Welcome to Part two of my review of terrible Father’s Day Gifts. Due to unforeseen events happening over the last month in my life unfortunately this is quite late. But luckily the lessons contained below are not only appropriate for Father’s Day, but any gift giving occasion for the men in your life.
Part one of this review focused on some particularly bizarre gift ideas for Dad and highlighted some exceptionally poor food related gift ideas. Today I am tackling the classic Father’s Day gift theme of putting two (or more) seemingly unrelated products together in the effort to create a completely useless, bizarre or downright questionable offspring as well as a couple other gifts that just make me wonder.
1. Hankie Pocket!
For the man in your life that still wears pocket squares or Hankies on a daily basis but also struggles with taking notes comes this small notebook.
I have already tackled the subject of notebooks and writing utensils as gifts in my blog post on Mother’s Day Gifts and those familiar with me will know that I stand firmly on the “let’s eliminate paper altogether” side of the fence. But apparently the gift giving geniuses over at Real Simple think that not only are men out there desperate to write notes, but need to do in sneakily by disguising the notebook as a pocket square.
The description says that it is fashionable for the “grab-and-go note-taker” which is about as niche a demographic as you can get. But I can’t see how fashionable it is to be carrying what is soon to be a dog-eared, ripped, ink stained book around as if it was a fashionable pocket square?
Instead – recommend some good note taking apps to your father. I personally like Workflowy. Or if a notebook really is his thing, I say stick with a classic executive or moleskin notebook.
2. I got a Rock
Do people actually need to buy bottle openers? If your house is anything like mine then you likely have more than a reasonable amount of bottle openers turning up in every other drawer in your kitchen. And yet, novelty bottle openers seem to turn up on gift lists for Dad all the time.
Since it seems that every other week one of the beer companies is giving away a bottle opener in a case or beer or another “Hip with it” company decides to give you one to show you how “cool” they are because it’s not just another personalized pen, I fail to see why anyone would ever actually need to buy a bottle opener. But thank you country living for showing me the error of my ways with this prime example of the bottle opener taken to the next level by attaching it to a rock. Obviously, the fact that it is attached to a rock makes it totally worth the price and totally better than the bottle opener I have been using since University.
3. Do Dads really want terrariums?
I know that there are a lot of different types of men out there and some like to garden and like plants and there are probably men who would enjoy this next gift. I can especially see it if they still have younger children at home and watching the terrarium and taking care of it is something they can do together. The reason this is making the list is that I kept seeing the terrarium theme popping up all over the place. Since this seems like a fairly small subset of father’s who really want terrariums I was definitely confused when I kept seeing them suggested over and over again. Especially on Pinterest.
Bonus: this one from Real Simple is made from a recycled wine bottle giving us another hybrid gift
Bookends always make me think of the Episode of Friends where Rachel and Phoebe find the gifts from Chandler and they ask him “What is this weird metal AZ thing?”
To which Chandler replies, “Bookends, Those are a great gift”
Country Living seems to have sided with Chandler on this one, however I fall firmly in the Rachel-Phoebe Camp. Bookends are not great gifts. Outside of staged magazine photos I don’t think I have ever actually seen bookends in use in any house ever. In my opinion bookends solve a problem that is actually already solved by the sides of a book shelf. As well, for a true lover of books, bookends actually take up valuable shelf space. Shelf space where one would conceivably rather be housing their books.
Thanks for tuning in this week I hope you enjoyed my take on Gift Guides.
What’s the worst gift you have received for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day?
I am coming up to my first Mother’s Day this year. If you don’t count last year when I was pregnant, which I don’t. I know some people count it but I did not. So for me this is my first Mother’s Day.
Before I was a Mom, I wouldn’t put much thought into the online gift guides that start circulating in Mid-April outlining the best gifts for Mom. I usually found something on my own for my Mom and Mother in Law and left it at that.
This year being a Mom I have been looking at them, wanting to see what type of information is out there and what these all knowing gift guides are suggesting for Moms like me. And man, if these gift guides are to be followed I am in for a life time of terrible mother’s day gifts.
Now, to be fair, my husband is possibly the best gift buyer ever! He does this really handy thing where all throughout the year when we are out he will write memos into his phone’s notepad with things I have pointed out or mentioned. Then come birthdays, anniversaries and holidays he has a ready to go list of things he knows I will like. This works so well because I often have forgotten I wanted something and then end up being so surprised by it. I am anticipating that this great gift-giving system of his will transfer over to Mother’s Day but just in case my husband decides to start looking at gift compilation lists for ideas, here are some items that despite what these lists would have you believe, are not actually great gifts for Mother’s Day.
