Father's Day is one of those tricky holidays.
First of all, it can sneak up to you. If you're reading this story, your days to find the perfect Father's day gift are probably already numbered.(Don't worry though because we have great gift ideas you aren't too late for!)
Then, it can be hard to tell just who gets a card or a gift on Father's Day.
Naturally you should buy your father a gift, but what about your father-in-law? Or your husband? Or your sons, once they have kids of their own?
Now it gets confusing. But thankfully, etiquette experts can explain the dos and dont's of Father's Day gifts.
What should I buy when I want to make a good impression?
This is such a tricky issue, because what your gut is telling you is probably wrong. If you're in that confusing stage of a relationship where you're not just starting out, but you also haven't started a family, then there's no real rulebook for you.
You might think that getting a big fancy gift will endear you to your possibly-future-father-in-law, but you're wrong. It's really obvious when you're trying to dazzle someone, instead go for something funny or meaningful.
This works a couple of ways. It shows your personality, it's something they can enjoy and show off, but it also shows you aren't just trying to buy them off.
This is my personal favorite:
Should I buy a Father's Day present for my father-in-law?
Whether you're married or just dating, the question of how to treat your partner's dad on Father's Day can be a thorny one.
There are no hard and fast rules - because every family is different. Instead, you should ask yourself how close you are to your in-laws, and how long you've known each other.
Even if you're in a committed, long-term relationship, if you rarely see your in-laws there's no obligation to send a gift. Maybe a card will do instead. Or a pleasant phone call.
On the other hand, if you have dinner in their home once a week, it would be odd to forget your father-in-law on this holiday.
But you can also create tension by purchasing an expensive gift and outshining your other in-laws. Instead, find something inexpensive but thoughtful.
Trying to cozy up to your in-laws with a fancy gift is also a bad idea: these attempts are always really obvious, and it's better to win them over through sincere gestures.
When in doubt, don't buy a gift. Remember: you are not their child, and that's that.
Should I get a gift for my husband on Father's Day?
I've found that this choice is very divisive among my circle of friends.
It seems to depend on the gift-giving traditions you grew up around in your childhood home.
Some mothers like to give their husband a Father's Day present, while others insists that's their child's responsibility.
I even know a few people who say they never bought their father a gift on this holiday, because their mom always took charge instead.
Of course you should follow the traditions that suit you, but no matter who buys the gift, get the whole family involved.
If you insist on picking something out for your husband, let your children paint him a card, or make him breakfast in bed.
If they make a Father's Day craft for him, help them surprise him with it on the big day. Father's Day should be a holiday that brings the entire family together to celebrate dad.
Should I buy a gift for my son on Father's Day?
Welcoming new grandbabies to the family is a special time, and some parents like to give their adult sons Father's Day gifts to congratulate them.
But this can create tension.
Parents like to make their own traditions with their children on the holidays. An unexpected gift from parents or in-laws can make your children feel obligated to return the favor.
Instead of complicating things, why not invite everyone over for a Father's Day brunch or dinner?
That way no one is left out, and your children don't get the wrong idea about gifts and expectations.
And remember: if you're giving presents to multiple sons, it's smart to give them the same thing. Even as adults, siblings are prone to jealousy.
Choosing the perfect gift for dad
No matter who you're shopping for this Father's Day, trust the Golden Rule of shopping for dad - less is more.
Fathers, as a group, like gifts that are sensible, thoughtful, and personal. You might think a baseball cap with a sports team logo is "cheap," but he might cherish it.
If you're shopping for your father-in-law, or even your own dad, it pays to ask their significant other for gift ideas. They know what they've been asking about non-stop and can offer helpful suggestions.
Meanwhile, an expensive gift is almost always a bad idea.
Not only do you run the risk of buying something they'll hate, but your gift is also a chance to show what you've learned from your dad.
Did they raise you to spend money willy-nilly on fancy watches? I didn't think so.
Fun gift ideas dad will love
If you're completely stumped about what to buy the dad in your life this year, we have a few helpful suggestions.
You can't go wrong with a new coffee mug. The one thing a father wants (but can't buy) is more time to spend with their kids.
With a mug like this, they'll think of their children with every sip of coffee (which is a lot, because dads need plenty of coffee).
No matter what type of father your dad is - sporty, handy, a reader, a couch potato - their wardrobe could probably use an update.
Dads are known for wearing their favorite t-shirts until they start to disintegrate. Why not get him a new one that also shows off their sense of humor?
And if we really want to talk about practical gifts, you can't go wrong with a phone case.
This one is perfect, because it also keeps an iPhone safe and also says who's the boss (you are, for buying such an awesome gift).