Struggling to find the perfect gift for YOUR dad for Father’s Day? Skip the kitsch and give an experience instead this June. A big thanks to Shutterfly for sponsoring this collection of creative presents for dads (and grandpas) who ROCK.
I stand staring at the polka-dot tie collection on the display table and sigh. I push my red cart further into the Men’s section and find a playful collection of dad-kitsch gifts: a mini desktop pool table, a grill tool set, silly boxer shorts. I pick up a “World’s Greatest Grandpa” t-shirt, but then quickly set it down again. I begin to make my way out of the Men’s section. My heart sinks as I peer down at my still-empty cart. Here’s the thing…
Awhile back, our family started focusing on experiences over things when it came to gift giving for our girls. Yet, here I stood — completely dumbfounded — desperately searching for some kind of token gift the girls could give to their grandpa to celebrate Father’s Day. That night, after some reflection, I told myself, “No more buying thoughtless junk for ANYONE.” Since then, we’ve skipped traditional presents and have been more adventurous with our gift giving.
Are you a newbie when it comes to giving an experience as a gift? People often fumble with how the act of giving such a gift works. “But what do they open?” they ask. Here is our new favorite gift-presentation approach:
Give a custom-designed photo book.
Giving experiences is about making strong family memories. What’s the best way to honor memories? By creating a thoughtful custom photo book celebrating past adventures. After all, photo books have always been a great way to help you relive, cherish and preserve memories. We’re absolutely giddy to give the beautiful photo book we’ve created to our Papa for Father’s Day.
OK, let’s be honest for a moment. When I first said the words “photo book,” did you cringe a little bit?
I’ve always loved photo books, but they’d take me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to make. I mean, literally hours when you tally up: picking the photos, organizing them in the book, switching this with that, and so on. By the time I was finished, I’d feel utterly drained. So, when I saw an email about Shutterfly’s Make My Book Service, it totally caught my attention.
Here’s the 4-1-1 on Shutterfly’s new Make My Book Service…
A Shutterfly designer will create a customized book especially for you. It’s free to get started and you only pay the design fee ($9.99) if you order the book. Here’s how it works: You provide the pictures, pick a theme, and provide any special instructions (for example, telling them it’s a Father’s Day gift). Within 3 days, a designer will add a custom-designed photo book to your Shutterfly account. (Pssssst: If you decide not to order the book, you pay nothing.)
For each of the fun Father’s Day “experience gift” ideas below, I’ve also provided a dash of creative inspiration for corresponding photo book ideas as well!
3 Unique Gifts for YOUR Dad
Below are three unique gift ideas that will surely bring your dad (and your families) great joy. A quick heads-up: Some of the suggested gifts on this list have been collaborative gifts, where multiple family members have come together to help split the cost. At our house, we’ve come to realize that Dad would rather have one awesome experience than three smaller token gifts.
1 | A Weekend Adventure
Shhhhhh! This idea is top secret… We’re giving it THIS YEAR!
Over Father’s Day weekend, the kids and grandkids are coming together to go on a joint kayaking trip. Our girls are giddy about the gift and are struggling with keeping it under wraps. Other weekend examples might include:
- Taking a fishing trip (chartered or on-the-fly)
- Going camping
- Planning a hiking adventure
- Spending a weekend sightseeing in a new city
- Roadtripping to an indoor or outdoor water park
- Getting tickets to a music festival or band concert
- Running a 5K race together & picnicing after
- Tailgating and attending a major league ball game
- Taking a bus trip to tour a brewery/winery/distillery
YOUR “WEEKEND ADVENTURE” GIFT TAGLINE: Collect Moments, Not Things.
My father-in-law has had a strong influence on our family’s outlook on travel. When I look through old photographs of trips, many of my favorite pictures are of him and our girls. His playfulness and laugh have a way of making any vacation (big or small) into an adventure. To say thank you, we’ve created a custom-designed hardcover book of our adventures together titled, “Fill Your Life With Adventure — Collect Moments, Not Things.” There’s nothing better than receiving a personalized gift for Father’s Day.
The back cover of the photo book has a pocket that will hold a hand-drawn voucher for the family kayak trip. We cannot wait to share this gift for Father’s Day in June!
