Dad Soundtrack remains the most-played album in this collection.
The theme: Utilitarian and practical
The ideas: Bags and other various carriers seem to be an increasingly popular choice, at least for the modern dads we interrogated: Vaya bags, for instance, are extremely durable, waterproof, comfortable to wear, customizable — and, as one dad notes — versatile enough to be a cyclist’s bag, an overnight bag, a diaper bag, whatever. Another dad says one of the best presents he ever got was the ThinkTank Retrospective 5 camera bag. “It’s easy to carry, easy to pack and roomy,” he says. “And it has these cool Velcro-silencers so you don’t have to make a ton of noise every time you take out your camera in a quiet place.” The Osprey Poco child carrier (pictured in photo at top) made the wish list for one newish dad who wants to introduce his 7-month-old daughter to hiking — and it really is the ultimate kid-carrier for anyone with littles, whether you’re talking about hitting the great outdoors or just tromping around the city streets. Meantime, in a whole other vein (a techie one), one dad voted for the Studio Neat material dock, a cool, tidy little way for charging and storing your iPhone and Apple Watch. (Another says he’s still hoping to step into 2017: “I’d love to have Bluetooth installed on my old car stereo — it would make my commute so much better.”)
The theme: Helping him look his best
The ideas: These great-looking technical shirts from Howler Brothers fit beautifully, and offer sun protection for the outdoors. Plus, as one gifting wife pointed out, her husband loves wearing them because they’re lightweight and dry quickly if they get wet or sweat in. In other apparel ideas, I will say that my own man is one of several I know who like a fresh pair of Tom’s slide-ons (pictured in photo at top) each summer. But if clothes and shoes prove too daunting to pick out, there’s always the slightly easier shave-and-skincare gifting route: BeautyCounter makes a truly great charcoal cleansing bar (good for a quick, easy detoxifying session; pictured in photo at top) and a purifying mask that’s very dude-friendly. (Another crowd-pleasing option? Kiehl’s, which always has scrubs, healing hand salves, non-shiny lip balms, shave creams for sensitive skin and more basic but high-quality toiletries that raise the grooming stakes without veering into fussiness.) Finally, one of our dads suggested a grooming gift even simpler than those things: A subscription to the Dollar Shave Club, which means a fresh box of razors (and other shaving gear) every month, delivered right to the door.
The theme: Hobbies, leisure and fun
The idea: “I’d like tickets to see Echo & the Bunnymen at the Mann’s Skyline stage on July 11,” says one dad. “I never saw them when I was younger — I think they’d already broken up when I discovered them. So this would be a bucket list show.” Another dad, meantime, had a similar thought with Roger Waters at Wells Fargo in August. But beyond the tunes, workout-related ideas have proven popular, too: The dad in my house still adores the underwater headphones (pictured in photo at top) we got him last year to help make the laps go a little faster, and no runner (or jogger, or remotely active dad) is ever going to be sad about a chance to pick out a fresh pair of sneakers — gift cards for Philadelphia Runner start at $25.
Be Well Family is a collaboration with Wee Wander, a site dedicated to helping Philadelphia parents navigate their city. See more in this series here, or keep up with all of Wee Wander’s tips, guides and Philly related parenting help on Facebook.
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