Top 12 Father's Day Gifts: Engage, Delight, Make it Count

I lost my dad this past year so it feels strange NOT to feel panicked about shopping for last-minute father’s day gifts. Still, perhaps because I miss him so much, I can’t help but think about some of the cool things he might have enjoyed receiving.

I’ve taken some time to identify and research some potential Father's Day gifts. I've landed on my top 12.  I hope you find something that fits your dad.  (And I also hope that my own daughter stumbles upon this list!) Either way, please don’t hesitate to share any other father’s day ideas you might have.  Anything that engages, enriches, entertains – and brings joy – is most welcome!


1. Masterclass All Access Pass ($15/mo.)

My dad loved to watch “how to” videos.  He could spend hours watching YouTube videos on how to scale a fish or how to lathe a table leg.  Too bad I wasn’t aware of Masterclass this time last year.  He would have loved the idea of a taking cooking class with Gordon Ramsey, honing his writing skills with Dan Brown, or learning more about gardening, photography, or any one of a number of other topics. Purchase the All Access Pass or a gift certificate for a single class.


2. Kindle Paperwhite ($129.99)

My dad, who was always an avid reader, stopped reading books when he got older. The typeface was often too small or the book too heavy and unwieldy.  That all changed when my brother bought him a Kindle.  Easy to adjust and easy to hold, he re-discovered the joy of sitting in that ugly barcalounger of his with a good book.  Check out the Amazon’s Paperwhite KindleIt's got a sharp 6-inch, 300-ppi backlit display, and 8GB of storage. It’s also water proof!


3. (from $99+)

Genealogy became a growing interest of my dad’s in his later years. It was hobby that he shared with his brother who lived across the country from him. They loved tracing their family roots together, from Eastern Europe to Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, California. What made this research both possible and rewarding:  A subscription to and easy access to everything from immigration and passenger records to property listings and social security records to school photos and marriage announcements to a wide variety of other documents.

There are several gift memberships to explore, lasting either 6 or 12 months.


4. 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service ($199)

Another way to discover ancestry is to map genes and trace DNA back in time and across the globe.  Simply by spitting into a tube, mailing it off to 23andMe, and waiting a few weeks, your dad will be able to discover more about his ancestors and his ethnic roots than he ever thought possible. (Is he really part Scottish? Is he really part Neanderthal?!) Perhaps more importantly, Dad will also learn more about his predisposition for developing certain health conditions and for what lifestyle choices might affect his well being.


5. Embark Pet DNA Test ($169)

And if your dad’s as much of a dog lover as my dad was, he might also be interested in mapping his pet’s DNA, particularly if it’s a rescue dog with an uncertain past.  (Husky or Malamute?  Part Chihuahua, part French Bulldog?) Embark also tests for 175+ genetic diseases, including some of the most common adult-onset diseases in dogs. Help dad keep his dog healthier & happier, longer!


6. Pix-Star 15-inch Digital Photo Frame ($199.99)

Here's a gift that keeps on giving. This handsome, top-of-the-line 15” digital frame features wire-free connectivity, a high definition screen, and it’s own email address!  That means you can send photos directly to the frame from your phone, pc or tablet and without requiring any intervention or action on the part of your dad.  No more wires, no more flash drives, easier than ever to receive and display photos of the grand kids!


7. Ring Video Doorbell 3 ($199.99)

For the avid home shopper who's anxiously waiting for his next delivery, consider the all new Ring Video Doorbell 3 with high definition video. Detects motion and notifies dad on his phone, tablet or PC. It also gives dad the ability to see, hear and speak to visitors at the door in real time, regardless of where he's actually located. Easy to install and connect (less than 5 minutes). Proven to boost home safety and to discourages theft.


8. Digital Tape Measure ($27.95)

My dad was always in the middle of some home improvement project, always measuring. However, as he got older, reading the lines of a traditional tape measure became more challenging. This digital tape measure from eTape would have been a great little gift.  It’s practical and would have appealed to the gadget lover in him.   It’s super easy to read, it can convert units, and it has memory storage!


9. Art Supplies

My father took up sculpting in his 70s. He took some initial classes at a local community college then embarked upon his own with a handful of tools and materials. His experience was profound. The act of creating rejuvenated him, gave him focus, connected him with fellow artists, and provided him with a real sense of joy and accomplishment. Help your dad unleash his inner artist with a set of high quality and highly-rated basic supplies. Pencils, pastels, sketch books, brushes and more!


10. Indoor Putting Green ($49.99)

My dad never like to keep score when he golfed – and with good reason.  His putting was atrocious – and it wasn’t just because of his antique brass blade putter. He simply never practiced.  No excuses anymore! This simple putting green from SKLZ with an automatic ball return is top rated. It's also a lot of fun!


10. Bocce Set ($33.53)

And for those dad’s who are done with golf, there’s always Bocce, a classic lawn game from Italy. Bocce is fun, easy to play, and great for the whole family.  It also doesn’t require 18 holes and 5 hours to play! This particular set, from GoSports, is the highest-rated best seller on Amazon.


11. Craft Beer Club Subscription ($43/mo.)

My dad loved drinking beer with his two sons, particularly craft brews.  Check out this highly-curated monthly subscription that taps micro-breweries from around the country.   No more worrying about hopelessly perusing the beer aisle hoping to find a winner!  A variety of beer styles are available to be delivered right to his door step – from rich, creamy Stouts to spicy Ales to a wide variety of Lagers.   12 beers per shipment. Lots of subscription options too!


12. Happy Socks ($37.51)

And when all other gift options fail, there are always Happy Socks! I never managed to gift these to my dad but I wish I had. (He could have used an upgrade to those threadbare and monochromatic blues and grays!) Happy Socks feature high quality cotton, a variety of great colors and designs, and come beautifully packaged. Lots of options to choose from too!


Thanks for reading this post. Again, please let us know if you have any feedback or if you have any other gift suggestions!