When it comes to drumming up ideas about what to get Dad for Father’s Day, I’m going to suggest a unique approach. I mean, sometimes it takes some creative thinking to find the perfect gift for the dad who has it all.

To steal an obscure, but very important, line from one of my favourite John Hughes movies, Say Anything, “Go back.”

Go back to when you were a kid. Specifically, I want you to think about your relationship with your father. Associate all the feelings, smells, and even fears that you had towards your dad. Was he a good dad? A real dad? A fallible, but fun dad?

Think about how that relationship, with this most important role model, has changed over time – for better and for worse. And then, I want you to think about all the gifts you bought him that you didn’t even come close to paying him back for all the food, shelter and stupid things you did as a kid that he (and your mom) had to pay for.

Go back.

How to come up with a Father’s Day gift that suits Dad’s style

Can you picture it? Your youth? Your dad? Good. Here’s your starting point. Whenever you ask yourself, or hear anyone ask the age-old question, “What should I get for the dad who has everything?”, go back to those memories. Simplify the relationship you have with this complex man and get to the heart of who he is.

Is your dad sentimental? Is he stoic? Can he dress himself? These are the important questions you need to ask. Simplify. Simplify the gifts. Simplify the man.

Yes, it’s easy to buy ties, and tools and TV show box sets for a man who still uses a DVD player (because he can’t figure out how to stream anything), but there is only so much space in his house, and you can do better than that.

Young dads, old dads, new dads, and even dads who never get to see their kids very often because they are off fighting wars or possibly fighting other battles so they can be better people (and parents), don’t need much. Sometimes it’s enough just to give them a little recognition for trying their best.

That’s right – dads need recognition too… and chocolate. But mostly recognition. And beer.

Well, recognition and maybe a case of beer. Or gift cards to steakhouses. Especially the dads who have to now watch what they eat. Or, movie tickets. Because, well, when did the price of movie tickets and popcorn go up so much?

Okay, recognition. We’ll settle for recognition – in a steak restaurant, over a beer, or at a game that someone else is paying for. Cards are nice too, but, only if something nice is written inside the card, and it comes with a gift certificate, especially to something I have mentioned above.

Like I said, dads are simple, and the ones who have everything want for nothing, but free food, and drink and hockey tickets and big juicy steaks. And compliments. Don’t forget compliments. Dads like those. And a phone call every once in a while is nice too. Did I mention beer?

Did I mention when I said to “go back”, I meant to the beginning of time? Dads haven’t changed that much. Let’s not reinvent the wheel here. Free stuff, even for the man who has everything, is always welcomed, especially from his favourite freeloaders, his kids. So, it doesn’t need to be complicated, especially if your dad isn’t very complicated himself.