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Gift Ideas for the Dad or Father-in-Law Who Has Everything

Thrifty Lady is a military wife looking to make the most of each dollar while creating fun.

Break out of your gift-giving rut!

Break out of your gift-giving rut!

Buying a Gift for the Guy That Has Everything

When Father's Day, birthdays, and Christmas roll around, it is always difficult to find a unique and special item for the fathers out there. Whether shopping for a father, step-father, or father-in-law, the ideas below are sure to break you out of the gift-buying rut and hopefully provide both you and your dad something to celebrate.

How about a dartboard?

How about a dartboard?

Gifts for the Manly Man

Would you describe your father as a "guy's guy"? If so, these might be some good gift ideas for him:

  • Personalized Beer Sign: Help Dad welcome folks to his man cave or area of the house with a personalized sign. There are plenty of different types online to choose from. Visit to view some examples.
  • Cigar Sampler: Whether your father enjoys the occasional cigar or is a cigar buff, you can order a sampler at a number of sites online or create your own from a local shop.
  • Liquor Dispenser: A liquor dispenser will usually have a spot for 1 to 6 types of alcohol. They will usually dispense liquor in the amount of a standard shot and make a great addition to any bar.
  • Wine Decanter: Perfect for a wine enthusiast or man that likes to entertain.
  • Whiskey Rocks: Whiskey rocks have gained popularity recently. You keep them in the freezer and can add them to any drink. The rocks will keep the drink cold without melting and diluting the beverage.
  • Dart Board/Cabinet: Every man cave needs a dartboard. Consider personalizing the dartboard with a monogram or team logo.
  • Personalized Cigar Cutter: If your dad enjoys cigars, chances are he already has a cigar cutter. Consider getting one of higher quality or getting one monogrammed with dad's initials.
  • Humidor: A humidor is a must-have for a cigar fan.
  • Travel Humidor: While your father may already have a humidor if he enjoys cigars, consider getting him a travel humidor (which holds 1-3 cigars) so that he can enjoy his stogies on the go.
  • Portable Table Tennis: You can purchase a portable table tennis kit which will attach to most tables. This is not only good for travel but is good for rooms with limited space.
Is he an athlete or a sports fan?

Is he an athlete or a sports fan?

Unique Gifts for the Athlete

There are always new products coming out to help athletes make the most of their fitness. Check out these ideas for the athletic dad:

  • Core Balance Kit: This is a set of half-moon-shaped pods that can be placed under hands or fed to encourage better balance. They strengthen the core and are fairly inexpensive.
  • Quick-Dry Towel: If you know that the man you are shopping for works out at the gym or pool, chances are, he will need a towel. Quick-dry towels are made of special materials to make them very absorbent and fast drying. They are also typically light and compact, which makes them ideal for a gym bag. These types of Quick dry towels are also useful for backpackers, hikers, and campers. The towels are also relatively inexpensive, so they make a great gift if you are on a budget. Check out your local sporting goods store for a good selection.
  • Personal Fitness Trackers: Pedometers, GPS systems, heart rate monitors, and calorie counters are great tools to have for most athletes. There are also currently many compact fitness trackers out there that combine several tools into one. The Fitbit, Basis B1, and Nike Fuelband are just a couple of examples. Additionally, most of the newer devices integrate with apps for your phone or computer, so Dad can maximize its use.
  • Roller or Foam Massage Tool: Great for just about anyone that is physically active, a handheld massage roller tool can be used to perform deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy and sports massage therapy. They can also be used to relieve stress and improve circulation.

If you have an athlete in your life that you shop for often, signing up for emails from a site like will help you stay on-trend with the latest fitness gadgets for future gift-giving needs.

Does he enjoy spending time out in nature?

Does he enjoy spending time out in nature?

