My father gives the most thoughtful gifts.
For Christmas, he gave me a beautiful, vintage 1920s Underwood typewriter. It was much like the ones he used to salvage and bring home for me as a kid, so I could clickety-clack away, pretending to be a journalist.
Just a few days ago, he gave me a little quill, ink well and blotter for my dollhouse. He whittled them out of wood and they’re extremely delicate and detailed.
The tip of the quill has a little smudge of ink, and the bottom of the blotter shows my name reflected backward, as if a little, miniature version of myself had used it to blot my signature on an important, pint-sized document.
He texted me a photo preview of my newest treasures, with the message “A quill for a scribe.”
Is that not freaking adorable?
Can’t you just see him – a 6-foot-tall Vietnam vet in a Harley T-shirt – hunched over a piece of wood smaller than his pinky nail, lovingly etching each sweet, tiny notch?
Makes my heart want to explode with love and gratitude.
But when it comes to finding gifts for my dad, I don’t think I’ve ever come close to giving him anything so special.
It’s not that I haven’t tried, but dads – especially my dad – are notoriously hard to shop for.
So what’s a kid who loves her dad to do this Father’s Day?
• Hang out with him. According to a survey by RetailMeNot.com, dads’ most requested Father’s Day gift this year is to spend time with family.
So, make him dinner. Take him to a concert (The Polish Prince Bobby Vinton is coming to the Riviera Theatre in September. Just sayin’). Get him a membership to a museum he likes, and go with him. Memberships to the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park are just $20 for the year.
Unless your dad is like my dad. Then just leave him alone and let him watch “Law & Order” in peace.
• Get him a gift card. Gift cards tied for first place as the most requested Father’s Day gift on the RetailMeNot survey. You can buy discounted gift cards for more than 650 retailers on GiftCardGranny.com and instantly-delivered gift cards for locally-owned businesses on Yiftee.com.
I know, gift cards feel impersonal. But a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that people who are able to choose their own gifts actually enjoy them more than ones the giver picks out on their own.
I know you want to show how thoughtful you are by agonizing over the perfect gift. But the same study showed that perceived thoughtfulness usually means more to the gift giver than the person receiving the gift.
So do you want a pat on the head for being creative or do you want your dad to actually enjoy his present?
• Sneak him something he’s not supposed to have. Remember on the “Cosby Show” how Cliff was always trying to sneak a hoagie and some chips? Claire and the kids were always taking them away before he could take a bite. Yeah, they did it for his health’s sake and because they loved him and blah, blah, blah.
But how much happier do you think he would have been if Rudy had guarded the kitchen door while he chowed down instead of running off to tattle?
Yeah, it could kill him. But what a way to go. And at least when he’s gone, you’ll know you were his favorite.