13 Father’s Day Gifts That Truly Don’t Suck (Approved By The Guy Who Thinks Most Father’s Day Gifts Suck)

7
6093

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you may have gleaned that my husband, Chris, is what one might call a discerning consumer.

To be fair, he’d never outright say that a gift sucked — he’s far too gracious and polite — but he’s genuinely the hardest person to shop for in our family. In part because he tends to buy himself what he wants when he wants it, and in part because he really doesn’t like superfluous crap. Which, yeah, I can appreciate that. He’s even rubbed off on me a little in that sense. But it still makes any gift-giving occasion really freaking tricky.

Thoughtful & Unique: The Best Father’s Day Gifts For Dads Who Have Everything

So below, I’ve rounded up 13 Father’s Day gifts that are either already Chris-approved — or that narrowly fit the very specific criteria for not-cheesy gifts that won’t end up neatly hidden away in the bottom drawer of his nightstand. Some of them are similar to the picks I included in last year’s holiday gift guide (it’s titled “for the guy who has already bought himself everything he wants,” but I think even that downplays just how many gifts Chris is certain he doesn’t want/need) — but we’re taking the if it ain’t broke approach here. If you’ve got someone equally discerning in your family, good luck and godspeed.

Click on the image below to quickly shop all items shown.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

A few notes here to really dial in exactly who we’re shopping for: Chris doesn’t have hobbies — he has passions. Cars, mountain biking, timepieces. So…expensive passions. And he invests a massive amount of time into researching items related to them. As such, he knows exactly what he needs and wants in those departments — and usually invests in them himself. So unless I’m buying him very specific, technical items off of a provided list, gifts related to those passions are automatically out. And despite the fact that he’s an engineer, he’s not into gimmicky gadgets. Nor is he into commercialized sentimental stuff. I mean, he adores anything handmade by the kiddo, but anything that fits into the “engravable” category? No-go.

So what are we working with here? Well, there are four categories, and all the gifts below fall into one of three of them:

  1. Family gifts — products we can enjoy together, and Father’s Day is just a good excuse to indulge. (A particularly unnecessary LEGO build, or new lawn game.)
  2. Gifts that are relevant to his slim category of interests — things he’s kinda into that he hasn’t developed a full-blown passion for yet. In Chris’ case, specifically, this means barbeque, booze, and anything related to landscaping or outdoor living.
  3. Upgraded or elevated versions of things he already loves. The risk here is that, if there’s an improved version of something Chris already loves, there’s a good chance it’s already on his radar, and there’s a reason he hasn’t bought it. But sometimes that reason is purely cost, in which case it might just make the perfect indulgent gift.
  4. Experiences. Probably my favorite gift-giving category because, in reality, none of us genuinely need anything these days. (I realize that sentence is oozing with privilege, but this is a gift guide, after all.) Experiences, in and of themselves, could be a completely separate post, but chances are, you know the Dad figures in your life well enough to know whether they’d be into a massage, a round of golf, a Michelin-starred meal, a mountain pass, a private lesson, a luxury car rental, a night away with or without the family. You get it. So we’ll leave them out for now and stick with the more tactile stuff.

Oh, and before we get going, it also needs to be stated: all these qualities that I complain make Chris so hard to shop for — the fact that he’s extremely discerning, thoughtful and passionate and genuinely invested in the things that are important to him. Even the fact that he’s so anti-crap. Well, all that also makes him an exceptional dad. He really is the cream of the crop, just like his (sometimes annoyingly specific) tastes.


Father’s Day Gift Ideas For The Whole Family To Enjoy


1. Tiki Smokeless Fire Pit

Image Credit: Amazon

Kicking things off with this smokeless fire pit, because it’s finally back in stock! We picked ours up almost a year ago, and I can’t say enough good things about it. We were supremely picky about choosing a fire pit, and I kept being disappointed by the aesthetics of the smokeless brands. Even the Solo Stove, which I know a lot of people have and love, felt like it had a “portable” vibe, which wasn’t what we were after. And the more custom-looking smokeless fire pits were close to $1k — more than we wanted to invest at the time. This Tiki brand option is ideal.

It’s large enough that it doesn’t feel temporary, light enough that it can be moved place to place (I would not consider it portable, however), and aesthetically, it’s pretty neutral. There’s even a removable tray for clearing out the ashes, so you don’t have to lift and dump anything out. The best part, though, might be the optional wood pellet packs you can use with it. Each pack lasts about 30 minutes and burns BIG and HOT. Perfect for if you just want one cocktail’s worth of fire without a lot of maintenance, or you can use the pellet packs to get things started and then switch over to wood to keep things going. When you’re burning the pellet packs, it truly is smokeless — no smoky clothes or hair. Once you add wood, it’s mostly smokeless, but it depends on the wood you’re using and how hot you let it burn. (Hotter fire = less smoke.) I could clearly talk about this all day, so feel free to leave a comment or send me a DM if you have specific questions.

