The Best Holiday Gifts for Dads, According to 12 Dads

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Dad gifts are tough. You could go the Brooks Brothers tie or Callaway-bag route (snooze), but you’re likely spending dough on stuff that’ll just end up in the pile. So this year we went straight to the source, asking a dozen dads what they’re actually jonesing for this holiday. (And when in doubt, a Nespresso machine is always a good idea).

“Last year I asked for the ability to be free to watch every University of Georgia football game, which was a better idea when UGA was actually good at football. This year I am in the midst of collecting tailored sweatpants to wear around the house, and I can’t have enough.” —Lang Whitaker, sportswriter, father of a 4-year-old

“Besides gratitude for everything I do for them? We’re in St. Paul right now so a nice knit winter headband to protect my forehead and ears would be great. Or even just a thoughtful card.” —Marc David, English and anthropology professor, father of 15-year-old and 12-year-old

“It’s a little cliché, but I’m a big golfer. The Garmin Approach G10 is a GPS device that shows the distances to the hole for more than 30,000 courses across the world. It’s a fun gadget, but it will also really help me better determine which club to use.” —Steven Brown, emergency utility troubleshooter at energy firm PSEG, father of 12-year-old and 8-year-old

“I can give you a list actually! First thing I want is a Baking Steel griddle for pizzas and steaks right on my stove.” —Benjamin Tortolani, assistant director at University of Miami, father of a 6-year-old and 3-year-old

“Then I’d want a Dutch-style bicycle with seven speeds from Six Three Zero, and finally a subscription to The Surfer’s Journal.” —Benjamin Tortolani

“Some of the best times I have with my kids are when we have dance parties, playing kid-friendly music from my phone. A Bluetooth speaker like the Jambox would be a great way to take the party to the next level. And at our house, we top it off with a disco ball for the full effect.” —Joshua Zeichner, M.D., dermatologist, father of 6-year old and 3-year-old
Note: The Jambox is out of stock, but the similar UE Roll 2 is available now.

“My wife and I recently bought a home with a real working fireplace. With the days getting shorter and the chill in the air, a fire crackling in the background really adds to the ambiance. After our daughter’s been put to bed, we love unwinding in front of it. A wood rack from L.L.Bean to hold our firewood would definitely make our lives a little easier.” —Josh Caron, real-estate broker, father of an 8-month-old

“My daughter works and she’s still in college, so money is still a little tight. The best gifts she’s given me have tended to be really specific or experiential. One year she got us tickets to the McQueen exhibit at the Met. This year it would be cool to see the new Tom Ford movie or maybe we could spend a day at the Met Breuer.” —Sean Gallagher, hairstylist and colorist at Serge Normant Downtown, father of a 23-year-old

“She’s also a bit of a fashionista and good at picking out certain very cool articles of clothing, like a bowtie or pocket square. One year she wanted us to get a tattoo together, which fortunately never happened.” —Sean Gallagher

“This year I really want a Yeti cooler [editor’s note: Grub Street has written about these before]. Holy shit! They’re the best coolers in the world. They are little on the pricey side and we just bought a house, so that’s why it’s on my wish list and not on my back deck, as it were. They’re perfect for keeping drinks and snacks cold on a road trip or loading it up with beers for fishing with the guys, which I never do, but if I did, this would be perfect. —Maximillian Verrelli, general counsel at Blackheart Records, father of a 1-year-old
Note: There are only 5 of these left in stock, but this Yeti cooler is similar and also arrives before the holiday.

“Because sometimes, especially in small NYC apartments, as the father of a toddler, I need to tune the cacophony out, these headphones can either bring me some much-needed silence, or help block out the sounds of tantrums and toys beeping, long enough to listen to music or an episode of Here’s the Thing. All dads need a little reminder that there is life on the outside.” —David Nugent, artistic director of The Hamptons International Film Festival, father of 3-year-old

“What I really want is a Wind Pouch to relax on. It’s an inflatable air hammock basically, which sounds like a dream, right?” —Eduardo Alfonso, ophthalmologist, father of 38-year-old, 35-year-old, 26-year-old

“You know what I’d really want? A big bag of salted pistachio nuts. I can go through a small bag in one sitting — they are so addicting. If I had a giant bag, it would last just a little longer. Plus, it’s something my boys could afford and know that I really enjoyed.” —Eric Slutsky, executive vice-president at Current Lifestyle Marketing, father of 12-year-old son and 13-year-old son

“The ideal gift to me is something that can last a long time (I’m talking years), is practical enough to encourage constant usage (will develop a patina), and quirky enough to delight (you always wanted one, but would never buy it yourself). A good old-man hat is perfect for your old man. I like tweed newsboys by Wigens of Sweden.” —Grady Laird, president and co-founder, Grady’s Cold Brew, father of a 3-year-old and 7-year-old

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The Best Holiday Gifts for Dads, According to 12 Dads