(Bloomberg) -- Since Father’s Day was first conceived in the early 1900s—by the daughter of a Civil War veteran and widower who had raised six children as a single parent—there’s been a what-to-give quandary.
Here’s our advice. Just think of dads as what they are: grown-up kids. We like cool things, tasty things, daring things, and things we can play with other people. Will Dad want to bring it in for show & tell on Monday? If the answer is affirmative, you’ve done well on Sunday.
Gifts That Are Games
You might want to start with gifts that Dad can share with others, especially his own kids or grandkids.
Center Field Batting Practice at Fenway Park ($7,000–$11,000, with up to 24 guests) is a chance to shag fly balls (to keep) in a hallowed Red Sox outfield previously defended by Ted Williams, Jim Rice, and Manny Ramirez. The experience includes a pre-game tour of the Green Monster, seats in rows 1-2 of the Left Field Pavilion Section 18, and in-game eats from a private concession stand.
If you can’t beat your teens with screens, have Dad join ’em with a Sony PS4 Playstation Pro ($399). Don’t know what games to get? Start by boosting his granddaughters with a copy of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy ($29.99), starring Chloe and Nadine, a treasure hunter and a mercenary; the game eschews the dated, damsels-in-distress trope. Or with World Cup 2018 kicking off in Russia over Father’s Day weekend, get a head start with FIFA18 ($59.99).
For more analog gaming, consider gifting a Jaques London Sandringham croquet set ($6,679). Six-wicket cutthroat is a classic mash-up of billiards and chess that’ll engage his gamesmanship without wearing out his knees—and it will double as a great excuse for a lawn party. The mahogany-and-brass cabinet contains everything you need for an eight-person game: powder-coated, uber-durable wickets; full-size, double-scored balls; pegs; flags; and accessories.
Gifts That Are Workouts
Not every dad looks great in a skinsuit, but if yours crushes his calories as a cyclist, a proper road kit is just the thing. Alé Bike Wear's 2018 collection of jerseys ($99–$169) and high-tech bibshorts ($85–$229) are light, breathable, and quick-drying for scorching temps and steep climbs, as well as ergonomically cut for racing.
No outfit is complete without shoes. On the road, Fi’zi:k Aria R3 road biking shoes ($300), are peerless: Italian engineering, a carbon fiber outsole, and a slick, webbed closure system.
Gifts That Are Drinks
But for true punk attitude, challenge the Father’s Day whiskey-giving cliché with a decadent, aged alternative. The eight-to-15-year-old Mount Gay XO Reserve Cask Rum ($48) is a ripe and opulent slow-sipper. If he still needs that Scotch-like smoke, there’s Sombra Mezcal ($42.99). This distillery honors tradition but takes a modern, eco-minded, and community-centered approach so Dad can feel good with every sip of his smoked margarita. (Just tell him to sub mezcal for tequila.)
After all that, keep him hydrated, too, with a water bottle that’s as low-profile as a flask. The A5 Memobottle ($36) holds 750 milliliters of H20 but is flat enough to be slipped into his briefcase without a bulge.
Gifts That Are Books
Taschen’s Il Fascino Ferrari, Art Edition is a gifting win-win. At $30,000, it’s pricey, but with only 250 signed and numbered copies, it’s also an heirloom—which means that unless you’re the spare and not the heir, it’ll end up back in your hands someday. The hand-stitched leather-bound book is enclosed in a Ferrari motor-inspired aluminum case from influential designer Marc Newson.
Much less pricey, Phaidon’s third edition of Where Chefs Eat ($35) now comes with an app, allowing Dad to take the 1,184-page behemoth on the road. Its 7,000 recommendations (in more than 70 countries) come from 650 of the world's best chefs, such as Daniel Boulud, Massimo Bottura, David Chang, and Rene Redzepi.
Gifts That Are Adventures
For outdoorsy dads, the Safari Condo Alto R Serie Camper ($38,725) is a customizable head-turner. Its seamless, retractable roof, developed in a wind tunnel and built from a single piece of curved aluminum, creates 75 percent less aerodynamic drag than a traditional trailer, making for better gas mileage and smoother road trips. The teardrop-shaped camper sleeps four, opens/closes with the push of a button, and is light enough to be towed by a compact car.
For fun from Dad’s yacht, hit him with the Dive X Piranha P1 Dive Scooter ($4,350). This personal propulsion system packs enough get-up-and-go to survey the world below sea level for more than two hours, at speeds of up to 233 feet per minute (about 2.6 miles per hour). The P1 has a built in GoPro mount, programmable electronics, and a special monofilament trap for preventing propeller mishaps with fishing line.
And if Pops still wants to share but is too analog for Instagram, consider the Lomo’Instant Wide Camera Central Park Edition ($259). From the makers of the Diana, that lo-fi film camera from the 1960s, the Lomo looks retro but is actually a modern instant camera. This package includes four colored-gel filters, two additional lenses, and shooting technique cards.
Gifts He Can Wear
If Dad often wears suits, he’s probably got enough matchy-matchy accessories. Instead, go for something uniquely catchy by mixing Tiffany’s Sterling Silver Word Cuff Links ($200 each): Left + Right, What + Ever, or Etc + Etc.
Last, here's a granddad gift for when you take the entire clan to the beach: Vilebrequin Father & Son Mini Fish Trunks ($590) is luxury, limited-edition swimwear for him and your own little ones. (Or for you and yours now, if you’re in a treat-yourself mood.) The suits feature fast-drying, embroidered fabric and strings tipped in silver, which all pack neatly into their own back pockets.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.