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June 12, 2021

How much will you spend on a Father's Day gift this year?

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

Hear that? That’s the sound of your painful lack of Father’s Day gift ideas growing more and more apparent as the date inches near.

But if you’re less concerned with picking out a present than actually paying for it this year, don’t sweat it. You’re not alone.

According to the LA Times, this holiday sure won’t be easy on dad. Two recent polls indicate that gift spending for pops next Sunday will be at a depressing low, a sure-fire sign Father’s Day 2009 has officially become sponsored by Bernie Madoff and the good people responsible for the black BANKRUPT triangles on Wheel of Fortune.

Even though Mother’s Day ’09 couldn’t exactly be compared to a Boxing Day bonanza, this survey from shows 34% of shoppers plan to spend less for Father’s Day this year, a much higher number than those who similarly scaled back cash for Mother’s Day gifts in May.

And, sure, we don’t need a recession to tell us it’s the thought that really counts behind a Father’s Day gift. I am curious, though, to see how some dads would react to the notion that some 7% of shoppers don’t plan on spending anything – anything! – for a gift this year.

Really, guys? Nothing? Maybe our friends in that 7% should sneak a peek at this list of recession-proof Father’s Day gifts, a collection of pretty thoughtful ideas you could consider offering the man who raised you for under $20.

If you’re like me, you’re wondering what the hell you get for a father who – by the nature of their breed – already has anything he could ever want. I fear if my siblings and I present my dad with another laser level the cops will have to be called to shut down the impromptu LASIK eye clinic he'll have set up in the garage or something.

Regardless of what we eventually choose, maybe everyone might be best to consider some sentimental advice:

“Whether you’re buying him a cordless drill, fishing rod or just a burger at the ballgame, let him know the recession hasn’t changed how you feel about him,” gushes Martha C. White on “It might not be a bad idea to put something heartfelt in the card … about how he did such a great job teaching you the value of a dollar.”

Yeah … that could work. I’d probably just go with a hammer, though. Hammer seems like a safer bet.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...