By Erin Ollila
This Father’s Day is different! It’s your partner’s very first Father’s Day or you’re expecting and will soon be parents! Either way, you want this day to be memorable because you’re so grateful to be experiencing this major moment together.
But what should you get him? Start with one of these five categories—all chosen by real-life parents—to help you choose the best first Father’s Day gift.
A gift of experiences is sure to make any new dad happy. If you’re not sure what to get, start with an activity you can all do together. This could be as simple as lunch at your favorite restaurant or as complex as a day trip to explore a new area near you.
“For a first time dad-to-be, a day trip with your partner is a great gift. You'll look back fondly on that day as you await the birth of your child,” says Steven Auger, father of three boys. “For new dads, plan a family event for the day, like a picnic in a park or a beach day. Even if your newbie sleeps through it, you and your partner will always remember one of your first family outings. Once you're a dad, memories and experiences are what matter.”
Dads will also appreciate the experiences they can enjoy alone, as well. If he likes golfing, consider purchasing tickets to a driving range or reserving his tee time. Music lovers might want a gift card to a recording studio or tickets to a local show.
Breakfast in Bed
A dad’s sleep is often just as interrupted as a mom’s is, and to be their healthiest selves, a dad’s body needs rest too!
Michael Moreno, a dad of one, suggests letting a dad sleep in on Father’s Day morning. He says, “As much extra sleep as you can provide would be appreciated.”
To sweeten the gift, breakfast in bed would be a nice addition! You can make this an annual tradition, and when the kids grow older, they’ll be able to help out. Toddlers especially love to act like little chefs. Engage them by having them draw out a menu or helping you prepare and deliver the meal.
Over the years, you might choose to get a little more creative with your Father’s Day gifts, but this year, stick with something practical that he’ll be able to use right away with the baby.
Moreno says, “I think gifts that make things easier, faster or less time consuming go a long way for a new dad who now has far less time to deal with anything complicated.”
And there’s one gift that many real-life parents recommend for a first-time dad: a wearable baby carrier.
Canadian parent, Kyla Roma says, “If you’re up for a splurge, a baby carrier with great lumbar support is amazing. Dad can pop the baby on, go for a walk, and let the baby drift off for a nap while Mom rests up, or visits friends.”
Arts and Crafts
Moms aren’t the only ones who enjoy getting hand-crafted presents from their little ones. Dads also love to showcase their little one’s first acts of creative genius. Depending on your child’s age, you could let them finger paint or simply frame a photo of dad and the baby as a gift.
“For my husband’s first Father’s Day, I gave him a canvas with a picture of him and our daughter, and a painting of hand and footprints in paint,” says Patricia Talavera, mom to soon-to-be two little ones. “They basically looked like splotches, but he got the idea and he really liked it.”
A holiday creates a great opportunity to start a tradition that can be memorialized in some way.
“When we had our first child, my husband received a journal and he recorded how he felt being a dad,” says Green Bay mom, Jenni Schubring. If your partner likes to write, buy him a nice leather-bound journal and encourage him to write parenting regularly. If he’s too busy to commit—young children do take up a lot of time—then remind him to journal about the past year every Father’s Day. This will leave him with a wonderful record of his parenting journey after the little ones grow into adults.
Another option is to create a scrapbook that you allow your children to fill in a few pages every year. This year, you might combine this option with one of the arts and crafts listed above. When your children get bigger, let them take control of the Father’s Day scrapbook and include whatever is meaningful to them at that time.
An envelope system is another way to save memories throughout the year. Write the year on a large envelope with a clasp and save mementos in it during the year. Then, on Father’s Day, your partner can open it and remember all the fun things you’ve done together. It’s a simple and easy way to reflect on the experiences you’ve shared.