My dad is one of the hardest guys to shop for. It isn't because he is picky or hard to please. He's simply much too practical to appreciate a gift for its sentimental value. Even when I try to get him very practical gifts, he doesn't seem to find a use for them. One year, we bought him a classic white tennis polo and matching shorts because he was such a tennis enthusiast. He failed to see the utility as he already owned several pairs of shirts and shorts. Another year, I bought him an electric telescoping chainsaw so he could electrically prune to his heart's content. He decided he already had a manual tree trimming device, so he suggested I keep the chainsaw for myself.
I've learned that it doesn't pay to try to surprise my dad with a gift. Rather than surprise my dad with an object, it is better to surprise him with experiences. For instance, I took my dad to his first Major League Baseball game when we watched the Washington Nationals play. Another great memory was going to watch the U.S. Open and Citi Open tennis tournament together.
This Christmas, I decided to treat my dad (and myself) to his first Redskins game. After living in DC for twenty-eight years, I figured it was about time he saw them in action. We went to their final home game of the regular season, where they matched up against the Buffalo Bills. Despite struggling with consistency all yearlong, I was really impressed with their performance against the Bills. Kirk cousins threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another. Each time they scored, I cheered along with my dad, slapped fives with the strangers seated next to us, and joined in singing their fight song. I was thrilled that the Skins one and kept their playoff hopes alive, but I was really happy that I could share a novel experience with my dad.
Do you have someone who is hard to surprise? Instead of gifting a gift, consider gifting an experience. Try making them a spicy shrimp nori hand roll. I'm sure they'll find it a surprisingly tasty experience!