I’ve written many times about how difficult it is to buy presents for the males in my family. But if there’s one person that’s even harder to buy for than my teenage boys, it’s my dad.
My dad is in his 70s and comfortably off. If he wants or needs anything, he buys it. He doesn’t have any hobbies which lend themselves to presents (actually, I lie – he does Parkrun now and that’s helped us buy a couple of presents) and he doesn’t drink alcohol. If you ask him what he’d like for his birthday or Christmas, he will either say ‘nothing’ or ‘socks’. And he genuinely means it. I try to do better, but I must admit, I have bought him a fair few socks over the years.
To make matters worse, his birthday is just two weeks after Christmas, so there’s very little time to think of something.
I don’t know why, but my husband always concerns himself with my dad’s birthday. Maybe it’s because he’s a dad himself so he understands, or maybe it’s because his own dad died when he was a child, so my dad is important to him. But I’m very grateful that my husband does concern himself, because he thinks of better things than socks.
For as long as I could remember, my dad has loved the annual TV programme Sports Personality of the Year. It is his absolute favourite programme of the year. My husband always wished my dad could go along to watch it. So this year, he kept any eye out for the tickets going on sale.
I didn’t want to surprise my dad, just in case he felt it was too far to travel (it was in Liverpool this year), so I had to ask him if he wanted to go. And he was overwhelmed. Of course he wanted to go! But he didn’t understand why we’d thought of him and why we’d chosen such an amazing present for him.
Why wouldn’t we? He’s my dad!
He says he doesn’t have a bucket list, but if he did, going to the Sports Personality of the Year would be at the top of it.
He wouldn’t want to drive that far, so my husband drove. My eldest accompanied him to the show. He seemed like the obvious choice. My mum wouldn’t want to travel that far and I’ve got the kids to look after. My husband could have gone with him, but he felt it would be nice for him to spend time with my son. On his own, my eldest is really good company, and he and my dad get on well.
And I’m pleased to say that my dad had the best day. It was everything he had hoped for. For a sports fan, it really doesn’t get any better than being in the same room as all of those incredible sportspeople.
I’m so glad we found my dad the perfect birthday present.