As Father’s Day fast approaches, you’re likely wondering how you can celebrate the ol’ man, even if you can’t get together the old-fashioned way. And even if you can, you may be looking to socially distance, regardless, forgoing restaurant outings and other crowded spaces. Fortunately, you’ve likely become a bit savvier when it comes to this whole social distancing thing—what, with all the virtual birthday parades and virtual happy hours happening these days—so you can apply some of that remote revelry know-how to Father’s Day. For example, if you live within driving distance, why not surprise “Pa” with his very own “Pa”-rade, complete with kids on bikes tossing out candy from afar? (Consider Tootsie “Pops.”) Or how about a decidedly “hoppy” Father’s Day complete with a virtual Father’s Day beer festival over Zoom? Of course, you can keep it simple—dads aren’t typically big into pomp and circumstance—with a tandem viewing of a favorite movie about dads. (For the record, anything starring Steve Martin gets our vote, although Chevy Chase is a very close second.) While he’ll appreciate any Father’s Day gift you give him—this one’s pretty hilarious, after all—chances are he’ll most appreciate the gift of your time.
This year has been pretty tough on sports fans. Set up a surprise “gameday” tailgate in the driveway featuring decorations in his favorite team colorway. If you want to go all out, order #1 foam fingers customized to say #1 Dad, or customize a director’s chair with a varsity letter in his initial.
Send a feast of picnic fixin’s in advance—if you’d like, order the same for you too!—and FaceTime from dueling blankets if you can’t share the same one. (You can also drop off a surprise picnic basket on his front porch that morning filled with all of his favorites, along with a gift set of bocce ball.)
If your dad is still avoiding public outings, why not playfully take him on a virtual tour of his favorite tried-and-true home improvement store, whether Lowe’s, Home Depot, or the local hardware store? Let him pick out a gift or two as you walk him down his favorite aisles. If your kids go with you, let them each pick out a paint chip that reminds them of “Papa” and tell him why on the video—”I chose brown because he plays in the mud with me” or “I picked pink because he always plants pink tulips for Nana.”
What’s family without some good-natured competition? A set of vintage Bingo games makes for a unique gift. Even better: Mail them to your parents and siblings in advance so that you can all participate in a Bingo Night over Zoom. Alternatively, you can take a stroll around the neighborhood to see how many of the items you can spot from this Neighborhood Bingo Card.
Whether you watch “together” over the phone, or while sharing the same sofa, these fatherly flicks will make you laugh, cry, and appreciate the man you’re lucky enough to call Dad. That basketball scene with Annie (Kimberly Williams) and her dad (Steve Martin) in Father of the Bride *still* tugs at our heartstrings. (As does that stunning Colonial Revival house, for the record!) Tim Burton’s Big Fish is another favorite around the Country Living office.
Order a tasting kit of 12 specially curated beers in advance—think varied and adventurous brews like Pepper and Peaches IPA and Campfire Stout—and log on to a virtual Father’s Day beer fest over Zoom featuring direct access to the West Coast brewers themselves. (Participating breweries include Lagunitas, Aftershock, and High Water, among others.)
Gift dad with the best ribs he’ll ever have (other than the ones he prepares himself, of course). These baby back ribs get their sweet heat from a flavorful Cheerwine soda “pop” glaze. Serve them up on a personalized cutting board that doubles as a dad gift. Don’t forget a grill sergeant apron for those times he does man the grill.
If dad’s an outdoor enthusiast, there are likely spaces you can explore in real life, but the National Parks Service is also offering a wide range of virtual park experiences. How about a tour of Oregon’s Crater Lake with country musician Dierks Bentley? Nibble on trail mix while you watch and plot your next outdoor adventure.
Some dads are simply happiest playing in the dirt. Schedule some one-on-one time to enjoy a project with him, or with him and the grandkids (or plant dueling container gardens over a video chat—like always, he’ll coach you throw it). Afterward, you can even enjoy a garden-themed meal using seed packets as place settings and terra-cotta pot saucers as table chargers.
If your dad is an unapologetic picker, help him scratch the itch with a gift card to eBay, Etsy, or another vintage resale site. Have fun talking through the selection together, and debating whether he should spend $170 on a vintage Roy Rogers metal lunchbox. (Psst: That’s actually a pretty good deal!) You can also treat him to a stay in Mike Wolfe’s new Tennessee rental filled with vintage finds sourced by the American Pickers star.
Start the day with his coffee served in a new campfire mug, then lead him outside to his very own backyard campsite or cozy setup of outdoor pillows around a new fire pit. Cook up a spread of his favorites, including Skillet Spinach Artichoke Dip—over a campfire.
Why not keep up family game night tradition going over Zoom? Some of our Zoom-friendly favorites include charades, Trivial Pursuit, and Most Likely to… (For the latter, print out each player’s photo and place it on a stick. Hold up the relevant face to answer questions like, “Who’s most likely to go on a space mission” or “Who’s most likely to appear on Shark Tank“?) Find a list of sample questions here.
Go on a leisurely drive—even better if you can rent his dream car or truck!—with the challenge of finding the best culinary delights in a 60-mile stretch. Or create a bucket list of bites worth braking for—a farmstand tomato, gas station boiled peanuts, a roadside pie (or hand pies!)—and see how many you can check off the list. Go the extra mile (heh) with a dad-themed playlist for the journey.
As far as summer rites of passage go, churning homemade ice cream is high on the list, and this pursuit will make dad’s day extra sweet. Whip up a variety of his favorite flavors. If you don’t go the old-fashioned route, try an ice cream ball you can roll around and make a sport of it.
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Is your pop “the bomb”? (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) Tell him so with a “Pop”-themed backyard celebration featuring ice pops in assorted flavors. You can even infuse them with booze, with flavors like Blueberry Moonshine or Melon Basil Moscow Mules. For extra points, seek out ice pop molds that speak to his interests, like these Star Wars light sabers. (Cool!)