If you’ve got one of those dads who has everything, or you are one of those people whose bank account has barely nothing, then read on!

I’ve got three gift ideas for you that you can easily pull together in the next few days. Any of the three can be done without spending a dime. And the best part? He’s gonna love ‘em! (And you!)

1. Make him a Love List.

One of my all-time favorite gifts for someone who has everything is simply a list of reasons why you love him. Set aside a half hour or an hour in a quiet place and think back on all the years you’ve had with Dad. Think about qualities that are unique to him, things he does for you, special times you’ve shared together. Your Love List can include big thing sand small things, funny things and sweet things.

Tell him you love that he always answers the phone with a hearty “Hey there!” That he taught you how to ride a bicycle when you were little. That he used to bring you home the doggie bag when he ate at fancy restaurants. Tell him you love his eyes, his intelligence, his love of puns. Tell him you love how well he treats Champie, the family’s four-legged, furry gal.

Your list can have twenty things or two-hundred things. It can be written in pen on a plain white piece of paper. Or you can do a fancy design on the computer and print it out. You can add a photo or two. You can draw a picture on it. You can frame it. Use your imagination.

Alternatively,  you could make a list of things you’ve learned from Dad. Same process as above. It could also be three top ten lists: what I love best about you, my favorite memories of times we’ve shared, and things I’ve learned.

These lists are treasures for someone to hear. I swear to you, they are the best gift someone can receive. It is amazing to receive a gift that mirrors who you are. It is a gift to be seen. And unfortunately, people often don’t get to hear these kinds of things in their lifetime. For some reason in our culture, folks wait until funerals to express their love. Love Lists are a way to express your love and appreciation NOW!

2.Go for experiential, rather than material.

One of the other things I always suggest for those folks who have everything is a gift that can be experienced together. Can you give Dad a handmade certificate good for a free jazz concert in the park, an upcoming outdoor summer festival,  or a ride on the lake in your canoe?  Does he have a favorite hobby that you can join in somehow? Could you plan an afternoon picnic and the two of you bring your cameras to feed his love of photography? How about morning bird-watching followed by a cup of tea at a local cafe?

What people of any age, but especially adults, really want is quality time with people they love. Give Dad the gift of your time and attention.

3. Lend a Hand.

Another great gift for someone is something that helps him out. Again, think about a gift of time and effort.  You could set up a new program on his computer or cook a gourmet dinner at his house. If you have handyman skills and you notice he needs something replaced, you could buy all the parts and do the work. You could make him a gift certificate good for “Three hours of at-your-service help around the house.” Think about your Dad and what kind of help or needs or what kind of help would make his life more fun.


These are just three thoughts. If you want to hear more gift-giving ideas, you can listen to a replay of radio show interview I did with Dr. Sheila at the holidays last winter. Visit the Simply Celebrate website, then scroll down on the Lively Conversations page, til you see the title, “Gift Giving.”

Also, I’m working on a free gift giving guide, called Gifts 101: A Guide for Giving Extraordinary Gifts. I’ll let you know as soon as the link is up to receive it!

Last, but not least, if you know you have a milestone occasion coming up in a month or two — maybe a decade birthday or 25th Anniversary — check out Mad Moon Creations.  I create one-of-a-kind tribute books, which are a collection of stories and photographs from the recipient’s closest friends and family. You could hire me or you could do something similar yourself!

You can also visit our budding new website section, The Artist Boutique. We’ll be adding a new artist later today, so check back tomorrow. We welcome your suggestions of artists who create one-of-a-kind gifts!


If you take any of these suggestions, I hope you’ll post a comment and let me know how it goes!