You wouldn’t buy your mom a kitchen appliance for Mother’s Day, right? So don’t give your dad a mundane gift for Father’s Day this year. Anyone who’s ever seen the movie ‘A Christmas Story” remembers the look of mock joy on the father’s face when he opens a gift to find a tub of car wax. “A can of Simoniz,” he says, flashing a frozen smile before rolling his eyes and tossing the can aside.

According to the National Retail Federation, although spending for Father’s Day gifts has always ranked well below the amount spent for Mother’s Day, that gap has begun to shrink. Data from 2012 indicates consumers spent an average of just under $118 on their dads compared to about $152 on moms. Not everyone has that kind of money to shell out for a Father’s Day gift and some may want to spend more. But no matter what you spend, the key to a great Father’s Day gift is to tailor your gift to complement his interests or hobbies.

No-cost coupons: How many gifts can you think of that require just your time and love and absolutely no money? Car washing, lawn mowing, a special meal – the ideas for gifts are practically limitless. Make a coupon book using templates you can find online or hand letter your own. This is a great gift for kids from preschoolers to college-age and for anyone who wants a truly personalized gift from the heart. Be sure to follow through on redemption!

Customized snacks: Offer a variety of Dad’s favorite foods, but make them special with customized labels. Search the Internet for printable Father’s Day labels and gift tags and then use them to embellish more mundane store fare like nuts, hot sauce or other special snacks. You can even print labels for soda, beer or wine.

News he can use: If your dad loves to keep up on current events, consider a gift subscription to a newspaper or magazine geared toward his interests. Look for introductory or multi-year offers for the best deals: Even the relatively costly New York Times frequently offers introductory subscriptions at half off and many newspapers and magazines offer digital versions for much less than paper copies. Another option: A subscription to a hometown paper makes a great gift for a dad living away from his roots.

Tech-inclined: Possibly one of the most appreciated gifts on the market today, new phones with cool features will be a hit with any dad or husband. Blackberry’s line of state-of-the-art phones offers one of the widest range of options available as well as a range of affordable price points. Bonus points if you can teach your dad text speak and how to video chat.

Couch coach: If the dad on your gift list likes to do a little armchair quarterbacking, put together a gift basket that includes some snacks, an inexpensive sports-themed book, a keychain, hat or other item featuring his team of choice and, for an added bit of fun, a TV-friendly sponge brick that’s ideal for hurling at the TV when his team makes a particularly unfortunate play. Sponge bricks can be found online or you can make your own by painting a sponge from the auto supply store with brick-colored craft paint. Not for use in homes where real bricks are readily available for throwing.

Music man: Lots of guys like music, but not everyone else agrees with their tastes. Make it easy for him to listen in secluded comfort with a pair of comfy headphones or ergonomic earbuds. Consider pairing it with a gift card for music downloads.

Man reading newspaper photo from Flickr user zoetnet.

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