Everyone thinks their dad is the toughest guy on the planet to find a gift for. And we are—to some degree. But the key is to think like a man—what are things that all men like and appreciate? (Hint: we are not as complicated as you think). Here are five ideas that the big guy will enjoy and appreciate this Valentine’s Day.
1. Head rub.
I don’t do it very often but there is nothing more relaxing and soothing than laying my head on my wife’s lap after a rough day and have her give me a light head rub. Her healing touch relieves stress and bonds me closer to her. Whenever I get a cold having her put pressure the sinuses in my face helps me feel much better. Besides, having all her attention focused on just me (even if for a short period of time) instead of on the kids tells me she still cares. If your relationship does not lend itself to a head rub (at least without trying to physically harm him) find a creative alternative. In that situation springing for a gift certificate for a professional massage might be just the ticket. It will be appreciated and just might be the key smoothing over the rough edges the next time you need to negotiate something.
2. A note of appreciation from mom and kids.
This is where each one writes what they appreciate most about dad. If you interview men as much as I do, you soon find that the greatest struggle fathers’ face is that they often feel unappreciated for all they do. You don’t hear them whine about it, but I know from experience that having the lives and well-being of a family on your shoulders is a difficult and often thankless job. A note like this will re-fuel dad and keep him being the rock that people depend upon him to be. Again this might be tough for mom if you are divorced or separated, but surely you can find something nice to say about him. Even if it’s just that you value that he pays child support, it’s the thought that counts. Your children will appreciate it and learn a great lesson about healthy relationships.
3. Cook his favorite meal.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Hint--it probably doesn’t include salad or too many vegetables. Have the kids help. If you take him out for dinner instead, don’t make dad pay for it.
4. A night out with mom—alone.
A one night stay in a nice local hotel with his wife is the dream of every man I know. Everyone thinks dads aren’t romantic. That’s not true. They are just romantic in a slightly different way. While I know that women think it’s romantic when a man plans an evening out, your planning this evening out takes the pressure off him and allows him to relax and enjoy your company. There’s no pressure to perform or risk failing and being humiliated in public that way. I’m betting he will have a little spring in his step when he gets home the next morning.
5. Man Gear.
Finally, for the man who likes to put a few pieces of meat on the grill on the weekend, there’s nothing cooler than this baseball glove oven mitt (don’t forget a wacky BBQ apron as well—“Kiss the Cook,” etc.). Even if he doesn’t like to cook, buy (or make) him a cool bib. I hate ruining my t-shirts every time I eat ribs or a juicy burger.
Rick Johnson is a sought-after speaker and bestselling author of 11 books on parenting and marriage. He is also the founder and director of Better Dads Ministries.