What Dads Really Want for Father’s Day

The Green Girl Next Door & Her Dad

Father’s Day is coming up on June 19th.  Ads and commercials are starting to remind us of the approaching holiday.  Even blogs are publishing their lists of the best Father’s Day gifts.  Being an eco minded blog, I could easily give you a list of the latest green items that dad may enjoy.  But let’s get really green here.  When did Father’s Day mean buying dad a gift?  Of course we all love gifts but gifts don’t have to mean shopping.  It’s just the millions of dollars that companies spend on advertising that has that drilled into our heads.  If you are surprised at where I’m going with this, then you definitely didn’t read last week’s post “Why I Stopped Shopping”.

But this isn’t even about being anti-consumerism.  This is truly about what dad really wants.  Have we ever really stopped to ask ourselves what he wants or did we just find something cool to buy so we could conveniently be done with the holiday at hand.

As a kid, I made most of the gifts for my dad, from a Styrofoam sculpture (at least it was recycled) to pecan pies.  But as soon as I had some money, I started buying his gifts.  I bought him wrinkle free shirts knowing how much he hated ironing, a money clip, even a giant towel all his own since our bath towels were all small and in various shades of pink (thanks to my grandma).  When I was in college all my money went to school so I again started making him gifts.  I would find some cardboard and paint him an oversized card, or make those little certificates promising to wash his car or clean the house.  And I always made time for my dad, often in the form of an early morning surf session.

I lost my dad 7 years ago.  After my dad’s co-workers cleaned out his desk they brought me a folder of the stuff he kept in his desk.  What I found inside was every card and painting I had made him over the past several years, along with notes I’d written him and pictures I had sent him.  There was no wrinkle-free shirt in his desk, but the things he truly cherished – the things I made for him.  His co-workers knew all the photos and cards and paintings because he would show them all off.  Now, I am no painter, I lack artistic ability and these paintings showed that.  When my fiancé saw one of the painted cards he laughed so hard he cried when I told him I painted it when I was 20 and not 5 like he thought.  But these were symbols of love and time spent together and they were the things my dad cherished most.

I’d be willing to bet that your dad, like my own dad, just wants some family time and maybe something personal to hold on to.  So maybe this Father’s Day you can go do something together.  For my dad, it was surfing together.  For your dad it might be golf, or a bike ride.  Or take your dad on a picnic.  Pack up his favorite organic treats and make time to do nothing but lie in the grass or play horseshoes.

Don’t live near your dad?  Make time for him on the phone and send him some current pictures of you and your family.  Trust me; it’s not just the moms that want those pictures.  Or try making him a card.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, I have a feeling he’ll love it.  (And I’ll love it if you recycle some of your trash into art!).

What are your eco plans for a sustainable Father’s Day?  And don’t forget to tell me what Dad thought!

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5 Responses to “What Dads Really Want for Father’s Day”

  1. Rory says:

    Oh, Vanessa, you were a gift to your dad and you are a gift to the world. I love you.

    My dad’s favorite Father’s Day gift was a “love letter” I wrote him a few years ago, where I listed every single thing I could think of to thank him for.

    And instead of gifts, I’m a fan of making donations in his name to charities he likes (like Farm Sanctuary).

  2. Wonderful post Vanessa – very well written. I love the part about finding your cards in your dad’s drawer – that is so touching. And I laughed out loud when I read the line: “When my fiancé saw one of the painted cards he laughed so hard he cried when I told him I painted it when I was 20 and not 5 like he thought.” hahaha!

    I agree with Rory’s as well – love you too!

  3. Vanessa Meier says:

    You both are so sweet. Thank you! :)

  4. Peggy says:

    Vanessa, that was beautiful! How lucky we are to have you as a part of our family. Tears at 6:30 in the morning are not good (:

  5. Carrie says:

    Vanessa – This picture is how I remember you and your Dad! LOVE it and love to you :) Your Dad was a special guy.

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