10 Thoughtful Father's Day Gifts That Cost Zero Dollars

June 15, 2017 | by Michael Turbyfill

As kids, it made us happy when our parents bought us things...candy while checking out at the grocery store, new clothes for school, Christmas presents and more. But when I think back on my childhood, I don’t remember what kind of Little League bat my dad bought me. What I remember is that he almost never missed a game. He was there for me. 

As an adult, I’ve realized that the most important gift my parents gave me wasn't material...it was their time. I think life eventually comes full circle and no matter how fast-paced it gets, it becomes our duty as sons and daughters, to return the favor.

Here are ten gift ideas for this coming Father’s Day that don’t require money, shipping and handling or a tracking number...just a little of your time. 

Play Catch

His shoulder may be sore and he may not run like he used to, but I bet your dad would love to get out in the yard and throw the ball with you like old times. And if you have children yourself, let them do the running. Not much brings a twinkle to a grandpa’s eye like to watching his grandkids run like the wind. 

Cook His Favorite Meal

It may seem like “small potatoes” (pun intended) but making your dad feel special by remembering his favorite foods and taking the time to prepare them for him will mean a lot. Especially if it’s not something you do often and shows extra effort. He may never say it, but your dad will appreciate it. And when the meal’s over, don’t hurry off. Stay a while and talk.

Shoot Guns

You wanna see your old man grin ear to ear? Line up some tin cans and challenge him to a shooting match with your favorite .22 or air gun. Or maybe you have a new deer rifle you haven’t sighted in yet and you could ask for his help lining it up. He probably taught you how anyways.

Help Him With A Chore

Your dad may take pride in cutting his own grass and maintaining his house, but I guarantee you he’d appreciate a little break on Father’s Day weekend. Show up on Saturday ready to mow the yard or pressure wash his deck. It could even be as simple as washing his car and asking him to sit and talk with you while you do it. If you have little kids, have them pick up sticks in the yard or rocks in his garden. They’ll have a blast and it will warm your dad’s heart to see you all care about him.

Go For A Walk

I’m a firm believer that the world would be a better place if people took the time to go for walks together. Nobody walks side-by-side without talking, and talking to your dad will be good for you both. And it’s great exercise for those achy joints he’s constantly complaining about!

Look At Old Photos

Nothing gets a family talking like spending time looking at old photos. Dust off an album, circle up your kids and spend some time with your dad (and mom) looking through old pictures and letting your dad do most of the talking. You (and your kids) will learn a lot about life by letting your dad show you in pictures how he did it.

Build A Campfire

Whether your dad is still going strong as a die-hard hunter or whether his days of hiking hills and climbing trees are behind him, there’s nothing like a campfire to sooth a hunter’s soul. And once the logs catch and the fire is going, sit back and look across the flames at your dad and say “Dad, tell me a hunting story.” That's when the magic of a campfire really begins.

Watch His Favorite Movie

You may have to dig through old DVDs or even spend a few bucks at Redbox or Netflix, but gather your whole family together and watch your dad’s favorite movie. And let him quote all his favorite lines and tell you the same old stories about how he watched it the first time 35 years ago. Let him have his fun with it. My dad has seen Jeremiah Johnson a thousand times but I know that number 1,001 will still make him feel like a mountain man for an hour and 56 minutes.

Plan A Trip

Whether it’s a family vacation, hunting trip or a daylong excursion, your dad would like some time away with you. Show up at his house with a calendar and a trip or two in mind you know he’ll enjoy. Let him pick the things you’ll do and you offer to coordinate the details. Between Father’s Day and the trip, you can guarantee your dad will be anxious to spend time with you doing something he enjoys.


Go Fishing

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after.” If making precious memories with your dad is what you’re after, then being on the water or the banks of a stream with your old man is a good place to start. If I had to guess, it won’t matter to your dad one bit if the fish aren’t biting...as long as he’s in your company.

Guest blogger Michael Turbyfill lives in Boone, North Carolina and is a National Deer Alliance member. He produces content for the NDA's social media and marketing efforts.