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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide: Dads

With only 22 shopping days left until Christmas we thought it might be appropriate to run down some gift ideas to help you fill those stockings on your list.


Dear Old Dad

Who's your daddy?  Was your dad the household enforcer?  If so then cries of "Just wait 'till your father gets home!" might ring familiar.  Was he the kindly teacher who gently guided you in learning new skills, whether it be how to cast a fishing line or how to tie your laces?  Did he share equally in the household duties, drying the dishes and joking with your mother while she washed them or did he kick up his tired dogs while mom fetched him a martini?  Whether your dad fits the mold of the 'traditional man of the house' or the progressive and equal partner, or if he falls somewhere in between, there is no doubt he had a profound and lasting impact on the person you are today.  

We have a few suggestions for high impact gifts to suit the interests of all types of dads.

For the Techie Dad:

You know the one... the kids could be waging a full scale war in the kitchen and there he is, hovering over his laptop, fully immersed in whatever he's doing (what the holy heck IS he doing?) completely oblivious to the cacaphony surrounding him.  

While it may be hard for you to get his attention by banging a pan over his head, Hub Man is sure to capture it in a heartbeat.  He's a cute little guy who gives your dad charging and connective capabilities for all his other gadgets.  

For the Mixologist Dad:  

Surely you know at least one of these, even if he's not your dad.  My uncle was a teetotaler but man did he stock a bar and know how to mix a cocktail.  I remember that he had a stylish manner with a cocktail shaker and was able to whip up pretty Pink Ladies without so much as a glance at a recipe card.  

Refine his bar accoutrements  with some premium and authentic vintage barware.  From a stylish seltzer bottle to a wicked cool shaker to colorfully captivating glassware, we have a nice range to choose from.

For the Handyman Dad:

Mr. Fix It, that's him.  He has a pristinely organized 'workshop' either in the basement or the garage.  His tools all have a rightful place on the peg board or in any number of tool boxes.  There is always something that he's fixing or puttering at or making.  And if there isn't enough of it to do around the house he's helping the neighbors.

We don't have the latest tools and gadgetry this dad might love.  For him we'd recommend a gift card to a great hardware store.  What we do have is a few antique planers we're pretty sure he'd appreciate for their history and uniqueness.  Something he can proudly display, and even use, in his workspace which will make him think of you every time he sees it.

The Golfer Dad:

You don't see much of him in the fair weather months.  He's off hitting the links every chance he gets (short of having your mother declare him a missing person or filing for divorce).  He loves the game and the fresh air and the camaraderie of others who enjoy, just as much as he, the sound a perfect drive makes when the club connects with the ball.

Winter is a season considered barely endurable by this dad.  Other than buying him a week of golfing in Phoenix this January there are a few other things you can do to cheer him up while he waits for the big thaw of spring.  We have a few great vintage golf tchokas which are certain to bring a smile to his face, from the golf ball flip calendar to the bar tool set fashioned to look like clubs.

The Shaving Purist Dad:  

No electric shavers for him.  He pshaws the disposables with five blades.  There is no shave like a good old fashioned shave and there is no way to get a closer shave than to do it by living by on the razors edge.  Literally.

For this brave dad we have an assortment of vintage shaving gear - from mugs and brushes to strops and straight razors.  We have some of the coolest single blade razors from eras gone by.  And we have vegan, organic shaving soap - made locally - to complement everything else.

The Fun and Games Dad:

Help with the dishes?  No way!  Not when the kids got all those cool new video games!  And who's that playing with Jr.'s race car set just as soon as he's toddled off to bed?  This dad loves to play, both with his kids and with their toys.  Get him a few toys of his own.

Like;  Chico Bicalo designer collectible wind up toys.

Or Dodge 'Em, the desk top dodge ball game where he can try to bowl over little wooden kids (it's okay - it's just a game and besides, they all look like really obnoxious children anyway).

How about Bone Stackers?  Like Jenga but with a skull set atop a mountain of bones.

And, last but not least, the Cuss Words Dad.

He has tools.  He thinks he knows how to use them.  He wouldn't dream of consulting a manual.  This dad embarks on home repair projects with a sturdy set in his jaw and a look of determination in his eye.  Thing is, it isn't too long after he starts before the temperature around him begins to rise.  Then the quiet muttering starts and before you know it the cuss words and the tools are a-flyin'!  Though my dad is many other things to me, he most certainly fits in this class of dads.  

I remember one particular dinner after my mother got her long coveted dual range with the rotisserie.  She had put a couple of chickens on the rotisserie and all afternoon we kept running into the kitchen to watch them drip their juicy goodness on the pan as they turned under the heat.  The scent which filled the house was delicious and delightful and we could hardly wait until dinner.  After being called to the table we eagerly took our seats while dad pulled out the carving knife and began carving the chicken.  Correction;  ATTEMPTED to carve the chicken.  The chicken, however, refused to be carved.  Thinking he was dealing with a dull blade, my mildly irritated father retrieved a different blade from the drawer.  The chicken was still resistant.  The frustration now showing in a furrowed brow, dear old dad went back to the drawer to fetch a knife sharpener.  After many slick and smooth runs of the edge of the knife against the tool he looked quite satisfied.  Thinking that he now had a wicked sharp blade to work with and with a small smile of satisfaction he stabbed the bird with the fork, placed his razor sharp blade against the breast of the chicken and.... nothing.  The golden skin was impenetrable.  That's when he calmly put down the tools, strode over to the window and closed the blinds to the neighbors and the front street.  I remember us all, my mother included, looking at each other with shock and small degree of fear.  The bird had broken him.  He wasn't cursing.  The silence was eerie, even more so than his calm manner.  Was he going to throw the knife into the wall?  Was he going to toss the chickens across the room?  The tension was palpable.  What he did shocked us all.  He calmly picked up the platter, crossed the room and dumped the chickens in the garbage and then turned to us.  "Who feels like Kentucky Fried for dinner?"  he asked.  Seems mom picked up a couple of fryers instead of roasters and that roasting fryers results in rubber birds.

Though my dad didn't break into his usual song of a well seasoned sailor that night, there were many occasions where he did.  So he wasn't Hardware Hank.  We didn't care.  But we knew better than to buy him tools, particularly power tools, for gifts.  

For dads like mine pretty much any of the above mentioned gifts will do (except the planer - of course).  There are also a few other things he might be happy with, like a beautifully colored vintage tie, or a set of vintage cufflinks.  Mayhaps a vintage board game or novel?  The mAntique room is chock-a-block full of great gifts for dads of all types.  Even mine.


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