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Rules for Father’s Day Gifts

picture of ratchet set

With Father's Day less than two weeks away, I thought I'd help out those who need gift ideas for the men in their lives. Buying gifts for men is not nearly as complicated as women would think. The helpful insights provided below will show you that it's actually easier than it is for us guys to shop for women. If you follow these rules, you should have no problems.

Rule #1:
When in doubt, buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter if he already has one. One man owns 17 and he has yet to complain. As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. For that matter any power tool is a good choice. He may not need it or know what it does, but it will look good hanging on the peg board in the garage. No one knows why.

Rule #2:
If you cannot afford a cordless drill, buy him anything with the word "ratchet" or "socket" in it. Men love saying those two words. "Hey George, can I borrow your ratchet?" "OK. By the way, are you done with my 3/8-inch socket yet?" Again, no one knows why.

Rule #3:
If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car. A 99-cent ice scraper, a small bottle of de-icer, or something to hang from his rear view mirror would be just perfect. Men love gifts for their cars.

Rule #4:
Do not buy men socks. Do not buy men ties. And never buy men bathrobes. It has been said that if God had wanted men to wear bathrobes, He wouldn't have allowed someone to invent Jockey shorts.

Rule #5:
You can buy men new remote controls to replace the ones they have worn out. If you have a lot of money buy him a big-screen TV with the little picture in the corner. Watch him go wild as he flips, and flips, and flips. Forget the program — your entertainment will be watching him have fun!

Rule #6:
Buy men label makers. Almost as good as cordless drills. Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere. Socks. Shorts. Cups. Saucers. Door. Lock. Sink. You get the idea. Again, no one knows why.

Rule #7:
Do not buy any man industrial-sized canisters of aftershave or deodorant. Men do not stink — they are earthy.

Rule #8:
Never buy a man anything whose packaging contains the phrases "some assembly required" or "read the enclosed instructions". It will ruin his special day, and he will always have parts left over.

Rule #9:
Good places to shop for men include Northwest Iron Works, Parr Lumber, Home Depot, John Deere, Valley RV Center, and Les Schwab Tire. NAPA Auto Parts and Sear's Clearance Centers are also excellent men's stores. It doesn't matter that he doesn't know what the gift is. "From NAPA Auto, eh? Must be something I need. Hey! Isn't this a starter for a '68 Ford Fairlane? Wow! Thanks!"

Rule #10:
Men enjoy danger. That's why they will barbecue. Get a man a monster barbecue with a 100-pound propane tank. Tell him the gas line leaks. "Oh, the thrill! The challenge! Anyone want a hamburger?"

Rule #11:
Tickets to a professional sporting event (any team within 300 miles) are a smart gift. However, he will not appreciate tickets to "A Retrospective on 19th Century Porcelain Dolls."

Rule #12:
It's hard to beat a really good wheelbarrow or an aluminum extension ladder. Don't settle for just a step ladder — what he really wants is an extension ladder.

Rule #13:
Men love chain saws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chain saw. If you don't know why, please refer to Rule #6. (Remember what happens when he gets a label maker?)

Rule #14:
Rope. Men love rope. It takes us back to our cowboy origins, or at least the Boy Scouts. Nothing says love like a hundred feet of 3/8-inch manilla rope.

Rule #15:
Buy your man duct tape. This is a man's most universal repair tool. All men know, if you can't fix it, duct tape it!


I don't know who wrote those rules originally. Some of them are spot-on, and others I don't agree with. I tweaked them, but I didn't alter them enough to obscure the original thoughts.

