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The Recommendation

For the dad who “doesn’t want anything”

A green hardcover book titled "A Collection of Life Stories" on a brown table. The picture is surrounded by a purple and beige frame.
Illustration: Dana Davis; Photo: Katie Quinn

If you have a dad in your life who insists he doesn’t need anything, here’s our advice: Try something unexpected that gets your whole family talking. One idea? Last Father’s Day, newsletters editor Brittney Ho and her sisters splurged on one of Wirecutter’s favorite smart bird feeders—a cheery, yellow house with a built-in camera that captures high-res footage of its visitors. A year later, her family group chat is still popping off with snapshots of first-time visitors and old regulars alike.

If you prefer a less avian route, take a page out of social video manager Katie Quinn’s book. Last year, she gifted her dad a way to compile his memories into a hardcover book using Storyworth, an online service beloved by several Wirecutter staffers.

Here’s how it works: For a year, your giftee will receive weekly writing prompts, encouraging them to share personal stories. “I absolutely loved curating my own questions for my dad,” writes Katie. “What was his mother like when he was a child? (Harried but always finding the humor in things.) How did he get his first job? (He worked as a paperboy and to this day, he’s incredibly punctual.)” At the end of the year, all of the writings are compiled into a hardcover book, complete with photos, headlines, and a customized cover.

If you’re still stumped, we’ll walk you through a few more of our favorite gifts for dads below.

A touching gift for the dad in your life→

We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more ›

More for the family

An Aura Carver digital photo frame displaying a photo of a dog in a field of flowers.

Our favorite digital photo frame will sprinkle your life with serendipitous joy

“Every time you walk by or glance over, you’re greeted with a memory — delightful, tender, joyous, riotous, or even wistful.”

A person scooping out balls of watermelon from a watermelon. The small watermelon balls are placed in a small light blue bowl to the right.

A melon baller can spark afternoons of fun

More versatile than its name suggests, a melon baller is great for everything from portioning out cookies to whipping up mini meatballs to, of course, preparing fruit.

The Sushi Go! card game, showing the tin box and a stack of cards.

A cute, sushi-themed card game

This fast-paced card game is simple enough for kids to master yet tricky enough for adults to enjoy.

Plus: The best Father’s Day gifts under $50

Cheap Father's Day gifts include a Topo Designs Dopp Kit, cards, Moji lanter, and more.
Photo: Marki Williams

We’ve picked out a bunch of cool, inexpensive gifts for dads of all types, including a nifty wine opener, a little lamp with a hundred uses, and a pocket-sized power bank.

26 great doodads for Dad→

One last thing: Sign up for NYT Well’s 5-Day Friendship Challenge

An illustration of two people sitting and facing one another on a grassy field. They are engaged in a conversation. The sky is pink and orange.
Anna Parini

One more idea to foster closeness: Our colleagues at NYT Well have crafted a five-day challenge that will help bring you closer to the people you value. Starting June 10, they’ll send you one quick, simple, and evidence-based strategy a day to help you strengthen your friendships and feel more connected to your social circle.

Sign up here→

Thanks for reading.

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