1. For the Mom who likes to read
From The Globe and Mail list we have this lovely metal feather. The description says to “pair a good tome with this feather-shaped bookmark.” While it may be cute I think bookmarks are up there with “paper weights” in terms of gifts you give when you haven’t put any real thought into it.
A book mark as a gift says, “Hey I know you like reading, but I didn’t put the effort in to walking passed the checkout in the bookstore and finding a book you would actually like so I grabbed a book mark from the displays at the checkout.”
And at the bargain price of only $21.00 why buy your book-loving mom actual books she might enjoy reading when you could instead spend way too much money on a book mark whose receipt would work just as well at marking where in the book she left off.
(I am not even going to mention the fact that I myself read almost exclusively on my kobo making this even more pointless of a gift…nope, not going to mention that at all).
2. For the New Mom (ooh, this is me)
A baby monitor…
Wait What? I don’t want this for Mother’s day. Why is a Philips baby monitor on this list? If you are a new mother like me, you probably already had your baby and had baby showers before and possibly after the baby was born.Therefore you probably already own a baby monitor.
Even the description of this gift in the article mentions that this Philips line of products is immensely popular at baby showers. Trying to sell a baby gift as a Mother’s Day gift is tacky. You aren’t going to give a new Mom packages of diapers for mother’s day so don’t give her a baby monitor either. Mother’s Day should be about celebrating Moms, not reminding her that she isn’t out of the woods for worrying about SIDS yet.
I guess it isn’t surprising that Baby gifts are on an article about Last Minute Gift Ideas because last minute gifts usually are terrible, but if you are looking for last minute gift ideas for a new mom and you end up in the baby section just turn around and get to a section that sells anything for adults. I guarantee most items from any other section of the store would be better than buying a new mom another item for her baby.
The first mother’s day should really be about celebrating her as a new Mom. This gift really doesn’t do that so just put it down and buy something for that is really for her.
3. For the Busy Mom who wants to also be organized
The You Can Do It! Planner Pad” is a weekly planner and schedule and while I appreciate that many people like these types of planners I think that giving a gift to a mother that reminds her of all the shit she has to do after her “special day” is a bit like nagging someone about the number of calories they just consumed for dessert on their cheat day away from the gym.”Here Mom, happy Mother’s Day! You don’t have to do anything today…oh but you have a lot to do this week so you better start getting organized about it. Here’s a planner.”
Not to mention, we are moving into the realm antiquated gifts. I think paper planning systems are becoming largely obsolete no? I know in our family we use google calendars and we share our calendars with each other and we can access those calendar on any of our devices….so a paper planner is about as useful to me as a cassette player. Which is to say completely useless.
Oh wait, it has a bonus feature, maybe this will change everything. “Bonus: It can also be used as a mouse pad.” Nope. It does not change anything. Because you know what else can be used as a mouse pad? A desk, or table, or book, or any paper….and why is this a selling feature? It is 2015 and I largely use tablets and smart phones. Outside of my office, I rarely use a device that requires a mouse. So good job on pointing out bonus features that were useful 5 years ago for a product that in my opinion has already moved beyond the cusp of usefulness.
4. For the crafty Mom who wants to learn a new skill
This learn to knit kit is described as being for the woman “dreaming of giving handmade scarves to the whole family at Christmas.” Great, Just what I want for Mother’s Day. Pressure to learn how to knit and then create handmade masterpieces for the whole family! This just seems like a covert attempt to get your wife/mother to make you something while masquerading as a mother’s day gift.
Remember, if one of the selling features of the Mother’s day gift is explaining its virtues in terms of what it can do for anyone other than the Mother receiving the gift it is not a mother’s day gift.
And the only thing that my son would get out of me having this gift is a new vocabulary as I utter multiple expletives as I try to master a skill I have no desire to learn. So maybe my son doesn’t have a home made scarf from Mommy at Christmas, he has learned how to say “Dammit, Stupid piece of sh…oh crap, C can hear me.”
5. For the Mother who likes to Bake
“I think having my name engraved on this rolling pin would make my pie crusts turn out better” said no woman ever.
