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Surprising Twists on Classic Father’s Day Gifts

Jun 4, 2015

by Molly Simms handmade and vintage goods

What do you get for the dad who has everything? Not a tie or BBQ tongs, that’s for sure — at least not if you want to surprise and delight him this Father’s Day. And Dad definitely deserves a little pampering. After all, he’s the guy who taught you to play checkers, pioneered the concept of putting Fritos on a sandwich (or so he thinks), and drove through the pouring rain to jump-start your broken-down Subaru at 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night. So make sure to show him a little extra love this year, with some gifts that are a far cry from a pair of printed socks.

Classic: A “World’s Best Dad” Mug
Twist: Out-of-the-Box Beverages

Hand-thrown ceramic coffee dripper set; $100.

Honey Bomb wheat beer brewing kit; $55.25.

Homemade Bathtub Gin kit; $35.

I’m sure Dad appreciates the sentiment of any novelty mug you get him, but we both know that thing’s going straight to the Salvation Army during his next kitchen clean-out. Instead, encourage his creativity and get him a kit that’ll help him fill his mug with something way more interesting than hot cocoa. Or indulge his inner coffee geek with a pour-over stand that’s handsome enough to leave out on the counter.

Classic: Sporting Goods
Twist: Nostalgic Athletic Treasures

Slate coasters featuring historic football plays; four for $55.

Jack Dempsey postcard; $10.

Vintage boxing gloves; prices vary.

Throwback football pennant; $25.

Dad doesn’t need another can of tennis balls, so get him some sports-themed collectibles that he can proudly display in his office (and enjoy even when his knee is acting up — again). A yellowed postcard of his all-time favorite boxer, coasters commemorating historic football plays, a gorgeous pair of vintage boxing gloves, or a pennant from his alma mater will give him a ready excuse to relive his own glory days whenever he’s so inclined.

Classic: Power Tools
Twist: Hardware-Inspired Gifts

Floor plan tea towel; $27.63.

Wooden tool box succulent planter kit; $45.

Handmade pocket knife; $95.

He’s known for being handy, but Dad’s likely already got all the hammers and wrenches he needs. Instead, buy him some well designed goodies that acknowledge his industrious side, without requiring him to break out the elbow grease. A blueprint-inspired tea towel lets him sit back and imagine a home in his dream dimensions; a tool box terrarium kit comes with a pre-planned assortment of succulents and supplies; and a made-to-order pocketknife outclasses that old Swiss Army option — whether he’s using it to cut a rope or slice an apple.

Classic: Electronic Gadgets
Twist: Handmade Add-Ons

Smartphone speaker (made from recycled skateboards!); $60.

Personalized leather cable organizers (with free monogram); five for $24.50.

Hand-poured resin tablet stand; $40.

Last year, you got him an Apple TV box. The year before that, a Kindle. This year, outdo yourself by getting him a handmade tech gift he can’t find at a big-box store. Say, an amplifier for his smartphone so he can blast the Stones — and actually hear them — while he’s gardening; personalized leather cable organizers to ward off the dreaded headphone tangle; or a stand to hold his tablet steady while he’s trying out that new cacio e pepe recipe.

Classic: BBQ Gear Or-Mail Order Steaks
Twist: Boosters for His Grilling Game

Bourbon-infused bacon marshmallows; six for $6.

Regional dry rubs; five-piece set for $18.50.

Three-chili hot sauce (spring for the chipotle and jalapeño-onion versions, too); $6 or three for $15.

Custom bamboo cutting board in the shape of his home state; $48.

It’s a scientific fact that all dads love to barbecue, so make his day with a cutting board from his home state, so he can show off his perfect char in style. A dry-rub or hot-sauce set will add some pizzazz to his cooking repertoire, and if you buy him some bacon-bourbon marshmallows for dessert, you’re liable to get an award for Child of the Year.

Classic: The Same Wallet He Always Buys
Twist: A Better Way to Hold His Dough

Leather wallet customized with a favorite quote; $79.

Minimalist wood card wallet; $20.

Personalized leather keychain fob; $13.

Simple wool-felt sleeve; $24.

He may not like to admit it, but Dad wants to stay stylish just as much as you do. To keep his accessory game tight, get him a customized key fob with the coordinates to his childhood home, favorite vacation destination, or dream retirement spot stamped on the side. Or find a wallet that’s not so off-the-shelf — like one customized with a killer quote or a super-slim version for the man who can’t stand bulky billfolds.

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