2. Firewood Log Carrier

Image Credit: Sturdy Brothers

Our bubble friends got us this firewood log carrier for Christmas (presumably after watching us hand carry loads of wood from the shed to the fire pit), and it was such a thoughtful gift. One of those things I didn’t realize we were missing at all until we had it. It’s so gorgeous, handmade in Georgia and such a treat to use. Great for nightly fire pit use, but it looks nice enough that it could also cradle a bundle of firewood near an indoor hearth. (This cool setup even converts a carrier into a sling holder.) If you’re looking for something more affordable, this one is also waxed canvas, has a similar look and feel — and stellar ratings. This handmade leather firewood log carrier option is so pretty, too.

3. Washers (And Other Lawn Games)

Image Credit: Etsy

Now that we can have people over, we could use a couple of fun new lawn games to go with our recently updated backyard. Everyone knows cornhole, but we love washers, too, and this handmade washers set is beautifully simple — and a great price point for a gift (free shipping!). If you haven’t played before, washers provide much the same type of beer-in-hand entertainment as cornhole. The boards and playing pieces are smaller (they’re literally metal washers), so they take up less space on the patio, in the car (think tailgating) and when it comes time to store them. If space and money are no object, we just went on vacation and had tremendous fun playing giant chess. (Lana particularly liked using her pieces to dramatically whack Chris’ off the board, a la Wizard Chess.) The truly giant chess set is pretty pricey but so fun (giant chess board sold separately), but you can get the same effect in a smaller footprint with a big-but-not-too-big set, also.

4. LEGO Land Rover Defender

Image Credit: LEGO

We are a LEGO household through and through. In fact, much of Lana’s collection is made up of pieces from both Chris’ and my own childhood. (I still love LEGO. Chris just gifted me the Friendship Bus for my birthday, and Lana and I had so much fun putting it together this morning.) To keep it somewhat challenging, we love the Technic series, and Chris has been eyeing this LEGO Land Rover Defender for a few months now. He and Lana love doing these builds together, and it’s always a bonus when the finished build is somewhat neutral enough to display, too. At least for a little while.


Father’s Day Gift Ideas By Special Interest


5 & 6. Traeger Pro Series Grill & Smoker Accessories

Again, this could be an entire post, so I’m going to keep this simple. Chris is very detail-oriented and dives headfirst into anything that benefits from perfecting a process. Naturally, a home smoker is right up his alley. We have a past edition of this Traeger Pro Grill, heavily reference this manifesto by Aaron Franklin (also at Amazon — his Masterclass is legit, too), and at the recommendation of both Aaron Franklin and our local barbeque guru, we use this knife for trimming and this knife for slicing — both of which are commercial quality and really affordable. If you’re bringing your kit on the road (or even for general cooking while camping), this portable knife roll has served us well.

7. Ryobi High Performance Electric Pressure Washer

Image Credit: Home Depot

You don’t know joy until you’ve taken a pressure washer to a slimy patch of concrete or a years-old teak dining table. It is SO satisfying, and the perfect opportunity to breathe new life into so many things. Chris is positively addicted, and perhaps the only thing that brings him more joy than a gleaming before and after is our friends and neighbors asking to borrow it. This is the exact one we have — the result of loads of research (shocking).

8. Car Wash Foam Cannon

If you’re going the route of the pressure washer, or you already have one, this MTM Foam Cannon attachment produces a carwash-like foam that is super-effective for at-home carwashing. Chris is unsurprisingly particular about washing our own cars, and this is the kit he uses, paired with this soap (let’s forget for a moment that the brand name is Chemical Guys — ugh). Bonus points: it’s really freaking fun, and it gives him an excuse to spend a couple of uninterrupted hours doing his carwash thing, which is a kind of gift unto itself.


Father’s Day Gift Idea: Upgrade Items He Already Loves


9. Slim Bifold Wallet

Image Credit: Coach

No surprise here, Chris is very particular about his wallet. One of our first holidays, I gifted him a super slim Coach bifold wallet with compact dimensions. (Even in the world of bifold wallets, some are much larger than others.) It was beloved and aged so beautifully. Genuinely a gift-worthy item. His wallet was black (this wallet is nearly identical to Chris’ former version), but I LOVE the idea of swapping in a colorful pick, like this one — pictured above in orange, but available in several other colors. If you’re in the market for something higher end, we further upgraded his upgrade to a Gucci wallet of the exact same dimensions a few years ago. His exact style is no longer in stock (it’s solid black and logo-free), but this mini Gucci bifold is luxe and minimal with subtle logo embossing. If you’re in the market for something super minimal at a lower price point, this handmade leather wallet from Portland Leather is gorgeous, too — and shockingly affordable.

