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A Simple, Meaningful Father's Day

Every year about this time, we see the signs: from automobiles to barbecues, clothing and tools.  The ads are everywhere telling us to buy, buy, buy to show our fathers, grandfathers, and husbands how much we love them. But what does that really say? The ads imply that the only way you can really show that you value your loved ones is through merchandise. Yet, we all know that is not true.

So what does make a Father’s Day meaningful? Well we asked a few dads what they thought.


One father we spoke to mentioned memories. Receiving cards and notes from his kids about the family times they remember is a great way to have a keepsake and enjoy the day. “Store cards are fine, as long as you write your own message, too.”

Maybe it is not a story, but instead it is a picture or a collage representing the family or a specific memory. If you lack physical copies of pictures, there are numerous sites online where you can upload pictures and create many inexpensive gifts like blankets, photo books, coffee mugs and more.

There are also homemade gifts. A blank coffee cup from the discount store and some inexpensive glaze means you can create a lifelong keepsake for dad or grandpa (look online for ways to use your own oven to set the glaze).

If you have a penchant for writing, your dad may enjoy a story about himself. Start with a specific time or event in his life and write about that – better yet, get his input and create a mini biography.

Togetherness and Good Food

Another father, who is also a grandfather, said his best Father’s Day memories are the ones where he was able to spend time together with the family. “I have enough stuff, but I don’t always get to spend time relaxing with my kids. We are always on the go.”  He also added that good food for Father’s Day is always a plus!

Food is a traditional way to celebrate for many families. That may be a homemade cake, a special steak, or their favorite breakfast.

If you are not hindered by distance or health concerns, helping dad with a project can also show you care. Maybe dad needs help with the yard or some home repairs. This is an area where you can make a big impact with little to no money.

There are many ways to show our loved ones that we care without charging up the credit card or spending outside of our comfort zone. The most important gift we can give is our time and ourselves. 

Published May 11, 2020.