Monday, June 11, 2007

Fabulous Fathers

Come Sunday, it will again be time to celebrate our dads. There is a lot to celebrate.

I have so many memories of my dad from childhood that I'm sure are similar to memories those of you reading may have as well.

(Here's a picture of my dad and me from when I was a little girl).

We'd go to baseball games, just me and him. We had these great dugout seats, and he would always buy me a bag of salted peanuts that I would happily munch throughout the game. When we got home afterwards, he'd play softball with me in our huge front yard.

Other fond memories from my childhood include going with my dad to the driving range and I'd be his caddy. I loved to make him his favorite dessert, rice pudding in the oven topped with cinnamon and raisins. And on very special occassions, my dad would take me shopping. I could pick out one dress, whichever one I wanted.

Memories like these are irreplaceable. For everything our fathers do for us, all of those special times, important lessons, and good advice they give us, fathers deserve something special. Every year, it's such a struggle to find a way to genuinely and originally express our gratitude to our fathers.

Ties, golfballs, coffee mugs, grilling equipment, power tools, gadgets, and DVDs have all been done before. Too many times, in fact. Speaking as a parent myself, I know that the gifts from my children that I appreciate the most don't come from a store. Without getting elaborate to the degree of Martha Stewart, here are a few ideas for meaningful handmade (and inexpensive) Father's Day gifts that I guarantee will let a father know how much he means to his child.

50 Things I Love About Dad List
This is a wonderful way to for a child (or for the more sentimental among us grown ups) to let a father know how much all the little things he does mean to us.

A Photo Collage in a Shadow Box
Shadow boxes are avaliable at home decor stores like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and even Target. You can glue or tack a few of your favorite photos along with mementos or other graphics, even lettering to make a lovely gift.

Handmade Card
Handmade cards all by themselves are often better than a store bought gift and card put together.

Retrospective Photo Album
These are always fun to make for those who have some time to go through old photos and enjoy craft activities. Making a book of old baby pictures or a whole chronicle of growth from childhood to present day makes a great gift for a father.

Framed and Blown Up Photograph
A 8 x 10 inch blow up of a photograph you've taken, or a picture of you and your dad together. Again, places like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware have some very nice, simple frames that will complement a photo nicely but also let it speak for itself.

A Themed Mix CD with Original Artwork for the "Album" Cover
Mix CDs are easy to make these days, and make wonderful gifts because you can tailor them to fit exactly the recipient's taste. (And often times, besides the cost of a blank CD, there is no additional cost at all!)

Cooking Dad's Favorite Meal
If you enjoy cooking, invite your dad over for a special Father's Day meal (breakfast, brunch, dinner, or lunch) that includes all of his favorite dishes from appetizers to dessert.

A Heartfelt Letter
Finally, there is nothing like a heartfelt letter to make someone feel special. Nothing is comprable to the thought, energy, and love that goes into a letter. These gifts are among those that will be saved and treasured forever.

I hope these ideas give you some direction if you're in a gift quandary, and inspire you to come up with some of own creative gifts based on the interests, hobbies, and tastes of your own fathers.

Happy Father's Day!

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