Father's Day: Why I'm Spending More This Year

Last Updated Jun 17, 2011 11:47 AM EDT

After skimping the past couple of years, families are planning on shelling out more this Father's Day. Americans will spend $106 this June, up from $94 last year, according to the National Retail Federation. While this may seem like good news for Dad, our generosity falls short of what we expend on Mother's Day. I'm wondering if this sends kids a message that we don't value a father's parenting contribution as much as a mom's.

Maybe you think I'm being ridiculous. After all, don't we all teach our kids that when it comes to gift giving, it's the thought that counts. We also tell them that handmade presents can be even more special than things we buy in a store.

But if your kids are anything like mine, they probably think a lot about gifts. Mine obsess over them. Indeed, I believe they each have an internal score card and compare and contrast what they receive to what their sibling gets. Right now they care about the size of the boxes. One day, however, I'm sure they will try to figure out how much my husband and I spent of their presents instead.

As of today, I still haven't gone out and gotten my husband anything for Father's Day. It isn't that I don't appreciate him. It's just that we are buying a new home soon and we have a lot of upcoming expenses. I have no doubt my husband would agree this isn't the time to waste money. I also thought I would get him a thoughtful card and take the family out for a nice meal. But now I'm starting to feel as if I had better go out and purchase something somewhat substantial since my kids likely remember that their father spoiled me on Mother's Day.

So what type of gift will I give my husband? I could easily go the traditional route and get him something electronic. But I think I'll look for a present that's more family oriented and will lead to him spending quality time with the kids. During the holidays we picked up a Zoku Quick Pop maker and my older daughter and husband have been making Popsicles together ever since. As tasty as the desserts are, the joy of eating the treat isn't why my husband adores this kitchen gadget. He loves that it provides him priceless moments with his little girl. Come to think of it, I guess that's what Father's Day is really about.

How will you celebrate Father's Day?

Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook for New Parents.
Father with His Child image courtesy of Flickr, CC 2.0.
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