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The Official Boomer Dad Father’s Day Gift Guide! 17 Gift Ideas Jess’ Dad Swears By

Hello everyone, I’ll be damned, I made another Father’s Day. I hope your father made another one as well. I live about the same distance from both of my kids (about 400 miles). It’s a good distance because it’s a short flight in an emergency and drivable when time is not a factor…but it’s not an everyday drive. Perfect! I have lived as far away as Paris and New York City. Loved those cities but something inside of me said I was too far. I can only think it was my fatherhood duties that were gnawing at me. I guess it’s a lifetime deal even when your kids are adults. Geez, I was really hoping it would be over with at some point. I guess not (Drat!).

I installed this little infant seat on my kitchen table. I have a family staying at my place while I am traveling and they have three kids, one of which is a baby. I have the baby seat because of my girlfriend’s granddaughter. When I sat at the table next to it I was flooded with memories of my son sitting in that seat at our dinner table (30 years ago) and me discussing life with him. It was a one-way conversation, as he wasn’t talking yet, but that didn’t stop me. It was a very good memory of something that I had long forgotten. Today, my son is happily married. His recent wedding had a Harry Potter theme that you can get a glimpse of in the first photo. I’m not a Harry Potter guy so wasn’t quite sure how it was going to turn out. Well, let me tell you something. I have never had more fun at a wedding. Me, in my robe and wizard’s hat. Ha! Don’t I just love/hate learning something new from my kids. On that note let’s see if I can come up with some not-so-ordinary gift ideas for you.

Rechargeable Mini Flashlight Keychain

This past year I have been carrying around a mini flashlight that stays on my keychain. I cannot tell you how many times I have needed it. It’s called the OLIGHT IMINI 2 and can be purchased at Amazon. It is rechargeable and bright as can be. It sits in a little magnetic holder connected to your key chain so you can just pull it off off its holder anytime. Just plain slick! (Or sick, depending on your age, ha).

Truck Cargo Grabber Reach Retriever Tool

Something else I discovered this year was a truck bed grabber. If your dad or partner has a pickup truck he’ll love this. It is basically a hook that extends from 29” to 74” to grab cargo that has slid to the front of your truck bed. No more climbing into your truck to get crap out. When you’re an old man nothing is better than not having to climb anything. I will never own a house that has anything but one level ever again.

6x Midnight Cowboy Hat | Stanhope 10x Straw Cowboy Hat | Shasta 10x Premier Cowboy Hat

In my youth, I did some cowboying for a while. I have since retired my cowboy gear. Last week I decided to break out the cowboy hat for a special occasion. I forgot how much I liked wearing that hat. Every man in this country has at one time or another wanted to be a cowboy. Buying your dad a cowboy hat would not disappoint him. A good Stetson or Resistol hat are the only hats worthy of your dad. Straw hats are for summer. Beaver hats are for year-round. I swear I’m almost good-looking in a cowboy hat. I need all the help I can get (getting old is a full-time job). You can also do cowboy boots but that would have to be a gift certificate. “A man has to buy his own damn boots.” (a quote from the man that taught me how to rope upon seeing that my wife brought me a pair of boots).

4 Way Folding Lug Wrench

I bought my girlfriend a 1964 Volkswagen Bug for her birthday. It was missing a lug wrench so I went to replace it and found a folding lug wrench. It was perfect because it doesn’t take up much space which is at a premium in a Bug. But, it is great for any vehicle. We never have enough space. That’s why there are cargo shorts. Yikes! As a kid, I had marbles, baseball cards, a rock or two, and maybe even a frog in my pocket. I am absolutely positive a man invented cargo shorts. Never enough space to put all our stuff!

360-degree Locking Die Cast Torpedo Level

I found some new tools to help me work on Jess’s apartment (geez). There is a level that can adjust to any angle. It comes in real handy when you are trying to duplicate an angle. It is the Milwaukee 360-degree locking die cast torpedo level. Works great in an old apartment building that is leaning one way or the other. Just ask Jess.

1 Gal. 1/2 HP Portable Electric Air Compressor

I also found a small compact compressor made by Senco. It is a 1/2 horsepower 1-gallon compressor. It is small and easy to transport. I have yet to find a job it couldn’t handle around here.

Telescoping Ladder

One other item in the tool department is the Telesteps Extension Ladder. It extends to 16 feet but telescopes down to just a few feet for easy storage and handling. It makes my life easier.

Teeth Whitening

Like I have said in the past, if it makes my life easier or makes me look better, I’m in. When it comes to looking better there is a teeth whitening gadget that you can use at home. It’s made by Pola and is easy to use. You do need a dentist to prescribe it but it’s worth it. Dads don’t like to admit it but we hate getting old and have no problem being a little vain at times.

