Dads can be tough to shop for. But older, retired dads can be even tougher. They’re at the age where they seemingly have everything they need. In fact, they may be working on trying to reduce their possessions. Our father’s day gift guide ideas are focused on dads and grandpas 60 and older — practical items they’ll actually use and cherish, plus a few ideas that aren’t physical possessions taking up space.
1. Do His Favorite Thing with Him
There truly is no gift like your time. Every dad has a thing he’s passionate about: Golfing, grilling, boating, working in the garage, and mowing the lawn are some of the most popular. My dad’s passion is speed skating! This Father’s Day, I’ll be giving him 5 pairs of reading glasses (below) and a “coupon” to go skating with him.
2. LED Car Safety Lights + Triangles
If your grandpa or dad is still driving, his safety is paramount. Picture this: Grandpa breaks down on the side of a busy freeway, pulls out his old car safety kit and the road flares won’t start. LED lights: A potentially life saving, inexpensive gift idea to his rescue!
Upgrade his safety flares with a set of LED beacons. While safety flares last only 4 years, LED beacons will last for a decade a more, as long as you have working batteries in the car. (These take AAA.) They’re sold on Amazon in a 1-pack ($9.99) or in multi-packs (e.g. 6 for $37.99).
For added safety, LED flares pair well with a high-visibility road safety triangles. Pick up a 3-pack on Amazon for $22.99.
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4. Reading Glasses
Most older men use reading glasses. My dad (aka “Papa”) is the king of cheap reading glasses. He always seems to be rocking a crooked pair. This year, I plan to splurge (can I even call it that?!) on 5 pairs of higher quality reading glasses from Amazon for $13.99. That’s $2.79 per pair. My dad pays $3-5 for glasses that are 1/3 the quality of these!
5. U-Turn Turntable
Your dad or grandpa lived through the creation and height of the hifi market. Now hifi is all the rage again. My dad will not let go of how my mom donated his precious speakers and turntable from the 70s in the late 90s, just before the recent vinyl re-explosion.
Not only will a turntable bring your dad joy, but it could also be a new reason to get together with him more often.
U-Turn is one of the leading turntable manufacturers in the United States. They’re refreshingly independently owned and based in Woburn, Massachusetts. They’ve got some truly beautiful turntables, including their Orbit Plus pictured below with a clear platter and priced at just $289.
6. New Running or Walking Sneakers
Consider finding out what size running/exercise shoes your dad has and get him a new pair. Did you know running shoes have to be replaced every 300-500 miles, including walking miles? This is a surprisingly short lifetime, to me at least. After 300-500 miles, a “flat” pair of running shoes can still look almost brand new but offer no support, leading to knee, shin, and hip injuries.
Zappos is my favorite place to buy men’s running shoes.
Also, you can save a couple bucks by looking up prior year versions of your dad’s favorite shoe on eBay. (Just make sure to buy only new or “new without tags” shoes.)
7. A Book on Meditation
Meditation is all the rage, and for good reason. Consider picking up a book on meditation for dad or grandpa. A few for your consideration.
- Meditation for Relaxation: 60 Meditative Practices to Reduce Stress, Cultivate Calm, and Improve Sleep by Adam O’Neill ($8.69)
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer ($14.04)
- Practical Meditation for Beginners: 10 Days to a Happier, Calmer You by Benjamin W. Decker ($10.40)
8. John Leland’s Happiness is a Choice You Make
This fascinating book by NY Times journalist John Leland chronicles the lives of 6 people aged 85 and older. It’s a wonderful read, packed with wisdom and practical advice for those in the final third chapter of life. Available on Amazon in hard cover for $12.56.
9. Keychain Flashlight
Lots of dads 60 and older just aren’t into smart phones. This means when they find themselves in the dark suddenly, they can’t just whip out their cellphone and turn on the “flashlight.”
Recent advancements in LED bulbs have allowed for the creation of tiny flashlights that fit on your keychain. I picked one of these up a few weeks ago. It’s already saved me at least 5 times when I’m unexpectedly walking my little puppy in the dark at 3am! This one for $19.99 on Amazon is a whopping 130 lumens, smaller than your pinky, and lasts for 1+ hour on a single charge.
10. Help Dad with a Project Around the House
Help dad cross something off his list. Every dad has a list of things he was supposed to do or plans to do, but just hasn’t got around to it yet. Make a Saturday or Sunday to get together with him and bang one, two, or three of these projects out!
One of the more rewarding projects I’ve helped my parents with in the past year was replacing their mailbox. Often, mailboxes are neglected. In our case, my parents live in Massachusetts and the harsh New England winters had our mailbox getting hammered by snowplows every year. Last year, on Mother’s Day, I decided to do something about it. Replacing a mailbox isn’t all that hard. You need a posthole digger, bucket or wheelbarrow to mix concrete, gloves, a drill, and a paintbrush. All you need to buy at the store is a mailbox post, the mailbox, and the numbers. The whole project takes 3-4 hours from start to finish including the errands.
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