9 Dads Share the Best Gift They’ve Ever Received (No Ties Involved!)

published Jun 2, 2021
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Credit: From Left to Right: Trinken, Bookshop, REI

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Is there any Father’s Day gift better than waking to the adoring, smiling faces of your children? Of course not … but there are a ton of things that are a really, really close second. 

Look, dads love their kids, they make us proud, they’re the greatest thing that ever happened to us — we’d fight a lion with our bare hands to protect them from harm (probably?). But dads are guys, and lots of guys like stuff. We like stuff we can stream TV shows on, we like stuff that has the name of our favorite team emblazoned on it, and we like stuff that we can shove in our mouths. What really brings a tear to my eye on Father’s Day? Waking up to the sounds and smells of a big pile of bacon sizzling in the kitchen.

Homemade Father’s Day cards with sweet notes are amazing and I will cherish them forever (if I can ever find what box in the attic I crammed them into), but as much as I like things that will fill me with warm fuzzies when I am 80 years old, getting rocked on the porch by my robot home aid, I’m not averse to receiving something that will give me the warm fuzzies now

I asked some fellow dads to find out what past presents really made their Father’s Day memorable. Here’s a list of awesome things that I encourage other dads to print out and “accidentally” leave in plain view of their families. Honestly, your loved ones will probably thank you for the advance direction!

For the backyard camper

Solo Stove Bonfire

Sitting around a backyard fire pit making s’mores or enjoying a post-work cocktail is a true joy for those of us in the ‘burbs — unless you can’t get the fire started or the smoke is burning your eyes out of your skull. A neighbor of mine, Ken, father of three, got this portable fire pit last Father’s Day and he talks about it like a grandparent bragging about his grandson getting into Harvard. “It’s just an amazing design that quickly ignites the logs and gets this beautiful, velvety flame going.” He gets teared up as he describes it, and it isn’t because of the smoke. Solo Stoves have an incredible air circulation system that creates a red-hot, clean burn. No smoke, lots of flickering flames and it’s super easy to transport from the backyard to tailgates to campsites. 

For the golfer

Birdie Juice Gift Set

Avid golfer Joe told me his favorite Father’s Day gift was when his 12-year-old son got him a personalized Birdie Juice Gift Set from Groovy Guy Gifts. “It was really cool and made me laugh. I’ve used all of the golf items each time I hit the links,” he says. The set comes with a personalized divot tool, an engraved travel tumbler (to stay “hydrated” on the course) and an embroidered golf towel. (Note: the site makes it clear that a tumbler filled with vodka and tonic will not likely improve your handicap.)

For the comic book guy

75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking

For the dad who forced his kids to sit through the four-hour Snyder cut of Justice League, this gigantic coffee table book packed with incredible early art of the most iconic heroes and villains, which will make his nerdy little head explode. My pal Seth told me he loves this massive TASCHEN tome because he loves comic books (duh) and also because it provides him a good workout while reading. The thing weighs ten pounds!

For the (clumsy) wine drinker

Suction Wine Cup

Pablo, who is 39 and has a 2-year-old daughter, said that at first he wasn’t blown away by this set of nearly unbreakable wine glasses that you can suction down to the table. “But I ended up using them more than expected,” he says. “I love wine and camping, and they’re nice to have while outdoors. They’re great for other liquids as well. Especially because I can just put it on the dashboard of my car to have coffee while I’m driving.” Have fun explaining that to the cops. “No officer, there’s Chock Full o’ Nuts in my wine glass, I swear.”

For the traveler

Scratch the World Travel Map

Peter, a dad of two from Australia, says his favorite gift was more about the promise that went with the present than the object itself. “It’s a world map that lets you scratch off each country to reveal a different color beneath, like a poster-sized lottery ticket version of the Earth.” The thing that made it so special was the note that his wife gave him with it. “She wrote, ‘With this map, I commit us to our dream of visiting one country a year, until together we reveal all the colors of the world!’” He says that COVID curbed their travel plans, but they’re about to rev things back up again.

For the doomsday prepper

Survivor Kit from Steel to Reel Club

John, a dad who lives in L.A., was given a subscription to the Steel to Reel’s Survivor Pro last year, which comes with gear selected by survival experts and veterans. “I get a monthly shipment of survival, first-aid, and outdoor gear which gives me peace of mind that I am equipped to deal with whatever this world throws at me. Best Father’s Day gift ever!”

For the sports enthusiast

Surprise tickets to the game

Jon, a father of two, got his Father’s Day gift early this year. “My wife, son, and daughter walked into my home office and my wife said, ‘Turn off your computer.’ Before I could even ask why, she held up four tickets to the Dodgers game that night. After the events of the past year, I cannot tell you how great it felt to be in the park with my family. We were cheering and high-fiving like it was game seven of the World Series.” 

For the gadget guy

The Latest iPad Pro

The latest iPad Pro delivers mind-blowing visuals and high-speed performance for work, streaming, and content creation. My good friend … uh … Stan Nova … says getting one of these made him realize that he has the most beautiful wife and amazing kids on the planet and says he will do all of the chores in the house without grumbling for a year now that he has one. Okay, fine, there is no Stan Nova. It’s me. Man, do I want this iPad and when Cubby gives you a platform to publicly beg your family for your dream gift? You just gotta shoot your shot.