Marketers would have us believe that holidays are cause for unfettered consumerism but despite what we are constantly told, gifts do not equal love and happiness. I try to think about gifts for others the same way I think about buying something for myself. What does the giftee really need? Maybe it’s time with me. Maybe it’s money or a gift card to choose what they want. Maybe it’s help with a hobby or career move. It’s a minimalist tactic, probably because we loathe having to deal with unwanted gifts ourselves. Try your best to ignore the marketing and consider everyone’s needs and the true reason for the celebration.
Father’s Day is a day to honor the father figure(s) in your life. If you can’t be with him or give an experience and need to send a physical gift, it can be difficult to get past the meat and mustache memes surrounding the holiday. If that’s not who your dad is, it’s going to take a bit of time to scope out a relevant and conscious gift. It’s not all barbeque tools and beer coozies for every man in the world. You and I know this because we know them, but many industries catering to men can’t seem to comprehend this idea.
That being said, below are items I was delighted by and even want for myself. Let’s hear it for unisex products! My minimalist aesthetic plus the limits of ethical options may make this list seem restricted still, but hear the sentiment over the shopping. If your dad likes floral arranging, buy him a class. If he’s a foodie, set up a date to cook together. And if he actually does like to drink beer and barbeque, that’s great too — because feminism. All I’m saying is the industries that sell to men need to cool it with the “you like tools, sports, cars, and meat and that’s all” bit and give men the space to be who they are. Whatever that is. Period.
Get on the e-card train and save time and paper! Even my beloved Paperless Post had quite a lot of bowtie bullshit going on, but I found a few non-traditional cards in case your father figure isn’t into sailboats or steak. Check out the rest of their cards here.
Again, these are things I like and would also wear. Even if this isn’t your dad’s vibe, look for items made in natural organic textiles like cotton, wool, linen, and silk. Or go for recycled or reclaimed fabrics — Patagonia is a good place to start. I am also really into these organic cotton Hamnett slogan tees; see more of them here.
P.S. to apparel companies: just like women’s fashion, I’m sure men would appreciate some diversity in body type among models.
Accessories + GEar
Excuse all of the backpacks — I’m on the hunt and a little obsessed right now. These are so cool I couldn’t resist! In my browsing, I also stumbled onto a brand called Sprout that constructs watches from sustainable elements like as bamboo, biodegradable corn resin, cork, organic cotton, and mother of pearl. You can even compost some of them!
I think DIY kits make interesting gifts. From terrariums to tea, there are maker kits for just about every activity anyone might be into. Same as with apparel, if you are buying textiles look for organic and natural or recycled fibres.
I highly recommend the S’well bottles too. They keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 without any condensation on the outside. With hot days approaching, this gift would be much appreciated by active dads everywhere.
I too enjoy a handsome label and heady scents in my grooming products. And I can personally vouch for the efficacy of brands Intelligent Nutrients, Juniper Ridge, Brooklyn Grooming, and John Masters Organics.
If any man in your life still uses disposable razors, take him out for a straight razor shave at a local barbershop and follow up with his own straight or safety razor set. Here’s why.
Finding ethical products for men can be more difficult than finding them for women, so I really went for it with this guide. If there’s something you’re looking for in particular, ask in the comments or hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there who help us be our best selves!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy anything through the link (it doesn’t change the amount you pay). I only include brands that I believe in, that I would use myself, or think might be of interest to you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With a background in education, Elizabeth Stilwell produces engaging, actionable content as editor-in-chief of The Note Passer . A proud sustainability nerd, her aim is to be a resource for ethical alternatives that benefit both people and the environment. The Note Passer is inspiration for better, sustainable future; one that’s full of more meaning and less waste. Elizabeth’s graphics, photography, and words have have appeared on EF Magazine, Moral Fibres, BF+DA, EcoGreenLove, and others. She is also a co-founder of the Ethical Writers Coalition , a group of writers who are furthering ethical and sustainable living online and in print.