What on earth can I buy my dad for Christmas?
December 18, 2021 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I need a Christmas present for my dad but he doesnt need or like anything! What can I possibly get him?

I am completely one hundred percent stumped on what to buy my father for Christmas this year. At this point I would buy anything at any price. I'm desperate! The problem is, I've already exhausted every single interest he could possibly have.

My dad is 76 and his cognitive ability has declined in the past few years. So it cant be anything complicated.

Here are the no's:
* no more books, clothes, puzzles. He has a billion.
* no tech. He does not have or understand phones, computers, anything like that. He loves his ipad but he just uses it to look up baseball scores and play solitaire. He is not interested in using it for anything else.
* he's not big on leaving his house, plus you know, covid. So no experience type presents.
* But at the same time, no tchotchkes because he lives with my mom and she does not appreciate a cluttered house full of nonsensical stuff.

Things he likes:
* tractors. But i have already bought him every kind of tractor memorabilia or book ever made
* westerns/old west stuff
* stories of survival and revenge. But again, NO MORE BOOKS. He has more books that any one person could ever read
* sweets. I already have some hot cocoa for him.
* baseball - weve already bought him every sports book/ornament/hat/etc
* woodworking/carpentry. He already has every tool unless its something REALLY rare and unusual that the typical person wouldnt have
* art, especially the Hudson River School

I'm looking for an unusual thing that i never would've thought of before. Successful presents in the past included a metal detector, a wooden puzzle of a stagecoach, a balance board to help with his balance, a cowboy hat (but now he has several), a log splitter for his 70th (that was the best present of all time.)

One thing I was thinking about was a magazine subscription to something relevant to his interests. He already subscribes to Antique Tractor and National Geographic and I think Family Handyman.
posted by silverstatue to Shopping (28 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe a kit or plans for something you two could build together?
posted by NotLost at 3:20 PM on December 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've been sending my hard-to-buy-for relatives fancy desserts from goldbelly.com. They always go over well. I really don't know what else I could possibly get for anyone at this point.
posted by bleep at 3:20 PM on December 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

You can get subscriptions of sweets that would be delivered on a regular basis.
posted by NotLost at 3:22 PM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Browse through American Science and Surplus.
Would he like one of those food of the month clubs? Harry & David is the classic.
posted by BoscosMom at 3:36 PM on December 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Does he have Japanese woodworking tools?
posted by pinochiette at 3:38 PM on December 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

posted by Wretch729 at 3:41 PM on December 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

Fancy whetstone for those woodworking tools. Doesn't take up much space. Can always use another / different one.

Seriously, just some nice flowers
posted by Gotanda at 4:01 PM on December 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Fancy expensive nuts in cans! Beef jerky subscription!!
posted by bbqturtle at 4:04 PM on December 18, 2021

I used to get my dad Omaha Steaks. Always went over well.
posted by something something at 4:06 PM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A subscription to Fine Woodworking. A gift to Heifer or something like it in his name, possibly looking up cheerful funded projects and putting them on his iPad. (In my family, we call these the animals you don’t have to muck outyourself.)
posted by clew at 4:50 PM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

-Does he love Gunsmoke, like my 78 year old mom? She loves her DVD box set and watches about an episode a day.
-Framed piece of Hudson River School art from allposters.com. You might be able to get this by Christmas but pretty much anything that requires shipping is going to be an issue.
posted by happy_cat at 5:06 PM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Could you get him a subscription to SiriusXM? You don't have to listen in the car; you can listen to just about all of the channels in the browser. Not only are there tons of baseball-related channels (so he could listen to games and commentary), but there's a Radio Classics channel that plays old radio programs from the 1930s through the 1950s, including old westerns. It would be easy for you to set it up for him to just click and play whatever he wants.

Food that he doesn't have to cook. +1 for Goldbelly. Does he live far from the city where he grew up? My sister and I both miss Buffalo, and she often orders (via Goldbelly) from restaurants back home the foods we can't get in the south. Or any foods, but we've had good Goldbelly experiences. My mom buys her neighbors, who take her trashcans to the curb and back up again, Omaha Steaks each year. For two pandemic years running, my old grad school friend has send me Cabot cheese from Vermont in 50 little 3/4-ounce snack-size containers. It's two gifts in one, because it comes in a cooler!

