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Father’s Day Gifts For The Hard To Shop For Dad

Giving pictures for Father's DayFather’s Day is right around the corner, and I’ve already been thinking about what to get my Dad for a while now. You see, my father is one of those people who is incredibly hard to buy a gift for. Basically, all he does is work. He has few hobbies. He isn’t into DIY. He doesn’t go to movies. He has way too many clothes already. He doesn’t shop or go out very much. Regardless, I am always determined to find a gift that he will like and use. What’s a girl to do when you need a Father’s Day present for a Dad who doesn’t need gifts?

Cook Him a Meal or Take Him Out to Dinner

One thing my Dad does love is eating his favorite foods. If I lived anywhere close, I’d make him a steak and baked potato dinner, even if that’s not on my low cholesterol plan! For a few years, I thought I was very smart because I sent him gift cards to restaurants that he sort of likes. I guess he goes out less than I thought because I found the whole stack of unused gift cards in my parent’s kitchen drawer. Honestly, he likes my Mom’s cooking better than any restarurant meal. Back to the drawing board.


Although my Dad really does’t read novels, he will read non-fiction books on occasion. My Dad is somewhat of an oddity in that he doesn’t like to travel and hasn’t been that many places, but he could tell you just about any route to get to a destination and what things are in the area, especially golf courses. I’ve given him a books about geography and the world’s best golf courses in the past. He also could tell you any detail about most cars from the 50’s through 70’s. He used to have a muscle car, so books about those are always a good choice.

Newspaper Subscription

Many of our Dads did not grow up with the idea of getting news online, so they like their morning paper. My Dad has had a subscription to the Louisville Courier Journal since before I was born. Giving him a year subscription would be something I know he’d use.

Reading Glasses

Since I have connections, I’ve bought my Dad some really nice glasses over the years, the ones with the flexible frames and no line bifocals. I know he was grateful, but in reality, he likes his cheap old reading glasses that you can get two for $5 at the discount store. I think knowing that he can bend, break, or lose them without it being a big deal is a huge draw. If your Dad only needs reading glasses, giving a multipack of ready made readers would be a practical and inexpensive gift. If you aren’t sure of what strength, look at the inside arm of his current pair. The numbers are usually stamped there.

Homemade Gift Baskets

I’m about as crafty as a shoe, but that hasn’t stopped me from making some really cool gift baskets. Last year, I took my daughter to the dollar store and told her to pick out some stuff Pa would like. It was great. She picked gum, hard candy, peanuts, aspirin, and tape. Who doesn’t use tape? I picked out a few more things and we got a basket and some wrappings there. The whole gift cost more to ship that to buy, and he loved it because it was different.

Pajama Pants

While I do think many people take pajama pants too far (The lady who was grocery shopping in them last week, this is directed to you) , my Dad has developed a huge fondness for the flannel type pant. Since he used to sit around in his boxers, this is a huge improvement! He even started wearing them under his work pants in the winter. He says they feel better than thermal underwear. My Dad never gets rid of clothes so he has too many of most items, but he only discovered the pajama pant recently. Who would have ever thought?

Roku, Amazon Prime, or Netflix Subscription

I am so impressed with our Roku, Netflix  and Amazon Prime that I want the world to drop cable and adopt on demand viewing. My Dad would never cancel their satellite TV, but if yours is on the fence, this could be a way to let him see that you don’t have to pay lots for TV.


While all of the above items have promise, I’ve decided to send my Dad a framed picture of the image in this post. We just took them during our last visit in May. A few years back, Dad would have never come outside to do pictures, but he’s mellowed since he became a Grandpa. I think this is one he will enjoy, and doesn’t their yard look awesome? Pictures with the grandkids are always a winner.

I love my Dad, even if he’s a hard one to find Father’s Day gifts for. I hope everyone has good luck finding the perfect gift this year. Also keep in mind that with most parents, it is the thought that counts, so you don’t have to break the bank to show your Dad that he’s important.

Any thoughts for the hard to buy for dad?



About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I’d say anything you could do related to family would be a nice touch for the dad who doesn’t need anything. So the picture fits that bill. Seems like the older I get, the less I’m concerned about getting gifts for days like this. I’d rather simply hang out with the family.

    • I think that’s a great gift. I wish I was closer and could spend some time with my Dad on the actual day, but we had a good visit last month.

  2. Sadly, I don’t have anything for Greg yet. He is so hard to buy for!!! The boy doesn’t want anything at all!!!

    • Jim is not hard to buy for, but he doesn’t really need anything. I did the vacation pictures in a nice frame for him. Our whole house is covered with photos from vacations. It’s fun to look at them and remember where we’ve been. We actually have a short trip to Glenwood Springs and Aspen right after Father’s Day, so I guess that will be part of the gift as well.

