Father's Day shopping emergency!

It's late, but not too late, to do right by Dad.
Crosscut archive image.
It's late, but not too late, to do right by Dad.

Father's Day is this Sunday, June 17, but it is not too late to pick up a great gift. Why is it so hard to shop for dads? Ask a lot fathers what they would like for Father's Day and often we get a shrug and the response, "I don't know." In my experience, if a gift is too grand or expensive, fathers feel uncomfortable. If the gift is too silly or kitchy, he might not appreciate it. The trick is to find something useful, wanted, and not too expensive. Here are 10 suggestions:

  • A sports car for a day: Let Dad trade in the minivan or hybrid for a day. Hertz, for example, offers a Fun Collection and a Prestige Collection at both Seattle-Tacoma and Portland international airports. The Fun Collection includes a Mustang Shelby GT-H and the Hummer H3. The prestige collection includes a Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, and the Hummer H2. Dad can hit the highway for a 24-hour adventure and still be back for work and Little League practice on Monday.
  • Barbecue upgrade: With the warm weather (mostly) here, you've been talking about replacing that rusted barbecue. Why not offer Dad an upgrade to the next level? Add an infrared rotisserie feature and an extra burner for a summer of tasty treats. Throw in this humorous apron from Cafepress.com with a Scarface reference.
  • Golfer's package: Every golfer can use tickets to the driving range. Round out the gift with some comfy golf slippers and a good book. Have a look at Quantum Golf: The Path to Golf Mastery for zen golf advice.
  • Movies: A gift subscription to Netflix allows Dad to pick his own movies. Or find a quality show on DVD you think he might like – for example, the first season of the new Battlestar Gallactica or the fabulous boxing documentary When We Were Kings.
  • Swiss Army Knife: This handy little unit is great for life's unexpected emergencies, including last-minute gift-giving.
  • Kid-produced photography: Give the kids a camera with and a roll of film and let them go crazy. Some are sure to be abstract masterpieces.
  • Favorite sports-team tickets and paraphernalia: Sporting-event tickets are a great standby. And there is fantastically crazy fan merchandise out there – computer mice, mouse pads, license plate holders, windsocks, letter openers, cribbage boards. Check out the Seattle Team Shops for Mariners, Seahawks, and Sonics merchandise.
  • A special T-shirt: You've seen them – young and old wearing T-shirts with something or other on the front. To keep Dad relevant, go with the current trend of slim-cut shirts and put a design on the front that has personal meaning – indy band, junior high band, hobby, TV show, cereal, travel destination, etc. he then looks, dare we say, "cool". There's nothing like a Cocoa Puffs T-shirt worn by a guy who still eats them. Check out Cafe Press .
  • Small digital camera: Small gadgets make a guy feel like 007. Anything too big will just get left at home. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W50 can be had for under $200 and is highly recommended by Consumer Reports.
  • Fishing excursion: You don't want your guy sleeping with the fishes, but let his inner-hunter out and you might save yourself a trip to the market. No need to fly north – there are some fun six-hour excursions from Seattle and Portland.

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