6 Gift Ideas For A Friend Who Struggles On Father’s Day

Hannah Burton/Bustle

Each June, Father's Day is celebrated to commemorate dads and father figures everywhere. But it can be a difficult day for people whose fathers aren't in their lives. Whether their dads have passed away, are estranged from them, or have a toxic relationship with their kids, Father's Day presents challenges to some. If you have a friend who you know struggles on Father's Day, it can be helpful to acknowledge that they may be struggling, by letting them know you're thinking of them during the day, taking them out for a meal, or giving them a gift that lets them know you care.

Before you start the process, know that your gift, no matter how well intentioned, isn't going to fix how your friend is feeling, and that's OK. Sometimes, someone who has a complicated relationship with their father or father figure just want to be alone on Father's Day, and it's important to respect that, as a friend. But whether you want to show that you care, give them an outlet to talk about their feelings, or find them something uplifting to get through the 24 hours where everybody's going on about their great dads, here are some ideas.

1A Tribute To Complicated Father-Daughter Relationships

"Collected Poems", Sylvia Plath

Barnes & Noble

Sometimes people who have complicated relationships with an important figure in their life like to see that mirrored in art. The father-daughter relationship in Sylvia Plath's poetry is complex and troubled (Plath's own father passed away when she was eight), so a poetry lover might find comfort in reading works like "The Colossus" on a day that's supposed to be about uncomplicated fatherly affection.

2A Free-For-All Festival

Egg Rolls, Egg Creams & Empanadas Festival

Museum At Eldridge St, NYC

There are a lot of events happening on Father's Day weekend around the country that have exactly zero to do with fatherhood. If your friend's in the need for company and excitement, take them to something distracting; the annual Egg Rolls, Egg Creams & Empanadas festival in NYC is a collection of Chinese opera, Jewish food classes and language lessons that celebrates multicultural New York. Look around your own neighborhood for ways to make new, fun memories.

3A Pampering Session

Tub Tim Siam Thai 60min Massage, San Francisco


If they want to spend the day indoors away from prying eyes, now is a good time to give them (and, if necessary, you) a pampering session. Spas aren't typical venues for Father's Day gifts, though they've been more popular in recent years, so one near you is likely to have a deal for the weekend or the time around it.

4A Testimonial That You're Around

Here For You Card


Sometimes, if a friend is facing the loss of their dad and finding it very hard, it can be sincerely difficult to know what to say. But you still want to reassure them that you're there for them, so a simple sentiment through their letterbox might be the best thing you can give.

5A Ridiculous DIY Project

DIY Giant Plush Pillow


Want to make a rocket ship model, or build a rocking chair, or sew a cosplay outfit, or make a giant plushy that your friend can grab and yell into whenever they feel bad? Now is definitely the day to do it. If you're both DIY types, this is a great distraction opportunity. Grab your materials, get the instructions and make a day of attempting to construct the Thing Of Your Dreams together.

6A Cleaning Service — Or Your Own Efforts

We Clean America 2-Hour Cleaning Service, Los Angeles


Most of us could probably use a deep-clean on our place, if only because life gets in the way of our actually being able to clean it. Get your friend out of the house and get some cleaners in, or just do the hard work yourself while they spend time with their family. The key motivation here? Giving them space and time to process their emotions without needing to worry for a little while.

Father's Day can be a painful day for some people, or it can be a weird day, or it can be just like any other day. But if you know your friend may be having a tough time on the third Sunday in June, it can be helpful to show all the ways you're there for them.