Great Gifts for the Outdoorsy Guy

Whether your dad enjoys spending time on the lake or time on a mountain, here are some gift ideas that will be sure to please:

  • LED Head Lamp: These simple light devices are so handy, yet it's amazing how many men don't have one! Not only are they great for camping, hiking, night sports, etc., but they are great to use when performing handiwork around the house. They are also very inexpensive.
  • Portable Cooking System: Whether fishing, hiking, camping, or just spending some time outside, your guy will enjoy some warm food or beverage. A compact cooking system, like a Jetboil can be easily packed and carried and will provide a way to cook on the go.
If he enjoys golf, you could suggest playing a round together

If he enjoys golf, you could suggest playing a round together

"Experience" Gifts

Still not sure what to get for dad? Why not give him an experience instead? Here are some options:

  1. Round of Golf, Shooting Range Voucher, Ski/Snowboard Lift Ticket, etc.: Give your guy the gift of an activity. If it is an activity that you both enjoy, you could offer to accompany him.
  2. Massage: A lot more guys are getting massages these days. They might feel a little more comfortable with going if it is a gift.
  3. Lessons: Depending on your father's interests, there is likely a lesson that he'd enjoy. For instance, cooking lessons, golf lessons, yoga sessions, poker lessons, etc., can be a great gift. If you live near the man in your life, you can participate in the lesson as well.
  4. Meal or Dining Experience: Most men love food! Purchase a gift card to your father's favorite restaurant or cook him a special meal.
  5. Field Trip! Many men just want to spend time with their children or grandchildren. Consider taking a trip to a zoo, museum, or gallery. Sporting events are also a popular venue to take dad.

In my family, it was always tradition to take dad to the zoo for Father's Day. It always made for special memories for dad and the kids.

How about a family game night?

How about a family game night?

Free Gift Ideas for Dad

If you are on a budget or purchasing for a man who insists that you don't spend any money on him, here are some ideas for free gifts:

  1. Free Local Activities: Local parks and museums are good venues to spend time with dad. Generally, the local newspaper or city website will have a tourism section to provide more ideas for local free activities.
  2. Movie Night: Dad never gets to pick the movie (at least not in my house). Agree for the family to watch a movie of dad's choice. Don't forget the popcorn and dad's favorite candy!
  3. Game Night: When was the last time you had a family game night, .especially with dad involved? Not only can you enjoy some free entertainment and bonding, but it can bring back fun memories of childhood games.
  4. Photos, Poems, and More: Giving photos is an old standby gift but can be done in unique and creative ways. While you can still provide a family photo to dad, you could also put together a photo slideshow on DVD by scanning photos to the computer. Also, suggest doing a family photo session that includes dad, grandpa, or other men in your life. Ask a family friend or use a tripod to take some photos of the whole bunch together. Put your talents to good use! If you are able to paint, write poems, play instruments, sing, or have another great talent, put it to use for dad's gift.
Consider making a family tree or conducting ancestry research

Consider making a family tree or conducting ancestry research

Gifts for the Sentimental Man

Some fathers are more sentimental than others. Here are some gift ideas for the sentimental dad:

  1. Display Case: Does your father have a collection of something or something that he is proud of? Why not display it? From coin collections to knife holders and more, you can pretty much find a display case for anything these days.
  2. Mixed CD or Playlist: Create a CD or MP3 playlist of Dad's favorite songs or songs that remind you of fun times you shared together.
  3. Family Tree or Ancestry Research: Put together a family tree represented in a craft or digital format. The web offers many sites where you can do ancestry research. Try compiling the results in a creative way. is a popular site to do this research.
  4. Family Crest: Along with family ancestry research, finding family crests can be a cool and unique idea for a gift. Get the crest printed on something dad can keep. There are plenty of websites where you can look up your crest. Here is one place: Don't already have a family crest or cannot find yours? Create one!
  5. Family Interviews: Preserving your family's history and memories could be the greatest gift you could ever provide. Take videos or notes of interviews with various family members to record your family's legacy. Compile a list of questions to ask your family members. Can't think of what questions to ask? Here are some good sites that can help get you started:

Send Me Your Clever Gift Ideas for Dad!

I hope that this article has provided some great gift ideas for shopping for a tricky father or man in your life. If you have any clever or unique gift ideas for dad that you don't mind sharing, I'd love for you to post them in the comments below. Thanks, and good luck with your search!


Linda Robinson from Cicero, New York on May 16, 2016:

Hello Thirty Lady what an excellent full of amazing ideas and ones that are reasonable not to break the bank. A truly informative and tremendous hub. One the I really enjoyed reading. So nice meeting and I look forward to following you to read more of your interesting hubs. Linda