Mini Big Green Egg

I am the proud owner of “The Green Egg” grill. Never had one before. It was a gift and I was skeptical. But after some practice, I must admit it is a great way to grill. Who knew? I got the baby one, it’s enough  I do have my regular grill when I am in a hurry but when I have time I go to “The Egg”.

Sport Peppers | Hot and Mild Giardiniera

Growing up in Chicago you could always get a Chicago hot dog or an Italian beef sandwich. It was a quick and easy solution to hunger. Two of the main ingredients were sport peppers (for the dog) and giardiniera (for the beef). The peppers are a little bit hot, the giardiniera comes in mild and hot. What I have found is that I can use these ingredients for many of my meals. A little imagination never hurt any meal. If your dad is into food that is not boring, it’s a slam dunk. They are made by Marconi or Mezzetta. You can also find them on the “Tastes of Chicago” website.

6 in. 12V Lithium-Ion Brushless Electric Cordless Battery Pruning Saw

For the gardener dad, Milwaukee makes a 6-inch chain/pruning saw. It’s cordless and lightweight. Come in real handy around the yard, and again, makes my life easier.

Rechargeable Magnifying Glass with Light

As does my lighted magnifying glass and is relatively inexpensive.

kinda studly, right?

Also, I seem to remember mentioning pocket squares in one of my posts. I neglected to add a pocket square pin. I always hated when my pocket square would fall into my breast pocket. It would damage my fashion statement immensely. My solution was using a single earring that I would steal from my mate. Most women have single earrings that just lay on the dresser in a jewelry dish or something. I figured I might as well put it to use. I punch it through the seam just below the top of the pocket and through the pocket square. Works great and looks great (another one of my protocols). Of course, I prefer diamond or pearl studs. Always get a compliment on it. What nicer gift to your dad than to give him one of your personal possessions that he will use? He’ll treat it like the Hope Diamond!

Neck Massager with Heat | Osteo Cervical Pillow

Finally, I discovered an item by trial and error recently. I have been plagued by some severe neck pain recently. I cannot figure it out. Bad pillow, bad sleeping position, old age, or even arthritis. All I know is that I wake up with excruciating neck pain. It seems to be muscular but it has been interfering with my everyday activities and my sleep. My girlfriend bought a memory foam pillow for me. It helped to some degree. It took a while getting used to it but it helped. I then tried a litany of neck massagers. Finally, the Hotodeal Mini Kneading neck massager actually helps in the morning. The foam pillow at night and the neck massager in the morning. Almost back to normal. Yikes! The neck massager is nice for any dad. We do have aches and pains, you know. 

on our way back from the lumbar yard because my kids work me like a dog

Every gift I ever mention in these posts I own. When I am finished writing these I usually am in a very grateful place. I used to think it was because I had all this “stuff”. I have come to realize that the “stuff” doesn’t mean a damn thing. I am grateful because this post reminds me that being a father was/is my best job ever. Judging by my kids I am pretty good at it. It was easier with the help of their mother but I’m doing ok. I will be at my son’s place next month to get his house ready for his first child (my first granddaughter). Both my kids think I work on their houses because that’s what a dad does. That may be true but the real reason is that I get to see them and spend time with them. Don’t lose sight of that. Time is always the best gift. No doubt my son and I will tire of each other as do Jess and I. That’s ok and normal. We all still have our own lives. But I will tell you that when push comes to shove this family is one! No matter what happens, we have that. I wish the same for all of you. 

 Have a great Father’s Day,

Jess’s Dad

Editor’s Note: Les Bunge loves pretending that my brother and I don’t know that we are the luckiest people on the planet to get to have him as our dad. I’m sure it’s clear that he’s one of a kind and no amount of words could ever fully describe our love and his impact on us. Believe his gift ideas, don’t believe his nonsense:) Oh, and he loves reading the comments (I think that’s why he keeps agreeing to these posts lol) so know that he’s seeing them! H+S, Bungo<3

Opening Image Credit: Photo by Molly Piszczek

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8 days ago

Your best list yet! Thank you Les. Always love your thoughtful takes on parenting. Happy Father’s Day.

8 days ago

Les Bunge is a national treasure. Look forward to hearing from him every year!!

8 days ago

You, sir, are adorable.

8 days ago

Les Bunge is a treasure!

8 days ago

I love Jess’ dad & these are genuinely good ideas!

8 days ago

As I watch my dad fade into the mist of Alzheimer’s, I cherish the small moments more than anything. I hold the safety-themed birthday gifts, lessons in tire changing, and secret trips to get a treat (“going to the hardware store”) so incredibly dear. So much love to you, Jess’s Dad! This is so warm and lovely.

8 days ago

What a wonderful, thoughtful list from a caring and generous father. Thanks!

