Innovation & Design

Make this Father's Day Count


Slide Show >>

In 1909, when Sonora Dodd came up with the idea to create a day to honor her dad—who had raised six children on his own—she probably had no idea how big the occasion would become. In 1972, Dodd's idea became official when President Richard M. Nixon signed a Presidential resolution that declared Father's Day would always be the third Sunday in June. According to Hallmark Research, 73% of Americans celebrated or recognized Father's Day last year.

With this much celebrating going on, it's no surprise that retailers take notice, so finding something to buy Dad on Father's Day doesn't take much hunting. Every large retailer from Wal-Mart (WMT) to Home Depot (HD) to Neiman Marcus provides special in-store promotions and online gift guides. The tricky part is finding something Dad can really use or will really love.

Robyn Freedman Spizman, who has reported on gift-giving trends for 25 years and is the author of The Giftionary, says the biggest mistake people make when buying a Father's Day gift is that they choose gifts to which Dad doesn't have any connection. Spizman recommends thinking about Dad's "hobbies and interests to understand what he values."

ONE AND ONLY DAD. With this in mind, BusinessWeek.com has come up with a gift guide based on different personalities and lifestyles that has something to suit any dad. As you'll see in the slide show, we've covered all the bases, suggesting gifts for the gadget dad, the workaholic, the new dad, the stay-at-home dad, Mr. Fix-It, the sports fan, the outdoors dad, the jet-setting dad, and last but not least, a gift for grandpa.

Spizman points out you can make your gift even more special by personalizing it. For example, if you get "Tech Dad" an Archos mobile digital recorder, go the extra step and load it up with his favorite television shows, movies, or music. If you get "Proud Papa" a camcorder, open the box and read the instructions so you can help him use it right away. Doing these little things makes Dad's life easier and shows you have taken the time to really think about him.

And don't forget the card. As Rachel Bolton, a spokesperson for Hallmark, points out, "gifts will be opened, used, eaten…whatever, but the card will always be there." Just like Dad.

Check out our slide show for Father's Day gifts.


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