A gift for every kind of father

With Father’s Day around the corner, here’s a look at the best gift experiences for dads with different interests.

A wallet personalized with engraved initials? A hand-tooled leather belt? The finest chocolates you can find? Do these sound clichéd? Indeed, when it comes to gifts, fathers often seem to get the short end of the stick so perhaps it’s time to rethink those gift options.

One way to do so is to focus on a key aspect of your father’s personality and build out from there. Every father is different, after all, but they all have one thing in common: all Dads want to spend more time with their kids.

To help you along, we looked at a few different interests and shortlisted a selection of budget-friendly ideas for each of them this Father’s Day. Whether you can meet up with your Dad or not this year, here’s how to make this June 21 memorable.

When Dad loves movies

Movie buffs are among the most difficult to shop for because they often have strong, passionate likes and dislikes. Ironically, their love for the medium means they’re more likely to be open to watching new or offbeat movies – as long as they can criticize them afterwards! To please the film connoisseur, then, why not schedule a private screening at a cinema in the UAE? In view of the new normal, a number of movie chains in the country now allow you to book out an entire cinema for small groups – so it’s up to you whether you just want to celebrate quality time alone with Dad, or whether you want to take your siblings along.

Current travel restrictions mean you may not actually be in the same city as your father, so why not schedule a watch party instead? Several popular movie-streaming apps available in the UAE permit simultaneous viewings with people in other countries. Typically, you’ll need to download a special extension and all parties will need their own subscriptions – but apart from those minor technical details, synchronizing your agendas will probably be the hardest bit!

A third option is to book Dad something he can enjoy at his own pace over an extended period, such as an online masterclass or film appreciation course. Celebrity directors such as Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese, and Mira Nair all offer online masterclasses, and many educational institutes also have remote learning packages. These are easy to book and pay for online and some also offer gift receipts.

If your Dad’s artistic

Like movie buffs, art lovers have traditionally been difficult to please, because what appeals to one person may not appeal to another. Not only is art subjective, but the best pieces may well be out of your budget. So while a canvas or artwork from an emerging artist is one idea, you could ring a gallery in the UAE and arrange for them to set aside a selection of works for your Dad to pick from – while your credit card guarantees the purchase, of course! Similarly, you could commission a UAE-based artist to execute a bespoke piece for your father, while you pay the bill.

Alternatively, channel that togetherness vibe by touring a virtual museum together. Some of the most famous museums and galleries around the world – including the Louvre Abu Dhabi – have put their collection online, so why not tour one with Dad? You can discuss the finer points of each exhibit as you go along.

When he’s a good sport

Vegging out in front of the TV with the game on full blast and his favorite beverage to hand? If that sounds like your Dad, there are a number of different ways you can hit the target this Father’s Day. The simplest, of course, is to catch a game together – and if it’s a sport you hate, you’ll win major brownie points! La Liga and the Premier League are both scheduled to kick off again before June 21 and Royal Ascot runs through to June 20, so there’s plenty to choose from. Or you could simply catch a classic game together online – any Agassi-Sampras championship five-setter is always worth streaming.

To raise the stakes a bit, why not buy Dad a set of golf lessons? After all, the UAE is home to some of the best courses in the world. Similarly, there is a range of other sporting lessons available over the summer, from tennis and squash to mixed martial arts. Remember to keep Dad’s interests and inclinations in mind, though – there’s no point buying him tennis lessons if his athletic abilities don’t match up!

Finally, if money’s not an impediment, look through the different online auctions and bid for a piece of sporting memorabilia on Dad’s behalf. If it’s a live auction, you should be able to arrange a live stream with the auction house beforehand – simply share the details with Dad. At the end of it, he’ll end up with an invaluable gift that reminds him of you each time he sees it.

Catering to the foodie father

Judging by our social media feeds, it seems everyone has suddenly turned into a superstar chef. Whether the great work-from-home experiment has anything to do with it or not is something the two of you can discuss over a Father’s Day bonding session.

If you’ve left things to the last minute, a quick food fix is to head out to a steak dinner in the UAE (although this runs into cliché territory). Restaurants across the country are now open again, and social distancing regulations are in place. If you’re stuck outside the country, think about sending a basket of gourmet treats instead. Numerous suppliers in the UAE offer caviar, truffles, and other delicacies, so you should be able to customize a basket of Dad’s favorites.

You could also explore cooking a dish together – perhaps by asking a private chef to demonstrate a recipe that both of you can cook along to? This works even when you’re both in different parts of the world.

Can’t agree on a chef? Schedule that virtual cook-off, find an ambitious recipe – I’m thinking croquembouche – and email it to Dad. When the appointed day rolls along, video call each other and get going. Remember to enable the record function so you can share the embarrassing footage afterwards. Even if it fails, at least you’ll both have delicious memories!

These ideas will hopefully inspire you to create a Father’s Day celebration filled with gratitude and loving memories. If you enjoyed this post, go ahead and hit the share button.

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Keith J Fernandez is an editor and communications professional who advises on marketing content strategy. He is based between the UAE, the Netherlands and India and writes about business, technology and personal finance.

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