8 days ago

Interesting and entertaining writing. I wasn’t even going to read because my dad is 83 and literally needs nothing in his life. But I was hanging on every word because this was funny and sweet and relatable. Other than the pocket square situation, could see myself buying everything on the list based on this writing. Well worth the read. 😄

8 days ago

Obsessed with a Les post! I don’t have a father in my life but this brings me joy annually regardless. I even find myself clicking like 5 of the links clearly not intended for me?! Thank you, Jess and Les!

8 days ago
  • Les Bunge makes the best gift guides for dads. It’s literally the only source where I find ideas that my dad (or my husband!) might actually like and find useful. So often when I read see gift guides for fathers/husbands I wonder if every other man is a 30-year old hipster from New York or LA because the ideas just don’t resonate with the men in my life. But Les’s lists always hit the mark! Don’t stop, don’t change!
7 days ago
Reply to  Alyce

And it’s so funny because I would argue Les is very cool and maybe even a hipster dad, haha.

6 days ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

You are so right! That pocket square pin is a total hipster move. Well, let me say Les is a fun 75-year old hipster with a relatable practical edge.

8 days ago

“Les is back and a wizard.” I died laughing. And yes, he is. Thank you for the gift guide, Les! Going to use so many of these…
And not to be greedy (but totally being greedy), do we also get a post from Brian? Still using his Christmas gift guide to get gifts for my husband all these months later…

8 days ago

I always LOVE reading posts by Les! So funny and heartwarming, he could write an interesting post about pretty much anything.

Mary B.
8 days ago

Here I am, once again tearing up at a Les Bunge gift guide. Not only are the suggestions fantastic (I’m eying up quite a few for our home!), but the heart in these posts gets me every time. I lost my dad 10 years ago and I miss him every day. My husband and I now have 2 kids and own a home, and my dad would have absolutely loved being a grandfather and would have loved helping with projects around our house. Happy Father’s Day, Les! Thanks for sharing your ideas and your love for your family with all of us in this corner of the internet.

8 days ago

I got my husband the IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WOOD t-shirt last year based on your recommendation and he loves it!

Alli Griffin
8 days ago

Love the tools! All gifts I think my husband would love.

8 days ago

🥹 Not only are there so many good ideas (now I have to pick somehow…), I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories and explanations behind each one!

8 days ago

Love a Les Bunge post! Great gift recommendations with a healthy sprinkle of wise perspective: winning combo.

8 days ago

The sweetest…I love his posts. And Jess, you look just like your beautiful mom!

7 days ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

It’s true! I was STRUCK! At first I thought it was a photo of Jess with a filter!

7 days ago
Reply to  Patricia

Oh, goodness, Jess, you do. At least in that photo. I scrolled back and forth a couple times because of the resemblance!

Annie K
7 days ago
Reply to  Patricia

It shocked me, too! Jess, you are both beautiful.

7 days ago
Reply to  Patricia

I totally agree that Jess looks so much like her mom. I came here to make the same comment. ❤️

Mary Beth
8 days ago

Les, you are indeed one of a kind. I love your posts and your writing voice. Your love for your children shines through.

8 days ago

My first thought when I saw this post:
“Yay, a post by Les! I always enjoy reading those!”
My immediate second thought
“Wait, am I going to cry reading this???”
The answer was yes, immediately but in the very best way.
Thank you for this post, Les (and Jess for sharing your Dad with us). These are great recommendations
and even better insights. I will think on several of these for my Dad, who is also an enthusiastic helper to my many projects and a wonderful person all around. Happy (early) Father’s Day!

8 days ago

Les’ posts are truly the most helpful ones on this blog. He should start his own!

8 days ago

Sounds like Les might appreciate some Portillos shipped to him!

Karyn Meadows
7 days ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

OOH, Portillos is the BEST

8 days ago

Les is THE best contributor to the site. Such a talented writer. So real, entertaining, sweet and funny. Makes us all appreciate our dads all the more which is the greatest gift. Les you rock 🙂 Travel to Ireland sometime, you’d have a blast 🙂

8 days ago

I swear these gift guides are so good! I also know my brother or husband would love any of these things–practical but not really something I would ever think about (we don’t need any more whiskey rocks or leather coasters or idk! the classic “man” gift things). Like, maybe *I* need a mini chainsaw too!!!?

8 days ago

Always bookmarking a Les Bunge gift post. It is impossible to think of gifts for 40 yo sons. Every time I’ve used a Les Bunge suggestion, it has been a hit. Thank you, Les Bunge for being the epitome of relatable AND cool!

8 days ago

I smiled when I saw today’s blog was by Les. His blogs are the best! I lost my Dad in March but he felt the same about his kids as you do so I could hear his voice a little bit. So thank you for that.

