Your Free, Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts

The following is by contributor NJ Renie.

Once again Father’s Day has crept up on you. Sure, the father in your life deserves the best, but you have no money, no time to shop, and let’s face it the truth is that he’ll still be Dad whether you give him a tie or not!

Have no fear, Simple Kids readers. The gift of service is free and always in fashion.

The Meal

You can’t go wrong with the classic breakfast in bed routine, but really just planning to make something special works too. Think of the things that he eats when nobody else is around; you can stomach one meal/ year of chopped liver for Dad, right?

If Dad is the cook, do not underestimate this one. Several year ago my wife surprised me with a ham when I came home from work and it is still talked about to this day (OK, full disclosure –it’s just been me talking about it.)

Bonus: Have the kids provide in-meal entertainment in the form of song, dance, or theatre.

The No Questions Asked

Let Dad be Todd, Jamal or Steve again. Give him a day to go wherever he wants to go and do whatever he wants to do, as the name suggests, no questions asked.

It will always be appreciated, but The No Questions Asked is probably better for us newer dads as a lot of seasoned dads are basically Zen masters at carving out free time.
Photo by Andrea Kratzenberg

The Freebie

The Freebie involves anticipating some chore that needs to be done and doing it without being asked. For maximum impact choose easily recognizable or particularly nasty chores.

This works best when executed during The No Questions Asked so that when Dad returns he is surprised.

Ex: Mucking stalls, weeding, cleaning the gutters, gathering sticks from the yard

The Freaky Father’s Day

This variation on The Freebie is when you actually assume your Father’s identity and take care of some task which has been on Dad’s to do list for a while.

Take a look around, chances are that there is a picture which needs hanging or a can of paint earmarked for use. Try to stay within your abilities so that Dad doesn’t have to redo your work and don’t be afraid to consult an expert if you’re not sure what you are doing!

Ex: Changing oil, replacing the light bulbs in a high ceiling, sealing a deck, take the recycling

The Disappearing Act

Take the family out without Dad. Surprise him by letting him have some impromptu time to himself on Father’s Day.

Photo by Jeff Crump
The King for a Day

The gold standard of free Father’s Day gifts, The King for a Day is just what it sounds like: Dad calls the shots for 24 hours, crown optional.

The Coupon Book

Any of these ideas and others could be combined into a Father’s Day 2011 coupon book, to be redeemed upon Dad’s request. And don’t forget those expiration dates, otherwise some of the craftier Dads out there might hold on to that King for a Day until Prom Night 2022.

Happy Father’s Day, Dads.

What are your free Father’s Day gift ideas?

Online Knitting Class
Delightful kids' crafts delivered to your door!  See sample crates>>


  1. Great ideas, NJ! I know that my husband would probably really appreciate the gift of his favorite meal (he does most of the cooking around here) and then a Disappearing Act for a few hours 🙂

  2. Aw! LOVE THIS. So simple and yet, I am positive would be SO treasured and remembered by dads. Love it!
    Megan at SortaCrunchy´s latest post: on closing car doors and closing hearts

  3. Kyle’s favorite gift is the disappearing act. Not all day, mind you, but an afternoon of alone time is his cup of tea. Great list!
    Tsh @ Simple Mom´s latest post: Living a Good Story in the Chaos

  4. Love these – I know my husband would love some uninterrupted free time. Thanks!

  5. I like these ideas a lot. I think we are going to have to go with the old breakfast-in-bed routine but then maybe tack on one of these other ideas, as well. Thanks so much!

  6. This is so awesome! My hubby’s brother will be visiting us this weekend and I think the 11-month-old and I might do the disappearing act so they can have some no-questions-asked time (probably involving video games : )

  7. These suggestions would all make it into a post about Mother’s Day except for the one about taking free time. If a mom said she wanted to get away by herself for Mothers Day she would be criticized heartily, at least those are the messages women get from the media. But when fathers want that, it’s encouraged. (We’ve all seen versions of commercials showing the father smiling while golfing, or insert other activity, without his family on Father’s Day, right?)

    I don’t disagree that parents need to have time to themselves – do we ever! But at least in thinking about the messages we receive from the media, expectations of what mothers and fathers want are different for their respective special days. Does anyone else notice that?

    • NJRenie says:

      Kelly, I would be utterly humbled if anyone remembers this post 11 months from now, but yes, please use any of these ideas for Mom too.

      As a stay-at-home father, I can assure you that I am keenly aware of the state of gender-based expectations (is there a stay-at-home dad on prime time? daytime? cable? reruns? ever?) I would say choose your media carefully (if you are here at Simple Kids it appears that you are on the right track) and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and others.

  8. Larissa says:

    Love your list, I added it to my list of thoughtful gift ideas. You should try creating your own list – we’re adding features to vote/comment on list items, users can add to your list and you’ll be embed the list on your blog.

  9. Ha! Funny list. Sounds like great ideas for Mother’s Day. Doubt that she would get such “gifts”. But a dad… sure, why not. Don’t you think it’s a little strange that dad just wants to run away from the family for a day?

    • NJRenie says:

      Ha, I thought about that when I was reading it over! I guess it is obvious that I spend a LOT of time at home.

  10. nice tips – but i don’t think it’s good to give the father the authority to be a king…. 🙂
    sapir´s latest post: How to wax a car And what is the best car wax

  11. My husband loves a Saturday or Sunday afternoon by himself at home. He has control of the remote, the fridge, and his time! No one asking him to do anything!
    Great list!
    Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: Letting go of perfection

  12. Thanks for these ideas. We’re traveling on Father’s Day, so I plan to be the main driver and will try to bribe the kids so that my husband can relax for a few hours. He’s doubtful that he’ll have a chance to read, but I am hoping to bring one of his books along just in case!
    Julia´s latest post: Fathers Day Idea- A Surprise Banner in the Car

  13. How about a picture frame with a great picture of him with the family? There are some wonderful frames on the market to choose from.
    Sinea Pies´s latest post: To Do Listpull a weed!

  14. I guess basically he’s calling the shots. He decided we should do lobster picnics for mother’s day and father’s day, and while this has evolved into lobster at a restaurant for mother’s day, it’s lobster on his grill (three years ago he got a grill for father’s day) and now it’s an open invitation to byol! We have around 20 (or maybe 25?) coming for dinner tonight. Surprise dessert: daughter will make butterscotch pudding pie with lots of whipped cream on top.


  1. […] Free, Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts :: Simple Kids […]