Scheming and Dreaming

Making the most of Father's Day.

Field & Stream Online Editors

When it comes to Father's Day, lots of families have the wrong idea. It's easy to assume, for example, that Dad has enough tools already. There are tools in the basement, tools in the garage, and tools in the car and truck. How many tools does a guy need, after all?

The answer is simple: There's no such thing as too many tools. Most guys are tool junkies almost by definition. This has been true since long before President Lyndon Johnson signed the first official Father's Day Proclamation in 1966. But those dads wishing to avoid the well-meaning but pointless traditions of ugly neckties or argyle socks need to do a little planning.

One of the best ways to ensure a celebratory Father's Day at your house is to make a big deal out of Mother's Day. But if you forgot that all-important holiday last May, it's too late now. It's never too late, however, for flowers or dinner out.

The next thing you need to do is figure out just what tools you'd like as presents, as well as how those things will fit the budgets of family members large and small. You'll also have to hold off on the temptation of just buying them for yourself.

Carry the subterfuge further by inviting your wife out for some shopping. On a trip to Sears to look at refrigerators, for example, it's only a short detour into the tool department. Or maybe she'd like to look at the garden-seed display in the local hardware store.

However you get there, it's easy to suggest a quick stroll through the tool aisle. You know...not to be pushy, but just in case a few Father's Day suggestions would be helpful.

This is where your advance scouting will pay off. Younger kids, for example, usually can't afford big-bucks presents, but you can show Mom some inexpensive things that would let younger ones do something meaningful. An 83¿¿ roll of black vinyl tape is a shop staple that won't bust baby budgets, or maybe a handful of disposable paintbrushes that can be had for about a buck.

Last year there were two things I had spotted long beforehand-a 4-pound engineer's hammer and a new staple gun-that I was able to point out on just such a trip with my wife. They were comparatively inexpensive, did indeed show up over dinner on the third Sunday in June, and allowed their presenters to feel they'd truly made Dad happy.

That kind of family participation is the point. I'm not really suggesting you scheme and dream just to get better presents for yourself. I am suggesting that you let your family in on just what it is you might like. Give them some reasonable choices, and give them a chance.