It’s always a tie.
That’s the cliched gift for Father’s Day since the holiday began.
Here’s a Palm Beach Post ad from June 1927 for Edwin Baker Incorporated, a classy clothier on Clematis. It was offering “neckwear” for $1-$1.50 because it made “a wholesome gift for Father’s Day”:
By the 1930s, appropriate Dad gifts had expanded to shavers and, sadly, tobacco products:
But it was also the Great Depression. The Post ran this advertising reminder in June 1938 titled “To The Man I Called A Tightwad,” which has a grown child reminiscing about a father who scrimped and saved during hard times to help a child get the things he wanted. It’s a sentimental O. Henry-type tale that ends with the son determined to buy his pops a gift to show his appreciation on Father’s Day:
In the early 1940s, with so many fathers fighting in World War II, this June 1944 Goldsmith’s Department Store ad encouraged people to buy war bonds for Father’s Day:
But three years later, with the war over, the Duval Jewelry store chain used the war as a selling tool:
In the 1950s, the buttoned-down suburban dad needed a desk for his home affairs and a comfy chair (“with or without vibrator”), as in this Cater’s Furniture store ad from June 1958:
By the late ’60s, however, Dad was ready to cut loose with $1 albums at Woolco for “swingin’ Dads,” though we’re not quite sure that a Lawrence Welk album sells the idea:
So what should you get a 21st century dad? You can take him out to dinner:
Or if all else fails, there’s always a tie.