So this year, skip the mall, head online and make your Dad beam with pride. Oh, and if you have any other great suggestions share them in the comments. The more ideas Erika has the better, right? ;)
FitBit – If the Dad in your life is an exercise fan, a geek or just needs to be motivated to get off the couch and regain a little spring in their step, the FitBit is the perfect gift. Clip it on your belt and you get the number of calories burned, the steps you’ve taken and the mileage you’ve traveled. Plus, wear FitBit at night and it’ll track your sleep efficiency. But wait, there’s more! The online dashboards, goal setting modules, friend connections and community are really where FitBit starts to shine. At just under $100, it’s a great gift for Dad – just be sure he doesn’t throw it in the wash!
Dyson Air Multiplier Bladeless Fan – Our family is a fan family, and to this day my Dad can’t sleep without a fan on. So if you’re looking to geek out on the latest in fan tech, skip the Vornado and head straight for the Dyson. It’s the first bladeless fan, which means it has a beautiful design and an even better wind stream to keep Dad cool while he catches some deserved mid-afternoon zzz’s.
Netflix Streaming Subscription – Some, ok me, might say that the gifts that keep on giving are the best of all. Because while a new gadget or shirt is nice, a subscription service gives Dad the ultimate – choice – every day of the year. Netflix streaming packages are less than $10/month and give Dad instant access to tens-of-thousands of movie titles and TV shows straight from his iPad, Xbox, iPhone, Android phone, Internet-enabled TV or computer. If you think your Dad will scratch his head at the gift, just tell him he can now watch every episode of Cheers ever made, back-to-back. Trust me, he’ll get it.
Audible.com – Another great subscription, especially for dad’s that are on the go. Remember books on tape? Well, imagine the Amazon for audio books that you play on your phone or iPod. In fact, Amazon owns Audible, and with a subscription you can guarantee Dad a new book title every month. There are thousands of books including the top Amazon and New York Times Bestsellers. It’s a book, a month, all year. To a bibliophile there is nothing better.
Apps for the iPhone – Sure Dad has the iPhone, but when you stare at his home screen and see that he only has the basic apps and Angry Birds you die a little on the inside. There is clearly a whole world of apps out there that are waiting to bring his iPhone to life. The easiest way to do this is to buy an iTunes gift card, and then sit down with him and pick a few out to get started. Then he’ll have some cash left over to buy a few on his own. Here are a few of my favorites: Path, Instagram, AutoStitch, Plants vs. Zombies, QuickOffice, MLB At-Bat, Skype, Simplenote, NBA Jam. Get him started with those gems and then get ready to hear “I didn’t know it could do that!” clear on through to next Father’s Day.
The Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun – Thanks to Erika, I own both Geek Dad and the latest from Ken Denmead, The Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun: Cool Hacks, Cutting Edge Games and More Awesome Projects for the Whole Family. Denmead, who writes for Wired’s blog of the same name, has assembled a collection of geeky projects that dads and kids can do together. The projects are fun, inexpensive and range in difficulty, making it perfect for any dad with kids 5 – 13. My son and I have made LED fireflies and are working on PVC Nerf blow dart guns next. I can’t wait till he’s a bit older to break out the soldering gun and bring our Legos to life. If the dad in your life is a geek, and you want to inspire the inner-geek in your kid, pick up these books. They’re tons of fun.
Bonobos Clothes – Walk into most retailers and the men’s section is roughly the size of a half-bathroom with few, if any, selections that really inspire. So instead of choosing from slim pickings, head on over to the online clothing store MADE for MEN, Bonobos, and pick up some stylish threads built to fit dad to a T. I particularly like the vintage sports tees. But everything they have is amazing – pants, shorts, suits, you name it.
Nook Color – I’m a Kindle guy, but I can’t help but jealously eye those Nook Colors. The Nook Color is more like a tablet than a stand alone e-reader. You can send email, surf the web, play Angry Birds, oh yeah, and read! At $249 it’s half the cost of the iPad and still a great geeky gift for your gadget-loving Dad.
A Magazine Subscription – Whether it’s Wired, Rolling Stone or The Economist, you can’t go wrong with a subscription that keeps Dad in the know. Grab a copy off the news stand so you have something to give, and tell him it comes with at least 12 more just like it. Thoughtful, easy, inexpensive. Win.
iPad 2 – Its predecessor topped my Dad’s Day list last year, and now, more than ever, it’s the ultimate gift for a geeky dad. You’ve seen the ads, you know the deal. If you’re looking for a true statement gift, this is it. I shouldn’t need to say much more.
