dad hugging barbecue


When family members go shopping for Father’s Day they inevitably ask themselves the same question every year which is, “What can I buy for the man who already has everything?” The answer may not be as simple as it seems, but if you follow some basic and considerate guidelines you can make your Dad’s next Father’s Day a special experience that he will cherish forever.

The best way to do that is by buying a gift for Dad that tells him how much you love him – as opposed to how much you love the gift you bought him. For far too many times, we buy gifts for dad that we automatically assume he needs or are quick for us to purchase.

Here are a few gift ideas that you should definitely stay away from. I know, because I have been a dad for 30 years now, and have had more than my fair share of dumb and nonsensical gifts that I have had to endure each year.

Barbecue Grills

Everyone automatically assumes that dads love to get new barbecue grills for Father’s Day. That assumption could not be further from the truth. After all, what father wants to spend the entire day putting together a gift that was basically bought for the entire family?

The sight of a brand new and shiny, outdoor cooking appliance may excite everyone else in the household, but to a dad it is a gift that symbolizes the one thing he hates to do the most which is of course – cooking.

Would you buy your mom a new stove for the kitchen on Mother’s Day? Of course not, that would be insulting, right?

Besides, it only results in Dad cracking open a few beers, and cursing the entire time he is trying to put the damn thing together. And then, of course, there always comes that fateful moment when the new barbecue’s spark igniter pushbutton gets put to the test.

What are the odds that thing will work the first time around? Click…click…click.

Of course, you could buy him a new barbecue grill from The Home Depot that is already put together, but that wouldn’t be any fun to see how good he is at mechanical skills, right?

Hats, Ties, Belts and Socks

Dads always run out of socks by next Father’s Day, don’t they?

Even though he has at least half a dozen brand new socks leftover from last Father’s Day, we always assume that he can use 12 more pairs. Dads wind up with so many new pairs of socks, that by the time they reach retirement age, they can supplement their pension income by selling them every other week on Ebay.

Another dumb gift to buy dads are new belts. Why everyone thinks that dads need a new belt every year is a mystery. All dads know that it takes a suitable amount of time to break in a new belt, and especially when their waistline is beginning to wander.

Is buying them a new and stiff belt going to help that process?

Belts are like new shoes, they need time to stretch and conform to particular body fluctuations. Do not mess up one of dad’s most important, body-support mechanisms by buying him a cheap, rigid belt just because you found it on sale at Kmart.

His pot belly and aching back will love you for the afterthought.

Ties – what is there that we can possibly say about ties?

Unless your dad is the Donald Trump sort of guy (who wears a new tie and shirt only once then throws it away) he probably has more ties than he actually needs. Stripes, waves, stars, little cars and bubbles will only match with so many colors of suits your dad could wear in the next year or two.

Hats – hats are another dumb gift for dads.

Men’s hats are not what they once were. Some men’s hats are like fancy raincoats – overrated, out of fashion and nobody wears them anymore. Also, you can make dads very angry if you buy them a baseball cap or a NASCAR hat that has an official team emblem on it that your dad does not root for.

Ever see how a New York Yankees fan reacts if you buy them a Boston Red Sox hat? That’s how your dad will react if you buy him the wrong hat or cap on Father’s Day.

Car Vacuums

Buying your dad a car vacuüm for Father’s Day sends out a nasty message. It says, “Dad, the inside of your car is like a pigsty and it needs to be cleaned up.” The thing about car vacuums that dads hate the most is – they are totally useless. They will work fine a few times, but after that they will fail to suck up a dime off  the car’s interior carpet.

Dads like to have toys that have extreme power. You might be better off buying him a new shop vac. Now those suckers can pick up almost anything – even a brand new roll of duct tape.

Fish Hats and Other Novelty Items

Fish hats are probably the worst gift you can buy your dad for Father’s Day. They are demeaning and insulting and make dad look like a mutant humanoid risen from the Black Lagoon.

After a few drinks, your dad will stare at the fish hat atop his head in the bathroom mirror and fantasize it is the annual, 1st place fishing trophy sent to him from Field & Stream magazine.

Try not to entice him into spending half the day telling everyone about the “big” one that got away and telling you every five minutes to try to hook it with his fishing pole.

Other novelty items like the proverbial bucket of cheese, cheap sausage and pepperoni trays, and “The Greatest Dad’ coffee cups are mindless gifts that anyone can buy. The only reason retailers promote them so much before Father’s Day is so they can make a quick buck and you can make your dad believe that you actually think about him everyday.

Which is of course…well…we all know really is – a lie?

Dads like to feel like they are someone special, not just another old guy in baggy shorts smoking a stinky cigar and pushing a broken-down, lawnmower across the lawn.

So do something special for your dad this Father’s Day – buy him a gift that truly shows how much you really do appreciate him.

Like a new pontoon boat, perhaps?


Joseph E. Rathjen is a freelance writer, book author and an Opinion Writer at 1World Online – America’s Fastest Growing Social Research Engine.

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2 thoughts on “7 Dumb Gifts That Dads Hate On Father’s Day

  1. I’d buy you the boat but then you’re not my father, so… Heh. Happy Father’s Day all the same 😉

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