Is your father sentimental? If you had asked me that two months ago, I’d have said heck with a hefty side of no. But then a strange thing happened: For his birthday this year, I bought him something different and, frankly, off-the-cuff (i.e., last-minute)—a daffodil plot at the New York Botanical Garden. This is where things get weird. My dad, who has never been one for hyperbole or even really speaking too much, said it was the best gift he’d ever gotten. You could call my reaction an epiphany of sorts; my dad kind of gets me! So with Father’s Day (aka another gift-giving occasion) quickly approaching, wouldn’t it be nice if we all challenged our preconceived notions of what dads want and found presents our cool, modern dads would really like?
Even the feminists among us have to admit we’ve erred on the side of traditional gifts with the men in our lives: new around-the-house slippers, Bluetooth speakers, a bottle of bourbon (still a winner, admittedly). But in an era of outspoken gender equality, trends like ungendered clothing and gender-neutral home décor (plus my dad’s apparent love for flowers), there’s no need to stick to the norms of yore. Just picture the light behind his eyes when he opens something unique and so genuinely reflective of the daughter he raised and loves. Let me tell you from experience: It’s pretty spectacular.
This isn’t to say he won’t enjoy another tie or some whiskey stones, but the world is a big, diverse, equality-for-all kind of place, so whether you’re sick to death of the same old things or want your dad to fly his feminist flag high (with yours!), try a new kind of gift this Father’s Day. But be warned: Some of these might take him by surprise.
News flash: Men actually love rose gold. But if you’re not quite convinced, ease your dad into the trend with this truly attractive pair of shades. They flaunt just a hint of the hue and double as the perfect summer gift.
Cheryl Strayed saved only this book on her now famous journey up the Pacific Crest Trail, and for good reason. It highlights the beautiful struggles of femininity, race, and humanity, so don’t let Dad head into vacation season without it. Want to throw some other good reads in there? Gift him with an Audible subscription.
Admit it: He already loves this movie (Tom Hanks, baseball, Madonna), so why not enjoy a viewing of the classic together? You could even invite those Bluetooth speakers you gave Dad last year.
With only two locations in the world (Paris and New York), this French gastroteque restaurant is famous for its small bites and big flavors. Challenge Dad to get into the kitchen and cook up a culinary adventure (I highly recommend the coq au vin, but there are simpler recipes in here too!).
Farmgirl Flowers Staghorn Fern ($38 each)
Just recently, Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould shared that her dad loves receiving flowers—because men never get them! Even if yours isn’t interested in a giant bouquet, grab one or a few of these handsome ferns for him to enjoy. They’re universally attractive.
Update 6/5/16: Farmgirl is now offering 15% off Father’s Day purchases with code Pops at checkout.
Pink wine isn’t just a feminine luxury, so don’t let Dad miss out. As New York Magazine quipped, “Women have to deal with patriarchy, sure, but men just discovered rosé—so who’s the real victim?”
Okay, this one’s a little out there, but if you like supporting small brands and the #freethenipple movement, go ahead and share that philosophy with your dad—make a learning experience out of it.
If you have somehow missed the cultural phenomenon of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-nominated Broadway brainchild Hamilton, just know that in addition to being genre-spanning, really catchy, and so fun to listen to, it has some strong-as-hell female characters that Dad’ll love as much as (if not more than) the founding father himself.
Self-confidence is as much a part of the feminist movement as anything else. Give your dad these inspiring words, or customize The 125 Collection candles to say anything you want. (“Feminist Father,” perhaps?) Then pick from an assortment of scents—Fresh Bamboo, Grapefruit, Lavender, Fresh Laundry, and Well Groomed—for him to enjoy anytime he likes. Dad savors his words of wisdom, after all.
What’s the best/weirdest gift you’ve ever given your dad? Do you think he’d like any of the options above?