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Everything Father's Day

History of the holiday and ways to celebrate Dad!

Jun 11, 2021

Every year on the third Sunday of June, we get to spoil Dad and shower him with love!  Why do we have Father’s Day? Because our dads deserve a day to let their hair down—Yes, even dads need some TLC sometimes.  They work hard every day, doing things for us that we may not even realize.  So where did Father’s Day come from, anyway?  And what can we do this year to make it extra special?  Read on!

Show Dad how much you care on Father's Day!Show Dad how much you care on Father's Day!Courtesy of Easystore.co

Father’s Day began two years after the first official Mother’s Day.  It was first celebrated on June 19th, 1910.  Father’s Day caught on a little slower than Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day became popular right away because retailers marketed the holiday well, selling lots of traditional gifts, like flowers, that moms would like.  Apparently, stores thought it was a little more difficult to sell sentimental gifts for Dad than Mom, and the same enthusiasm for Father’s Day wasn’t there at first.

A single dad inspired the beginning of Father's Day!A single dad inspired the beginning of Father's Day!Courtesy of Officeholidays.com

Eventually, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd finally succeeded in establishing an official Father’s Day holiday.  Her single dad, also a Civil War veteran, raised her and her five siblings.  American presidents encouraged further celebration of Father’s Day throughout the country in the following years.  In other countries, fathers are sometimes celebrated on March 19th, which originates from St. Joseph’s Day, a traditional Catholic holiday.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were almost combined to make Parents’ Day, but that never happened.  Then, after the Great Depression, to try to make money, retail stores branded Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting neckties, hats, socks, golf clubs and other sporting goods as Father’s Day gifts.  These gifts have become popular traditional Father’s Day gifts today.  In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation finally making Father’s Day a federal holiday. 

Don't forget to write Dad a heartfelt card this year!Don't forget to write Dad a heartfelt card this year!Courtesy of History.com

Here are some other fun facts:

  • There are more than 70 million fathers in the United States, according to History.com.
  • Two million fathers are single.
  • More than 214,000 men are stay-at-home dads. In the 1970s, only men identified as stay-at-home fathers.
  • Today’s fathers spend double the amount of time they spent with their kids in 1989, and almost triple the amount of time with their kids as fathers did back in 1965.
  • Today, Americans spend more than a billion dollars a year on the holiday, according to estimates.
  • According to Hallmark, Father’s Day is the fourth-largest card-sending occasion with 72 million cards given every year. 

What does Dad like to do?  Spend some quality time with him.What does Dad like to do? Spend some quality time with him.Courtesy of Crosswindscounseling.org

Ways to Celebrate

  • Make Dad a scrapbook, complete with written captions, as a gift.  Include all of your best memories together.
  • If Dad likes to barbecue or cook, take a virtual (or in-person) cooking class with him.
  • If Dad is the competitive type, set up a backyard lawn game and get moving!  You could do cornhole, a putting course, an obstacle course, volleyball, etc.

Do you have an outdoorsy dad?  Do something outside!Do you have an outdoorsy dad? Do something outside!Courtesy of Ibelieve.com
  • If the weather’s bad, have a game day inside.  Dust off that old chess or checkers board, or play something silly like Apples to Apples—whatever’s in your closet.
  • If Dad is into cars, he may love to go to a classic car show.  Check your local paper or online to see if there’s one in your town on Father’s Day weekend.
  • Play video games with Dad, if that’s his (and your) thing.  Have his favorite snacks and drinks on-hand.
  • Serve him breakfast in bed.  Dads like a little pampering, too!

Doing something simple with him, like throwing around a ball for a moment, could mean the world to Dad on Father's Day!Doing something simple with him, like throwing around a ball for a moment, could mean the world to Dad on Father's Day!Courtesy of Adventhealth.com
  • If Dad is the outdoorsy type, go camping, cook out, go for a bike ride, go hiking or go fishing with him.
  • Go to a baseball game or museum he’d enjoy.
  • Have an indoor or outdoor movie night.

Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is a super-important holiday because it’s a special opportunity each year to show Dad how much we care.  Don’t miss out—Find out what Dad would love to do and plan it, or better yet—surprise him.  And don’t forget to make or buy him a card that expresses your appreciation and love!