10. Pride Edition Calvin Klein Trunks

Image Credit: Calvin Klein

Lana chose these for Chris last year. He had mentioned in passing he was in the market for new undies, and she was so tickled by the Pride collection from Calvin Klein. He’s definitely more into neutrals, so he was a little taken aback at first (I think the official reaction was a reserved “ohhh, uh, coooool, kiddo….”), but I think he’d now admit he kinda loves opening his drawer and seeing a rainbow of his favorite trunks.

11. Taylor Stitch The Jack Button-Down Flannel Shirt

Image Credit: Backcountry

There’s a fair amount of Taylor Stitch in Chris’ closet, and for good reason. It’s thoughtfully designed, really well made, the styles are casual but can be kinda rugged-chic if need be, the fit is absolutely stellar, and the price point is great. (You get what you pay for, but you also aren’t overpaying, if that makes sense.) This Taylor Stitch Button-Down Shirt could go from the office to the brewery to the trail to the fire pit to the beach…it’s just about perfect. (p.s. I just checked, and code THEMOMEDIT saves 15% off on this item, too!)

12. Levi’s 511 Selvedge Denim

Image Credit: eBay

We’ve talked about it before, but Chris’ pants collection is made up almost exclusively of Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Jeans. They are The Perfect Men’s Pants, especially for his build. (Long and lean, I’d call it.) They’re certainly slim but not snug, they dress up or down. His go-to style, when it comes to both denim and stretch-twill (he’s wearing a version of those in the opening image). He’s been wanting a pair of selvedge denim 511s for a while now, but they’ve become hard to track down. This would be the perfect opportunity for me to hunt down just the perfect pair. At first blush, eBay’s selection of Levi’s 511 selvedge denim seems like a good place to start. Sizing note: Chris is 6’2″ with slim build. All his 511s fit true to size.

13. Pendleton Towel for Two

Image Credit: Pendleton

Ok, selfishly, I want new beach towels. And since we usually walk to the beach, I’m a big fan of any towel that can also double as a beach blanket so we can lighten the load. This Pendleton Towel for Two is SO oversized, and it’s got the classic Pendleton pattern going on. It’d get loads of use as a picnic blanket, too. Useful, beautiful, easy. Also on Amazon in a few colors.


Always looking for ideas for the VERY particular gift recipients in your life, so if you have any suggestions to add, I’d love to hear them!

Good luck, friends.
Em

Friends! Follow me on Instagram for accessible, easily adaptable recipes; sneak peeks of The Mom Edit content (and sales!); and more snippets of our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!

This one’s for the Pinners!

7 COMMENTS

    • They are SO excellent — I honestly can’t think of a better product on the market. If you have any questions about the fire pit or the accessories, happy to share more of my input. (Clearly I am a BIG fan.)

  1. OMG I think my husband may be Chris’ twin. Engineer. Doesn’t have a lot of hobbies per se, but when he finds something he’s into, he’s all in: bourbon, BBQ/griling. Video games are how he relaxes. He hates going to car washes because they “don’t do it right” too. Amazing. There are some super cool ideas here! Thanks

    • Ack they sound SO similar! We’re past the video game phase (for now), but for a while, I gave him a new game every Valentine’s Day. It was about the only reliable thing I could count on him liking. How romantic, haha!

  2. OMG Emily and Kari – third ‘world’s pickiest husband, but most awesome father’ here LOL Engravable gifts have always been a no-go – husband gave serious side-eye to wedding gifts in that category.

    Husband thinks ‘gift lists’ are tacky, so there is a fair bit of mind reading every year. Lego sets are about the only thing that he likes as gifts – we get the larger ones since all the kiddoes like to help him build. The Architecture series sets have been a hit, and we will gift the Mickey Steamboat for Father’s Day next week.

    Emily, that story about the rainbow underwear had me cracking up because when the kids were younger, husband said, ‘what do i do with all the scribbles they give me?’ I suggested he take them to his office, and now it makes him smile to see their artwork during the day.

  3. We finally got a Tiki stove on the strength of your previous article (and a few CNET reviews) and busted it out a few weeks ago. Love it! Am waiting for the new fire screens to become available.

  4. Also have a picky engineer impossible-to-buy-for guy. Very specific tastes in things like wallets, watches, and leathermen/paratools/swiss army knives. And forget about tech… Recent passions are guitars and biking. I haven’t got a chance…

Leave a Reply