It’s mid-June, which means it's time to think about a lot of things: upcoming vacations, the Pride parade and...oh, yeah, I gotta get something for my dad. This used to be a lot easier, back when you could make a ceramic ashtray or a shoe-polishing kit in wood shop. These days, you're stuck buying a gift...and you have absolutely no idea what your dad wants.
We’re here for you. Truth is, dads throughout history have just been humoring us. They don’t want a tie. They don’t want breakfast in bed. They’re not big on brunch in general. So what do they want? Here are ten gifts that will surprise your dad — you know, in a good way — on Father's Day.
10. A “Get Out of Casa Bonita Free” Card
Odds are a Denver dad will have to go to Casa Bonita at some point, sometimes even for a good reason (the sopaipillas or helping your kid win enough tickets for a small plastic slinky). But there are also lots of reasons that your average dad would rather be…well, anywhere else. So think of all those coupon-based gifts dads always seem to appreciate — car washes, free hugs, whatever your cheap-ass heart might think up. Now add to them a blameless opportunity to back out of bad enchiladas and the lingering scent of chlorine and gorilla suits. A "Get Out of Casa Bonita Free" card? Priceless.
It's still one, two, three strikes you're out...but it's nicer when you can see the strike zone.
Ken Lund at Flickr
9. Good Seats at a Rockies Game
“Good seats” being the operative term here. When taking their kid(s) to a Rockies game, many dads had to opt for the Rockpile just to save some funds for all the Dippin’ Dots and cotton candy and peanuts and Cracker Jack and strawberries-and-cheesecake-on-a-sticks. But now that you’re older and your attention span is less based on caloric intake, you can spring for a couple of tickets down the first- or third-base line — where your dad can maybe even catch that errant foul ball.
8. Complete Control of the Thermostat
Not all of us have the same preference as to ambient temperature in a room. Some of us run hot, some run cold, and some just seem to be permanently uncomfortable. But dads are the great adjudicators of the thermostats —mostly in terms of yelling “Who turned the temperature down?” and “This house isn’t made of money, you know!” and “If you want it colder in the house this summer, I hear McDonald's is hiring.” So for one day — one precious day— tell Dad that he can regulate the temperature in the house without hearing any back talk from you. It’ll be a banner day of either sweltering indoor conditions…or complete hypocrisy. Either way, it’ll be memorable.
7. Booze…but Thoughtful Booze
Okay, it’s something of a standby, but unless your dad is a teetotaler, there’s a good chance he likes to imbibe now and again. Giving him the chance to do just that is a great idea — and with the options that Denver has to offer, he can do it in a brand-new way. If he’s a traditionalist, spend the day at the Coors tour. Or take him out and expand his beer horizons at any of the local breweries. Or let him experiment with sour beer at the new Goed Zuur, at 2801 Welton Street. Beer not his thing? Head to Pint’s Pub, which has the widest selection of single-malt Scotch in the Mile High. And wings, don’t forget the wings. Dads love wings.
6. That Thing He Wants but Isn’t Supposed to Have
Yes, this is pretty vague, but every dad has a semi-guilty fantasy he'd love to indulge, just for today. For my dad, it’s pork chops at Cracker Barrel: He’s mostly a vegetarian these days, for health reasons, but give him half a chance at some fried chops with a side of cinnamon apples, and he’ll be in the car before you can finish your sentence. (You know it’s true, Pop.) Every dad has something, and it’s not always a food destination. Personally, all I want to do is head out to a comic-book store or the Denver Comic Con, or a nerd movie with my two girls. The recipe for thoughtfulness is insight plus time, and that's every dad’s favorite dish.
5. Time With Mom
There’s a reason why Dad is a dad — because he wanted to spend time with Mom. Best not to think about “spending time” in any more depth than that, so let’s pretend that “spending time” means something like an afternoon of putt-putt golf or heading to Liks for a double-scoop ice cream cone and a walk around Cheesman Park. You know — wholesome. Of course, you could just say “screw it,” and get him a night downtown at the Crawford (ask if they’re running a special for locals when you call) and work to not think about what they're doing up there.
4. A Current Broncos Jersey
Everyone knows that you’re not supposed to wear the jersey of a player who's no longer on the roster. Granted, some people have a sliding scale of bad juju that allows for exceptions — for example, no one in Denver is going to fault someone for sporting an Elway jersey, partly because he’s still technically on the team, but also because #7 is eternal. Still, it never hurts to refresh your Broncos wardrobe. Might we suggest new Tight End Jake Butt? Because, you know: Dads love jokes like that.
Or whatever snack your dad has a serious affinity for. The important thing is this: that it’s Dad’s. Not something to share, or to put in a dish for company, or to save in the pantry for good. This is a can of pure and delicious indulgence (again, substitute whatever your dad loves here — for mine, it’d be black licorice) that Dad, for once, doesn’t have to share.
Right after this picture, they traded reading material.
2. A Picture of You and Him
Yes, it’s cheesy, but here’s a secret: All good dads have a secret reservoir of cheese, and that cheesiness is related directly to their kids and/or grandkids. Give them a photo to put on their desks at work (yes, this is still a thing) and another one for them to keep in their wallets (also still a thing). You might have to take this picture on purpose — most dads tend to be the guy behind the camera, not in front of it. Bonus: This is a gift that you’ll treasure just as much as your dad, either now or in years to come.
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1. Peace and Quiet
You know what’s even more satisfying than hearing the pitter-patter of the little feet of your children? That pitter-patter fading away as they happily leave the house, and you know they’re safe and going to have a good day…somewhere else. This is not a bad emotion; everyone needs a break now and then, even from something they love. And once again, just like that, Dad is King of the Castle.