Dads Spill Their Worst Father's Day Gifts Ever

by Krystal Rogers-Nelson
May 16, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. ET
Worst Father's Day Gifts of All Time
Image: Getty Images/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows
Pop Culture

Not all dads are the beer-loving, tie-wearing, golf-playing football fans so many Father's Day cards make them out to be. Of course, every dad is unique, and Father’s Day is a time to honor the dads in our lives — in all their special, weird glory. But if you're afraid your gift this year just won't measure up, don't worry. It can't possibly be as bad as the gifts ahead.

We got eight real dads to spill the beans about the worst Father's Day gifts they've ever received (just don't tell their kids, OK?). Ahead are their hilarious examples of what not to do when Father's Day Shopping — plus some fun alternatives.

Sure, we can all get a laugh from an “I love farts” mug or a Bigfoot air freshener once in a while, but let’s try to rise above the stereotypes and get a little more creative this year, shall we?

1/8 :A Fart Mug

“Between all my children, I probably received over 100 cliché coffee mugs as Father’s Day presents, which I eventually regifted, threw away or sold at garage sales.” — Dan

No matter how tempting it may seem, don’t go inside the crappy gag gift shop at the mall (or on the internet, as the case may be) to get a Father’s Day present. Just don’t do it. 

What to get instead: If your dad literally goes to Starbucks every day and could actually use a travel mug (hey, who doesn’t want to help save the planet?), this sleek Ello stainless-steel travel mug (14.21 at Amazon) is a pretty foolproof option.

2 /8: A Bad & Weirdly Political Drawing

A Bad & Weirdly Political Drawing
Image: Getty Images

2/8 :A Bad & Weirdly Political Drawing

“One of my daughters was pumped to give me a picture she drew (in crayon) of a bald eagle in front of an American flag. My wife had it professionally framed. To this day, it still sits hidden on the floor behind my nightstand because I can't bring myself to throw it away, but I definitely don't want to hang it up.” — Tim

OK, kids’ drawings are cute. But that doesn’t mean you should pick the weirdest one, frame it and expect Dad to hang it on the wall for years to come (we're talking to you, moms). 

What to get instead: If you want to give him something framed, try one of these instead: 1) A landscape of one of his favorite outdoor destinations taken by a professional photographer, 2) A one-of-a-kind piece of artwork that represents something he really likes or 3) something rare that he can brag about (i.e., a vintage, limited-edition record signed by his favorite musician).

3 /8: A Holiday Arrest

A Holiday Arrest
Image: Getty Images

3/8 :A Holiday Arrest

“My son got ‘arrested’ on Father's Day in sixth grade; we were playing catch when the cops pulled up. He was the kid who liked to play with matches, and a few weeks earlier, he'd started a pretty good grass fire in the woods near our house. When some other kids got caught in trouble doing other dumb stuff, they ratted him out.” — Harry

What to get instead: Sure, you can give dad an experience rather than a tangible gift, but shoot for something like a dinner boat cruise or a tour of a local distillery. Try not to get arrested, for reals.

4 /8: Please Not Another Tie

Piano key necktie
Image: Amazon

4/8 :Please Not Another Tie

“My kids always got me the stereotypical dad gift: a tie. I now have a massive tie collection including several Looney Tunes prints.” — Sanford 

Even if your dad wears ties every day, don’t get him a tie. Or a hat. Or socks for that matter. You can do better.

What to get instead: Switch it up with something sleeker, like a Fitbit smartwatch ($159.99 at Macy's) or some Plantronics noise-canceling headphones ($145.97 at Amazon).

5 /8: A Chore-Related Gift

Cutting Wood With Chainsaw
Image: Getty Images/Kirk McCoy

5/8 :A Chore-Related Gift

“What I do not want for Father’s Day would be... lawn care equipment." — Derek

No matter how “handy” dad may or may not be, don’t give him something associated with chores. If he needs tools, rest assured he'll get them himself.

What to get instead: Do a project for him — something he’s been meaning to do but hasn’t gotten around to yet. 

6 /8: Swag From the Wrong School

Tailgating
Image: Getty Images

6/8 :Swag From the Wrong School

“Toward the end of school last year, [my sons] had a little event in the gym at school where kids could shop for Father’s Day gifts... My older son hands me a tumbler that has the University of Cincinnati logo on it. I attended the rival school in Cincinnati, Xavier University. His quote was, ‘I know how much you hate Cincinnati, so thought you would like this.’ I believe the cup is at the back of the cabinet and has never seen the light of day.” — Bill

This may seem obvious, but don’t get him something representing his rival.

What to get instead: Do your research and get him something that speaks to his actual past/interests/school, like tickets to a game at his alma mater.

7 /8: Anything Naked

Statue of David
Image: Getty Images

7/8 :Anything Naked

“After my wife and I got back from a trip to Europe, she gave me an apron from Florence with the body of ‘The David’ statue printed on it and then made me wear it at our family barbeque. It was pretty awkward wearing that in front of my kids. I managed to ‘lose’ it shortly afterwards.”
 — Bob

What to get instead: If Dad likes to travel, pitch in with some other family members to get him a weekend getaway that’s just far enough to get him some time alone, but close enough that it doesn’t take too much time to get there. 

8 /8: A Gift For Yourself

Ayurveda Tongue Scraper
Image: Getty Images

8/8 :A Gift For Yourself

“My daughter gave me a tongue scraper!? She was very into the whole Ayurvedic tongue-scraping, oil pulling, lemon water routine and wanted everyone to do it.” — Pablo

Don’t get Dad something you like just because you like it.

What to get instead: Get him something he really likes, whether it's a bottle of his favorite whiskey, a fancy dinner at a local restaurant or a subscription to Audible ($14.95 per month at Audible) or Sirius radio (prices vary based on subscription) to listen to his favorite audiobooks, podcasts or satellite radio stations.