Last minute gift for dad
September 4, 2013 11:41 AM   Subscribe

My dad is turning 60 on Saturday. Yay, good for him! I left it way too late this year and I have no ideas - he is very tough to shop for. My price range is $40-80, lower is better (could swing up to $100 if I really thought he'd like it).

Typically, I end up getting him a gift certificate to a sporting goods store, candy & wine or beer, socks, or a book that he'll read once and then never again, and my attempts more creative ideas typically flop. my best gift in recent years was tickets for him & I to go see a show at a local dinner theatre that he likes. Unfortunately this year they have a crappy selection.

He likes: tennis (playing & watching on tv), pinot grigio & beer, sudoku, chess on occasion, bossing people around, certain older musicals, busting chops and teasing people, and he does a lot of work on family cars or fixing the house. He's a NYC firefighter by trade but is not interested in memorabilia.

Not a foodie, not interested in tech or gadgets, reads maybe 1 book a month, doesn't see the point in upgrading (ie, we play scrabble sometimes and our old board was, well, old and missing a piece, so I bought him a fancy one that spins and holds the pieces in - every time we play it, he busts my chops about not needing a new one), doesn't like knick-knacks, into health & fitness (doing p90x right now)

ideas that I've had and discarded:

-specialty "you're 60" boxes of candy from 60 years ago (he's not a big fan of candy)
-a rifle (he wants one, but it's out of my price range)
-a kindle (a little out of my price range, don't think he'd get enough use out of it)
-wine of the month club (out of my price range)

I'm in Putnam County, NY, so I can get to lots of stores (can drive up to an hour) or can order online & pay for fast shipping. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated! Also interested in gifts that you've had success with for hard to shop for people.

Thanks, gang.
posted by firei to Human Relations (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like he's a handy DIY guy, and likes beer - how about a home brewing kit?
posted by stenseng at 11:48 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Would he accept, and wear, a tennis shirt? A new shirt is often welcome, and it doesn't have to be very fancy.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 11:48 AM on September 4, 2013

I am a 60 year old dad, and I can tell you that, when it comes to parents receiving gifts from kids, it really is the thought that counts. Probably anything you get him will be fine with him. If he likes Pinot Grigiot, how about two or three nice bottles of wine that are sort of like it but different, like a spanish AlbariƱo? A local wine merchant could help you come up with the specific choices.
posted by ubiquity at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]

Try and get him a ticket for the US Open tennis final at Flushing Meadow? I think it's on Monday night. Not sure if the budget would cover it though...
posted by derbs at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

He's into health and fitness -- is there anything he'd like you to do with him that you ordinarily wouldn't? Run a 10K, that sort of thing?
posted by chickenmagazine at 12:13 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

This may be out of left field, but have you considered getting him a pedicure? Lots of places do a man-centric pedicure.

My sister once bought my father an acre of the moon. Another time she had a star named after him. Fun times. :)

If not, the wine suggestion is great I think.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2013

How about tickets to a sporting event that the both of you can attend? Dads like spending time with us.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 12:50 PM on September 4, 2013

ubiquity has it "it really is the thought that counts".
By 60, most people have all the stuff they will ever need and are out of space to store more. Midnight Skulker's idea of a tennis shirt might be ok though.
posted by Cranberry at 12:51 PM on September 4, 2013

This may not work for your dad if he's at all technical, and the novelty of this sort of thing may have long passed for your dad and the entire universe, but several years ago I got my dad a photoshopped picture of him on stage with the Rat Pack. He's got his hand on Frank's shoulder.

There's no other way to say this: It blew his fucking mind.

It took me maybe 30 minutes using nothing more than basic Photoshop tools, not counting the time to find just the right picture of him and one of the Pack. I printed it out and found a nice frame for it. Over ten years later it proudly hangs on his living room wall.

So, maybe do the same with your dad playing chess with Kasparov, or playing tennis with John McEnroe (or whatever tennis pros have emerged since the last time I knew the name of a tennis pro) or working on a Ferrari or rescuing the Royal Baby from a burning building or whatever.

Again, your dad is younger than my dad so this may not really seem magic to him the way it did (and does) to my computer illiterate dad, but it's a thought.
posted by bondcliff at 12:54 PM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

We gave a tennis playing friend a 12-can box of tennis balls and a hat and said it was the best present he got last year. You could make him a kind of basket-- a box of tennis balls, hat, reusable water bottle, socks, power bars...
posted by biscuits at 2:00 PM on September 4, 2013

Ooooh, love bondcliff's photo idea!

You don't have much time, but one of my sisters is turning 60 very soon: I've got 60 birthday cards all ready, with as many of them as I could find blaring some version of "60!!!" (Plus a few that say 80 or 85 or 90 or 100, but I'm weird like that.)

Or heck, take him out somewhere --- my own father always got a kick out of it whenever I'd take him to a restaurant, making sure I got the check and he was my guest.
posted by easily confused at 2:03 PM on September 4, 2013

It seems like there are a lot of avenues in the fitness area. Weightlifting gloves? Comprehensive selection of Powerbars? Ab-Roller? (no idea whether fitness buffs scoff at those) Workout music curated by you?

Or along the handyman theme - nice new set of drill bits?

Trip to a comedy club to see somebody who does his gruff brand of humor?
posted by lakeroon at 2:49 PM on September 4, 2013

60 is a big-deal sort of birthday, how about a nice bottle of champagne?
posted by CrazyLemonade at 4:13 PM on September 4, 2013

At this age, my dad stopped really wanting stuff. His favorite gifts have been books or music or experiences-his very favorite have been donations to charities in his name. I don't know if that's a thing for your dad-my dad is particularly interested in poverty issues, so or local food bank donations have been great. his favorite is probably, since he enjoys picking recipients and see how they're progressing and then re-investing the money.
posted by purenitrous at 6:49 PM on September 4, 2013

My husband and I are the same age as your dad. do something with him. A concert, a meal, a weekend, a short trip. Time with loved ones is truly the most precious gift. Most everything else is just stuff.
posted by dbmcd at 8:02 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

- Nice penknife
- Nice flashlight or headlamp
- Magazine subscriptions - Family Handyman or fitness maybe
- BBQ class for the two of you
- Massage
- Nice wine glasses
- Beer of the month club
- Does he swim and does he wear glasses? I got my dad some prescription goggles and he LOVES them.
- Workout headphones
- Kettle bell for workouts
- Foam roller -- good for aging bodies!
- Trip to an old timey hat store, with a gift certificate?
posted by barnone at 11:30 PM on September 4, 2013

Straight razor and a badger hair brush?
posted by barnone at 11:47 PM on September 4, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the great ideas, people! Some made me laugh, because they are things that I've tried already that didn't necessarily go over well, but I thought were good ideas!

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but all of the ideas here definitely help! And if anyone has anymore, well, I sure wouldn't turn them away. :)
posted by firei at 5:08 AM on September 5, 2013

Gift certif for a massage
Mylar balloons always make any gift presentation fun
A couple quarts of ice cream (and maybe some Bailey's)
A foam finger
Coupons for free hugs?
posted by little_dog_laughing at 6:36 AM on September 5, 2013

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