Father’s Day is Sunday. Repeat: Sunday. As in, if you are reading this today, tomorrow.
Yes, the day sneaks up. The jewelry, chocolate and flower industries do not bombard us with ads in June, unlike the days (and weeks, and months) leading up to Mother’s Day in May. And here is a hint about the ads you do see this time of year:
Not all dads want to build a new deck and need every carpentry tool in the box. That’s why God invented contractors.
In fact, according to a recent survey by online discount provider RetailMeNot.com, only 3 percent of fathers want home improvement tools. So unless he really, really wants one, don’t go with a default ratchet set and call it a day.
And, seriously, unless asked: No ties.
According to the survey, more than one in 10 admit they have forgotten to wish dad a Happy Father’s Day in the past. Ten percent also believe it’s OK not to get a gift if you see dad on his day. Two in 10 believe a text or email suffices.
Pro tip: No. Just no. You know that smartphone you have? It also works as … a phone.
So what to get? According to the survey, tops on the list are gift cards and quality time with the family, both at 17 percent. Technology is certainly in play, as are hobby/sporting goods.
The line is often simple for dads: Don’t ignore the day, but don’t feel a need to overdo it. You know the whole It’s the thought that counts cliche normally only employed sarcastically? It actually applies here.
Brad Oakes, a 37-year-old from Niskayuna with two young kids, mulled what he didn’t want for Father’s Day.
“A bucket of banana peels,” his 4-year-old son, Elliott, offered. “Dog poop?”
Good answers, among any.
Oakes was in Glenville Beverage, stocking up for a big housewarming party today. Making a big deal out of Sunday, well, that’s something Oakes doesn’t want.
“I don’t need any big production,” he said. “I’d rather not spend money on things I don’t need.”
And there’s the thing: Men often say they don’t need much. And if they do, many just go out and get it themselves. (Some dads, or at least one, went out and bought a needed backyard grill Thursday night, came home and told his spouse “Happy Father’s Day to me.”)
“Father’s don’t want much of anything,” said Mike Kausch, owner of Goldstock’s Sporting Goods. “We want time.”
Soon there is a group discussion at the back of Goldstock’s over Father’s Day. When asked what he wants, Doug Howard of Burnt Hills gave the standard father answer:
“I dunno,” he said.
“What [dads] don’t want is to spend a lot of money,” Kausch said, noting fathers often willingly line up behind spouses and kids in terms of gift-getting. “Fathers are the last one to get anything.”
The assembled men were OK with that.
Gil Kelley of Glenville came into Goldstock’s with his wife, Alice. It’s his birthday today, No. 88, and Father’s Day Sunday. He was looking for a cap. When told the one he was wearing looked good, he smiled and shrugged. “I guess I don’t need a hat,” he said.
His wife hardly panicked at the last-minute change in plans. The couple has been married 61 years. She’s got this.
“If after all these years, if you don’t think I have this figured out, you’re wrong,” she said.
So time or gift cards works. Don’t ignore the day, but don’t go crazy. (This is as good a time as any to put in an important caveat: Your results may vary.) If you’re truly stuck at this last minute, there is a simple solution: Ask dad what he wants. A promise: You will not get a serious “You don’t even know me … ” response.
Hurry up, though. If you haven’t heard, Father’s Day is Sunday.