8 days ago

Just the way this post started, “I’ll be damned, I made another Father’s Day”, made me burst into laughter. What an entertaining and wonderful post from Les. Thank you for these gems we get from him…

8 days ago

I love Les Bunge’s posts! What a wonderful dad and person. Happy Father’s Day!

7 days ago

I saw Father’s Day post and thought, please let this be written by Les Bunge- Hooray. Once again you’ve outdone yourself. Your writing, humor, ideas and, most importantly love for your kids and love of being a dad, are so inspiring. I look forward to your posts every year and am already adding to cart in preparation for Father’s Day. You are a gem of a person. (And a classic VW bug as a gift- your girlfriend is so lucky to have you and it.)

7 days ago

Love me a Les post. Your gift guides are always great, but I use them for my boyfriend.. Ha! Ha! I may need to buy that Milwaukee saw for myself! I wish I had a father like Les. You are a lucky gal, Jess!

7 days ago

Les, you are one of my favorite people on the internet. Your kids are wildly lucky to have you. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself here.

7 days ago

The best! Happy Father’s day Les! The joy and love you have for your children makes my heart so warm. 🙂 Thanks also for the great ideas! Never stop writing. 🙂

7 days ago

Some of my favorite posts involve Jess’s dad so I always love to hear from him directly! Great gift ideas and so much love for his kids—it’s so cute. My dad always says he’s gone from putting together my little pony castles to helping work on an actual house (though he is getting old enough we mainly use a contractor these days). But it’s so special to have worked on projects with him and walk across my kitchen floor and remember when we changed it out together. Happy early Father’s Day because being a dad is an every day job!

Mindy Bizzell
7 days ago

Les you are an absolute treasure, and even though my Dad isnt in the picture and hasnt been for more than 30 years, I still enjoy reading these posts. Jess, you and your brother are very lucky. Happy father’s day!

7 days ago

I can’t believe another year has come and gone! I better get on the Father’s Day gift! Thanks as always, Les, for the fun and unique ideas. Wishing you a bright year ahead.

7 days ago

Les, you are a national treasure. Put the massager in my cart for my dad! Thank you for taking the time to do this and for all the thought you put into it each year!

7 days ago

I’ve teared up reading this post! I never had a strong father figure in my life and Les sounds like the kind of dad I yearned for. Fortunately, my husband is the dad of my dreams for my daughter. Loving dads help make the world go round!

Cici Haus
7 days ago

These are always the best posts! You do have a wonderful dad. p.s. Jess, can we get a post with the details of the Harry Potter-themed wedding??

7 days ago

Here to recommend a 100% organic latex pillow as the cure for neck pain. Four years neck pain free after switching! Studies show they provide better support than memory foam. Plus they are hypoallergenic and the longest-lasting type of pillows.

7 days ago

Never thought I would tear up reading a gift guide but here we go. Beautiful.

Roberta Davis
7 days ago

You’re so cool, Les!

7 days ago

Les is a complete delight! The Les and Jess Show is one of my favorite things about this site. Just ordered the flashlight for my husband, who can never find his because “we created a horde of boys, and they’re always taking them for crazy reasons.” He is not wrong!

Angela S
7 days ago

Love that you share the gadgets you use and love your comments. I very much appreciate the “Dad’s POV”!!

7 days ago

Les, I know this post wasn’t meant to make us cry but here I am. My Dad passed away four years ago to cancer and he would’ve loved this list. And I would’ve loved buying him something off the list. He would’ve laughed about every man wanting to be a cowboy. That part is so true.
It was your final paragraph that got me teary eyed though. Like you, my Dad loved helping us kids out. This post made me think about how great of a Dad he was. For that, I thank you. Happy Father’s Day, Les.

7 days ago

This was the absolute sweetest and Jess, your mom was such a babe! Shouldn’t be a surprise because you look just like her 🙂

7 days ago

Happy Father’s Day Les, from all your honorary children who read this blog! LOL. I can’t believe no one has mentioned the pocket square pin yet – I was very impressed. Genius, just genius.

Camille Toschi
7 days ago

Thank you, Les, for the unique and thoughtful gift guide!! I have the flashlight and the truck reacher on the list for my dad! I’m not sure if Jess needs help with a gift for you for Father’s Day, but a fellow dad recommended that I get mine a 15-in-1 multi bit screwdriver Not expensive but it’s a gift that makes my dad think of me whenever he uses it and he loves it!

7 days ago

Love a Les post and always come away with a few great ideas. We use those oven glove mitts he recommended in another post almost daily. My father-in-law loves a good Chicago hot dog, and I’m going to get him the jarred peppers. Thanks Les. Always good to hear from you!
PS – Love the wedding theme. Big HP fan!

7 days ago

His posts always make me tear up. They always reek of humor and love. Also, Jess looks JUST like her beautiful mom!

7 days ago

Great suggestions, I’ll take one of each!

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