There are a lot of dates to mark on your calendar in June, the first day of summer, your family vacation to the beach, and Father’s Day.
Dad’s special day is honored once a year, but when did this holiday begin?
The history is interesting and recent in comparison to other nationally recognized days but is no different in that the consumerism centered around it has become out of control.
Right in the middle of Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign in 1972, he made Father’s Day a federal holiday.
Since then, through successful marketing techniques, and America’s love of shopping, the nation spends over $1 billion a year on Father’s Day, according to History.com.
This year the celebration falls on Sunday, June 17th, and the National Retail Federation is predicting spending at $133 on average per person. This year’s prediction falls only a few dollars short of last year’s record high.
It hasn’t always been this way. The first Father’s Day celebrated in America was on June 19th, in the year 1910, but only in the state of Washington.
Although Washington state probably got a little economic push for recognizing fathers, it was far from the national surge it is today.
Even when the federal holiday began to get recognition throughout America, many men weren’t fond of the idea.
According to History.com, one historian noted they
“scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”
In the 1920’s and 30’s there was a push to combine Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for one single holiday called Parents’ Day, but despite activists’ attempts it never took to the general public.
During the Great Depression, the struggling economy forced the retail industry to double down in promoting Father’s Day, and called it the “second Christmas” for men, according to History.
Entering into World War II gave companies an advertising goldmine when they alleged that by buying gifts during Father’s Day you were honoring the troops and supporting the war.
While we are currently not in a world war for the retail industry to capitalize on, the marketers for men’s goods are ingeniously convincing the whole nation that our Fathers need us to buy them gifts to make the day special.
And unlike Mother’s Day where you can put together a bouquet of flowers or buy a new pair of earrings, Dads are usually harder to buy for.
Men typically have more unique hobbies, like electronics, cars, and tools, which make their gifts more expensive.
So, why buy a gift at all for Father’s Day? Make the day extra special by giving a meaningful gift from the heart that can’t be bought from the store.
Some of the best things in life are free. So, let’s look at a few Father’s Day ideas that allow you to spend some quality time with your dad, without spending a fortune.
We all know food is a sure way to a man’s heart, and dads are no exception. Prepare his favorite meal on his special day, to let him know you care.
Grab some steaks, potatoes, and asparagus and fire up the grill to give it that barbecued flavor he loves.
Try to have the rest of the family gather to make an event of it. And if your dad is the kind of man who likes to be in control of the grill station, get him a “best dad ever” apron to rock.
2. Watch a Movie
Many men are into action flicks, or have a favorite classic that they never tire of; like Die Hard or Rambo.
So, get what movie he is into, fix all the popcorn, candy, and nachos on the coffee table like a buffet, and enjoy your time together.
And don’t comment when he wants to narrate his favorite scenes, it’s his day, so just giggle at the wonderful quirks that make your dad unique.
3. Get Chores Done
It made your dad happy 20 years ago, and doing yard work for him would make him happy today.
See what needs to be done outside and take a load off his to-do list. Rake the leaves, mow the lawn, or clear the brush. Dad will be sure to feel the love with the yard looking pristine.
And if there is a big project he has been wanting to finish at the house, gather the siblings and conquer the task. Many hands make light work, and the family will be glad to do something meaningful for dad.
4. Go Fishing
You may not find getting up at 4 am to head out to a lake and stare at the water for 6 hours exciting, but if your dad does you should try to embrace the moment.
If fishing is not his hobby, go kayaking or hiking. Put the ball in his court and then enjoy the game he chooses.
Getting outdoors allows for memorable moments you would miss out on if you would have went with that subscription to Golf magazine as his gift.
However you choose to spend your valuable time with your dad, he will be sure to appreciate the effort you spent in making Father’s Day all about him.
Let your dad know how much you value his leadership throughout the years, and how much you respect him, this is generally a man’s love language over receiving gifts.
We hope these ideas give you inspiration to make this Father’s Day special and make you feel okay with not buying those $500 clubs you thought he would like while opting for a tailored gift you can put in the family photo album.
(h/t Mommy Underground)