Another gem from Realsimple.com comes a Personalized Rolling pin. Anyone who does enough baking that they need a rolling pin probably already owns a rolling pin that is perfectly satisfactory. In fact, I have known women who have a religious type adoration for their rolling pins trying to give them a new one would be like asking the Pope to consider converting.
6. For the Mom who suddenly is a 9 year old girl again
Let me say that I think that these customized stickers are a lovely idea, having kids turn their own artwork into stickers sounds awesome – for the kids.
But I don’t see how this is a great gift for me as the mother. It’s not like I have a lot of requirements for stickers in my day to day life. I am not plastering my laptop and note books with stickers. Walking into the board room at work with stickers all over my books and devices doesn’t really help the professional image I am trying to portray.
So unless the mom in your life has suddenly turned back into a 9 year old girl, I would say save the personalized stickers for your kids and get the mom something that’s really for her.
7. For the Mom who likes inconvenient hard to read charts with her wine
The practicality of these Wine Pairing tea towels is mind boggling to me. At first glance you may think this is a good idea for wine lovers. And while it is cute and has a kitschy appeal to it, I don’t think most wine drinkers are going to consult their tea towels for pairing. Between these two towels it lists 68 wines with 56 different foods. I think most people with a wine palate sophisticated enough to differentiate between that many types of wines probably does not need to consult a towel to confirm their pairing choices.
I have seen other tea towels like this in the past that have food conversion information. I always come back to the same issue. As you use them they will get dirty and possibly stained and then you are left with a towel that has started to fade as you have laundered it and you can’t read it easily.
Considering the majority of the population follows the white wine = white meat, red wine = red meat rule of thumb, this chart is also probably overkill for most people.
For Moms like me the main discriminating factor when it comes to wine is this conversation I have with myself:
“Is it wine?”
“Yes, it is”
“Great, I will drink it while the baby is asleep.”
8. For the Mom who has too many writing utensils and doesn’t know what a cup is
I am sure many of you think this is a cute personalized pen holder. And it is. But do you know what else it is? Expensive. Yup, for the bargain price of only $64 you can display your pens in this glorified rectangular cup.
Oh but wait, you can get it personalized. Yes, because that changes everything. So if you are the type of person that places an inordinate amount of value on the ability to personalize things then go ahead and buy this for the Mom in your life. Just don’t be surprised when she rolls her eyes and continues using the free mug she got from the Company Christmas party last year.
I am pretty sure there is no Mom out there engaged in an epic battle trying to wrangle and control pens throughout her house so this seems particularly useless. And considering it is just a single section it’s not like it has redeeming organizational features going for it.
Maybe I am wrong but I feel like most people I know (myself included) use a cup or small vase already found laying around my house.
9. And finally, For the Mom who likes it when you throw away $150.00
The mother of all useless gifts is the Mother’s Day Gift Card from Starbucks and it has been rightfully criticized already (kudos to the excellent article over at Mommyish.com which basically reflected my feelings perfectly on the subject) but I couldn’t make this list without commenting on it myself.
If you are unfamiliar with this particular product, it is a $50.00 gift card to Starbucks that costs you $200.00.
Apparently paying $150.00 for a decorative box and laser etching on the gift card is totally worth it. Except that it is not. If my husband bought me this for Mother’s Day I would be getting him a meeting with a financial planner for Father’s day. Except that this meeting would happen way before Father’s Day because I wouldn’t trust him in the 4 week’s between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. So to our financial advisor Ben, if you get a frantic voice mail from me on May 10th saying we have to meet on May 11th then you know that it is because Husband bought me this for Mother’s Day.
And Full Disclosure, this criticism is from someone who loves Starbucks coffee. But if you are going to spend $200.00 on a Starbucks gift card for me then there better be $200.00 “on the gift card” that I can spend at Starbucks because no way in hell is that “Box” work $150.00. In fact, if you want to get me a nice box for the gift card and still spend $200.00 then get a $198 dollar gift card and buy a $2 box from Dollarama.
I am sorry, I just have to stop here because I am about to have a rage-induced embolism brought on from the horribleness that is this gift.
And that is it from me. I look forward to Mother’s Day this weekend and spending it with my husband and son as well as my Mother, Sister, and Grandmother in Laws.
I hope that everyone else reading this has a great day with the important Mother’s or Mother-Figures in your life.
Stay tuned next week. I promise to post an update about my first Mother’s Day and how it went.