Father’s Day gifts? Skip the stuff and stick to memories that last
Do you have a favorite memory of your Dad? Did you go to the beach with him or a sports game like baseball, football or basketball? Did you hike with him, or have special movies you saw together? Can you continue that memory of your Dad?
As he gets older, should the types of presents you give Dad change? Here are some suggestions for presents for Dad on Father’s Day:
You may be able to find wine glasses, whiskey glasses or even beer glasses that have the logo of Dad’s favorite team. These logos might bring back memories of going to games with your Dad.
Or you might even find granite disks to put in the freezer so that he can serve drinks “on the rocks” with real rocks. The Internet is full of this kind of “stuff.” I have to question, though, if this is something he would really like or need or is this something you might want?
As your Dad gets older “stuff” doesn’t have a lot of meaning to him and he may not have a lot of places to store it. Five years ago, one of my clients died. When his children went through the house getting it ready for sale, they discovered two closets full of boxes. Those boxes included presents over a 10-year span they had given to their Dad which he never wore or used, and they were all in the original boxes that the presents came in.
Sometimes seniors really don’t need “stuff” or maybe they don’t have the ability to say” I don’t like this,” “I’m not interested in this new fad” or “I really don’t want to play that game that everybody else likes.” So before you give “stuff” to your Dad make sure that it is something that he would like and use.
If you have special memories of one specific type, maybe you can do something with that memory as a gift. For instance, if you went to baseball games with your Dad back then, is it possible for you to take him to a game today? If he doesn’t like big crowds or can’t move around very easily, is it possible to take him to a baseball game for one of his grandchildren?
Sharing the memories
Do you have great memories of things you did with your Dad? Have you ever told him about those memories and how special that time was? You should start now. Spend some time thinking of unusual experiences that you haven’t talked to him about before. Remind him of the hike you took when you enjoyed the wildflowers and the beauty of the scenery. Did you see a deer or a bear? You can share that with him also. Tell him how meaningful those moments were to you.
Have you ever asked your Dad to tell you stories about when he was growing up? What was special with his Dad? Some of my clients came from countries that they fled because of persecution. Does your Dad have stories like that?
Attentive listening is important. You might discover things that you haven’t heard before. Since the stories you are hearing from your Dad are part of his history, they are also part of your history. Stories from your Dad of his military experience starting his career, falling in love, and raising a family are precious. Let your Dad know how special his storytelling is to you. A younger person listening to the stories is comforting to him at a time when his reality may be shrinking.
Old Videos and Pictures
Did your Dad take videos when you were growing up? I had an uncle who did that for every family vacation and all of the holidays. They were corny and old, but my cousins put them on a CD and my uncle would sit there in his room in the assisted care facility and would watch the CD over and over again.
Does your Dad have old pictures? You could put them on a slideshow or in an album, and spend time with Dad finding out who is in the picture and tagging them. Again, it would be something that you would learn from but also that he could review on a regular basis.
Did your Dad watch movies with you as you were growing up? Can you get copies of those movies or pull them up on Netflix or another internet site so that you can watch them together again?
Does your Dad like to fish or people-watch? Either might be a quiet time for both of you to sit and talk.
Music is a great gift for Dad. Play some of the songs that were important to him in his life including some of his favorite artists.
Touch can be a new way of showing Dad that you love him. Just holding his hand can be a special gift.
Have a family dinner or lunch with each person sharing stories about Dad and his interaction with them.
This Father’s Day, take time to tell your Dad how special he is as a father. Remind him of the fun things you have done with him and the things that you learned from him. Gifts don’t have to be about money. Time with Dad might be the best commodity.
Happy Father’s Day.
By MARCIA CAMPBELL | Contributing columnist with THE PRESS ENTERPRISE
PUBLISHED: June 15, 2019
Marcia L. Campbell has worked as a CPA for over 25 years specializing in seniors, trusts, estates, court accountings, and probate litigation support. You can reach her at Marcia@MCampbellCPA.com