I shot out messages to my friends and the mother figures in my life asking what traditions they had for their husbands and fathers on this special holiday. There was an overwhelming, "We just do whatever he wants to do." Which is great, but I figured I would elaborate a little more. Below are ten (hopefully creative) ideas for those of you looking to make a memory and/or looking to make Father's Day special without breaking the bank.
1. This is a given, but who doesn't LOVE breakfast in bed? I can see my kitchen from my bed and it would still bring a smile to my face to have a bowl of cereal and coffee brought to me. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but if you're looking for a tasty recipe here's a savory breakfast bowl I posted awhile back. My love language is often times food and I'm fairly certain many men are on the same page. ;)
2. Go outside! Maybe this is something dad does with the kids alone, or maybe it's something you do as a family, but taking a long walk around your neighborhood, visiting a park, going for a hike, or if your guy is anything like my dad, a ride out on the boat is sometimes right up their alley.
3. My grandmother emphasized gathering the family. This seems simple, but sometimes if you can take care of the planning it is a gift in itself. Families come in all shapes and sizes and if you can simply get everyone together and leave dad out of the planning he will truly appreciate it.
4. Plan something for dad alone. Maybe it isn't something he does on Father's Day, but rather something in the coming weeks. We all need alone time, and often times life gets busy (especially with kids), and we forget to take time for ourselves. Here are a couple ideas if you live in NYC.
- $5 comedy show at UCB Theatre in the East Village.
- Send him off to a free movie in the park (with his favorite snacks, obviously).
- Find his favorite band playing this summer at Celebrate Brooklyn and grab him a ticket.
- Send him to MOMA on a Friday afternoon or to the Brooklyn Museum the first Saturday of the month for free admission.
- Take the kids out of the house and give him a few hours of alone time at home to do what he'd like with. I try to do this for Zack whenever possible, because sometimes it's just nice to read a book, watch a game, write, or just take a nap.
5. If they are old enough, let the kids come up with an idea. It can be something small. My old boss shared with me that her husband and son always go for a walk and then grab coffee and chat about politics. Her son is in high school now, but has always been a thinker, and this is a tradition they've had for years. Maybe there's something special your kids and partner share without you. Let them have their time.
6. If you're in a similar boat to Zack and I date nights are few and far between. For each of us it's always a treat to have time alone together. Plan a date, secure a babysitter, and take care of the planning. Maybe there's a restaurant your guy has been dying to try, or a cocktail bar, or maybe the two of you just want to go grocery shopping in peace. Whatever it is, make it happen.
7. Any one else a "words of affirmation" type? It's hard to say the way we truly feel day in and day out so take the time to write it down. Zack and I have saved nearly every letter or card since the beginning of our relationship, and putting our feelings to paper always proves to make the other feel extra special.
8. It's hard to talk about, and luckily for me, my father, grandfathers and husband are around for this special day, but for lots of friends they are missing one of those father figures. It's important to honor those who are no longer with us in the way you see fit. Maybe that's visiting their grave and leaving flowers, maybe that's preparing their favorite meal, or just doing something they always loved doing. If you need to grieve, grieve, if you need to keep it light do your best to keep it light. I imagine it's tricky to find the balance between celebrating the fathers who are with us and the ones who aren't, but listen to your gut and take time to celebrate the way you want.
9. In our household food is always the greatest gift. Whether it's something you made, a new restaurant they've been itching to try, or picking up their favorite sweets from the bakery. Listen over the next week and try to make a thoughtful meal happen.
10. And if you're at a loss, just ask what they want to do! Some guys won't be able to answer this, but others will really appreciate you not taking a guess at what they want to do and just really letting them take the reins. Every guy is different!