Free Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day

Photo: Glenda Otero

Although the origins of Father's Day are unclear, several stories point to Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, as the unofficial founder. Dodd organized the holiday to honor fathers like her own, William Smart, who was a Civil War veteran. The holiday was unofficially celebrated around the nation until 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday in June as the day to celebrate fathers. Today, Father's Day is celebrated in over 50 countries around the world. Fortunately, this long-standing tradition doesn’t require that children buy gifts for their fathers (or father figures); spending time with yours is present enough! So how can you celebrate your own dad this year? Here are some ideas to get you started. (See also: Father's Day: What Does Dad Really Want?)

Veg Out Together

Sometimes, all a dad wants is a day off from his to-do list. Why not keep your dad company while he enjoys relaxing on the couch? You could check out movies from the local library about fathers and their children. My personal favorite is Finding Nemo, although The Incredibles comes in a close second. Other classics include Mrs. Doubtfire and Fathers' Day. Or check out The Evolution of Dad, a documentary about how fathers’ roles are changing in our society.

Create a Tradition

Honor your dad this year by creating a tradition. Write a poem or short story about how your dad has influenced your life and read it aloud every Father’s Day. Or make a small book of lessons you’ve learned from your dad over the years, and add a lesson each year. If your dad is more active, you could run a Father’s Day 5K together.

Make a Thoughtful Gift

It’s a proven fact that fathers love homemade gifts, no matter how old you get. Look through photos of you and your dad. Make an album of your favorite photos and jot down memories surrounding each photo. If you’re more tech-savvy, make a video using old homemade favorites. Of course, coupons are always acceptable currency on Dad’s day. Make some for experiences (hikes, bike rides, or visits to a museum) or for knocking out a task on his to-do list.

Enjoy the Outdoors Together

If vegging out on the couch isn’t your dad’s thing, get outdoors together. My dad’s all-time favorite activity is biking, and when his family agrees to go along for a ride, he is beyond thrilled! If your dad likes hiking, try hiking a new trail from You could also take a more laid-back route by simply enjoying an outdoor picnic or BBQ.

Give Dad Your Time

Sometimes, the best way to make Dad feel appreciated is to let him know what’s important to him is also important to you. Take some time to learn more about your dad’s favorite hobby (if that means woodworking, so be it). Ask him why he enjoys that particular activity to better understand what his motivations are. You could also explore events in your community to do together — some communities plan special Father's Day events, and some local attractions offer free or discounted activities for dads.

Do Something Nice

Celebrate all your dad has done for you this Father’s Day by returning the favor. Make him his favorite dinner or breakfast in bed. Wash his car. Clean out the garage. I promise you, he won’t be disappointed!

How do you celebrate Father’s Day? Have you tried any of the above ideas, or do you have any to add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Guest's picture

I want to add one more point here - try do something unique this father's day... start to plan something unusual

Guest's picture

I like the idea of watching a documentary about fatherhood .... that's something any dad would probably enjoy.