Give my dad a break!
July 29, 2010 11:20 PM   Subscribe

My father lost his job last year and went from making a comfortable living to bare minimum unemployment checks and occasional side jobs. Although my mother is able to support the family (I live 2000 miles away), they have very little extra spending cash. I want to send my dad a giftcard to see a movie, but I'm not sure if he'll consider it to be a pity thing?

I recently saw Inception and I know he will absolutely love it. Although we do not agree on many things in live, we do have a shared taste in film, and I would really like to open up some conversation on what I think was the best film of the past year. I talked to him on the phone a week ago and told him that it was an essential watch. He told me that he'd love to see it but unfortunately couldn't afford to use the money they have to see it. I'm not rich by any means, but I can afford to give my dad a break from reality if only for a couple hours. I feel like it would also give us something positive to talk about. I suppose I just don't want him to feel like he guilted me into it, or that he is worthless? unable?

I'm not sure... I just don't want him to feel bad for seeing a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen, when he can't justify it with his finances.

Help me out hivemind. What would you do?
posted by razzamatazm to Human Relations (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
send a card with 4 movie passes, tell him that you'd take him to see it if you were closer but he'll have to take your mom in your place. explain that the other two tickets are for a movie of mom's choice since she'll be sitting in on your bonding moment.

who could get upset at a card from their kid?
posted by nadawi at 11:29 PM on July 29, 2010 [10 favorites]

Would your mom enjoy the movie, too? You could always send a gift card with enough for two tickets and a large popcorn, and frame it as sending them on a nice date.

On preview, what nadawi said.
posted by shamash at 11:30 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Well, my dad definitely wouldn't see a movie by himself and ultimately wouldn't understand Inception anyway. And he'd be annoyed if I bought him a movie ticket because that's a complete waste of money, if he were in such a situation, and a generic gift card is far more practical. He's an extremely practical person.

As to how your dad would respond, you should know better than the anonymous masses. Why not be completely honest when giving the gift and tell him that you don't want him to feel that way, etc.? Because if you don't have the kind of relationship with him where communication is clear and you can get a good psychological reading, you can't really expect us to either.

On preview, multiple screening tickets would be a nice way to tell them to take some breaks.
posted by Ky at 11:35 PM on July 29, 2010

Mom doesn't like these type movies, but I have 3 little brothers aged 10, 13, and 14. They are a relatively religious family- but usually violence is ok (no nudity or tons of swearing). I don't want to leave anyone out, but I feel like the 10 year old is a bit young.

Maybe just the 3?
posted by razzamatazm at 11:35 PM on July 29, 2010

"Hey dad, I got you this gift card to see Inception. As I mentioned in our phone conversation, I know you'll love it and I really want you to see it. Please don't think I'm sending it out of guilt, pity, or anything like that. My motive is purely and completely selfish. I want to have the pleasure of discussing the movie with you!"
posted by Balonious Assault at 11:37 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

My dad is loathe to take anything from me that costs money, so I get around that by 'regifting' movie passes which are to theatre chains that are in his city but not in mine. I tell them I got them as gifts, can't use them; he's no doubt figured out by now that I'm BSing him but doesn't call me on it and we are both happy.
posted by jamaro at 11:38 PM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

As someone who has spent a lot of time being very broke, I can say that getting a gift certificate feels a lot less moochy than getting cash.
Say it's an early birthday present because you want to be sure he sees it while it's still in theaters.
posted by gally99 at 1:19 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Send 5 tickets. Dad can take the two older brothers to Inception, Mom can take the youngest boy to, say Toy Story 3D or something.
posted by essexjan at 5:20 AM on July 30, 2010 [9 favorites]

Send your dad a nice card telling him how proud of him you are for raising all of you kids and how much you appreciate him, along with however many tickets you choose. I bet he will love to hear some wonderful, loving words from you.

I live in CA and my dad lives in TN. I send him funny comic clips, pictures, giftcards for grocery stores, and other little things along with a card just to say hi and that I love him and am thinking of him. He always tell me, "why are you wasting your money on me? go pay some bills or something". I laugh and tell him to shut up and enjoy. (we have an awesome relationship) It's the simple things from family that can cheer us up.

posted by zombiehoohaa at 10:25 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think I got it guys! I'm going to go with @essexjan's general idea merged with @nadawi and @Balonious Assult.

Thanks again... I just needed a helpful push in the right direction!

posted by razzamatazm at 6:52 PM on July 30, 2010

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