Father’s Day gifts: Mom’s dilemma – to surprise or get a list

Father's Day gifts are always a Mom's dilemma: Surprise or solicit a list? What does he really want?

Courtesy of General Electric
Buying a grill for Father's Day, the author thought she would surprise her husband. It turns out that is what he wanted anyway. This grill was a popular Father's Day gift in 2010.

Every year, just after Mother’s Day (and I totally base it on just how much of a fuss was made for me) I start thinking about what to do for my husband for Father’s Day. I’ll be honest and say that I usually come up with some great ideas for gifts but my efforts are always thwarted by him.

Two years ago, I had planned to buy him a nice package at a local barber shop that promises an “exclusive gentleman’s barbering experience.” A straight razor shave, with facial treatment, beard trim (he has a goatee) and a “precision hair cut.” Sounds nice, right? Instead, a few weeks before he said, “I was thinking about getting a thingamabobber (can’t remember what it was now) for my motorcycle…it could be my Father’s Day gift!”


Last year, since I didn’t get to treat him to the “exclusive gentleman’s barbering experience” the year before, I had again planned to get him the gift card/package…sure enough, he had his own idea. “I was wondering if I could get some ice climbing tools as my Father’s Day gift this year.” Fine.

This year, I was walking around the grilling section of Lowe's and saw smokers. Knowing he has always wanted one, I planned to pick one out and surprise him for Father’s Day. I made a mental note and went about my day. I kid you not, later that week, “Hey, I was thinking about picking up a smoker…it can be for Father’s Day!” At least I was on the right track?

Every year before Christmas, my birthday and Mother’s Day, he asks me, “What do you want for (insert holiday here)?” If I have an idea, he usually just tells me to go ahead and buy it/order it. The bottom line is that he wants me to get something I really want, that I wouldn’t normally buy for myself. I feel the same way – so maybe I should try his approach instead?

How do you shop for Father’s Day? Do you let them pick out their own gifts or do you try to surprise them? 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Lauren Parker-Gill blogs at Spill the Beans.

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