The Father’s Day Gift List 2022
Father’s Day. Still living in the shadow of Mother’s Day, but a great opportunity to show a bit of appreciation and enjoy a family get together.
We would normally say that fathers are really difficult to buy for. By they reach retirement age many men have got what they need and want, so choosing a suitable gift that won’t just gather dust can be hard. I know I ended up giving my dad something that I would enjoy. That way, if he gave it back later, at least I’d tried, and I could make use of it.
These are slightly different times this year. Living costs are rising rapidly, while many pensions and investments have dropped in value. Many people on a pension will be tightening their belts, so the right gift could go down very well.
This is our suggestion list for Father’s Day presents this year. If we’ve had the chance to review the product or service, we’ll say so. As I’ve been a bit slow to put the list together, we are still receiving products for review, so do check back to see if we’ve got more to say.
Experiences and days out
For the man who has pretty much everything he requires, the alternative is to look at experiences. Whether it’s ‘acting their age’ or defying expectations with a high-adrenaline activity, companies like Red Letter Days offer a huge range of possibilities. Choose from pamper days, three-course dinners, golf days, helicopter tours, beer cruises, or a straightforward gift voucher. We opted for the ‘Treat Him’ experience box, which gave us access to numerous experiences across the UK, including fast cars, vineyard and distillery tours, barber treatments, afternoon teas, dinners, paintballing, escape rooms and much more. Packages are available on the website, and you can choose whether the voucher is sent by email or in the post. I do tend to struggle with the booking process, although it has improved over the years, and I generally get there in the end.
We used our complementary Red Letter Day experience to visit Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey. You may have seen it in a televisions series recently – the Secret Life of the Transport Museum. The programme focused on the museum’s history as part of the Brooklands motor racing track, and some of the track is still here to view. The museum itself features much more than just fast cars and motorbikes from an earlier age. The bus museum, previously in Cobham, moved here a few years ago, and I find it fascinating as part of the story of our social history. There are planes here too, and you can wander through one of the Concorde prototypes. As an added extra you can undertake the Concorde experience. There’s a café and a shop, and parking is reasonably easy. Love this place for adults.
If your dad enjoys social history, I would also recommend Weald and Downland Living Museum, set outdoors near Chichester and featuring whole buildings from down the ages. This is where ‘the Repair Shop’ is currently filmed. Also brilliant for a taste of past times, including Victorian and war years, is Beamish Living Museum in County Durham. I’ve enjoyed visits to both of these in the past, and it sounds like they’ve grown immensely and positively in the last few years.
What to wear
Cotton Traders is a well-known brand to turn to for casual wear at any time of year. For Father’s Day we tried out a half-zip hooded microfleece top that goes all the way up to 4XL sizing, giving the portliest dad a chance to keep warm on those cooler summer days. Made in recycled polyester, this top is a lightweight choice, and is machine washable although instructions say it needs reshaping while damp after washing. £22 on the Cotton Traders website.
Take a journey through Hollywood’s lifelong love affair with cocktails in Cocktails of the Movies (£9.99), celebrating the greatest characters and their iconic drinks through original illustrations and easy-to-follow recipes. Each cocktail is accompanied by the recipe, history of the drink and a synopsis of its movie scene alongside full-colour original artwork. From Marilyn Monroe’s Manhattan in Some Like It Hotto The Dude’s White Russian in The Big Lebowski, there’s something for everyone. Not reviewed.
Here are some sporting books that have all featured in the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Awards. Graham Sharpe, who set up the awards 34 years ago, names his top five (and I have to say I quite fancy reading all these too but haven’t reviewed any yet):
- True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny by Daniel Topolski. The first winner in 1989 was written by Oxford and Olympic team rowing coach, Daniel Topolski, and thriller writer Patrick Robinson. This is the story of a rowing rebellion in probably the world’s best-known water-borne race, which resulted in the American mutineers quitting and leaving their inexperienced replacements up a creek without a proverbial paddle
- Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. This tale of one man’s devotion to his favourite football team was about Hornby and Arsenal, but could have been you and your own favourite club.
- The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro by Joe McGinniss. A tale of achievement, corruption, and tragedy at an obscure, lower-division Italian football club, told by a man who experienced all of those elements at first-hand.
- It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong. At the time this was felt to be an inspirational story, but was subsequently remarked “The book now stands as a testament to Armstrong’s capacity to delude himself and deceive his fans.”
- Swell, A Waterbiography by Jenny Landreth. How swimming-loving suffragettes eventually managed to demand and achieve a watery equality.
Styles of shaving are very much a personal taste, but for those who enjoy a good lather with a brush and cream, this might be a happy twist on the traditional shaving brush. It’s a plastic free and vegan shaving brush, using grass-based sisal bristles but still with a wooden handle. Not quite as soft an experience as some brushes give, but better for badgers. Price is £14.97 and you can buy a shaving bar and safety razor at the same time.
A new craft
Retirement brings times to expand interests, and lockdown saw an increasing number of men taking up what had been seen as traditionally female hobbies. I’m slow to catch up with this year’s ‘Great British Sewing Bee’ programme but was fascinated to see two men in the competition who had only taken to their sewing machines in the last couple of years. So I was very interested to see the launch of Mike Aspinall’s new book The Crafty Gentleman’s Guide to Modern Paper Piecing, available from specialist crafting publisher Search Press at Price £15.99. I watched the launch of this step-by-step guide to an increasingly popular approach to quilting, with the added bonus that the completed projects are useful as pencil cases, cushion covers and more.
Something for the birds
The RSPB has a wide range of potential gifts on its website for any size of garden. We gave my in-laws a similar water bowl feature to this one a few years ago, and it does look good on the patio, whether or not any birds actually come down to bathe. Echoes ceramic birdbath, £28.99
We’ve just received a sample copy of the Electronics Repair Toolkit by iFixit. Intended to help dad fix his smart phone and laptop, this is a well-packaged box of mini metal and plastic tools, such as multiple screwdriver bits, a SIM eject tool, opening pics and the interestingly named ‘spudger’ and ‘jimmy’. There are no instructions in the box, but there are plenty of step-by-step guides on the website to show how to make repairs to phones, tablets and more. We think this could be a useful addition to all the bits of toolkits around the office we’ve collected and then lost over the years, despite quite a high price at £21.99, because it comes with what looks like valuable advice from experts.
Walking with poles
If dad is interested in Nordic walking, he might like to sign up to membership of the WALKX/NWUK group. For £14.95 a year, the group promises retailer savings, priority access and discounts to festivals and breaks, and regular updates. Whether you like your poles extendable, collapsible, telescopic or fixed length, you can find them here, and much more besides. Not reviewed.
Yet more ideas
Why not take a look at our last gift guide, published for Christmas 2021? Many of are still available and would make great Father’s Day gifts.