I want to give my father a written piece to go along with his Christmas present. Help!
December 10, 2008 4:55 PM   Subscribe

This is the first time that I've bought my father an unsolicited Christmas gift and I want to attach something to indicate its emotional weight for me. I'm thinking of written pieces. Suggestions?

This is the first time that I've really consciously bought and prepared my father a present for Christmas that wasn't somehow coerced by another family member. Now I'm looking for something to attach to the gift to point towards its emotional weight for me.

I write. So I was thinking of attaching a little something by me; maybe a piece of fiction, but it could just as easily be a non-fiction personal account. I might end up doing this, but I also thought of attaching a short story/essay/etc. that might even say it better than I could.

So I was wondering if people had any ideas for written pieces about fathers. I want something emotional but honest; I'm not looking for Hallmark, here. Hopefully the piece is easy to find or at least, if in a book, not a rare and esoteric one.

What are your favorites?
posted by parkbench to Human Relations (5 answers total)
For me, Those Winter Sundays condenses those father-feelings better than anything.
Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

Robert Hayden
posted by trinity8-director at 5:04 PM on December 10, 2008 [12 favorites]

This is a great idea, and just wanted to share a bit of a personal anecdote.

The first time I gave my father a really emotional, heartfelt message & gift I was in college... and his response wasn't very warm. At first I was a bit upset by his stoicism and lack of reaction, Then I realized it wasn't that my father didn't appreciate the sentiments - he just wasn't very comfortable with the expression of those emotions.

Of course your know your father and he may be quite different than mine, just be aware that if you're open a new page in the emotional playbook with your dad, the response may not be exactly what you expect. Something that has a lot of weight for you may not be same for him.
posted by gnutron at 5:33 PM on December 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

ditto gnutron. Not that I think you shouldn't proceed, just be prepared. I still remember with painful clarity the gifts I gave my dad that weren't on his "books and movies" list, and the way they weren't appreciated the way I wanted. That said, an emotional story about fathers is kind of hard to misinterpret, so I hope you have better success.
posted by purpletangerine at 6:05 PM on December 10, 2008


I know that you've asked for suggestions on pieces that have already been written, but I would strongly suggestion that you write something yourself. It doesn't need to be a complicated essay, but a heartfelt letter along with the gift could work out very well.

In the past, I've written letters (and occasionally poems) to my dad that have accompanied presents -- or been a stand-alone gift. As I find I express myself better in writing than orally, it's easier for me to explain my love and admiration in the written word rather than trying to explain it all aloud. This has always been received well, with his gratitude and my feeling that he appreciates the letter (and the additional gift, if applicable).

It can feel contrived or forced to write a letter to one's parents, sometimes, but I'd encourage you to give it a shot.
posted by fantine at 1:36 AM on December 11, 2008

*err, make that "strongly suggest."
posted by fantine at 2:29 AM on December 11, 2008

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