14 Gifts for the Dad Who Swears He Doesn’t Need Anything

BioLite Climate Neutral Fire Pit
credit: BioLite

Check out the full Hunker Holiday Gift Guide for more ideas and inspo. Whether you're shopping for midcentury modern lovers, ceramic fiends, self-proclaimed foodies, or budding astrologers, we can help.

Is there anyone on your holiday shopping list more confounding, more impossible to shop for, than your father? (We can hear the spooky pipe-organ strains startup just at the thought.) During other major gift-giving holidays, like birthdays and Fathers' Day, one can pretty much squeak by with a practical sweater or a book he's been wanting to read. But this time of the year requires a little more "wow-factor"... which, paradoxically, in dad speak, tends to mean outdoorsy stuff or music nerd stuff.

Whether your dad is a garage musician who's into vinyl or just kind of still trying to figure out what he's into, this list of dad-approved gifts seems like a good place to start. And if you don't get the "wow" when he unwraps your gift, don't be too hard on yourself — there's plenty of time to impress him later when you show him how to connect it to his phone's bluetooth.

1. For the Dad Who's a Vinyl-Head: TRNTBL, from $449

TRNTBL
credit: TRNTBL

The perfect marriage of classic craftsmanship and high-tech connectivity, TRNTBL will elicit childlike Christmas Morning-levels of glee from your old man. The super-sleek looking turntable can connect wirelessly to Sonos speakers (buy them together or add to whatever configuration he's already got cookin'), and digitally notes what's playing to add it to your Spotify recommendations later. Like we said — the best of both worlds.

2. For the Dad Who Seeks Out Lawn Envy: Sunday Lawn Care Subscription, $129

Sunday Lawn Care Subscription
credit: Sunday

The latest element of home care to be subscription-ized, lawn care boxes solve the unique challenges presented by your hometown's climate and soil grade with a two-pronged approach: First, the service uses Google Maps imaging to get a read on your current situation, then cross-references with a handy soil testing kit included in the first box to give you plug-and-play solutions for an envy-inducing lawn. The result? A customized plan to boost lawn health, delivered in three seasonal shipments, so dad can just attach a garden hose to the nutrient packs and spray all day.

3. For the Dad Who's Workshopping a Restaurant Launch: Finery LA x Roy Choi Apron, $85

Finery Roy Choy Apron
credit: Finery

Known for their high-style uniform designs for buzzy restaurants, Finery L.A. teamed up with a few choice chefs to create a limited-edition run of custom aprons that represent their style and how they cook. This streetwear-tinged, camo-accented version from L.A. BBQ wunderkind Roy Choi is hip but not overly flashy, and functional enough to withstand whatever wildcard maneuvers dad can throw at it in the kitchen.

4. For The Dad Who's In Charge Of the Family Bonfire: BioLite Energy Climate Neutral Fire Pit, $200

BioLite Climate Neutral Fire Pit
credit: BioLite

With a unique smokeless design that lets you enjoy a roaring campfire without stinging your eyes, this BioLite fire pit might be the most hi-tech take on the ancient appeal of snuggling up to a warm fire we've ever seen. The fan ventilation system can be controlled via an app on dad's phone, so he can tinker with it to his heart's content, and the dual racks even convert the entire setup into a hibachi-style grill when the mood for food strikes. Tech, grilling, fire-building ... I think we've crossed off the trifecta of Dad Interests.

5. For the Dad Who Thinks He's Ron Swanson: FieldNotes Project Kit, $55

Field Notes Project Kit
credit: Field Notes

If your dad has some big projects on the horizon for 2020, get him started on the right foot with Field Notes' Project Kit. The beloved brand's mega-pack includes various notebooks, carpenters' pencils, and all the resources he'll need to ensure his woodworking/car-refurbishing/garden-plotting goes off without a hitch.

6. For The Dad Who Has An Old-Fashioned Every Night: YETI Rambler Lowball, $20

YETI Rambler Lowball
credit: YETI

Some dads don't like to deviate from their routines — even when camping — and that's okay. These sturdy tumblers from hard-wearing outdoor brand YETI insulate cold cocktails or hot coffee equally well, and they're so satisfying to hold, you might find him using them back at home, too.

7. For The Dad Who Hates Storing Old Newspapers: George and Willy Firestarter, $280

He's got fire-building down to an art form, but fussing with an old pile of newspapers and kindling kinda zaps the fun out of it for him. That's why he's going to obsess over this 18th-century-inspired (talk about a #throwback) fire starter technique, which uses a porous ceramic stone that absorbs lamp oil to create a quick and easy fire starting alternative that's pretty much failproof (and endlessly reusable).

8. For The Dad Who's In A Garage Band With The Other Dads: brandnewnoise Space Oddity, $80

brandnewnoise Space Oddity
credit: brandnewnoise

Dads that attract effects pedals like a magnet will be delighted to show off this simple little box, which offers press-of-a-button recording, looping, and pitch modulation — and, yes, has a limited-edition design inspired by David Bowie.

9. For The Dad Who Got Really Into High Maintenance This Year: Tetra Green Tortoise Lighter, $40

Tetra Green Tortoise Lighter
credit: Tetra

There's something lacking from that gas station Zippo, and now that your dad is venturing into the new world of weed, it's time to gift him an upgrade for his next smoking sesh.

10. For The Dad Who Wants To Move To Nashville: Third Man Records Annual Vault Subscription, $240

Give Dad a taste of Nashville (no, we're not talking hot chicken) with an annual subscription to limited-release vinyl and goodies from Jack White's Third Man Records. His record collection will swell with a bunch of coveted, tough-to-find albums, and he'll stay on top of what's cool, too.

11. For The Dad Who's Working On His Knife Skills: Best Made Co.'s Tri-Stone Sharpening Kit, $171

Best Made Co. Knife Kit
credit: Best Made Co.

Sharp knives = better cooking. This stately sharpening kit conceals multiple grades of stones in a handsome wooden box that's nice enough to leave out on the kitchen counter all year long while dad unlocks new culinary master feats.

12. For The Dad Who Likes To Play Bartender: Westmark Germany Manual Ice Crusher, $17

Westmark Germany Manual Ice Crusher
credit: Amazon

Crushed ice is a critical part of many mixed drinks, but smashing a bunch of cubes with a rolling pin is a surefire way to kill the party mood (and terrify your guests). Enter: this handy handheld German tool that crushes cubes quickly and easily, so dad's mixology musings will know no bounds.

13. For The Dad Who's All About Man's Best Friend: Pendleton Dog Coat, from $82

Terrain Pendleton Dog Coat
credit: Terrain

Outdoorsy dogs and the dads who love them deserve better than that big-box pet store outerwear. Heritage brand Pendleton does dog coats right with classic Americana stripe motifs that'll have his hounds lookin' handsome just in time for the next neighborhood jaunt.

14. For The Dad Who Keeps Acquiring Guitars, Somehow: Hudson Valley Hard Goods Hyla Guitar Mount, $79

Most guitar mounts are boring at best and hideous at worst. But these minimalist, modern designs from Hudson Valley Hard Goods (recommended by designer Sarah Sherman Samuel) blend perfectly with any midcentury decor and keep the focus where it should be — on the axe.


Emily Bihl

Emily Bihl

Emily Bihl is a freelance writer and sometimes-songwriter who can invariably be found rearranging furniture in a domicile somewhere along the Mississippi River. She lives with her black labrador Selkie and a small army of homemade ceramics, and has not willingly closed a browser tab since 2011.