June 16

5 Father’s Day Gifts for the Dad that Likes Nothing

My Dad is awesome. Please don’t think I’m hating on my Dad. Tom Van Horne is a great guy. Where else do you think I get my athleticism, sarcasm and quick wit from? #TVH

However, over the past 27 years of my life, between Father’s Day/Christmas/Birthdays etc, I have probably bought my Dad in the neighborhood of 30-40 gifts.

He has proceeded to use about 3 of them.


When I was younger, I used to get so sad. “Dad, why don’t you like this polar bear shaped neck massager I got you?” “Dad, why don’t you ever use your new pasta making set?” Granted – my taste in gifts has slightly improved – but, more than that, I have carefully over years of observation and trial and error cultivated the perfect 5 gifts for the Dad that likes nothing. This is for the Dad that simply goes ahead and buys something immediately if & when he wants it (leaving no options once a holiday rolls around), has no hobbies that involve any kind of supporting props you might be able to purchase (does not hunt/fish/golf/play sports), and lives a very possession-less existence (doesn’t like clothes/watches/man purses).

If this is your Dad, you might have luck with one of these 5 ideas.

1. Jeni’s Ice Creams – So one thing my Dad will do is eat. Every day. There’s no debating this. He loves ice cream. Jeni’s Ice Cream has outstanding, unique flavors (I like their Wildberry Lavender and Salty Caramel), and they do special flavors around the holidays. I always order my Dad some Dark Chocolate Peppermint & Midwest Whiskey Eggnog for Christmas. They deliver the ice cream on dry ice to your doorstep. This is a nice surprise for a Dad, and basically a guarantee that he will eat it as it is delicious, and at his house.

2. Join a Wine/Beer Club – Another thing my Dad is guaranteed to do is drink wine. Signing your Dad up for a wine or beer club membership is a fun way to choose a gift that keeps giving all year long – so every quarter when he gets his shipment, he thinks of his awesome kid. I’ve never done a Beer Club, but heard great things about this one, and although I’m partial to my local favorite wine club, Bacchus, there are surely tons of options local to wherever your Dad is – or you can do a big winery from Napa or Sonoma. I think I’m going to give my Dad a membership to the Rombauer Chardonnay Club – his favorite wine. Don’t worry, he can’t use a computer, so I’m not spoiling the surprise.


3. Tickets to a Sporting Event/Concert/Show/Something – Nothing really replaces actually spending time with your Dad. If he really is a person that doesn’t care about gifts, chances are high he would love to just hang out with you for a little while. My Dad loves to watch sports, so Dodgers or Lakers tickets are always a great call for him. Maybe your Dad is into art or music (mine isn’t), and you can snag tickets to a cool exhibit or some concert. The other great thing about tickets is Dad has to use them. Nobody is that big of an a-hole to receive tickets to something and then just not go. Like what bigger way to say F you, right? So it’s pretty much a guarantee that this gift will be put into use, unlike my aforementioned polar bear shaped neck massager.

My sister, my Dad and I at a Dodger game in 2014.

My sister, my Dad and I at a Dodger game in 2014.

4. A Picture in a Frame – I can’t imagine what it is, but guys aren’t typically the ones that will take it upon themselves to select a picture, get it printed out/order a print of it, and then purchase a good looking frame to put it in. Chances are high that Dad does not do this. But, every Dad loves pictures of his kids. That is just a fact. Even if your Dad hates presents, he will like a photo of the two of you or the whole family put into a cool frame that he can put in his office or study or wherever. This requires little to no effort on your part. Select a photo. Get it printed and shipped to you at Shutterfly. Buy a cool picture frame here, here or here. If you really want to go all out, you could do a photo collage from Social Print, or a collage book from Mosaic.

Father's Day 2012.

Father’s Day 2012.

5. A Massage – Massages are up there with puppies, sunshine, ice cream and live sporting events – if you don’t like them, it’s just weird. Everyone likes a massage, particularly one done in a serene, spa setting by a professional. HERE’S THE CATCH. If you’re getting a massage for the Dad that hates gifts – MAKE THE APPOINTMENT FOR HIM. It’s not, oh hey Dad, you’re cool, here’s a gift certificate. That gift certificate will sit around for approximately 4 years before it’s used to wipe up dog vomit by accident. No. Been there, done that, doesn’t work. You NEVER leave any responsibility up to Dad in any gift (this includes other gift cards, restaurant gift cards, etc). This is given to Dad in a card format that says “Dad, I love you and this Saturday at 4PM you are going to the spa for a massage.” Depending on your Dad’s level of indifference you may also need to remind him that day.

You may have read my 5 suggestions and thought they weren’t all that genius, but that’s kind of the point. This isn’t Mother’s Day.  Guys are simple. Dads are simple. They might just like a picture frame. Or to go to an Eagles concert with you. Or to drink 2 bottles of wine that come to their door in a lovely package 4X per year. If you choose one of these gifts, you’re not re-inventing the wheel – but I guarantee your Dad will love it.