Fathers day is fast approaching and we are already being bombarded with advertising advising us what we should buy. In this post, I'll share zero waste and ecofriendly father's day ideas and gifts that he will actually want.
Men can be hard to buy gifts for and when you think you've found the perfect thing it can be disappointing to discover it goes unused, collecting dust for years and you realise many more future gifts will probably end up the same way. So, forget completely about what the adverts are telling you to buy and think about what dad really likes.
Let's remember something first though, once upon a time, back in the 1980's, kids usually just sorted the dad gifts out themselves. They made something at school or in their spare time and that was the gift, completely irrelevant of material worth, aesthetics, brand names, dollar value. Regardless of what it was, dads loved it, put it on a shelf, desk or bookcase and it sat there forever to be admired.
Now it feels there is some kind of expectation that it needs to be a designer T-shirt , particular brand of tool or gadget, and bigger and better gifts year after year. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it, kids don't have jobs and you don't need to encourage them to shop when we live in a world where families are crippled by debt and obsessed with consumerism.
I had so much positive feedback when I wrote about zero waste Mother's Day ideas that I'm going to start with free and frugal father's day ideas and further down, I'll include a few great gifts that are zero waste or ecofriendly.
Giving an experience gift doesn't mean you need to look online for an adventure to buy. It really can be as simple as BBQ and walk in your local national park, fish and chips by the beach, a bike ride, geocaching, or a day exploring the sights in your own town. Pack a picnic and a thermos of coffee or tea and head out with the kids or grandkids for your own adventures. If you don't want to go to far, take a walk down the street, visit a cafe or do some gardening together. Hanging out together and enjoying the outdoors can be good food for the soul and you don't have to be athletic.
Typically we reserve coffee and breakfast in bed for mums, but why not do the same for dad? Fathers are so much more involved with family life these days and I think they sometimes miss out on a lie in and some pampering.
Gift In A Jar
If you're like me, you have a stash of empty glass jars just waiting to be used. Fill them with homemade treats, or head to the bulk store for chocolate coated almonds, nuts, local honey, loose-leaf tea, a spice blend or a selection of his favorite things. You can even recycle some cardboard and string to make a tag.
If you have time go ahead and make his favorite shortbread, cookies or cake. My dad really loves my homemade banana bread.
Not everyone has the luxury of enough free time to so this so why not head to your local bakery for a gourmet loaf of bread or a yummy cake and bring your own containers or bread bag to skip the packaging.
Head to the Market
This can be a really nice way to spend time together, but if you head there before you see your dad, check out the local produce and locally made foods and other items. These things can make a great basket of goodies for dad to enjoy at his leisure.
Let Your Kids Make Something
Whatever age, kids really do show their love though the things they make. Homemade cards and gifts, no matter how ugly can remind us how much our kids love is and we often treasure their creations.
Here are a few cute and simple ideas you can make at home for dad....
Create Your Own Nature Father's Day Nature Cards
Upcycle a toilet roll into a nifty phone holder
Use Lego Blocks to create a Building Memories Jar
Make it Yourself
Just because you're grown up doesn't mean you can't get into the spirit of handmade cards and gifts.
Try mixing up a wood butter he can use on breadboards, a DIY beard balm, or a no-sew T-shirt bag from his favorite unwearable T-shirt collection. Make a simple hand scrub with sugar, coconut oil and used coffee grinds or how about homemade Bacon Salt.
I really love this DIY terracotta pot smoker, but there are so many great ideas out there that you are bound to find something to suit your dad.
Does your dad have some skills you would love to learn? It could be woodwork, fishing, mushroom hunting, grafting fruit trees, cooking an authentic curry, or a lesson on your family history. This can be a fun opportunity to bond together and show your dad how much you value him. (Plus you might learn some great tricks to make your own lifestyle more sustainable). You could also take this opportunity to teach your dad some skills like how to program his TVR or use his smartphone better, or just volunteer your time to help him out with something.
Zero Waste Ecofriendly Gifts To Buy
We can't always be near our loved ones and celebrate together and sometimes we really want to buy a gift, so here are a few ideas good for dad and good for the planet.
There are plants for every type of person and it has to be the greenest gift of all. A Peace Lily for the office (they are super hard to kill by the way), a chilli plant, a lemon tree or a potted herb mix. Take into account dad's likes and dislikes as well as how committed he might want to be to keeping it alive, and the type of space he has. You could also take some cuttings from your own garden and pot them in an upcycled container.
If your dad is a toast lover, no doubt he has trouble removing stuck toast from the toaster. I actually bought these toast tongs for my dad this year so he's never tempted to use something silly to remove his toast. (I know for a fact his fingers are too fat to get it out without tipping the toaster upside down or having to unplug it and use a knife). It's made from natural wood so there's no issue with how to mindfully dispose of these if they ever wear out.
Shampoo Bar (with real Tassie Beer!)
I bought this for my dad too, he's the no maintenance type of guy and although he isn't as interested in saving the planet as me, he really loves convenience and no fuss stuff. This Beauty and the Bees Beer Shampoo Bar is perfect as it lasts for ages and he can avoid the dreaded supermarket for as long as possible. It comes in just a cardboard box and no sneak
Using a bar instead of a can of foam or liquid shaving soap is far better for the environment, and these ones by Dindi Naturals are palm oil free and come in a handy tin perfect for storage or travel. Another great thing is that you can get hold of package-free refills and use the tin forever.
Muscle Rub Balm
If dad has been working hard metntally or physically, this natural based muscle rub from The Physic Garden is perfect. It's vegan and cruelty free and contains shea butter, peppermint, Comfrey, Camphor and Wintergreen. Ethically handmade in Victoria and personally I cant wait to get some for myself.
Grow Your Own Tea Kit
These kits are really cute and come with seeds, a planter pot, an enamel tea mug and a tea strainer. If dad loves herbal tea, then he might enjoy growing his own and enjoying the flavours of freshly made brew from the windowsill. These come in a few flavours like peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm and echinacea.
The Art of Frugal Hedonism
This is my favourite book ever, and if I could, I'd give a copy to everyone I know. The Art of Frugal Hedonism is all about having fun without spending money and it leads to living more ecofriendly too. It's a light, fun read and is one of those books that is timeless. I think this appeals to those stuck in the consumerism cycle as well as those that believe the best things in life are free.
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As you can see, there are loads of options for a zero waste or ecofriendly Father's Day, even if he isn't a tree hugger type, and it doesn't have to break the bank.
What are you planning to give your dad this year for Father's Day?