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Shopping for gifts for my dad at Christmas is a very difficult holiday in my household. Don’t get me wrong; I have an incredible dad (he’s probably even reading this). But my dad is not easy to shop for. He has a hard time coming up with gifts that he actually wants and usually what he wants are things that his children can’t afford.
Now I love to read as many gift guides as the next lifestyle writer. But my dad has such a particular taste that it’s hard to pinpoint what he might like, even when prompted by a great gift guide. So when I set out to write my own ‘gifts for him for Christmas’ guide, I knew I had a special challenge: to make one that would work for my dad–and other dads like him.
I’ve decided to break down my gifts for him for Christmas guide into a few categories. If you know that your dad loves to travel, you might find a great gift for him in that category. If he likes to relax in a yard and read a book–this would be my dad’s ideal Saturday–look no further. If he needs something cool to wear at a party or dinner post-quarantine, I think I’ve got him covered. And if he needs a stylish everyday update (not naming names here), there might be something for him in that category. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to Father’s Day, but I hope you can at least find some inspiration.
For The Traveler
With the hope of a newly (re)opened world on his mind, my dad is finally starting to plan his next vacation. He’s traveled with pretty much the same gear for my whole life and probably even longer. If your dad is like mine, a gear update could be a great Father’s Day gift.
What he’ll love: A convenient, water resistant bag to carry around all of his essentials while he travels. Perfect for work trips or vacations. Oh and with the unforgettable design, it’ll surely make a big statement.
Ethical/Sustainable features: The cases are made from reclaimed firehouses saved from a landfill and reclaimed printing blankets. Elvis & Kresse also offers lifetime repairs on their products and is a certified B-Corp.
What he’ll love: A premium passport holder to make travel so much easier. After trying out my first Oliver Co. product last month, I’m ready to buy one of their products for everyone in my life, my dad included. Maybe we can even match!
Ethical/Sustainable features: Oliver Co. uses sustainable materials, like apple and mushroom leather. They’re also part of 1% for the Planet. Plus, they’re Carbon Neutral and working to reduce their footprint even more in the future.
What he’ll love: A great way to catch some sleep on a flight or in the passenger seat! This is the kind of thing I think my dad could love but would never buy for himself. And that makes it a great Father’s Day gift.
For a Relaxing Day
My dad doesn’t have too many relaxing days because of his work schedule. But when he does, he just wants to sit (or lay around) and read. So why not make that experience even better on Father’s Day?
What he’ll love: A great pair of lounge shorts to make a relaxing day even better. I’m a pretty recent convert to the lounge short game, but I’m never going back. My dad’s been in the game much longer, but I think he’d appreciate an upgrade.
What he’ll love: A place to lay in the yard, on the beach, or while camping. We got my dad his first hammock a couple years ago and he’s been hooked ever since!
What he’ll love: A coaster with a bit of personality so he can safely drink something while reading without damaging a table. If your dad is anything like mine, limiting spills and other accidents is key to having a relaxing day.
Ethical/Sustainable features: Handmade by a local Minneapolis artisan. Plus Uncommon Goods is a founding B-Corp.
What he’ll love: A good-looking and reusable way to save his spot in a book when he’s reading out in the yard or inside.
Ethical/Sustainable features: Made by partner craftspeople in a social enterprise that supports at-risk women in Rwanda. Plus Hope Artisan Collective is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.
For a Special Day
When it’s finally safe to go out to dinner, have people over, or even go to parties, everything is going to feel so different. In the past year we’ve spent so much time inside, growing and changing. Maybe it’s time for our going-out or having-people-over clothes to get an upgrade. I know my dad would appreciate a few new pieces in his collection.
What he’ll love: A one-of-a-kind pair of cufflinks to add to his collection. As far as cufflinks go, these are definitely a conversation starter!
Ethical/Sustainable features: The Wood Reserve is a small, family business that sells handcrafted goods made from reclaimed wood. And they partner with Trees for the Future to plant one tree per product they craft.
What he’ll love: If your dad isn’t super into minimalist or outdoors-y sustainable fashion, Mayamam Weavers have some really handsome ties that look like the kinds of ties he’s probably used to wearing. Plus they have matching father/son sets!
Ethical/Sustainable features: Mayamam Weavers are a collective of 20 Guatemalan weavers and seamstresses now living in Morristown, NJ. They’re a member of the Fair Trade Federation and as a social enterprise, they offer childcare and literacy classes for their community.
What he’ll love: A step-up button down shirt that’s comfy and stylish. It’s the kind of simple shirt that’s worth the extra money.
Ethical/Sustainable features: Asket uses GOTS-certified linen that’s 100% traceable. They also provide transparent information about their energy output, water consumption, and carbon footprint. They also offer the opportunity to send in garments to be repaired, resold, or repurposed.
For Every Day
My favorite kind of gift to give is one that people can use every single day. Whether they make life easier or help the recipient look or feel good, these types of gifts are a truly special way to show someone how much you care for them. This is especially the case when it comes to holidays like Father’s Day.
What he’ll love: A great wallet update with plenty of space for all of his essentials. Wallets are an evergreen gift in my family; maybe they can be for your family too!
Ethical/Sustainable features: Nisolo is a certified B-Corp, ensures a living wage to all of the people who work on their products start to finish, and reduces and offsets 100% of their carbon emissions.
What he’ll love: A great way to maintain his beard or mustache. If he’s never tried anything like this, it’s worth the treat. I recently had the chance to try this beard oil and it genuinely made my mustache smoother and my almost-beard look and feel even better.
Ethical/Sustainable features: Motsi’s skincare products are vegan and cruelty free and made by a small, independent Black-owned team. Their products offer premium skincare for all skin tones.
What he’ll love: A very easy, user-friendly way to make a great cup of coffee. This has been my favorite appliance/cookware upgrade in the past year and if your dad drinks coffee, it might be his favorite upgrade too!
Ethical/Sustainable features: Bialetti is not billed as a sustainable brand. However, its coffeemakers offer a sustainable solution. No energy output, no paper coffee filters, and you use exactly enough water to make the amount of coffee you’ll be drinking.
What he’ll love: A super soft, fast-drying towel for everyday use. My family all got Turkish towels this Christmas and we’ve been obsessed ever since.
Ethical/sustainable features: Anatolico’s towels are made of 100% Turkish cotton and cotton-linen blends by local Turkish artisans. These products are made in a traditional fashion in small batches, ensuring the best quality and proper treatment of the partner-artisans.