Words by Lee Carnihan
You’re probably here because you’re wondering what to get for Father’s Day.
Well, this hasn’t always been the month for novelty ties, personalised beer mugs and hi-tech ‘manly’ gadgets that it is today. Did you know that the traditional gift for dads is actually a rose – the official flower for Father’s Day (carnations are for Mother’s Day).
It was tradition for red versions of the flowers to be given if the parent is still living, and white flowers to be placed on their grave when they die.
Nowadays, Father’s Day brings in about £200 million a year in the UK. It’s even bigger in the US, with sales topping out around $12.7 billion every year. The commercialisation of Father’s Day means that the global market for men’s gadgets and gizmos is now bigger than ever.
The history of Father’s Day
When the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Fairmont, West Virginia, on 5 July 1908, it looked rather unlikely that the idea would take off.
Inspired by Anna Jarvis, who had been campaigning to make Mother’s Day a recognised holiday since 1905, Grace Golden Clayton wanted to dedicate a day to the remembrance of all the fathers who had died in the 1907 Monongah Mining Accident.
The next Father’s Day celebration wasn’t until 19 June 1910, when Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, held an event to celebrate male parenting in honour of her father, who had raised her after her mother died in childbirth.
Father’s Day wasn’t made an official permanent national holiday until 1972, under President Richard Nixon. These days it’s celebrated by most countries on the third Sunday of every June (although in Thailand, it is honoured on 5 December – the birthday of King Bhumipol Adulyadej).
Today the gadget market has made buying for your old man so much easier than it once was. Whatever his interests are, you can be sure there’s a gizmo to match…
The Sports Dad
After a long week at work, sport is a popular way to unwind, refocus and de-stress.
Some guys enjoy the competitiveness and camaraderie of team games like football and rugby, while others find their zen on the golf course or shooting pool. For others, sport is best enjoyed from the comfort of the sofa, expertly deconstructing their favourite football team’s performance with a beer in hand!
Whatever their interests, games such as Clock Golf and gadgets like Zepp Sensor are perfect for the sports-minded – and a great way of helping dad put some much-needed work into improving his golf swing!
One of the most popular fitness gadgets of the past few years is the wearable fitness band, and with more than 17 million bands shipped worldwide in 2014. Being able to track your blood pressure, hydration, heart rate and steps when exercising can be seriously addictive! When Fitbit addressed the TechCrunch 50 conference in 2008, the founders expected no more than five pre-orders, yet their performance surpassed all expectations. In just one day they got 2,000!
The work-a- holic dad
Office culture is changing fast, with many businesses now focusing on creating a more relaxed work environment to help encourage people to be happier and more productive.
The stereotypical office scene is slowly fading away: rows of computers in a windowless room, with stressed out suits tapping anxiously away at their keyboards. But there is one remnant of the traditional office that is still very much alive, and that’s the desk toy.
From slinkies and stress balls to the Newton’s cradle and the dunking bird, we all know the old school desk toys.
There’s still strong demand for these fun distractions, with a whole range of addictive magnetic sculptures and desktop puzzles available. Science has also shown that these little gadgets enhance cognitive performance, boost productivity, reduce workplace stress, and even help to improve memory.
The DIY Maestro
Most dads at some point or another will be called on by the family to show off their handy work around the house or in the garden.
The urge to own a shed and ‘make stuff’ seems to be a built-in quality for many men, and the excitement of splurging on the perfect tools for the job is practically irresistible.
Whether they’re a dab hand or a disaster waiting to happen, they probably like to think they’re capable of turning their hand to the odd bit of DIY.
The Fall Back Option
Whatever category your “old man” falls into, there’s a perfect Father’s Day gadget out there for him. Take your time, shop around, and if all else fails… there’s always the rose to fall back on!