My family and I celebrated Father’s Day a week early because my husband is working on his actual Father’s Day. He works so hard for us, and I really wanted to give him a meaningful Father’s Day gift that he’d always remember.

So, I planned for several months to buy him an outdoor grill. On Sunday, I told him we were all going to the store so he could pick one out. I could have purchased it ahead of time, but I knew he’d want a say in which one he got. He was so happy to go, and picked a very simple charcoal grill that he said would work perfectly.

Of course, the day before, the kids and I went on an epic grocery store run where we purchased tons of items for him to cook. I say epic because I chose to go to the store at 4 pm with two cranky kids, but I did it for my husband. We bought chicken, steak, vegetable kabobs, and more for him to use on his new grill.

Essentially, I didn’t want him to have to think about running to the store. I just wanted to have everything ready to go for him so he could simply enjoy grilling. It was a good choice because we had a great day filled with lots of equally great food.

What really struck me about the day, though, was how much fun the kids had helping him grill. I turned on the sprinkler, and they played outside in their bathing suits shrieking and laughing and they chased each other through the back yard. I sat very content in our patio chairs sipping on a Coke (quite the indulgence for me these days) and basically enjoying not having to cook.

That night, my husband told me it was one of the best days he had in a long time. It wasn’t the grill that made him happy, though. It was the fact that we thought and planned the day for him. It was that the kids and I did a big grocery run for him to make sure he had everything he needed. It was that the kids were well behaved and having fun. It was about family time. Quality time. Not the $100 spent on the basic grill.

That got me thinking about even more simple and affordable ways that others can show their dads they care, and I wanted to share some of those ideas here with you today.

1. Do The Chores He Hates

If you’re tight on money, one very meaningful Father’s Day gift you can give your dad is to do the chores he hates. So, if your dad doesn’t like cutting the grass or doing the dishes, you can do those for him. This is a very affordable and thoughtful way to honor him on Father’s Day.

Even if he doesn’t hate doing chores, it’s still nice to do a few for him. Maybe you can pack his lunch, make him breakfast, drop off his shirts at the dry cleaners, or something else. The point is just to make his day a little bit more enjoyable and easier.

2. Create a Gift For Him

I forgot to mention that my twins also made my husband keychains for Father’s Day at pre-school. He loved them and immediately put them on his key ring. Sometimes, it’s not about the pricey gadgets or big golf outings. Sometimes, it’s about sitting down and creating something just for him.

There are so many ideas for crafts on Pinterest. You can ask your kids to paint something with their hands, draw him a picture, or make something for him with craft beads like my kids did. If your kids are older, you can also encourage them to write him a letter or write him a story. These are gifts that any dad would cherish for a long time.

3. Give Him Time Alone

As nice as it is to spend time together as a family, quiet time can be hard to come by when you have young kids. I told my husband that his Father’s Day was his to spend as he chose. I encouraged him to let me know if he wanted to go upstairs and nap or rest. If wanted to spend time on his phone spacing out, that was OK with me too.

Everyone talks about how hard it is for moms to practice self-care, but dad need self-care too. So, encourage him to buy a new book, play a video game, or take a nap. Father’s Day is a day where you shouldn’t nag and shouldn’t expect him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.

4. Make Him Laugh

Laughter is an amazing gift, and you gave give this in a few ways. The best way, I think, is to buy your dad a gag gift. He probably has enough ties or gadgets, but he might not have a gag gift.

My dad loves Star Trek so I sent him a $12 Spock costume. I doubt he will ever wear it but I think he will laugh when he opens it. (I also considered a Spock oven mitt.)

You can buy your dad a funny shirt, funny hat, or just something completely goofy that suits his sense of humor. It doesn’t have to be practical. It’s just meant to be meaningful and show him that you care.

Ultimately, when it comes to Father’s Day, don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune to show your dad you care. All they really want is to spend time with you or talk to you if you’re long distance. A gift is just a bonus, and hopefully some of the ideas above can help you to think of an especially meaningful one he’ll always remember.

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