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Father's Day is, without a doubt, the hardest "gifting holiday" there is.
To generalize, dads don't really want stuff—they're fairly practical creatures with disdain for accumulation. (To quote Jerry Seinfeld on the matter: "Your home is a garbage processing center where new things are purchased and slowly demoted through various stages of trashification until you're done.")
Perhaps because of this, Father's Day gift guides tend to promote gussied up versions of every day things, broken down by general dad interest (the leather iPad sleeve for Tech Dad, the fancy bourbon for Young Cool Dad, the silk tie for Business Pro Dad). We've distilled this idea even further, culling together a list of things pretty much all dads like, and where to buy the best of them.
Dads always get ties and cufflinks, but what they really want are socks. Or, what they'll really get the most milage out of are socks. No one does a better novelty sock than the articulately branded Happy Socks, which sells more interesting, colorful versions of the daily staple than he's likely to pick out for himself (unless he's Eccentric Dad). Each pair is $12, or go all in with a gift box ($32—$45) based on his style.
Unless you have a Tea Dad, you probably have a Coffee Dad. If that's the case, there are a number of cool delivery services you can set him up with to further elevate his bean brain, and dads love specialty knowledge, especially regarding beverages.
Introduce pops to Heart, a cool Portland, OR roaster that offers monthly deliveries from $135. Blue Bottle has a similar program, starting at $11, while Stumptown offers its Roaster's Pick for $20 per month, or you can get a favorite blend for $16 per month.
Soma, the aesthetically-pleasing water filtration system, has teamed up with Intelligentsia on a limited edition coffee kit ($69) that includes a customizable mug with an erasable marker, so you can write your own heartfelt mug message, drugstore ceramics be damned.
Just kidding: pre-fabricated mugs are a totally safe bet for Most Dads (see above regarding tea and coffee). Fishs Eddy always has something with a good sense of humor in stock ("you are not perky, you are obnoxious" is nice for Not a Morning Person Dad), Poketo is the spot for arty mugs (Art Dad will freak out for these shapes), and Omoi Zakka has the best, inexpensive Japanese finds (this one with weather symbols from across the globe is especially fetching, and only $14).
Both Old Dads and Young Dads love nicely-designed (easy to understand) gadgets, because they are problem-solvers more than they are Stuff. The things is, you don't want to chance it on a bundle of wires that'll frustrate him or break. If you aren't a skilled technology shopper who enjoys weighing the soft- and hardware pros and cons of various devices, this can be an intimidating gifting realm.
Surprisingly, Nordstrom has a nice selection of nonthreatening tech giftables like Fitbits and fancy iPhone lens add-ons. Mr. Porter, too, has a worthy range of impressively good-looking electronics like sexy speakers and beautiful headphones (for a pretty penny). If you're willing to put in a bit more dig, Uncrate is the move, with everything from the best free apps to $41,000 cameras available for your browsing.
While dad do love their iPads, they also love newspapers and magazines in their original format: stapled paper. Amazon actually has a no-brainer selection of the major titles, plus niche finds for handymen, World War II buffs, art lovers, and "knowledge junkies."
Another form of paper that works wonders with your old man is a simple card. Go next level with one that's carved out of wood (none of your siblings will think of that), or send over a Scratch-Off Greeting, particularly good for the Lotto Dad.
The Last-Minute Win
There are only a few shipping days left before Father's Day. If your mind is wandering into Amazon Prime territory, may we suggest you take a quick pitstop at Canopy. This shopping site is culled entirely from Amazon, but curated by people with great taste. Everything is beautifully organized with clear prices, linking directly back to "the Internet's largest catalogue." You'll see only the coolest products on the site, with no weird third party carts to check out from, just a prettier browsing experience.