Father’s Day may have been created in response to the success of the first Mother’s Day, but the holiday celebrating dads, paternal bonds, and father-figures is no less special than its May counterpart. More than 100 years after the first Father’s Day was proclaimed—and just a few decades after it was officially commemorated—generations of kids and parents still gather to appreciate the dads in their life.
And for more than a century, it’s also been an extremely vexing gift-giving holiday. Because really, what do you get for the man who gave you so much?
Hint: Not another pocket square.
Father’s Day Gifts: A Long and Dull Tradition
It’s easy to rattle off the traditional go-to gifts, in part because, despite the wide range of Dads in the world, Father’s Day gifts have typically been rather uninspired. Writing for the Washington Times last year, Thomas DiBacco referred to the tradition of giving neckties as “torturous.”
What’s behind our collective unwillingness to get creative when finding the perfect something for the man in your life? It’s easy enough to locate in the history of the holiday, according to the History Channel:
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day. However, many men continued to disdain the day. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”
Yes, Father’s Day was initially shunned—in large part because the idea of getting a gift for the sole breadwinner of the house seemed laughable.
Years later, as impact of the Depression lingered on, Father’s Day became more an outpost for commercialism than sentimentality, as stores and merchants saw an opportunity to boost sales. Again, from the History Channel:
Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
And while times have changed (the majority of American households have numerous incomes, but more importantly, we’ve begun to reject the idea that masculinity and sensitivity are mutually exclusive), our Father’s Day gift-giving practices have not kept up. Despite changes in the social behaviors and patterns of families, golf clubs and socks still dominate the market when it comes to presents for Dad. But they don’t need to.
Start a New Father’s Day Tradition
We know from our customers that even the most straight-laced of dads want something different for Father’s Day—they want to spend time with their family, they want to relax, and they want to feel appreciated. As one dad said during his tearful unboxing of an AwesomeBox on his first Father’s Day, “I’m at a loss for words at moments like this. Thank you for making me feel so special.”
How do you do it? By working together with friends and family to create a customized, collaborative gift that he’ll treasure forever.
With AwesomeBox, you can work with the special people in your life—no matter where they are—through our innovative online platform. Pulling photos straight from your hard drive or from Facebook or other social networking sites and pairing them with song lyrics, memories, jokes, or anything else you’d like to write or share, you can team up to make sure that the father (or father-figure) in your life knows you’ve been thinking about what he means to you.
It’s not too late to return the socks, the golf tees, and that hideous necktie and get Dad something he’ll truly treasure.