Tickets to a Ballgame – There’s nothing quite like being at a ballgame with your Dad. Remember the first one you went to? Kind of felt like magic, right? But with ticket prices so high, who can afford it anymore? Well you can if you use ScoreBig. Like a Priceline for sports, concert and theater tickets, you save up to 60% off the retail price. With ScoreBig, you decide how much you want to pay for tickets, plus there are never any fees and every ticket is 100% guaranteed. It’s members only right now, but luckily I work there, so here’s a special invite to skip the waiting list and get in now. Why not grab a couple of tickets to the game for you and your pops? And if he’s more of a rocker, you can rock out at a concert of your choice instead.
L.A. Noire – If you have a gamer in the house this is one of the two must-have games on the list for this year. Made by the legendary game shop Rockstar Games, this title takes you back to 1940’s Los Angeles, where you play a detective in a giant game of ‘who dunnit?’ where things aren’t what they seem and characters change allegiances and stories at the drop of a hat. Definitely one to play after the kids are in bed. The stunning graphics, expansive world and nuanced stories make this a winner.
Portal 2 – The other blockbuster game of the year. If your Dad is more of a problem-solving puzzle master, ditch Sudoku and get him this mind bender. In a game that is more mind power than fire power, your Dad’s smarts will be put to the test as he tries to defeat the evil GLaDOS. It’s been called the most anticipated game of 2011 – trust me, your Dad will thank you for it.
Xbox Kinect – And while we’re speaking of games, we can’t forget the next-gen sensation that is the Xbox Kinect. Ditch the controller and get off the couch with Kinect’s body-controlled interface. If your Dad liked Minority Report, he’ll love this. Use your hands and body to navigate characters through games, truly putting you in the middle of the action. With titles for him and the whole family, Kinect takes the idea of the Wii to the next level.
Adidas Rod Laver – I love Zappos. With free 48 hour shipping and 365 days to make a return, you can’t go wrong. Add on top of that the world’s largest collection of clothing and shoes and you’ve got a winner in my book. I’m a fan of the Adidas Rod Laver. Classic, understated and cool. They work just as well in the office as they do on the weekend. Keep Dad young and hip with a pair of these. You’ll see a spring in his step in no time.
A Cool Watch – Nothing adds geek cred like a conversation-starting watch. But skip the Timex and grab one of these cool watches. While Hipsters may go for the calculator watch, add a bit more class and go for the subtle nod to geekdom with the Cadence 4-bit Chronoraph. With a July launch you’ll need to let him know it’s coming, but it’ll be worth the wait. It’s clean design says “I know what’s up” rather than “I’m a follower”. After all, that calculator watch lost it’s cool when it ended up in Urban Outfitters.
Altec Octiv Mini – I’ve been using this since last Father’s Day and it’s been my most used gadget ever since. Part iPhone charger, part alarm clock, part sound system, this little gem is where my iPhone goes at night, and wakes me up with tunes of my choice. The small footprint doesn’t take away from the great sound it gives music on your phone. So toss that old alarm clock and upgrade to the Altec Octiv Mini.
Beats by Dre – Not only do they carry the name of the most influential Hip Hop artist of our generation, they also get rave reviews for their clear highs and clean bass. I recommend the Solo HDs. They sound great and they just look cool. They’re not cheap, but if your dad spends a bunch of time on the train, subway or plane, hook him up with some sonic enjoyment.
Countertop garden – Bring a little Zen to Dad’s life with a desk or counter top garden. Trust me, he’ll love playing Daniel-son and reliving the hundreds of times he watched the Karate Kid. These cool planters are clean, easy to maintain and bring some natural beauty to any cubicle or counter top.
These Guys Have All the Fun – The ESPN Book – Give Dad 700+ pages of the inside scoop to his favorite network. This tell all includes the sometimes sordid and messy details of life at ESPN behind the scenes of SportsCenter. From the writers who brought you the New York Times bestselling look behind Saturday Night Live, this book will give Dad all he ever wanted to know about the Worldwide Leader and more.
So that’s a wrap for this year’s gift guide. Have any great suggestions? Add them in the comments. And remember, every one of these gifts is better when it comes with a big hug and an “I love you Dad.” Trust me, we’re a sucker for those, every time.