The Do’s and Don’ts of Buying a Gift for Dad

Gift-giving is not an art but it does take some skill. That is even when the person you are shopping for may seem difficult to buy for. An example is your Dad. How many times have you heard the stories about gifts that just end up buried somewhere in the closet never to be seen soon after they are received? This article will explore how you can become an expert gift giver – even for dear old Dad!

Do #1 – Shop For Their Tastes

This may sound obvious, but when shopping for Dad, a lot of people forget to use his tastes as the guide and end up substituting them for their own tastes. This can prove to be a problem unless both you and your Dad like all the same things. One way to ensure you shop for his tastes is to consider his favorite activities and likes over dislikes. If he is fond of fishing, then you have a theme you can use with your gift-giving ideas. If he dislikes fishing, then you will know to avoid that subject.

Don’t #1 – Only Use Gift Cards of Places He Will Shop

Gift cards are becoming more and more popular these days as gift ideas. While we would normally shy away from them as they are a bit impersonal, sometimes a gift card is the right solution if you truly can’t find anything else. However, there is a gift card rule you must follow. If you are getting a gift card for your Dad, make sure it is from a store you know he will shop at. Giving him a gift card to a boutique or specialty shop he has never set foot in before may result in that gift card going unused.

Do #2 – Shop For Dad Earlier Rather Than Later

It’s never a good idea to put off your gift shopping for Dad. If you wait until the night before or early the day of, you risk getting to the point where you can’t find anything and end up grabbing something just to use as a gift. If you were a bit more prepared, you could avoid this stress and find that perfect gift weeks or months before you need it. You may also get it on sale, depending on whether or not you are shopping for a seasonal kind of gift. Order early online, if you must, to avoid disappointment.

Don’t #2 – Avoid Opting For A Gag Gift

Even if Dad has a great sense of humor, a gag gift is in many ways, not a gift. That is especially true if the gag gift is something that can’t be used practically. Most gag gifts are meant to be on display somewhere and that instantly converts them into dust collectors. Plus, a gag gift is something you just wasted money on that will show Dad that you didn’t put much thought into the shopping part of the equation. If you must buy a gag gift, ensure that you include it with a real gift. For my Dad & my husband I hand-picked care packages specifically made for them.

Do #3 – Try To Get Him Something He Will Use

Here’s why you pay attention to those subtle hints coming from Dad in the weeks leading up to the gift-giving date. Listen to what he says and if he complains about not having enough of this or that, you will quickly discover a need. With a need, you can fill it with a gift he will use like socks. Socks sometimes get a bad reputation as a dull gift, but let’s face it: all Dad’s need them. And you can still make it fun and personal, like with these customizable gift sets from No Cold Feet, just as an example.

Don’t #3 – Give Him Lottery Tickets

It may sound like a good idea at the time. You only have to spend a little and Dad could end up a millionaire, or winning $10. Okay, in reality, he may win a free ticket or two but that will be about as good as it will get. That puts lottery tickets in much the same category at gag gifts as they are appealing for just a short period and then forgotten. Plus, just like gag gifts, lottery tickets show that you didn’t put very much thought into your gift idea. This is your Dad we’re talking about here, not a buddy.

Do #4 – Consider Homemade Gifts

If your Dad has an art appreciation or is a creative person, you can do well in the gift-giving department if you make something for that person. Depending on your skills, a knitted blanket, piece of personal art, framed photo taken on a favorite family holiday, homemade meal, or anything that you put great effort into making and giving will be one of those gifts that will be remembered for a very long time. Again, try to keep this gift in alignment with Dad’s tastes and you will end up scoring high points.

Don’t #4 – Never, Ever Re-Gift Something To Dad

Many feel that regifting is a lot like recycling. You reduce the amount of waste by passing on an unused gift to someone else you think may like it. For others, the quality of the re-gift is the issue as typically it is something someone is trying to get rid of. Either way, a re-gift shows you did not put a lot of consideration into what you were doing when you selected the gift to re-gift. Again, this is much like lottery tickets or a gag gift. Stay away from regifting anything to your Dad regardless of what that item is.

In Conclusion

Dad is not supposed to be hard to shop for, but for some of us, he just is. The tips above should provide you with the guidance you need to steer away from bad gift ideas and push you in the direction where good gift ideas come from. Try to focus on practical, useful gifts that match his interests and are personal enough that he will think of you each time he uses it. Or at least remembers it came from your heart.


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