Forget a tie. This year give the fathers in your life something they will really enjoy — without breaking your budget. The secret is to consider those niceties that they likely never buy for themselves. Not sure what that might be? Here’s a cheat sheet to jumpstart your imagination:
1. High-quality earbuds
We’re not talking about those free earbuds you have all over the house. Instead we mean a well-engineered set that will fit comfortably in his ear and not generate all kinds of static. Headphonesaddicts has reviews of top sets priced for under $20, under $30 and under $50 — with an emphasis on sound quality. Their top rating actually went to a pair of Panasonic RP-HJE120 earbuds, listed on Panasonic’s site for $9.99.
2. Noise-canceling headphones
The beauty of noise-canceling headphones is they protect you from sounds around you — think airplane noise or cafe clatter — while allowing you to enjoy your music, or just silence. Maybe the father in your life needs to block out the kids when he’s trying to work or relax. Noise-canceling headphones can be pricey — sets reviewed by TechRadar range from $80 and up — but they can markedly improve the audio experience. TechRadar named the Philips Fidelio NC1 noise canceling headphones as their number-one choice at about $300. The key thing, is to choose headphones that have “active” noise-canceling, not “passive,” according to TechRadar:
Passive means that when the headphones are pressed against your head, some sound is cut out in the process of closing your ears off to the world outside. It’s not high-tech. Lots of headphones claim that this is some sort of advanced technique, but it’s nothing more than a few layers of foam trying their darndest to keep sound out.
Some men look forward to massages, and others wouldn’t dream of having one. Yet it’s difficult to find anyone of either gender that hasn’t loved one once they’ve experienced it. Treat the father on your list to a regular massage or even a hot stone one. Massages can be pricey, but you can often find specials on them for anywhere from $30 (for a chair massage) to about $50 for a back massage. Find massage therapists in your area by searching the American Massage Therapy Association. Alternatively, you could buy him a gift card from a spa chain, such as MassageEnvy, which has locations across the United States.
Many people say they’d never consider an e-reader because they like the feel of paper books or they can read things on their phones. People often change their minds when they experience the convenience of limitless reading material and new paper-like screens and that prevent glare. PC Mag reviews what they consider the best e-readers priced at $80 and up. You can find them for less if you buy a refurbished model from Newegg or other retailers.
5. Grill accessories
6. Cooking lessons
Does the guy who’s an outdoor chef want to expand his culinary horizons? Williams-Sonoma offers all types of technique and cooking classes at its stores priced from about $30 and up.
7. Barbecue sauces
OK, indulge us one more grilling idea — it is summertime, after all! What about an array of sauces to compliment his grilled meals? Stubb’s is one barbecue specialty retailer that offers a wide selection of sauces — barbecue, marinade, “anytime” sauces, rubs — priced at just over $10 and up.
8. Coffee sampler
Is he a coffee guy? Why not invest in a selection of his favorites? Peet’s has various sampler boxes from which to choose priced under $50.
9. Guitar lessons
So many people love playing a guitar but don’t ever expand their musical repertoire. Why not give guitar lessons to your budding Eric Clapton? Online courses are now a convenient and affordable option, with lessons designed for a variety of styles and tastes. Start by checking out three guitar courses that commonly get good reviews — JamPlay, GuitarTricks and ArtistWorks.
10. Bed pillow
Has he used the same old bed pillow forever? Experts say they should be replaced regularly, as their support breaks down and they attract allergens and dust mites. Splurge and buy Dad a nice one. You’ll find all types at Bed Bath & Beyond for about $16 and up.
11. Shoe warmer
Why give a shoe or boot warmer? They’re perfect to warm up a dad’s slippers and dry out his boots after hiking or other outdoor activities. Walmart carries the Peet Electric Thermal Boot Dryer (that also works on shoes) for just under $40.
12. Work lunch containers
Even if he says carrying his salad to work in an old covered bowl is fine, it really isn’t. It leaks. It’s ugly. Consider getting him a lunch set or even a lunch box. Men neglect buying these — but love it when they receive them. Next Luxury has a selection of “manly” lunch boxes and containers starting at about $15.
13. Travel bag
When the man in your life travels, does he use just any old suitcase in the closet? Why not give him a new one that is reserved for his use alone? Overstock.com has some great pieces, including some options under $50.
14. Tie travel case
Does he just jam his ties in the suitcase and try to smooth them out when he arrives? Invest in a tie travel case. They start at less than $10 at Amazon – and they will make him feel, dare we say, a bit elegant.
15. Pocket knife
Most men love gadgets and tools, so a pocket knife is the perfect gift. Prices start at just $9.99 at Amazon.
Whether he wants to look at birds in nature or a rock star on a concert stage, he’ll enjoy a pair of binoculars. You can find an array at Best Buy starting at just about $35.
17. Car detailing
Is his ride Dad’s pride and joy? Give him a thorough cleaning or even a detailing for that special car. Prices range from $20 for basic cleaning up to hundreds for premium detailing. Not sure where to go? Go to the International Detailing Association for information on detailers near you.
19. Pocket watch
Yes, we know, he uses his cellphone to check the time. But there’s something classic about a man wearing a pocket watch, especially when he’s dressed for an evening out. You can find a selection of them — some under $50 — at Things Remembered, where you also can have the one you choose engraved.
20. Insulated travel mug
Does he leave for work or a day out in nature with a cup of coffee in a drippy, dinky cup? Splurge and give him a high-quality, insulated mug. You can find nice ones at almost any national coffee chain or big box retailers priced at $12 and up. Read reviews about the best ones on Good Housekeeping.
21. Time off from chores
Is the dad on your gift list always working on the lawn and doing other chores around the house on weekends? Why not insist he take the day off and just relax with a cup of coffee in his favorite chair? That freebie may well be the best gift of all.
What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever given or received? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.
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