Ten Cool, Awesome, and Totally Affordable Father’s Day Gifts You Can Make Yourself

1. Animal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches – Kids will love helping make these bite-sized beauties. Sandwich ice cream or sorbet between two animal crackers using a cantaloupe to make mini-balls. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and freeze. Decorate a smooth round tin with circus animal stickers and place the wrapped sandwiches inside. Since the filled can will need to be stored in the freezer, you may want to present Dad with a card with mysterious clues that will eventually lead to his present in the freezer.

2. Promise tree: Buy a ready-to-plant potted tree, such as a dogwood, from a nursery or home supply store. Buy fancy labels at a craft supply store (or make your own on the computer). Have each family member think of two or three chores or favors they are willing to promise Dad. Younger kids can promise to clean your shoes or read you a story, while teens can promise to wash the car or babysit your little siblings while Mom and Dad spend the night on the town. Write each promise on a tag and hang it on the tree for Dad to tear off when he needs a special gift. When all the tags are gone, Dad can plant the tree outside and use it to save the tags for family celebrations for years to come.

3. Daddy Dossier – You Tube has turned us all into amateur filmmakers. Gather your siblings and make a memory movie for dad. Visit places in your area where dad earned a reputation as the best dad in the world … The local baseball field where he fearlessly taught you to drive without the help of controlled substances … The 40 row – standing walnut trees that you and dad planted as seedlings for a 4-H school project … Wishnik troll doll (am I dating myself?) that dad gallantly rescued after he accidentally flew out of the car window in I-95. Record each other on the spot to document the events in their lives that shaped precious memories of Daddy.

4. King for a Day: Plan a full day of activities Dad likes and write a fancy itinerary on his computer. Tickets can include breakfast in bed, followed by a round of golf, followed by a picnic in the park, followed by your choice of movies, etc. Put the itinerary in a box and wrap it with pretty paper and tape. Present it on a tray along with breakfast in bed.

5. Grilling Thrill: Mix in a couple of barbecue seasonings for grilling. Here are two good recipes:

CURRY-CAYENNE RUB: a curry-based seasoning for chicken, beef, or pork

In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup curry powder, 3 tablespoons of each sugar, freshly ground black pepper, crumbled onion salt and dried leaf thyme, 2 tablespoons garlic salt, and 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper. . Mix well and store in an airtight container.

SWEET & SASSY RUB: a sweet and spicy seasoning for fish, poultry and meat

In a large bowl, combine ½ cup paprika, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon onion powder. Mix well and store in an airtight container.

Put the rubs in airtight jars or jars and add pretty labels. Buy a large tub (which can then be filled with ice to chill drinks), a bag of charcoal, grilling tools, an apron, and maybe a 6-pack of beers. Arrange all the items in the tub and add a large bow.

6. Storytime: This is a great gift for grandparents. Choose one day a week or one day a month, depending on your availability, to read aloud to your recipient. Pick a book that you both like and read a chapter each visit. Sure, you could buy a couple of books on CD, but that’s not the point. In reality, this is nothing more than a commitment to spend time with a loved one. Also, with a book on CD you cannot stop and discuss the plot with the reader, nor share a cup of tea, nor a hug.

7. Cookie Emergency Kit – Nothing tastes better than freshly baked cookies, still warm from the oven. Mix up cookie doughs in three or four flavors that you know Dad will like. An assortment of chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal, peanut butter, and sugar is a good combination. Shape the doughs into logs and wrap them in parchment paper. Attach a baking instruction label to each roll of dough. Buy a nonstick cookie sheet, an oven mitt, and a metal spatula. Place the dough logs, glove, and spatula on the cookie sheet and tie together with a pretty ribbon. Dad can keep the doughs in the freezer and cut a piece whenever he feels like homemade cookies. You can bake a whole plate or just cut enough dough to make one or two cookies at a time. (As if someone ate a cookie or two at a time!)

8. Young Wine – This is a great gift for a future young dad. Ask the folks at your local wine store to help you choose a wine that needs to be aged for several years before it becomes truly spectacular. Give it to dad with a note that says, “Drink this wine to celebrate your baby’s 13th birthday” or “Don’t open it until the day you write your first school tuition check.”

9. Tub-o-Treats: Dallas Cowboys season tickets may not be in your budget, but you can still surprise Dad with an awesome gift that he keeps giving. Gather lots of little things that Dad can wear while watching his favorite sporting events on TV. Wrap each one in pretty paper and ribbons and place in a large bucket or canvas bag. Let Dad open a gift every time he sits down to watch a sporting event. Items may include a large can of gourmet nuts, a baseball cap with your team logo, a Rubik’s cube, a drink can, a box of microwave popcorn, a stadium blanket, a control stand TV remote and a book about his favorite sport.

10. Cook the book: If you like to cook and your dad lives nearby, this is for you. Buy a cookbook of recipes for foods that dad likes. Wrap it in fancy paper and include a special handmade coupon with the card. The coupon entitles the bearer to one prescription of their choice per month, prepared and delivered by you. For example, if Dad likes sweets, you could give him a dessert cookbook. The card might say something like, “Real men eat dessert first. Here’s a coupon for one candy a month for the next year. You choose and I’ll make it.”