Let’s get real here for a minute. Father’s Day doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves. Swayed by the prior sentiments of Mother’s Day, consumers pull out all the stops for mom, to the tune of an estimated $21.4 billion this year. A survey for the National Retail Federation indicated that Americans expected to spend an average of $172.22 on their Mother’s Day gifts. Meanwhile, dad is lucky if he even receives a card. Why is that?
While both mom and dad can easily be taken for granted the other 365 days a year, it seems natural to acknowledge mom’s contributions on her special day. Dad, on the other hand, doesn’t typically get extra credit for the duties traditionally expected of him. In fact, Father’ Day was first created to honor a widower with six children, who essentially served as both a mother and father figure while raising his family.
According to the book, “Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays,” Sonora Smart Dodd began petitioning the Spokane Ministerial Association in 1910, hoping to establish an annual celebration for fathers in her home state of Washington. Her goal was to pay tribute to her father, William Jackson Smart, who supported the family in dual roles after her mother died. The first statewide holiday occurred on July 19, 1910, and it soon picked up steam across the country.
Even if dad says he doesn’t want or need a gift, showing him, or the father figure in your life, some appreciation is important. Something as simple as spending quality time together will accumulate a lot more value down the road than a pair of socks or a tie clip. But if you’re stuck on what to do, check out our top choices for Father’s Day Activities.
- Record an interview.
When was the last time you asked dad about his childhood, the early days he spent raising you, or how he spends his days now? It’s easy to appreciate your father for all the things he does for you, but Father’s Day is the perfect occasion to learn to appreciate him as a person too. StoryCorps is an organization that focuses on building connections between people by recording and preserving their stories for future generations. This Father’s Day, consider using their methods to record a story with dad, and retain a piece of family history that will be treasured for generations to come. A meaningful dialogue may be all it takes for you two to grow closer this year, and StoryCorps can help with their interview app. The app guides you step-by-step with questions that prompt discussion, which will help you to get to know him on a deeper level. There is also a mobile recording booth in Baltimore, which will be on location until June 17. Take some time to open up to him as well. It will foster a greater understanding between both of you, and we guarantee you won’t forget it.
- Get some exercise.
Many of us can relate to a fond first memory with dad: sitting on the couch and watching the ball game. Sporting events are ideal bonding opportunities, but there’s an even bigger benefit when the event involves physical participation. It may be years since you and dad last tossed around the ol’ pigskin, played tee-ball together, or went down to the lake for a fishing trip, but there’s no better time than the present to relive the past. Pull out that rod and reel for a visit to the Patapsco River (8020 Baltimore National Pike) or Centennial Lake (10000 MD-108) in Ellicott City. Head over to Turf Valley (2700 Turf Valley Road) for a golf game, or participate in this local Father’s Day 5K on June 20. The options are endless for you to have fun and feel good about dad’s health. Now that the weather is picking up, it’s the perfect time to get outside and get active.
- Feel like a kid again.
For younger children looking to enjoy a day with dad, once the handmade presents (re: macaroni art) have been distributed, there are a few options to ponder. One is a day on the farm! Clark’s Elioak Farm (10500 Clarksville Pike) in Ellicott City is hosting a special event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 18. There will be free hayrides for fathers and grandfathers accompanied by a child, and typical treasures like the petting farm, which features an Emu, and a gem mining experience. The Howard County Conservancy (10520 Old Frederick Road) in Woodstock will also be putting on a free Father’s Day event, so long as you RSVP by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Nature-loving children will be able to experience a guided hike with dad, which includes trails through Patapsco Valley State Park. This is a great educational opportunity too, as kids will learn how to identify native trees and wildlife habitats, as well as how to protect the local watershed. There is additionally a chance to earn a prize in the form of a Junior Naturalist patch. This event will also be held on June 18, starting at 10 a.m. Good luck!