If you’ve ever had to organise a present for Dad or Grandad – or a brother or uncle for that matter – you will know that the men in the family can be incredibly difficult to buy for. What do you get someone who says he has everything he needs? Most people, these days, buy the things they need. I find buying something a little more unique or special is best, something they wouldn’t think of getting themselves. It’s those special gift ideas for Dad that really make for great keepsakes too.

So, how do you find a birthday gift that Dad will actually appreciate? What will make his eyes light up with genuine delight? Since you already know that the answer can’t be more ‘stuff’, you have to try a little bit harder and think outside the box to really nail Dad’s present.

In this article, let’s take a look at some better options for Dad presents that aren’t more ‘things’ he doesn’t want. Why not bookmark the article for future reference; it might just come in handy for Dad’s next birthday, Father’s Day, Christmas…

1.      Consumable gifts

Love goes through the stomach, as they say. From boxes of Brazil nuts to whisky gift sets, there’s a rich tradition of giving Dad a special treat you know he’ll enjoy and that won’t take up precious cupboard space for very long. Remind yourself about his favourite tipples and food loves and you can’t go far wrong.

The most recent incarnation of consumable gifts comes in the form of subscription boxes. It literally is the gift that keeps on giving! For coffee connoisseurs, get fresh beans (or ground coffee) delivered straight to your (his) door every week or month. Here’s a roundup of the best offers online that you can sign him up to. There are companies doing the same for wine, craft beer, disposable razors, even tinned fish! The only limitation is your imagination. Spot Dad’s weaknesses and show your love by indulging him. Beware though that he may well outwardly complain but, deep down, he’ll love it.

2.      Hobbies and passions

Every Dad will have something he is passionate about, quite apart from his day job or the family he loves. For many men, it’s football or cricket, but it could be gardening, or cars, or stamp collecting, or model trains or taxidermy! The actual activity is immaterial, the point is to have something enjoyable to do to help unwind from the workday and reconnect with inner happiness. Surely, we should all be doing what we can to encourage Dad to do more of that?

Take Dad’s birthday as an opportunity to tap into his hobbies and passions, and show that you care. Perhaps his golf game would improve if he had a golf simulator in the garage and he could practice anytime, regardless of the weather? How about investing in the latest outdoor grill technology and letting him be King of the Barbecue, perhaps with a birthday party where he can show off his new kit? And if you have a Dad who keeps saying that he’s the only one of his friends who doesn’t have a shed in the garden, maybe it’s time to realise that what he really needs is a man cave!

3.      Experiences to treasure

Quality time is something that’s all too easily deprioritised when family lives are busy and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. But spending time together doing fun things shouldn’t be languishing at the bottom of the never-ending to-do list. Why not take Dad’s birthday as an opportunity to get out and have a little adventure together?

We blogged about our magical family adventure last summer when we went camping with the family at Grafham Water near Huntingdon, Cambs. There were laser-tag sessions, food, drink and entertainment and space to pitch up the tent by the big campfire. It was a long weekend full of quality time with Dad and all the kids.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a holiday or even a long weekend. Day trips can be just as enjoyable. For Dad’s birthday, how about anchoring the day around something he would love to do? You can book driving experience days at Mercedes Benz World in Surrey, Brands Hatch in Kent or Donington Park in Leicestershire and get Dad to channel his inner Lewis Hamilton. How about a family day out at Snowzone in Milton Keynes for a spot of ski and snowboarding lessons at Europe’s largest indoor real snow resort? A family day with Dad doesn’t have to cost a lot. Sometimes, a football game with jumpers for goalposts followed by a homemade picnic in the park can make the most magical memories.

4.      Broaden Dad’s horizons

For Dads who are keen on learning new things, a class or lessons can be a wonderful gift to receive. How about a course in wine appreciation or gardening tips and tricks for the coming year? Maybe Dad is a closet musician and just needs a little encouragement to practice, say, the guitar or piano, or learn to record music? There are classes out there for every conceivable interest – from Art Collecting to Zumba Dancing. If logistics are an issue, don’t forget that you can gift online classes too.

If a course of learning sounds a bit too serious, there are other ways to get Dad to engage with his special interests. Maybe a good old-fashioned magazine subscription would float his boat? If he’s a TV and cinema fan, he might appreciate Britbox for all his old favourites from the BBC and ITV, or Mubi’s curated film screening platform for indie movies and art film classics. Or give him an annual membership to, say, the National Trust, or a National Art Pass for free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic houses in the UK.  

5. Homemade gifts from the heart

Giving Dad a birthday present that he will love doesn’t have to be expensive. Indeed, some of the most precious gifts are those that come straight from the heart. When the children are young, hand-painted pictures or homemade objects have an innocence all of their own that is bound to make Dad smile. Older kids may be expected to produce more accomplished works but they also have a greater range of skills to put to good use. Why not write a poem especially for Dad – we did this for Father’s Day a few years back – or make the words into a song and play it to him on his birthday?

Vouchers are another favourite. No, I’m not talking about generic Amazon gift vouchers here. Rather, these are personalised and homemade vouchers, dreamed up by the kids and lovingly hand designed, then presented to Dad as a birthday present. Maybe a voucher for a cuddle a day? A book of 10 promises to help mow the lawn or wash the car? A voucher for a neck and shoulder massage, or going swimming together? Again, the possibilities are endless. Choose something that you think Dad will love, and you’ve got pre-booked quality time together for the year ahead. Now that is a priceless gift!

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Last Update: Wednesday, 15th February 2023