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In search of the perfect gift? Read more of Slate’s holiday gift guides here.
Fathers, as a group, can be quite hard to buy gifts for, and this can make it difficult to check them off your shopping list. On the flip side, it can be all the more rewarding to find something they really enjoy or that makes their life a little better. Here are some recommendations from our Picks archive that just might be a hit with the dad(s) in your life.
A dad who is working from home but still likes to lounge may appreciate this laptop desk. Jamilah Lemieux wrote, “This multipurpose tray is perfect for the days where you ‘literally can’t even’ but still have to get some adulting done. It’s large enough to hold your laptop and a drink, plus a snack or notepad.”
For the father who’s a reader, check out Slate’s list of the best nonfiction books. Elizabeth Kobert’s The Sixth Extinction is a good pick for nearly everyone. Dan Kois and Laura Miller said of it, “No book has made the reality of how humans are endangering the future not only of their planet but of their species more clear to readers than this beautifully written, perfectly reported, passionately argued model of explanatory science journalism.”
If he appreciates a really good cup of coffee but does not yet own his own grinder, director of technology Greg Lavallee recommends this manual Hario Skerton model. “When it comes to grinding coffee, burr grinders offer a more consistent grind and better control over the fineness of your ground beans,” he said. “It has the same ability as an electric device to adjust the thickness of your grind and is easy to wash and clean.”
This Breville espresso maker is an extravagance, but one that could still be practical if Dad’s household is used to spending lots of money on espresso drinks. Faith Smith, executive producer of Slate Live, wrote: “We spent about a year doing research and tastings and calculating the cost of at home versus outsourcing our indulgence to a coffee shop. We finally bit the bullet and splurged on this beautiful machine. …We’ve had the Breville for four years, and we make at least two espressos each day. After nearly 3,000 perfect drinks, it is still humming like new.”
Jamilah Lemieux recommended this waterproof speaker as a shower companion for stressed-out parents, writing: “This durable speaker will allow you to enhance the quality of your sacred solo time with some of your favorite tunes. It also has decent enough sound to use in the kitchen, or to bring with you when traveling.”
If Dad has yet to find his preferred hair product, he might enjoy this pomade, which was purportedly used by the likes of Elvis Presley and James Dean. Decoder Ring producer Benjamin Frisch wrote of the Black & White Pluko Pomade, “It has the right amount of hold and shine and, as my barber says, ‘smells the best.’ ”
Unless he’s the type of man who’s very particular about his personal care routine, a new razor would probably be a welcome gift. Bill Carey, senior director for strategy, endorsed this Remington razor, saying: “The shave is smooth and quick. The battery lasts for weeks of daily use. The razor packs well and is durable too: You can drop it twice on the same morning and it soldiers on.”
Nice pens are underrated. As Slate workplace advice columnist Alison Green put it, “Most people don’t buy themselves really nice pens, and if you haven’t written with one lately, let me remind you they are truly a joy to write with.” Green recommended a Cross Pen, which is “affordable while still far fancier than what’s in the office supply closet. Bonus: Every president from Reagan onward has used Cross pens to sign legislation.”
Senior managing producer of Slate podcasts June Thomas loves a fountain pen, and she called the Platinum Preppy “one of the world’s greatest bargains: Made by one of Japan’s big-three pen companies, it is a spectacular writer; you can use ink cartridges or bottled ink in an inexpensive converter.”
A dad who’s into fitness will enjoy a pair of headphones that safely give him some entertainment while he trains. Senior managing editor Megan Wiegand wrote, “I spend a good chunk of time either biking to work or running around my city, and these headphones allow me to listen to music or podcasts without blocking out my surroundings (especially while biking).”
Help him keep his feet warm indoors with a pair of slippers. Sam Adams likes Glerups, and called them “durable and cozy, but they don’t smother your feet or make you sweat. … The soles are sturdy enough for a run to the mailbox—or, if you choose rubber instead of soft leather, the corner store.”