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Father's Day: green ideas for dad


Take a hike at Frozenhead Park, East TN

Father’s Day is a wonderful time of families coming together to celebrate Dad. Traditionally, American gatherings involve cook-outs, picnics, and fun times outside. If you’re planning a Father’s Day party, be sure to check out my article on Green Parties. Granted, dads don’t usually want much fuss, so having to figure out decorations and centerpieces are not part of planning a celebratory Father’s Day. Then again, a little thought can go a long way – you could have a sports theme with his favorite game. Put some bats, gloves, and balls around the party space and make sure that the family goes outside & plays together. Nothing makes a better Father’s Day present for dad than memories of his children and grandchildren laughing and doing something together. Make sure those who cannot play, or don’t want to, come outside and cheer or take photographs to capture the moment.

Fathers can be notoriously difficult to buy presents for – if you’re still searching for that perfect gift, I’ve collected some green gift ideas that might help.

Outdoor games are the perfect green Father’s Day gift. It is something that will be used over and over again, it brings everyone outside, and it can bring all ages together. Croquet, bochie-ball, and cornhole are good examples of games that work from the wee-little ones all the way up to grandparents and great-grandparents. Softball, football, soccer, volleyball, and badmitten are all great games for the more active family (and perhaps those with older children).

Gardening tools and plants are also great green gifts. If your Dad likes to work outside in his yard or garden, consider giving him a tree that will last for years and he can always think of you while he is working outside. Berry plants or grape vines are also good ideas for the gardening Father. If you continue every year to give him the same gift, before long he’ll be able to make his own wine or blueberry pie.

Books and Magazines are great for the Dad who likes to read. We often forget that books and magazines can be passed on, essentially reused and recycled. If you think he’d be interested in “green” literature, or learning more about the environmental movement, I would suggest these:

Gift Certificates to local farmer’s markets, restaurants and stores that specialize in selling local and organic foods are a great way to introduce him to the green food movement. If you are out buying the present yourself, make sure you try to buy locally and as green as possible. And always remember that if you have a choice between plastic and non-plastic presents such as games, toys, tools, etc., be sure to buy the non-plastic, even if it is more expensive. An interesting fact that comes from the book, The World Without Us, is that plastic’s chemical nature is “not able to biodegrade in any practical time scale. In fact, every bit of plastic manufactured in the world for the last 50 years or so still remains. It’s somewhere in the environment. And it now surpasses 1 billion tons.”

Handmade gifts, especially by you, are perfect green gifts for dad. If you made some extra jam from the fruit at the farmers market, give that to your dad. Not only does handmade require time and special thought, but it also shows the extra effort you were willing to put into his gift. If he likes music, make him a CD of special songs that jog your memory of him – or of new music that he might enjoy. One of my favorite hand-made gifts is to get a blank journal and write in your favorite quotes, or quotes that fit your father. Ask him to fill it with his memories and life stories; if you have a story that you’d like him to write about, ask a question about it at the top of the journal page. It will be a family treasure for generations to come.

The most important thing is to combine green gifting with your Dad's likes and dislikes.  If your Dad loves to carry around water with him at all times, I would suggest an aluminum water bottle. If your Dad likes distinct and local beer, perhaps a growler of beer would be a great gift idea for him. Check out my article on both to read more about each one. Another idea is to donate money in his name to his favorite cause. Often times just knowing that his kids pay attention to his interests and care about his causes will bring a smile to his face. Or spend some time with Dad: tickets to a sports game, a show with dinner and drinks or planning a camping trip – all of these things are green and create great memories.

There are many great, green gift ideas for Father’s Day. If you have any more, please feel free to add them below. Happy Father’s Day!


  • Alecu 5 years ago

    Going green is a trend that is gaining popularity. I have read on Project Weight Loss how to lose weight with a green diet. Refined foods make your body's nutritional system become confused, clogged, and locked into fat storing mode. Eat whole foods and you’ll lose weight – they are nutritionally complex and complete.

  • rachelle 5 years ago

    great article about father's day! we do value our father and these ideas are just awesome. keep up the good work margaret!