14/08/2014 12:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

The House Dad Chronicles: What Dads REALLY Want For Father's Day

The House Dad Chronicles: What dads REALLY want for Father's Day

The moment the email landed in my InBox I knew it had gone too far. The message had originally been sent to Expectant Dads' champion Dean Beaumont who then passed it on to me. He didn't quite write 'FFS', but I know that's where he was coming from.

For the email contained a message from a PR, which read: "Good morning, Please see some great men's umbrellas from (I've deleted the company) just in time for Father's Day."

An umbrella. For Father's Day. What every under-appreciated dad wants, eh?

But the problem isn't just with the naffness of the gift – it's the principle of the gift itself.

Because just like Mother's Day, and Valentine's Day, and Every-Other-Bloody-Day-It-Seems-On-The-Calendar-Day, the relatively recent import of Father's Day has been hijacked by the commercial forces to sell us yet more stuff.

When did this happen? I have never bought my dad a Father's Day gift and never had one bought for me. That's what birthdays and Christmases are for.

OK, I admit, I wouldn't turn my nose up at a nice cookbook or a set of knives, but that only proves I'm a hypocrite.

In PRINCIPLE, I'm dead against the whole Buy-Give must-do event that Father's Day has become.

But perhaps I'm just being a curmudgeon - pretty much like my own father (though not quite as bad as John Clayton aka @dogBombs, whose wife has banned Father's Day because her dad thought it was a load of baloney).

When my three brothers and I were growing up, my dad branded the day – in his Mancunian accent – as 'a load of ker-ap' and told us to save our money until we were old enough to buy him a pint. (However, one year, I encouraged my younger brothers not to buy the miserable old goat a card which resulted in him disappearing up his own backside in a monumental sulk.)

So this might explain my own antagonism towards the event. But what do younger, more modern dads of today think? Do they want 'stuff' bought for them and if so what stuff? And if not, what would their ideal Father's Day on June 16 be instead?

I decided to ask a couple of dozen of my fellow dads on my social networks for their thoughts on Father's Day. Here's what they had to say...

Exhausted-dad-of-three and fellow Parentdish columinist Ben Wakeling said: "As anyone who has attempted to scoop seven spoons of Aptamil into a bottle at 4am whilst holding a child would tell you, a third arm would be handy.

"But, on a bit more of a soppy note, I would love to be able to climb into bed at the end of the day having truly appreciated my kids.

"Far too often during weekends and holidays, when I've spent all day trying to control boisterous boys and a baby who vomits for fun, I find myself secretly yearning for the relative peace and quiet of my office desk; and then, once I am in the office, I regret not appreciating the time I had with them, to enjoy all their little quirks, their endless questioning, their innocent excitement.

"And so, for me, the patience to not get too exasperated when my child is clawing at my trouser leg and take the time to enjoy their company would be the best gift."

Although when asked what gift they'd like for Father's Day, many dads said, 'Anything but socks', Jamie Derham aka The_iDad wouldn't mind a pair, or even some slippers.

"But what I really want for this Father's Day is time," he said.

"A family day out would be perfect. It doesn't have to be expensive just time together away from the distractions of every day life.

"The memories created from the day would last far longer and mean a lot more than a pair of socks."

Alex Walsh, who writes as DaddaCool, is known to be fond of a gadget or three, but the only device that would inspire him for Father's Day would be something that would capture the event's essence.

He said: "I'm currently following the Memoto life blogging camera with interest because I reckon it would make a fascinating record of weekends

"More generally though, a day out in the sunshine with the kids, followed by fish & chips from a takeaway would do me nicely. Days out with the kids are still special, even if they get to be a bit tiring towards the end of the day."


Time, then, not money, is the key to a dad's heart. Experiences, not gifts, are what we're after.


Of course, there are those dads who like to dream – before they wake up to reality.

Dad-of-two boys Martin Cloake says: "You can't go wrong with a 25 year old Glenmorangie." But knows a can of bitter is more likely!

And Swiss Army Dad writes on Twitter.."approaching 40 and grasping on to being 21 forever by my finger tips, Glastonbury tickets. Reality is probably socks and....."

Dad of teens Mark Richards says: "I really want to eat at the Manoir aux Quat' Saisons" but would settle for "a damn fine jar of chutney. Bread, cheese, red wine."

And star fantasist Darren, from OneDad3Girls, told me: "My ideal gift would be a Ferrari for the weekend. As for a gift, money no object, Galaxy S4."

Keep dreaming, my friend.

More realistic is novelist Ben Hatch: "I want a shed very very badly. But I will get a card from Tesco," he wrote.

Which brings us back to the real world: what dads really want is time – family time.

Dad of two very young 'uns, Ben Tipping aka Mutterings of a Fool said: " I'm not that bothered by presents - I would much prefer a lazy PJ morning with the kids and a sausage sandwich :)"

And Tom Briggs, who writes Diary of the Dad, said his perfect Father's Day gift would be be: "Money-can't-buy stuff really. Sleep, time - impossible things like that!"

@babberblog and @russwrites are great mind that think alike: A simply fun day in the sun with their families.

And dad-of-one Ben Blackman's dream day: "The kid waking up after 6am for once but then coming in to see us. Cup of coffee whilst we chat and sing. Then a spot of family breakfast, in the garden ideally if the sun has got his hat on before a lazy afternoon in the garden, maybe a BBQ with friends too.

"Or maybe a picnic out and about somewhere quiet and scenic. I usually avoid busy places on such occasion which will be ram packed with too many people to make it enjoyable.

"Family time, that's what it's about for me. I'm not that bothered about being congratulated or revered for being a father (as if!), but if we get to play for the day together, me, Mrs B and the Kid, then I'll be happy."

Edmund Farrow, who blogs as Dads Dinner, just wants: "Peace & quiet at home with Xbox & fewer emails about how it'd be a real treat to take kids to the zoo."

Whilst cheffy dad Stuart Edge aka StusFood's ideal Father's Day is to make lunch for his family – no, not a roast, but his signature chow mein.

Wheras Dan Toombs, known to all as The Curry Guy, wants his three kids to cook dinner for a change – but no curry, please!

As for me, well, I'm a reluctant housedad. I see more than enough of my three kids as it is. So I'm going to jump in my car and have a pint with a man I don't see nearly often enough. My dad.

What do you want for Father's Day?