10 Great Father’s Day Gifts (for Cheap)

Father's Day GiftsIs it just me or does it feel like Mother’s Day was ages ago?  And yet, considering that Father’s Day has not yet arrived, I’m sure it couldn’t have been that long ago.  The good news is that after Father’s Day, there are no gift-giving holidays until Christmas (or maybe Thanksgiving if you’re not hosting).  The (somewhat) bad news is that it’s time to focus on the difficult task of finding an appropriate, inexpensive Father’s Day gift.  Fortunately for you, I’ve got 10.  Just consider this my Father’s Day present to all the men out there who need to buy gifts for their own fathers.

  • New photos for his office. If the man in your life still decorates his office with pictures of his kids from before Obama was inaugurated, Father’s Day is the perfect time to update his collection.  Surprise your husband or father by taking the kids to get portraits taken.  You can even get a free one at Picture People until the end of June.  New wallet-sized photos wouldn’t hurt either.
  • A good steak.  There’s a certain machismo associated with a good piece of beef, which is probably why your man always orders the steak over the chicken.  If you can’t afford a luxurious dinner out, spring for an expensive cut of meat that you wouldn’t normally buy, and allow him to grill it.  He’ll feel doubly manly and you’ll both be well-fed.
  • A tree.  It might sound silly, but a tree is actually an excellent present.  It’s not expensive, it’s great for the environment, and the recipient will remember you every time he looks at it.  If the father in your life doesn’t have his own garden, consider a bonsai tree.  If it was good enough for Mr. Miyagi, it should make a great choice for your man as well.
  • A rice pot.  Have you ever caught your man eating frozen pizza or ice cream (straight out of the container) for dinner because he was too lazy or (gasp!) uncomfortable in the kitchen to make healthier food?  If so, he might appreciate a rice pot, which can empower him to make rice easily with little or no measuring required.  If you get an extremely inexpensive rice pot as a Father’s Day gift, throw in a bottle of Iron Chef General Tzo’s Sauce, and you’ll give him the tools to make his own food for a month.
  • Movie tickets.  A great Father’s Day gift for under $25, a pair of movie tickets can allow Dad to feel guilt-free about seeing the latest action movie on the big screen.
  • Beer from a micro-brewery.  Whether your father likes to relax with a beer at the end of the day or to share with his friends during a big game, he’ll appreciate this thoughtful Father’s Day gift.
  • Expensive wine. Even on a $25 budget you can get a bottle of wine that is fancier than you’d likely buy otherwise.  Uncork it for your Father’s Day dinner or save it for another special occasion, when he’ll be able to remember your thoughtful Father’s Day gift and enjoy it fully.
  • Photo mug.  Choose a funny picture and order the mug to say Happy Father’s Day 2011 on one side, so that the recipient will smile with every sip.
  • His favorite TV show on DVD.  With the invention of TiVo, it almost seems like there’s no need for DVDs anymore.  But if your father or husband is a die-hard fan of a specific show, he may want to watch it on-demand, even if it’s off the air.  For a budget under $25, you’ll likely be able to afford only one season of your man’s favorite show – but this will provide hours of entertainment.  This Father’s Day gift will be especially handy when your man is sick, when he wants to exercise and there’s nothing else on TV, or when you need him to be entertained as he folds the laundry.
  • Wallet digital photo viewer.  You may think I’m partial to photo gifts, but actually, these make extremely appropriate Father’s Day presents, since the goal of the day is to celebrate fatherhood and family.  Wallet-sized digital photo viewers have been out long enough to be reasonably priced, but they’re still not very common, which makes them a cool gift for any dad.

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