10 Ways to celebrate Father's Day when you aren't in the same state

Jun 19, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty/Dimitri Vervitsiotis

As careers are pursued, graduations commence and nests are left, Father’s Day can feel like a completely different holiday than when we were young. Dad is no longer a few steps away or just down the hall. In fact, for many of us, Dad isn’t even in the same state.

For me, this is the first Father’s Day I will spend with my Dad being miles and miles away. With this conflict, I began to wonder how I could show Dad how much he means to me when I can’t easily go spend quality time with him. How do I remind him that he helps me navigate through life now just as much as he did before?

If you’re facing the same dilemma, there are a few ways to show Dad how much you care from afar.

Virtual lunch or dinner: if your dad is tech savvy or you have a relative that can help him set up Skype or FaceTime, try and have a virtual dinner with Dad. Recruit Mom to stir something similar to what you’re having, or order online and have it delivered to his house. Most pizza places and restaurants give you the option to pay and order online, so send something Dad’s way and set up a time to sit together the best you can.

Heartfelt cards: They were our go-to when we were kids, and they aren’t such a bad idea now. Run to the store and pick up a card. Take the time to write something heartfelt inside instead of the generic “Happy Father’s Day, Love you.” I once made a card for my dad that listed individual things I was thankful that he did for me, such as driving an hour to work every day so I could attend the same high school, helping me with tuition, teaching me what it means to be a hard worker and never letting me settle for less than the best. He kept that card on his desk in his office for months and months afterward. Taking the time to acknowledge exactly what he has done for you over the years will make him feel loved and appreciated, just like he should.

Birchbox: If your dad is the kind of guy that enjoys looking nice and well-groomed, consider a Birchbox subscription. Every month your dad will be sent various products right to his door. Plus, it’s personalized for him. They even have unique boxes that mix grilling equipment and grooming items.

Just call: Taking the time to show you remembered by simply giving your dad a call could be just enough to celebrate the day.

Have something sweet delivered: If your dad is one with a sweet tooth, have something delivered right to the door. Plenty of companies have home delivery, and who wouldn’t appreciate opening the door to that?

Make a short scrapbook: Chances are, Dad misses you just as much as you miss him or even more. Take the time to put together a short scrapbook with pictures of you both (and your siblings if you’re feeling nice). Mail it over, and Dad will have a nice supply of memories to celebrate the day. If you don’t have time, send a nice picture frame with the both of you in it for his desk or somewhere in his den.

Make a reservation: Even though you can’t be there with him, make a reservation at his favorite restaurant for him, Mom and any siblings that might be there in order to ensure he has a nice night. Transfer Mom some money and say it’s on you.

Plan an event for the next time you’re home: If you can’t be there the day of, think when you’ll next be home. Plan a fishing trip, round of golf or a dinner out for when you will be there. Tell Dad what you have planned and when you’re coming. The fact that he knows you’ll be home soon will be a gift in itself. Plus, it ensures you will have quality time together when you do. After all, Father’s Day is just one day. Dad can and should feel loved and appreciated throughout the year.

Get him tickets to something he will enjoy: Whether it be a concert or a sporting event, get him tickets to something he will really enjoy attending. This will give him an opportunity to spend time with friends and give him time to relax. With how busy everyone’s day-to-day life is, Dad is no exception — he also needs relaxation.

Themed gift box: Does your dad love Star Wars? Fast and Furious? A particular sitcom? Sports movies? If so, send him a care package with DVDs, so he can have some relaxing time on the couch with his favorite movie or TV show. Nothing says relaxing quite like binge watching.

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