Every Dad is different. There are fashionable Dads, outdoorsy Dads, thrifty Dads and fancy Dads.
However, in our experience most Dads don’t spoil themselves very often. When they do splurge, it’s either on things that are ruthlessly practical or with very big wheels. Then, they’ll wear an old AC/DC T-Shirt until it falls apart. That’s why we feel the best gift for Dad is something he secretly wants but would never get himself.
Here are a few jumping off-points for Dads of every type.
There’s a famous Instagram account called “Miserable Men,” with photos of sad Dads out shopping. They’re slumped in chairs at Macy’s, hollow-eyed and horrified at Saks and completely unconscious at Nordstrom.
For many men, clothing is the last thing they want to deal with.
An accessory is a great, easy present. You can never have too many warm hats. Go with a solid brand like LL Bean, REI or Patagonia. If you’re going for a trucker hat, we have an excellent one: The Willy California Trucker Hat. It’s got a mesh back to keep Dad’s head nice and cool.
Of course, sometimes you want to go full comfort. Merino wool socks are warm and soft but still breathable. Darn Tough, Smartwool and even Costco all sell good options.
Then, there are sweatpants. We practically lived in our The Willy California Sweatpants in 2020 for a reason. For the Dad who has a hard time styling himself for a nice night out, get him The Nicer Pants for an effortlessly polished look.
Leveling up your Dad’s wallet is also a useful, memorable gift. Minimalist wallets are increasingly popular in our cashless world. Try a customized one made from shops on Etsy or try a brand like Ridgewallet.
For Dads who love to eat… and cook, try some new cooking gear. A really great chef’s knife will never go unloved. Try a Global, Victorinox or a MAC. Cooking is a lot more fun when your blade doesn’t bounce off an onion. Pair it with a Lodge cast-iron pan for a very manly kitchen upgrade.
For fixing things up, Dads can never have enough multi-tools.
The Leatherman Wave, Skeletool, Gerber 600 or a classic Victorinox are all good options.
For a bit more high-tech gift, consider a wireless charging tray. Anker, Samsung and Nomad are good brands, though they can be finicky if Dad uses a thick phone case.
Does Dad have a massage gun, foam roller and solid yoga mat? Decreasing daily aches and pains goes a long way towards quality of life. A Theragun Mini is convenient and you can use it while you watch TV. That said, you can do just as much for a lot cheaper with a lacrosse ball and a Trigger Point GRID foam roller.
Obviously this is going to be personal for your Dad, but a great book is an adventure. Here are a few jumping off points you can tailor to his tastes.
History: Over the Edge of the World by Laurence Bergreen is the untold true story of Ferdinand Magellan - the first man to go around the world. Only, it turns out, he actually didn’t. It was a voyage that started off bad and got worse, culminating in Magellan declaring himself a God and everyone else disagreeing. For the Dad who likes adventures and disasters.
Biography: Life, by Keith Richards is every bit as interesting as you want it to be. Keith Richards had a wild life and the rise of the Rolling Stones is a fascinating lens to see music and life in the 20th century… with lots of truly insane parties and substances.
Nature: A Walk in the Woods is a comedic nonfiction classic. An overweight writer named Bill Bryson decides to do the most arduous hike in America. It goes about as well as you’d think. This is great if Dad is thinking about getting in shape.
Sports and Nature: If Dad hasn’t read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air he’s in for a wild ride. This is the true story of a climbing expedition up Everest and a history of the mountain itself. Great to read in a warm comfy room by a fire.
Very Manly Men: Many Dads have read The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. But if he hasn’t he’ll probably love it. This is the true story of the earliest pilots in spaceflight. Right after WW2, macho test pilots are put into the most dangerous machines on earth. Their big personalities clash with early NASA bureaucrats and scientists.
If none of these have struck your fancy, you can always go with more unique, experiential, or subscription-based gifts.
Ancestry and 23andme both offer ways for Dad to explore his genealogy and lineage. Though, he’ll have to be okay with these companies having access to his genetic code. But who wouldn’t want a clone or two running around?
The Craft Beer Club or similar companies are a fun way to explore the world of brews. These companies send you monthly care packages either chosen by them or Dad himself. Though, they’ll be more expensive per-bottle than otherwise.
Finally, look up a driving experience day in your area. If Dad’s never driven a supercar, this is an extremely memorable experience that you can join him on.
That’s all for this year! We hope this helps you pick out a gift he’ll love. Coming from you, we’re sure he will. Happy Holidays!