5 Steps For The Perfect Father’s Day Gift
As human beings, we give gifts for many reasons, and, to be fair, some of those reasons can be pretty murky: duty, tradition, one-upmanship, guilt. But the psychology behind the process of gift giving means that the best gifts reinforce existing relationships and create patterns for future relationship-building. And this may sound unnecessarily touchy-feely, but bear with us for a moment. In scientific terms (stimulation of different brain centers), the gift-giving process has four stages for the gift-giver.
Step 1: Thinking About Dads
For a lot of guys, the impending holiday can trigger a short (sometimes panicked) thought process that goes something like: Oh, crap. Father’s Day is coming up. I should probably get some kind of gift. But, ironically, the more that you can slow down and think about Father’s Day, the less stressful it is to find the perfect present.
In other words, stop and think about your dad (and, yes, “dad” can mean “grandfather,” “mentor,” “step-father,” “adoptive dad,” “coach,” etc.—but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick with “dad”—the guy who will be there for you at 2am in a blizzard without question). Ask yourself three simple questions:
- What are some of my favorite shared memories with dad?
- What things/circumstances always make dad smile?
- In the future, what would I enjoy doing with my dad? (That he would enjoy as well.)
By seriously thinking about your dad instead of focusing your mind on the stressful burden of traditional gift-giving, you actually do two positive things for your own brain. First, you stimulate good memories, which will trigger your brain to release “happy hormones” like serotonin and dopamine. And, second, you put your brain in the right headspace for the holiday—which is a celebration of everything that dads have done for us.
Just as importantly, by concentrating on good memories and things that your dad truly enjoys, you will also give yourself some good ideas for potential gift-giving. Whether your dad’s a collector, avid hunter, fan of the theater, sports fanatic, or history buff, by spending some time thinking about your dad, you can take control of the gift-giving process instead of just going to a random store and hoping for last-minute inspiration.
Step 2: Buying and Wrapping the Gift
A really great gift achieves at least two or three of the following goals:
- It satisfies a practical need in the giftee’s life (a new ceiling fan, power tool, etc.)
- It offers the giftee an extravagance that he normally wouldn’t pay for himself (tickets to an awesome event, a beautiful new wallet, a fabulous toy, a really nice shirt, etc.)
- It references a shared memory (Remember the time when you taught me how to fish? Well…)
- It offers potential for future memory-making (You know how we both love hiking? Well…)
If you’ve spent even five solid minutes thinking about your dad and the things that you like to share, the gift-buying process can actually be more of a surgical strike than an epic campaign. In general, the I put some thought into this gift will be far more successful than I threw a lot of money at a random box store.
But once the gift is bought, remember to pick up supplies for wrapping the gift. It’s true that, for some of us, gift wrapping may involve duct tape and swearing, but remember that wrapping is part of the gift, too. Perfect wrapping shows respect, and terrible wrapping at least has the potential for creating shared funny memories. (And if you forgot to buy the wrapping paper, remember that the comics page of the newspaper, a sheet of butcher paper, or pages from old magazines can make for excellent emergency substitutes that look intentional.)
Step 3: Opening the Present
In a perfect world, this part is done in person with food and toasts and extended family. But in a world where sons (or dads) may be serving overseas, or the complications of life may prevent you from spending the actual holiday together, at least try to make a gesture. If you can’t be there or call on the day, you can make a quick video of yourself mailing the present and making a toast, or you can arrange for someone else to make a special delivery.
And if you’re not feeling sufficiently motivated, YouTube that terrifying Harry Chapin “Cats in the Cradle” song, and you’ll remember that time is short and that quick, expedient decisions turn into patterns faster than you might think. Holidays are there to remind us to slow down and set aside the urgent things to concentrate on the important things.
Step 4: Following Through
Wait a second, you say. How can there be a stage after the present opening? If you remember that the function of Father’s Day is to remind us to celebrate dads all year, then this makes sense. If you picked a practical present, help your dad set it up or make use of it. If you picked a fun present, play with it. If you picked a shared future event, then put it into the calendar immediately so that you don’t forget about it.
Father’s Day isn’t about the day or the present, it’s about committing yourself to building a better relationship with your dad.
Step 5: Passing It Forward
The other key thing that you can do with the process of buying a Father’s Day present is to show the next generation how it’s done. This is a really great time to involve your own kids/nephews/cousins or other young people that you are mentoring.
Childhood is the time in which we most easily learn how to give meaningful gifts, and by involving kids in the process, you’re helping them to learn how to build strong relationships and show appreciation for the key people in their lives. And, let’s be fair, you have a stake in teaching the younger generation how to buy awesome Father’s Day presents. What precedent do you want to set?
And Just to Make Life Easier…
We wouldn’t be an awesome and thoughtful clothing company if we didn’t offer you the chance to buy your dad a fabulous present right now. If your dad fits into the 5’4” to 5’9” range, we can offer you both the gift of a perfect fit. And if your dad doesn’t fit an Otero Shirt, remember that we also have a gorgeous line of durable, full grain leather accessories, which will be the focus of shared memories for years to come.