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What dads should expect this Father's Day

Whether you like 'em or not, there's a reason you get kitschy gifts.

By Joy Jernigan - MSN Living Editor Jun 14, 2013 6:47PM

Father's DayDads, we love you — but maybe not quite as much as moms.

At least not when it comes to gifts.

Americans were projected to spend about $120 on Father’s Day gifts this year, up from $117 last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s Father’s Day spending survey conducted by BIGinsight. That’s significantly below the $169 on average that we spent on moms this past Mother’s Day.

More from MSN Living: Send dad a Father's Day ecard 

So why do dads get the short shrift? In a TIME magazine story, Kit Yarrow, chair of the psychology department at Golden Gate University, shares her thoughts: 

Boxer shorts and barbecue aprons with humorous Father’s Day messages became popular for a reason: They’re cheap gifts, and Dad is a good enough sport to wear them. Does he actually want this stuff? Probably not. But the things that many dads truly do want are often out of the price range of the kids doing the shopping. Because the things Dad really likes are expensive, and he’s picky about them, the folks buying Father’s Day items regularly defer to the marketer-generated, inexpensive fallback gift options. 

In other words, dads, don't expect too much.

Among popular gifts this year: a special outing such as a sporting event or dinner, electronic gadgets, clothing or gift cards. Tools, sporting goods, personal care items and automotive accessories are also go-to gifts for fathers, according the NRF.

Bing: Father's Day gift ideas

But what do dads really want?

Adam Cohen, creator of the website DaDaRocks, said he wouldn’t mind a new surround sound system for the living room, but he really doesn’t need any big gifts. He’d be happy with something made by the kids.

“Sure people want electronics, clothes, and items that fade with time, but I think having an experience or a family photography session captures the moment of where we are,” he said. “It lets us remember where we've been and where we are going, too.”

More from MSN Living: 7 great Father's Day gifts under $100

Hugh Weber, author of the newly released book "Dude to Dad: The First Nine Months," said all he really wants for Father's Day this year is some quality time with his family.

"Perhaps dinner with my wife, Amy, some drawing with my daughter, Emerson, and some drooling with my son, Finn (11 weeks)," he said. "If that's not possible, then I'd just like a big, juicy steak. Medium rare."

What do you really want for Father's Day? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Photo: mediaphotos/Getty Images

Jun 15, 2013 6:38AM

I don't think most Dads feel like it's a competition. 

That's because, as dads, it's not about us.

 It's about doing the best we can for our family.

Jun 15, 2013 5:05AM

My gift is when one of my youngest gives me that "velcro hug" or when my oldest hands me his good grades with the "look at this" smile...

What else could anyone want?


"like arrows in the hands of a warrior, children are a gift from G*d - Blessed is the man whose quiver is full"


I am blessed

Jun 15, 2013 3:19AM
Spending the day with my kids and grandkids is all I want.
Jun 15, 2013 2:34AM
This past Mother's Day my two daughters age 6 and 8 bought mom a very nice glass dolphin from the school shop.  By doing so, they spent most of their school issues Bucks that they earned for doing well in class.  I helped them wrap up the gift.

Two weeks later, my younger daughter came home from school and handed me a pen which probably would not cost more than a dime.  She said: I used up all of my Tiger Bucks to buy you this gift and I hope that you like it!  To me, that little pen was(still is) worth more than its weight in gold.

I put that little pen in a secured place and look at it once in a while with a big-O smile!  It was not even any day special - but she made it a very special day for me!
Jun 15, 2013 2:28AM
I got a box of expensive chocolates and mowed the lawn on Mother's Day.  I gave my husband a four day golf weekend with his friends beginning today.
Jun 15, 2013 1:40AM
My wife is going to take me and our daughter out to lunch at a very nice restaurant.
Sounds great to me and she does not have to cook or clean up !!

Jun 15, 2013 1:22AM

Only wish my dad was still here to spend a day together.


Jun 15, 2013 1:15AM

What I want for Father's day is to be with my family.  Why does every other day need to be about what we can buy to show our love?  The celebration should be about family with the emphasis on showing a little extra love and appreciation to Mom or Dad that day. Just give me a picture of a happy family.


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