Tiephoto © 2006 Kris Arnold | more info (via: Wylio)Father’s Day is less than two weeks from today. If you are an average dad, according to the National Retail Federation, you can expect your family to spend $106.49 on your gift(s).

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Shoppers are forecast to spend an average of $106.49 each this Father’s Day, the greatest amount in the eight years that the National Retail Federation has tracked Father’s Day spending. Dad hasn’t caught up with Mom, however. This year’s Mother’s Day spending averaged $140.73.

Spending for this Father’s Day, June 19, is forecast to grow 13 percent from last year’s $94.32 average. The most popular gifts will be clothes, gift cards, tools and appliances, each with a collective $1.4 billion outlay nationally, followed by electronics ($1.3 billion), sporting goods ($653 million), books and CDs ($598 million) and auto accessories ($593 million), the retail group reports.

That amount seems pretty high to me. But in our family, we aren’t huge gift-givers for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or even birthdays (at least for us parents).

Part of it is a conscious decision not to be too focused on material things. Another part of it is that my wife and I are both pretty thrifty. Let’s be honest: any Father’s Day gift I receive is one I’m pretty much paying for myself. If I really want $106.49 of something, I can just save up and buy it.

And a third part of it, I guess, is a little counter-cultural. We try to appreciate each other on a regular basis. Not just on culturally obligatory days.

So if it’s the thought that counts anyway, instead of spending $106.49 on each other for Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, we take a simpler approach. My wife will take the kids to the local dollar store and let each kid pick out anything they want for me. It costs us $2 and change. We do the same for her on Mother’s Day. And on our birthdays, too.

Over the last few Father’s Days, I have received:

  • a mug that says #1 Dad
  • a set of bungee cords
  • a plastic blue ice cream bowl
  • a ridiculously cheap bicycle lock that I used on a daily basis for more than a year

I’m not sure I’ve gotten any sort of clothing, electronics, sporting goods, books, CDs, or auto accessories for Father’s Day.

But that’s OK. Because everything they’ve given me is something I’ve used, proudly, regardless of how much it cost.


What about you? How do you and your kids do Father’s Day or Mother’s Day?

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