I have to tell you, what blew me away when using Shutterfly’s Make My Book Service was — The designer will even go so far as to curate your best photos for you if you ask them to. In other words, if you don’t feel like taking the time to sift through your image library, you can upload an entire album of pictures and ask them to use the best of the bunch within the book draft.
The custom-designed photo book we’re giving for Father’s Day this year was a cinch to create.
So, here’s the part where I pause and admit, I’m a tad bit particular about things. OK, OK… I am totally and utterly Type A. You, too? Well, even if you’re not, rest assured you have the option to add your own finishing touches to your custom-designed photo book before ordering.
Here’s the truth: I was skeptical of Shutterfly’s Make My Book Service, but tempted by the opportunity to try it out risk-free. (Again, if you decide not to order the book, you pay nothing.) I uploaded my photos, picked my theme, and dropped a short note to the designer with a bit of a “yeah, right” attitude. I thought it would be a great kickstart, but that I’d still end up spending a ton of time making edits after receiving my design.
Three days later, I opened the online draft — I was speechless.
It. Was. Beautiful.
I ended up making two small changes and ordering the book within 10 minutes. And it only took me that long because I paged through the book several times absolutely mesmerized before finally coming out of my “Now THAT’S what a Father’s Day gift looks like” happy trance so I could click the Order button. The designer had nailed the photo placement, the embellishments, the cover photo, the font — everything.
My daughters and I looked through the printed copy of the book multiple times before wrapping it up. There’s something truly powerful about seeing family photos off-screen in this beautifully bound format.
Are you already imagining all the possibilities for YOUR family?
2 | Permission to “Paint the Town Red”
Have you ever heard the phrase “Be a tourist in your own town”? So often, we get stuck in our daily routines. Why not give your dad the opportunity to step out and try something new TOGETHER!
Consider getting tickets to a comedian, local sporting event, concert, boat show, theater performance, or gallery night where you live. You can schedule a night out on the town for you and your father, plan an evening out with the grandkids, or make it an extended family experience where all are invited. In the end, it’s about spending time together in whatever way works best for YOUR family’s situation.
One year, we gifted a “dinner date” to celebrate Father’s Day, but then secretly organized all the extended family to drive in from out of town for what seemed to my dad to be nothing more than a random dinner invitation with us four. Never underestimate the power of bringing family together for your parents!
YOUR “PAINT THE TOWN RED” GIFT TAGLINE: Because of You, I Know Love.
Imagine a custom-designed photo book that starts with a vintage photo of you and your dad, then jumps forward to pictures of him with the grandkids. Can you see it in your mind? So sweet. This old rhyme always sticks in my head:
The family that plays together, stays together.
In the back cover pocket, include tickets or a short handwritten (or drawn) note inviting your dad to a night out on the town.
3 | DNA Testing for Ethnicity & Genealogy
Our family tree is a bit patchy on my dad’s side. We can go back a generation or two, but then there are a lot of gaps. If your father has expressed curiosity about his genealogy, consider getting him a DNA test. There are a variety of different online ancestry sites that now offer this neat service. My dad was positively giddy to share his ethnicity results with us at the next family gathering.
YOUR “DNA TESTING” GIFT TAGLINE: Family is like branches on a tree: We all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.
Imagine a custom-designed photo book that showcases a mix of vintage family photos with recent pictures. For example, I’ve got this lovely photo of my grandmother and grandpa riding a double bike. Imagine this juxtaposed to a photo I have of my dad walking down the sidewalk with my daughter riding a bike with training wheels. Right? So sweet.
And check out these vacation Little House on the Prairie photos that play off one another. I bet you’ve got fun combinations like this, too.
For additional Father’s Day inspiration, be sure to check out this creative Pinterest board.
If you have experience gift ideas (or photo book suggestions), I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Every June, I need to shop for five guy-friendly gifts. Yes, you heard me right — FIVE. My husband and his father both have June birthdays (that’s two) and, of course, we celebrate Father’s Day (so that’s three more: my husband and both of our dads). I’m always looking for unique and meaningful ideas!
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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