10 Practical, Hilarious, and Amazing Gifts for Your Stylish But Set-in-His-Ways Dad

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Let me tell you a little story about me and my father.

Life 101: Dads Are Impossible to Buy Gifts For, and my father is no exception, through no fault of his own. Presents must toe the line between manly, practical, and classic, with just a hint of frivolous luxury thrown in (I am his daughter, after all; I'm not going to buy him a shovel). And did I mention that his birthday is four days before Christmas?

One year, I was drifting through the aisles of Pier One Imports, hoping to find something scented, beaded, and colorful for my mother. And then I saw it. The perfect gift. I couldn't explain why my father needed it — I just knew.

It was a fat iron pig.

That's all. Just a fat iron pig, chilling on the Pier One Imports shelf. It had zero use other than being decorative. It was the most impractical thing the store offered, and I snatched it up like a falcon.

My dad was, reasonably, quite confused when he opened the gift, but I tried to explain: "It's just — it's so cute and — you can put it on your desk." In retrospect, it didn't make sense to anyone with me. How to explain the kismet that matches conservative dads with the silliest of gifts? How to explain why chubby metal piglets are so very perfect for serious academics? It was meant to be, and I make no apologies.

Ever since then, I've harbored this secret illusion that I'm the dad-gift-giving expert. The gift must be a little bit boyish, a little big serious. A little bit practical, a little bit indulgent. And I guarantee you'll find something for the most difficult of dads in the following pages.

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