A reader sent me something the other day that I thought would be the perfect way to end this post. I'm posting it just as it came in the e-mail.

picture of Dewalt Nail Gun

If you can find one of those (other than in Photoshop, maybe), wouldn't it make a great gift?! Added on June 9: A commenter sent a link that shows that this is not a product of Photoshop — http://www.likecool.com/DeWalt-16_Nail_Gun--Tools--Gear.html

That nail gun would have been of no help in a home improvement project we did this past Saturday. Ever since we moved to this house five years ago, Becka has been wanting a free-standing gas stove in the kitchen instead of the little drop-in electric range that came with the house. Fortunately for me, we have a young friend still in college who has been working with his dad all through his teen years doing home renovations. They have every tool known to mankind (although he hadn't seen the one above.) But in addition to having the right tools, he knows how to do everything necessary for the project we did. The job was completed in five hours and looks great! You can read more about it and see pictures on my wife's blog. The post is called Now I'm cooking with gas!

Do any of you have any ideas for great gifts for Father's Day?


"Temptation always lies to us. It promises sweetness, but it turns bitter in our mouths." - Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

"A father is a guy who has snapshots in his wallet where his money used to be." unknown

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7 Comments on “Rules for Father’s Day Gifts”

  1. #1 Vikki
    on Jun 8th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Great suggestions!! When shopping I find just wandering through Home Depot works. Lots of gadgets to choose from – and some of the little oddities actually turned out to be useful – like a magnetic hex nut wrench or the 1” c-clamps. If it has buttons, beeps and has a display, it’s also a possibility.

  2. #2 Wade
    on Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    A great Father’s day gift is a Samsung N120 netbook


    P. S. Would you add my wife to your e-mail list? Her address is:
    tiny@xxxxxxx.com. Thanks!

  3. #3 Michael
    on Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:36 am

    First of all, love the nail gun. Brilliantly conceived!

    Not sure I understand the comment about men and label makers.

    If I ever become a father, I would probably prefer gifts involving golf or help with the yard. Otherwise, a gift card is a nice idea. I know it doesn’t sound very personable, but it is highly practical which appeals to many men.

  4. #4 Peggy
    on Jun 8th, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Evidently the DeWalt isn’t Photoshopped. He actually combined parts. This article doesn’t say whether it really works.


  5. #5 Rob
    on Jun 10th, 2009 at 7:31 am

    @Vikki – Great suggestions! I can use almost anything from Home Depot or Lowe’s.

    @Wade – That would be a great item! I’m intrigued, though, by a MacBook. I laughed out loud at the e-mail address you made up for your wife. You’d better hope she doesn’t read my blog! 😀

    @Michael – Maybe you’ve never had your own Dymo label maker? As a young married man, I had a blast with one, and my wife still has items in use that have my labels from decades ago on them. I always welcome gift cards.

    @Peggy – Thanks for that link. I also wonder if it works. I’ve added the link you provided to the blog post itself.

  6. #6 Uwe
    on Jun 13th, 2009 at 5:45 am

    There are 3 issues I’d like to mention:
    First I wonder if I’m a true man as some of the posted points sound strange to me … No, I’m not happy if I get some tools twice or of less quality so that they are not fit to perform what they ought to. I rather buy it self or I utter a wish to my wife what is lacking. Such things I don’t like to have only for fun.

    Secondly I miss a category I’m mostly interested in since my childhood: model making. And there especially model railroad, remote controlled ships and remote controlled aircrafts. I had a big model railroad as I was a teenager, but now unfortunately I’ve not the time and not yet the room to do this. I also had some ships and also a little beginning with aircrafts when I was a teenager. Unfortunately to do this more I at that time had not the money and in my living area there were hardly locations available where I could let them fly.

    Thirdly there rose a thought in my brain: Could we not say that a man plays with what he loves and also loves what he plays with?

  7. #7 Rob
    on Jun 13th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    @Uwe – Never fear … you are a true man. The humor in this post is in the exaggeration. There are many men who like to have more than one of the same tool, maybe different brand names or as a back up in case one breaks. But I know that there are also many women who like to have more than one of the same kitchen utensil for the same reasons. In America there are many versions of the bumper sticker “He who dies with the most toys wins.”

    I know that there are many men also who share your enjoyment of model trains and planes and who have loved them since their childhood also. We have an English saying, “The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.” Does German have an equivalent saying?