Posted by in Gear Categories: Gear advice, Gear tests, New stuff, and Survival.

Disclaimer to start

Buying thoughtful gifts is not my, or typically many men’s strongpoint so let me just state upfront that you should probably take this male-perspective gift-buying advice for women from whence it originates. I’d like to add another disclaimer and say that it is perhaps disingenuous to advise married women to think of the things that they typically don’t enjoy and then suggest they offer that thing, or a kind of acknowledgement thereof, as a gift. But bear with me here, this is the tactic I’m employing and should (I hope) pan out alright because I’ve had domestic approval for the overall concept.


The thought process

To combat the rampant commercialization we’ve come to accept on this and other similar annual occasions, I sought to isolate and highlight some universal truths about marriage and parenthood. These ‘truths’ I’ve used as a starting point in searching for meaningful-to-husbands gift ideas. An incredibly random example may be to address the lack of sleep new parents endure when there’s a newborn in the home, and boldly suggest mom gives the new dad a night off. Let him have a ‘free all night sleep voucher’ and present it with a complementary gift of say a sleeping bag, here is a nice one from Columbia (that commercial link is there purely to illustrate the mechanics). See, there’s the tactic of taking something a mom may not like very much as an idea but could resolve to offer a dad on Father’s Day. It’s potentially viewed as sacrifice but could and should conversely be seen as generosity.

Reignite the flame

Another example: You’re perhaps a little further along the line in the marriage than the aforementioned couple. There’s the likelihood that your passions are waning a bit and yes, stereotypically some carnal spice may very well be in order. Now I’m definitely not suggesting you buy him a Fleshlight (don’t Google that, it’s a man’s sex toy) or Tarzan jocks and install a vine-like chandelier as there are many other ways in which to… Wait… this is going down the wrong gear-related avenue. I’m going to opt out of this one and err on the side of prudence and caution and simply suggest something romantic or a kid-friendly holiday and propose some luggage as a gift to back it up. I’ll leave the finer details up to you and suggest very strongly, that you make the most of the occasion.

Your man really needs an upgrade

Whew that previous example could have gone really bad. So instead, let’s focus on his manhood. His 4×4 could do with an upgrade. All 4×4’s are in desperate need of upgrades especially if it was brand new last week, ask anyone. Yes, I know these aftermarket doodads appear gratuitous to many ladies but men don’t really see it like that. ‘It looks cool’ you’ll often hear them say. But it would go a long way to demonstrating your understanding of the spirit of this hallowed day for dads to let your prejudices slide. He’d definitely like spotlights, suspension or a new set of the right tyres for that vehicle. Or anything from any one of these stores. Anything.

Suggestions he’d really appreciate

So I’ve demonstrated a few options but there are indeed many other avenues to explore in this theme of really thoughtful gifts-as-acknowledgement on the day of the dad. Here’s my list of random suggestions designed to ignite your boundless gifting creativity:

  • It would be very thoughtful to approve a whole night out with his mates and hand over a free pass with a voucher for a taxi service to bring him home safely. The voucher is just a thought.
  • Arrange a spicy night in for yourselves without the kids.  Or distract the little blighters with something with a volume control like this outdoor entertainment system.
  • How about a guilt-free pass to a watch all the rugby, every weekend for the rest of the year? Season tickets to the nearest stadium. Anyone?
  • An anything-you-want-to-upgrade voucher from his favourite [insert hobby here] shop. This seemingly ridiculous remote-controlled lighting system for the caravan might work, otherwise take him to outdoor gadget heaven or let him join these swingers for a bit of a foursome.
  • Offer one mother-in-law visit opt-out pass, redeemable at any time with a mutually agreed notice period allowed. (Note: Allowing shorter notice periods may demonstrate truer love.)
  • Pre-pay for a case of beer at the local pub, and present the gift as redeemable-in-one-go (binge) or in installments. Never open an account at the pub though. If that’s too much of a stretch, or the pub is too far from home, perhaps you could present him with a DIY Beer-making kit?

None of those working for you?

Well, if none of these gift suggestions really appeal I’d have to suggest a somewhat selfish tack. Book his favourite activity/campsite/4×4 trail/adventure/whatever. Then make sure you will be as comfortable as possible and get yourself something nice. Something that will make your sacrifice experience tolerable, a luxury showering arrangement, perhaps? How about a roof-top or a ground tent? Or here’s a selection of luxury camp chairs one of which may be construed as a way to pamper your fine self? I daren’t suggest a camp kitchen for fear of pushing the stereotype that one-flying-coffee-cup too far but a camp fridge should be acceptable to suggest, yes? No? Really?

Okay, bugger it.

Mom’s, how about just treating yourselves to something for Father’s Day? Go wild. Just splurge on something for yourself. Not just anything though. It’s important to make it something that you absolutely love and will treasure. Because in reality, and I don’t want to come across all unmanly here, but when you girls are happy, so is the man in your life. But may I on behalf of all fathers, ask just one thing for this Father’s Day? Please for the love of braai-meat, please, please do not just toss a tie and three pack of underpants into the trolley as a gift for us. Save one of them for Christmas.


Creative Commons image from US National Archives on Flickr

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