In many households, Dad is the hardest person to pick gifts for. And if you're facing that problem with Father's Day just around the corner, you may be getting anxious.
But on The Early Show Saturday, financial journalist Vera Gibbons had plenty of great ideas for gifts Dad is sure to love, whatever your budget. And many of the gifts she showed are fun and practical at the same time.
The National Retail Federation's 2008 Father's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by Big Research, finds that people plan to spend an average of $94.54 on Dad.
The descriptions that follow were prepared with information provided by the manufacturers and retailers involved.
GIFTS FOR $50 AND UNDER
Seasoning Hammers $20
Seasoning the grill is safe when you use these salt and pepper mallets. Two long handles allow you to sprinkle your barbecue without singeing your limbs, and the rosewood-stained hardwood shakers unscrew for use at the picnic table. An "S" and "P" clearly mark the seasonings so there's no confusion. Online reviews all say these are high quality for the price! uncommongoods.com
Travel Cord Organizer & Charging Case $35
Kangaroom Storage is a new company that's been winning a lot of design awards. The "Travel Cord Organizer & Charging Case" is the perfect gift for the "tech savvy" Dad that travels a lot. This unique item has separate, labeled compartments for cell phones, digital cameras, video cameras, iPods, PSPs, etc. and space for each corresponding charger AND a power strip, so that the devices can all charge off a single outlet and be easily accessible for hassle free travel. The organizer can hang in a closet ... You pull out the power strip cord and simply plug in the bag. Everything charges at once, and you don't have to worry about leaving a charger behind the dresser in a hotel room! Available in five colors: Taxi Yellow, Lime Green, Cherry Red, Black and Grey. kangaroomstorage.com
Remote-Controlled Floating Serving Tray $50
This is a fun toy for Dad! The tray looks like a mini inner-tube pool toy, with a tray that holds 5 12-oz cans and a small snack. It's remote-controlled, so Dad can have food at his fingertips in the pool or hot tub. No need for trips to the kitchen! from Hammacher Schlemmer: hammacher.com
GROUP TWO: $50 to $100
Golf BBQ Grill Set $55
Perfect for the golfer who has every golf gift imaginable! The 22 Piece Set includes: Wedge Head Tongs, Tee Prong Meat Fork, Golf Ball Dimple Spatula, Putter Basting Brush, 6 Golf Flag Kabob Skewers, 12 Golf Ball Corn Cob Holders. Authentic golf grip handles are heat resistant to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. At grillwithballbq.com and other online gift retailers
DadGear $63 - $92
DadGear is a company started by two new fathers who discovered a disappointing availability of products that fit *their* needs. After all, moms aren't the only ones taking care of babies these days, and no dad wants to carry a flowered diaper bag! We'll have three masculine-looking products on set that are different types of diaper bags: a backpack, a courier bag and yes, a "diaper vest" - essentially a wearable diaper bag. The vest carries up to four diapers in its 2 large pockets on interior front ; travel wipes access pocket for ease of use in diaper changing (top right pocket), 2 easy access side bottle pockets (lower left and right); large pockets in chest area for personal items (top left), non-pill fleece, changing pad pocket along bottom back. The backpack and courier bags hold similar items. Dadgear.com
Custom ice cream and gelato $80
What could possibly be sweeter than the gift of ice cream? At eCreamery.com, an ice cream or gelato lover can create a half gallon of a delicious gourmet flavor of their imagination. You choose the cream & sugar consistency (gelato, traditional or premium ice cream), the flavor combinations (from almond to white mint to seven varieties of chocolate) and the mix-ins (from basil to cookie dough to walnut brownies). You even choose the flavor name and custom packaging! Prices start at $49.99 plus overnight shipping of $29.95 now through Father's Day. ecreamery.com
GROUP THREE: $100 AND UP
Baseball ScoreCast $125
Give the baseball fan in your life a *desktop scoreboard* to provide scores, stats, and schedules for every pro baseball team. Dad can track every game from Spring Training to the All-Star Game, to the World Series. Setup is easy. Just add 4 "AA" batteries (not included) to automatically receive information from Ambient's InfoCast Network. The company also offers a similar product which tracks the stock market. ambientdevices.com
Golden Oldies $150
Chances are your father already has an MP3 player or i-pod. And chances are he has a bunch of old vinyl albums up in the attic that no longer get played...with this USB turntable he can convert them to MP3 files, burn the new files and get the oldies on cds. Simply hook up the turntable to a computer via USB; turntable plays the songs and copies tracks to digital MP3. Compatible with PCs and Macs. Brookstone stores and brookstone.com
Flip Video Mino Camcorder $180
Believe it or not, this ultra-thin, pocket-sized digital device is a camcorder that records up to 60 minutes of video. The product was introduced last year and immediately gobbled up by consumers. This new sleek version was just released this week! (Wednesday the 4th) It connects to your television for instant viewing. Built-in, high-speed software enables instant video sharing from any PC or Mac. You can even publish videos instantly on video sharing sites like AOL, YouTube, and MySpace; capture still photos from video clips; and create custom movies with your own music. While you probably wouldn't want to tape life's most important events with this camcorder, it's great for casual, on the go recording. Nationwide at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Circuit City, Costco.com, Sears, Target.com, TheFlip.com, Walmart.com, and other national retailers.
Neuton Battery-Powered Mower $480
Make Dad AND the environment happy with this gift! The EPA estimates that 800 million gallons of gas are used to fuel lawn mowers in the U.S. every year. The Neuton Mower is a smart alternative. It runs on a rechargeable battery, and in place of a pull-cord, this mower starts by turning a safety knob and squeezing the handlebar. When the handlebar is released, the blade stops spinning. The Neuton produces no CO2 emissions, and the 24-volt battery gives you enough juice to mow for 45 to 60 minutes (about 1/3 acre). Low-maintenance: There are .no spark plugs or air filters to replace, and the Neuton never needs a tune up (just a charge!).
Design Within Reach (dwr.com)
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