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What a dad wants

What do dads really want this Father’s Day? A glob of clay formed into a coffee mug from their 3-year-old or a day on the links (sans kids!)? We asked real dads to share how they really hope to spend Father’s Day this year.

Real dads dish!
Robert Nickell and son

You might be surprised to read their answers… and you should grab a packet of tissues before you proceed.

Gifts from the heart

Chris Efessiou, parenting expert and author of CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood, says his favorite Father’s Day gifts from his daughter haven’t been “ties, tools or other store-bought items,” but rather the gifts from the heart and soul.

Creative Father’s Day gifts dads will love >>

He says, “Over the years, Persephone has given me a number of thoughtful gifts on that day, all created by her. Each involved a special picture, a piece of original writing or both. I am certain that this year will not be an exception. Nothing says “I love you, Dad” better than a note from your child articulating that in their own words. I have treasured and collected each one of them. Not infrequently, I’d reread them throughout the course of the year for no special reason or occasion. I am sure that this Father’s Day I will be adding another one to my collection.”

A no-technology trip

Jim Lemkin, dad to 15-year-old son James, and 12-year-old daughter Kylie, says when it comes to his kids, he’s “a huge baby.”

He adds, “My love for my kids crushes me, completely.” Awww…

So what does this sweet dad really want for Father’s Day? “Just a couple of days at El Capitan, camping with my kids,” he says. “No laptop, no cell phones and no texting.” That last part is aimed specifically at his daughter, Kylie, who just loves to text.

Good to go

Scott Berry, dad to a 13-year-old son, a two-year-old son and a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, says his ideal Father’s Day is simply about being with his loved ones. The stay-at-home dad says, “What I really want for Father’s Day is just a day where my family and I can hang out and be together. It doesn’t matter where [we go] or what [we do]. As long as we’re together, I’m good to go.”

Family tradition

Fred Goodall - Mocha Dad - and daughter

Fred Goodall, author of the Mocha Dad blog, explains that he and his family celebrate Dad’s Day the same way every year: “My wife buys the family matching T-shirts. The kids and I wear our shirts and take a photo with one of the children holding a ‘Happy Father’s Day’ sign with the year written on it. We’ve done this every year since my 12-year-daughter was born. My wife also makes or buys me a steak dinner. The most important part of the day is relaxing and enjoying my family.”

Personalize a shirt for dad with this DIY Father’s Day gift >>

Just the two of us

Brad Lowrey, father of one, says his ideal Father’s Day could go one of two ways. “I would have to say the perfect day would be me and my son going out and doing something adventurous, just the two of us (though that will probably have to wait until he is a little bit older), like a weekend camping trip or road trip. Otherwise, a nice day at home where I’m not working on the ‘honey-do’ list and [instead] catching up on some sleep and video games would fit the bill nicely.”

Making a connection

How does Robert Nickell, a.k.a. “Daddy Nickell,” founder of and the accompanying DaddyScrubs blog hope to celebrate Father’s Day? He says his ideal day would be to simply have a barbecue and have all of his family eat together. As for his gift wish list, Robert says, “I do not expect anything from my older children and for the younger ones — I just want them to understand that the day is special and is called Father’s Day.”

Check out these Father’s Day grilling recipes >>

Robert also offers some suggestions on how we can make this Father’s Day special for the daddies in our lives. He insists these five things are what dads want most come Dad’s Day:

  • To be remembered with a phone call, Skype, card, text or email (if you are long distance).
  • To be told they are the best dad and that they are loved (to hear your voice or see your hand writing or to receive a hug goes along way with this one).
  • To receive something personal, with thought behind the gift such as a gift that shows that you know your dad or that reminds him of an activity you did together or conversation you had.
  • An offer to spend time with dad (not a coupon, but a scheduled date to lunch or the movies or a baseball game).
  • A framed picture with you and dad. He will put it on his desk or dresser at home and cherish it forever. You can even surprise him with a family screensaver or mobile phone wallpaper.

So forget the ties and golf clubs and honor the dads in your life with a heartfelt gift of togetherness this year.

More Father’s Day ideas

Father’s Day crafts for kids
Father’s Day when you don’t have a partner
Father’s Day traditions from around the world

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