Sunday is Father's Day, and just like Mother's Day, it was inspired by tragic death. The modern American celebration of Father's Day began in 1908, when 361 men were killed in a mine explosion in Monongah, West Virginia. Father's Day is celebrated around the world (on different days) to honor and commemorate the importance of male figures in family life. Traditionally in this country, gifts are given by children to their fathers, but does Dad really need another Jerry Garcia silk tie? According the The Green Guide, more than half of dads say they've never received a "good" gift, and the average cost of a Father's Day gift is $89.00. There are plenty of green, eco gifts available to buy Dad. Instead of supporting the overconsumerism in this country spawned by holidays, how about showing Dad you love him with a truly sustainable gift. These gifts don't require you to buy Dad anything, but to spend time with him.
When was the last time your dad went camping? If he is like my dad, he hasn't slept in a tent since he visited me and I was living in a tent on South Fork Mountain! The last time my dad took a real camping trip was when I was a child. Depending on the age and health of your father, you may need to go car camping or find a short trail for the adventure. Remember, it is hard for older bones to sleep on the ground, so an air mattress may be necessary. If camping is too big of an ordeal, how about taking dad for a hike or bicycle ride. My father was very good at taking us into nature frequently, despite our suburban upbringing. Revisiting one of our favorite childhood hikes would be a nostalgic moment we could share with the next generation. A bicycle ride would be a similar adventure, reminding Dad of the times when he taught you how to to ride a bike. When was the last time you made your dad a card or a gift? A gift made with your hands will bring a smile to his face. You don't have to be super crafty or an artist to accomplish this task. Find your talents, whether digital or by hand, and create something your dad can hang on the refrigerator! If you are musically inclined, write dad a song or sing him one of his favorites. If you feel you must spend money to honor your dad, there are plenty of ways you can show your green love. You can make a donation to No More Victims, a non-profit that brings injured Iraqi children to the US for medical treatment. Or, you could buy Dad a plant and help him put it in the ground. If you can't be there with Dad, Tree2MyDoor will send a living gift for you or a tree gift pack that supports a conservation project throughout the world. This gift includes a GPS map of the site, so when Dad takes his next trip to Chile or Belize, he can find his gift! Holidays, such as Father's Day, should not always be about buying gifts. Remember what your mother said, "It is the thought that counts," so be thoughtful this year. Let Dad know you love him and appreciate him by giving a truly sustainable gift.