7 FREE Gift Ideas for Father’s Day


If don’t want to spend money but still want a great gift for your dad, these are the best free gift ideas for Father’s Day that may even be better than bought gifts.

The best gifts aren’t necessarily worth thousands, hundreds, or even tens of dollars. No, the best gifts are the meaningful ones. Of course, if the meaningful gift is hundreds of dollars, by all means. But you can give on a budget for the same (and maybe even better) value. 

1. Fix it for HIM

Yes, this may be a stereotype, but often times dads may fix things for us. Even if it was just when we were too little to fix anything ourselves – a toy, shelf, or otherwise.

So why not fix something for him on his day.

Maybe there’s been something your dad has been meaning to repair of his but just hasn’t gotten around to it. Or think about times he’s complained about something in the house or of his belongings and surprise him by making it better.

This, of course, can be easier if planned ahead of time. It requires recognizing what needs to be “fixed” and proceeds to learn how to and actually repair the broken “thing”.

But if you do it, it can be meaningful in so many ways:

  1. You show you were listening to him and his worries
  2. You put effort into helping him in some way
  3. You show empathy in a way because you’ve taken on a role he usually displays for you
  4. You’ve made his life easier (no matter how small or large the fix was)
  5. It can be quite a surprise

Disclaimer: While there are many things that can be fixed without buying additional items, there may be purchases needed depending on what needs to be fixed. Another option is to fix everything to the point that something needs to be bought. That still helps your dad.

2. Organize a Free Activity

There are so many activities that don’t require an entrance fee, a ticket, or other purchases.

The best way to make a free activity a great gift is to ensure…

  1. You are the one that organized it
  2. It is an activity your dad particularly enjoys (maybe even one he hasn’t done in a while)
  3. It’s actually something that was planned out (and it shows)

Some ideas are:

  • bike ride
  • hike
  • board game night
  • picnic
  • run/jog
  • beach walk

You can also just go to Tripadvisor and search “best free things to do in ____”.

3. Cook His Favorite Meal

This is especially wonderful if your dad usually cooks – you know… now you cook for him. You can cook his favorite meal or surprise him with a meal he loves that he hasn’t had in a while.


Another idea is cooking something he always loves to get at a certain restaurant and making a “recreation” of it.

You can never go wrong with a delicious home-cooked meal. You can even go with the traditional “breakfast in bed”.

Need some healthy ideas? Check out

4. Make a Video

A video can be a special reminiscing gift for your dad. And you don’t need to be a videography genie to do so. You can use iMovie or download a free video-making application.

One way to do it is to simply gather pictures and videos that include your dad over the past years and compile them together. Then, pick a fitting song for the background.

You can play it on Father’s Day and I can almost guarantee it’ll be an invaluable moment for your dad.

Another way to make a video even more special is to include some words. I’ve made one where I started the clip with “Thank you for…” and proceeded to have scrolling phrases that finished the sentence. Then, the images/clips in the background often fit to what is being appreciated.

For example, “Thank you for… getting Starbucks with me even though you don’t like it” scrolling on top of a picture of us at a restaurant. It’s not an exact match but given the photos/videos you have, you can make them fit the vibe of the appreciation.

Tip: If you’re in need of more footage, try checking your mom’s, other guardians, or family’s photos if they have any including your dad. I know my mom always takes random pictures of me and my dad walking.

5. Print Photos

Videos are a nice medium, but physical photos are something else. Printed photos allow for many applications that can make it a meaningful long-lasting gift.

For example, they can land in your father’s office, walls, and/or wallet.

I’d say, unlike the video, to probably not make these photos necessarily of your dad. I mean I would find it weird if I kept too many photos of just myself up everywhere all the time. Instead, choose ones that have particular moments that you share with your dad, of places important to you, or maybe one of you together.

Also, think about any frames or similar items you have lying around to put the printed photos together nicely. But of course, it’s not necessary.

6. Grow Something

white and yellow flower

Whether your dad likes herbs, produce, or flowers, growing something for them can be a special gift. This is something that also needs a little planning ahead, especially if you want some results of plants showing by the time Father’s Day comes around.

To make this gift special, pick out plant(s) your father particularly enjoys, and may even get use out of.

  • rosemary, avocado, sunflowers, basil, tomatoes, etc.

7. DIY Something Meaningful

Here’s to continuing the theme of putting work into a gift. It just provides thoughts of “they care for me so much they put in time and effort for me” “they know me enough well to make this”, etc.

Think about things you might normally buy as a gift (or part of one) – holiday card, painting – and imagine making it yourself and all personalized instead. I think that makes for a much more elevated (and, might I add, cheaper) gift.

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