In 2001, when my husband celebrated his first father’s day, I started a tradition of gifts with meaning. The gifts continue and always involve our children – whether they are making something for him or going on an outing with him. The gifts become memorable keepsakes that will be a reminder of our growing children throughout the years.
During that first year of fatherhood, I had a photograph taken of our son. He was three months at the time and wore a shirt that stated - “I love my daddy”. The picture still sits on my husband’s desk, a memory of his very first father’s day.
When our second son was born, I had another photograph taken of the boys together. I also took them (two years and ten months old) to a painting studio where they decorated a picture frame to hold the picture. That framed photo still sits on our bookcase and we both view it on a daily basis.
I have a friend who puts her sons in one of her husband’s shirts and ties (the same one every year) and takes a photograph. Her oldest son is almost thirteen years old and is starting to fill out dad’s dress shirt. Imagine viewing your child’s progression year after year as he grows into his dad’s shirt.
When our oldest son was three, my husband started a tradition with some friends. The dads and children go camping, and the moms stay home (father’s day is mother’s day). It was at this time, I started making father’s day t-shirts, and each year we add to the collection. I’ve done handprints with “Hands down! This is the world’s greatest dad.” and footprints with “My kids walk all over me.” In my husband’s drawer, you can also find “Dad since 2001” and, when our daughter finally joined them last year, “D.A.D.D. – Dads Against Daughters Dating”. This year’s shirt will read “No mothers. No bed time.” All the office stores sell t-shirt decals and if you have a computer, a printer, and an iron – t-shirts are so easy (and fun) to make.
When my children started to get older (toddler years), I began to give gifts that were activities they could do with their dad. He’s received gift certificates for pottery painting, bowling, and tickets to the movies. Last year, each child picked a date they’d like to have with dad, and he received coupons for each of these outings. One picked a favorite restaurant, another picked bowling, one gave him coupons for an ice cream treat, and one bought a soccer ball to play with dad in the park.
When the boys were one, four, and five, I bought them all (dad too) matching shirts. They wore their shirts whenever we went out as a family. The shirts were passed on down the line until last year when my daughter wore the largest sized child shirt. She prefers pink over blue so my husband didn’t have many opportunities to match with her, but he sure tried.
Father’s day is the perfect time to honor fathers for their commitment to their children and to their families. We can don them with gifts of shirts and ties, fishing gear or BBQ equipment OR we can give them a gift that will continue to have meaning throughout the years. I prefer the latter (though this year – along with his t-shirt – my husband will be receiving some new camping gear for the annual camping trip).