Since the pandemic broke out, my husband has been working overtime. He’s been a stay-at-home dad since our two-year-old was born, in addition to working on the fixer-upper home we bought a year ago. When stay-at-home orders took effect and schools closed down, he had our entire kitchen gutted, so he worked tirelessly over the weekend to make sure we would again have access to a stove and refrigerator at a time when grocery hoarding was kicking into high gear. With the kitchen (mostly) reassembled, he turned to handling remote learning for our older daughter, which he miraculously manages to accomplish without too many tears on either side.

This is my long way of saying, the man has been a gold star father this year. He deserves an amazing Father’s Day, but buying for him is tough, now more than ever. So, I reached out to families to see how they’re planning to celebrate Father’s Day this year, and what dads really want. Here’s what they had to say:

Time Alone

Any mom understands the need for just a few hours alone, and it’s been a popular Mother’s Day option for years. This year, many dads are feeling burned out with the kids as well, and would appreciate a bit of time alone. I already have plans to send my husband off on a long motorcycle ride on Father’s Day, before spending quality time as a family in the afternoon. Other families I spoke to are sending dad golfing (if that’s an option where they live) or for a long bike ride.

Time Together

While many dads are immersed in children, some grandfathers have gone too long without seeing their grandkids. “All I want is to hug my grandson,” one dad told me. If it’s not safe to do an in-person visit, consider a socially distant “playdate” where Grandpa can at least see the kids. If that doesn’t work, a handmade care package filled with baked goods and artwork from the kids will go a long way — that’s what we’ll be doing for my dad, who is unable to leave his nursing home right now.

Games and Movies

This year, many of us have more time than ever at home, so why not get some activities to do with dad. Classic games, like Backgammon, or modern games like Cards Against Humanity can give dad hours of quality family time. Looking for a more laid back solution? Movies are always a hit!

A Super-Clean Car

I, for one, have a husband who is always in an up-hill battle to keep his car clean despite the kids. That’s why I loved the suggestion of getting dad’s car detailed for Father’s Day. Although this present is a little more expensive than some others, it will make a long-lasting impact, especially as more dads begin commuting to work again. Bonus: there are a lot of mobile detailers who will come to you to get it done.

A Chance to Get Out

By now, we’re all going a bit stir crazy at home, so why not give dad the chance to get out of the house, now or in the future? Some states have reopened recreational activities like mini golf or boat rentals. One friend in Massachusetts — which is largely shut down still — is buying her dad gift certificates for local activities like archery and glass-blowing classes. Although he’ll have to wait to use them, she knows he’ll appreciate the promise of more time spent together, and the support of local businesses right now.

This year is a Father’s Day that will hopefully be unlike any other, but will, with a little planning, it can be a special day to celebrate the dads in your life.

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About Kelly Burch

Kelly Burch is a freelance writer covering finance, family, business and more. When she's not behind the computer she enjoys exploring the lakes and mountains of New Hampshire, where she lives. Connect with Kelly and read more of her work on Facebook or Twitter.

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