Monday, June 6, 2011
I'm a dad. Which means every year, right around this time I get excited for two things: football season getting closer (hopefully, pending further strikes, etc.) and Father's Day!
Obviously the question is always what to get Dad for Father's Day? I mean how many ties and mini-tool kits can one guy have space for? The problem is, buying something impressive like a chainsaw or a cruise ship (not a cruise, a whole cruise ship) gets kind of expensive. We're moving at some point in the next month or so and our budget isn't exactly cruise-ship-purchase-worthy, so I thought I'd write out a few creative and cheap recommendations on how to make Dad feel like a rockstar parent without spending all his money.
1. Treasure Hunting (AKA Geocaching) - Cost: Free
Most dads like to do stuff (especially if it involves potentially getting lost along the way) and all dads like free stuff. There's a little known activity that's been slowly growing in popularity over the last decade or so called Geocaching - several thousand people around the world playing a giant game of hide-and-seek, but with cool stuff. Some members hide "cache's" - weather-proof containers varying in size from pencil eraser to bathtub. The coordinates of the hidden cache are posted on the Geocaching site for other members to put into their GPS or smartphone and go hunting. The contents of each cache can range from actual cash (rare) to antique collectibles, from trinkets and toys to camping gear and tools. The best part is, as long as dad still has that GPS you got him last Father's Day (or a smartphone), the whole activity is free.
2. Backyard Camping - Cost: Free
Our plan this year was to go up into the woods and camp, but with the move coming up and the craziness of summer coming, there just wasn't a good weekend available for a full on camping trip. But dads know the best parts about camping are sleeping outside in the freezing cold and waking up in the heat of the glaring sun. You can do both of those things, for FREE, right from the comfort of your very own backyard. Plus, then instead of eating dinner at 9:00 pm (like the last real camp-out) because it took dad 4 hours to set the tent up and get the fire going, he can BBQ on his gas grill at five, set up the tent by seven and be telling campfire stories by eight-thirty.
3. Food, Food Food - Cost: Depends on Your Grocery Shopping Skills
This is often overlooked as obvious - breakfast in bed and a tasty dinner. But it's very important not to miss the importance of food to a dad. That ancient wisdom is so true: "The key to a man's heart is through his stomach." Personally, if you just make my 3 favorite meals and hang out with me all day - watch a movie, go for a walk, play some games - it makes for a perfect day. And the cool thing about the Internet is, even if dad's favorite meal is something special from a fancy restaurant, chances are there are 4 or 5 work-at-home mommy bloggers who have figured out the secret ingredient, and posted a step by step recipe to follow. So depending on your grocery shopping skills, this could be a very cheap way to put a very big smile on dad's face.
Guest Author Bio: Daniel is a dad, husband, Foursquare pastor, marketer, SEO, and moving industry fanatic who wishes movers were cheaper so he could hire some to help him move next month.