Maybe you think you have it all figured out, but any of the following items are on your list, you’re probably only going to get a fake smile from your dad when he opens it. Unless, of course, you’re the favorite daughter, in which case you’ll get a nice pat on the head, even if you’re 40 years old.
1. Stuff you want. Nothing shows how little you care like buying a gift for yourself and wrapping it up for someone else to open and then share with you. This includes chocolate or wine that you expect will get opened and passed after all the gifts are opened. It also includes CDs or DVDs that you want to “introduce” your spouse or dad to, but which you secretly want to rip to your own machine.
2. Exercise class. Giving a gift certificate to the gym is just a more complicated way to say “fatty.” Of course, you want it to say that you care, but maybe it’s something you should agree to do together after the holiday.
3. Anything from header displays near the cash register at the drug store. This includes singing fish, and items that say they are for the “hard to buy for.”
4. Anything that reminds the big guy of household chores to do. New garbage cans would fit into this category. A delivery of a palette of roof shingles to finally redo the garage would be another.
5. More items for his “collection.” My grandmother once bought three little ceramic bunnies. After that, when anyone didn’t know what to buy, they’d get her a bunny. Her friends and family brought her bunnies from their travels all over the world. She had bunnies made out of wood, plastic, silver, in every shade of the rainbow, ranging from super-realistic to completely figurative. She hated those bunnies, her collection expanded like, well, bunnies. Unless your dad has a specific missing coin or baseball or memento, look elsewhere for the perfect gift.
So, there you have it. It’s not a list to save you any time this time around, but it will save you from giving dad something no one wants: a forced smile.