  3. These are some great ideas Kim! I’m in the hard to buy for camp as well…so my wife says. 🙂 For me it’s usually just a day together spending time with the kiddos and a nice meal together, or something like that.

  4. Me and my daughter are planning to give my husband an early father’s day celebration since he needs to go back to work this weekend. And my daughter already made a Father’s day card for her father.

  5. Your dad sounds like a sweetie, and sounds a lot like my dad. Love the picture idea, and the gift basket idea too. Funny about the lady shopping in her pajama pants. Sometimes I think we’re a bit too casual around here, but that lady certainly tops us. 🙂 One thing my dad does love to do is go out to eat, though, so gift cards always work well for him.

    • I have no idea when pajama pants became OK to wear out in public. Sweats are fine by me, but I draw the line at pajamas, especially when wearing them with fuzzy slippers.

  6. The cool thing about giving Netflix for us was that our gifts now are always to renew it for them. It’s made that “hard” gift very easy, and it’s something I know they use.

    • Netflix is a great gift. I don’t think I could ever go back to watching series TV on the regular time frame. Binge watching is what all the cool kids are doing.

  7. I always struggle to what to get for my dad. I wish I could just spend the day with him (and did last year) but that’s out. He does love his cheese, so I might go with a gift basket with various kinds of cheeses.

    • Cheese! What a great idea. Who doesn’t love a good cheese plate? Maybe throw in some fancy crackers. Love it.

  8. Anyone can just buy me tools. I am also a big fan of electronics. I have my eye on the Amazon Fire TV right now!

  9. I love the picture you’re sending him. He’ll treasure it. In fact, I’m a bit jealous as I would love to have a picture of my father with the girls. He sadly passed away when Lauren was just a baby. Dads are notoriously hard to buy for. We’ll treat Chris to a nice meal with a few special gifts and he’ll be a happy camper.

    • You can’t go wrong with a good meal. I’m really happy my daughter has some good memories with my parents. Hopefully, we’ll have many more years of those.

  10. Great ideas, my father is the same he doesn’t go to movies or restaurants. I’m sure we would like that reading glass 3 pack. Thanks for the ideas.

  11. My dad is impossible to shop for and thankfully now he is just happy to get a handmade card from my 8 year old son. My hubby is the same way, although he just says that all he wants for Father’s Day is peace and quiet. 🙂 So I am planning to take my son out on errands with me for some of the day on Sunday.

    • I can’t speak for Father’s Day, but a day to myself would be a great Mother’s Day present, at least until I started to feel Mommy guilt about wanting to be alone!

  12. I’m sure he’ll be happy with anything from his little girl. My dad, on the other hand, is very hands on DIY type of guy, so I always get him tools of some sort. He’s probably tired of those, but he doesn’t really like anything esle… oh wait, he likes cash as well.

  13. My Dad is nearly impossible to shop for. When I was younger I used to always get him Dilbert stuff. Then one year he told my Mom – who told me – that he didn’t want any more Dilbert stuff. So then we (my siblings and I) bought him Star Trek books because he likes them. Problem was we kept buying him ones he had already read. I can’t even remember what I got him the past few years…impossible!

    • I know. You find something you think he likes and keep repeating only to find out he really doesn’t like it that much. I hope I’m not that hard to shop for!

  14. Aw pajama pants would have been a good one!!! I bought hubs a tie – very original I know, esp for his first father’s day. Oh well he’s on call the entire day from about 6-9pm so we’ll have to celebrate another time!

    • I’m sorry he has to work so long on the first Father’s Day! I guess a tie is a great gift for someone who actually has to wear them.

  15. My wife had given me a particular gift a couple of times, and I LOVE it – the gift of time. I’m a busy guy, always doing laundry or cleaning or mowing the lawn, or whatever. One year she told me that for the afternoon of Father’s day I wasn’t allowed to do any “work.” So, I went and bought a pack of ribs and fired up my smoker. I just sat in a lawn chair and made ribs and tossed back a few cold ones. Best gift EVER!

  16. How about coupons for a few car washes? That way he doesn’t have to do it himself? Or some service for lawn care or landscaping. It could be a one time fertilizer treatment, or an ongoing service. If he golfs, a gift certificate for a couple of rounds of golf might be appreciated. Power tools always seem to be a hit if he is a DYI sort of guy. The one thing I don’t think hardly any father wants is clothes.

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