FAMILY Parenting

We Polled Real Dads: Here’s What They Want for Father’s Day

Written by Bryce

We polled read dads to ask what they really want for Father’s Day. The results may surprise you.

When we used social media to poll real dads (822 respondents, 97% were based in the USA with at least one child under the age of 18) about what they’d actually love this Father’s Day we were surprised to see just how realistic dads seem to be. We weren’t shocked that literally zero dads reported a desire for new neck ties or cologne (we’re not judging if you’re wrapping up a box of cologne and aftershave right now). but the shocked looks on our faces ran deep when we realized real dads want gear to streamline their lives, their homes, and their eating. If nothing else, we learned American dads are definitely a practical bunch. Here’s what ranked highest in our polls:

They want quiet time

One of our favorite responses was “I want to hang out in an air conditioned room in my pajamas, TV on, and maybe a drink in hand.” A pretty significant portion of real dads (26%) said they’d love some semblance of quiet time, so we’re thinking pajamas and top notch pillows at the perfect gifts.

Original Penguin lounge pants, $14.97 at Nordstrom Rack

We found ultra-comfy cotton lounge pants by Original Penguin under $15, perfect for spending saved up allowance, and the world’s most comfortable gel-infused pillows. We’ve passed them around our own offices with endless “ooh” and “ah” sounds for weeks, and we’ve heard real dads say that the neck contour of these in particular is the best solution for dads who are on the go all the time, work out a lot, or get tension headaches.

Malouf side sleeper pillow with neck contour, $125.99 at


Speaking of that drink in hand, they want whisky

Over 75 real dads really reported a desire for a good drink in their hands, which is why we think a bottle of the good stuff is literally a smooth move. It’s made using handpicked, first fill Spanish sherry oak casks. The finish is long, lingering, and reflective, sort of like good parenting, but tastier.


Dads want to eat BBQ on Father’s Day, they just don’t want to do all the shopping and schlepping

We weren’t surprised to see comments like “I love BBQ and don’t mind doing the grill work, but the idea of doing the shopping for all the meat and stuff is a chore. If my wife would commit to buying loads of meat in advance I’d be a pig in you-know-what grilling it up.” You hear that, ladies and children of great dads everywhere? They want you to load them up with meat and fixins’ so they can happily grill all day.

This Father’s Day T-Bone package is basically a feast and ships directly to Dad’s door for $59.99

Omaha Steaks has a Father’s Day T-Bone Gift Package  that ships directly to Dad in the cooler of his dreams, loaded with a fairly giant T-bone steak, 4 burgers, 4 big hot dogs that are far beyond the average, 4 servings of potatoes au gratin, and even dessert — an entire two pound cheesecake, proving that Father’s Day can be for everyone.

They want climate control and lower bills

This is the one that really got us, because 43% of the real dads we polled responded with answers like “a day without someone touching the thermostat” or “lower bills so I can actually chill out and feel like I’m enjoying life. We dug a little deeper on that one and found out that of the 43% responding in this fashion, a significant portion complained of monthly utility bills of $500 or more. Ouch, we feel you. This is probably a good opportunity to introduce Dad to the fine art of powerful fans instead of running the AC all day.

This Lasko Pro-Performance Pivoting Utility Fan is great for DIY type dads because it’s indoor and outdoor friendly — meaning he can enjoy it while he’s got his feet kicked up inside or while he’s tinkering with things in the driveway (or, ahem, while he’s grilling all the meat he didn’t have to schlep). It’s got a 10 foot cord and all the right wiring to keep circuit boards safe, so he’ll be pleased with this choice and a glass of whisky, guaranteed.

Something to streamline his commute to work

One of our favorite poll responses, by far, was “I travel about half the week and it’s really hard to be away from my kids. The last thing I want when I’m sad and missing them is to bother with an annoying commute, so I’d like some kind of gift that would be special from them that also helped get me through airport security quicker or just easier.” It turns out a lot of dads feel like that and are on the go pretty often.

away travel suitcase

The father figure in your life will probably want an Away suitcase, you know — the one you can charge your phone with while you’re on the go, and this Father’s Day gift package from the company features a Truman shave kit from Harry’s and a collection of stories about the men who changed the way we see the world—it’s called Dads Going Places. The bag, if you’re wondering, is only 7.3 pounds.

A connector or reminder

We were happy to see that nearly 28% of dads also wanted a reminder of their family ties or lineage, and we thought that was pretty cool. Companies like 23andme offer DNA kits that test everything from where Dad’s family is from to what his health history may be, and that’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Grooming gear is a perennial fave

Beard Envy gift set by Billy Jealousy, $25 at

We got a few all-too-honest answers like “honestly, I don’t know what to buy for myself. My wife told me to grow a beard and I have no idea how to tame it now. Can she get me something for that, like one of those beard products?” When we stopped giggling we realized this was a pretty serious and real need for a lot of men, so we’re suggesting a grooming gift set like this one by Billy Jealousy. It’s affordable, includes a user-friendly beard wash and separate grooming product, and is generally received as a pretty manly gift.

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About the author


Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce's aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber

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