You said no books, but magazines/periodicals (if he'll toss or pass them along after he's read them) might be an option. What about subscriptions to magazines about the West? True West Magazine? Wild West Magazine?
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 5:42 PM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

+1 to Fine Woodworking magazine
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 5:44 PM on December 18, 2021

I got my elderly dad a wildlife/trail camera, to see what wildlife comes around at night eating the roses, etc., because we both think it would be fun. This will absolutely require my sibling, who lives locally to him, to set it up, which we agreed on in advance.
posted by metonym at 5:48 PM on December 18, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Ooh I love the look of those Wild West magazines! Fine Woodworking looks promising too. Those are definitely the front runners, but please keep the suggestions coming!
posted by silverstatue at 5:54 PM on December 18, 2021

A subscription to Mlb.tv would let him see more games. I think there are several options. Headphones might help him hear the announcers better.

There are remote control model tractors.

Smartphones are amazing as multitaskers, but sometimes it's better to have a single tasker. A handheld GPS is better than a gps app. (Not thinking of a route finder here, just a position finder.) Flashlight. Alarm clock. Kitchen timer. Camera. Calendar.

Some of best things we ever got from our kids were photos. It's easy to get a pro to take pictures of family members walking in a park or whatever. We have them set up on the lock screen of our desk top so we get a rotation of pictures of our admittedly charming grandchildren every day.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:03 PM on December 18, 2021

Best answer: I gave my dad, who also has all the tools any person could want, one of those 13-in-1 ratcheting screwdrivers to keep in the house (so he doesn't have to go out to the shed and look through his giant box of screwdrivers for exactly the right one) and he loves it.

I give my parents a gift card to a streaming service every year. They've enjoyed Acorn, Britbox, Curiosity Stream, and this year are getting Paramount Plus (for the Smithsonian) and Discovery Plus (for history/science). I think both of the last two probably have lots of stories of survival and revenge.

Comfort gifts, like heated blanket or heated mattress pad, foot warmer etc., have also gone over well.
posted by acidic at 6:31 PM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

I am aware of "Truckers Christmas" albums existing in the world. I don't know if he'd be into such a thing at all or if you could burn or buy him a CD or such, but they amused me when I bought them for my bad Christmas music collection years ago.

Also while Googling for "Truckers Christmas" I found a charity for trucking families. I don't know if that's a thing he'd care about at all, but thought I'd mention it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:05 PM on December 18, 2021

Ugh, I'm an idiot, it was TRACTORS, not truckers. I apologize. Hell if I know, I could never figure out a gift for my father who had similar going on either.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:01 PM on December 18, 2021

My dad was like that and he absolutely loved the Smithsonian magazine subscription we got him. He never used the membership because we lived all the way across the country but it’s full of stuff that’d fall in his interests.

What does he wear around the house? My dad always wanted to get fully dressed but I got him super comfy loose pajamas and lounge clothes and the like, and he ended up really liking those as he got less mobile and more restricted. Cozy plush slippers might be fun.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 2:05 AM on December 19, 2021

Scythe! Unless he's well old and it might be seen as a dig?
posted by BobTheScientist at 4:14 AM on December 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Sit in front of your internet browser then phone and ask him what he wants.
posted by biffa at 4:55 AM on December 19, 2021

A subscription to HBO; they have a ton of excellent content. If he doesn't have a Roku or similar, he should.
Music from his youth. Go see what was popular when he was in his teens and 20s; buy cds or mp3s to load on the iPad.
posted by theora55 at 4:57 AM on December 19, 2021

My father is about your father's age. I always found him difficult to buy for.

I bought him a warm blanket this year. He seemed to like it (but he also feels the cold more now than in the past).

Does he enjoy gardening? Does he have a yard? I've been ordering my father wildflowers the past couple of springs from a nursery and he adds the new ones to the corner of the yard. He likes seeing the birds, bees and butterflies that come around the flowers and then it's something he talks about through the summer. (Granted you can't use wildflowers now, during the winter but they can be a nice gift.)
posted by philfromhavelock at 7:52 AM on December 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Check out Lee Valley. Tools and gadgets of all types, I always find something I didn’t know I needed.
posted by antiquated at 8:16 AM on December 19, 2021

There’s a magazine Birds & Blooms about birdwatching, but birdwatching in your yard or neighborhood, not trips and life lists. Low key but always pleasant to read.
posted by clew at 10:00 AM on December 19, 2021

My dad is also hard to buy for. I was going to buy him a nice sweater this year, but I couldn't find anything that wasn't Small or XXL. He spends a lot of time on the couch watching TV and reading so I ended up finding a nice fluffy throw blanket for him at at Pottery Barn.
posted by radioamy at 3:50 PM on December 19, 2021

Those ski poles for hiking, so he can go for walks? Older suburbanites in my area use them for walking around the neighbourhood sidewalks.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 8:15 PM on December 19, 2021

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