Let’s admit it right at the start. 2020 has been an unforgettable year. The pandemic further buffeted escalating tensions between superpowers, inducing trade wars, and plummeting global economies. Many countries are slowly but steadily easing the lockdowns; some are waiting and watching.
Amidst this palpable backdrop of uncertainty, many of us may have overlooked that Father’s Day 2020 is upon us. Each year, the third Sunday of June is celebrated and kept aside to honour fathers and fatherhood. This tradition was started in 1910 by an American, Sonora Smart Dodd, the daughter of a noted Civil War veteran.
It was only in 1972 that the then-US president Richard Nixon made the 3rd Sunday of June a day of national observance. Father’s Day is also celebrated on the 21st of June in other countries including Canada, the UK, France, India, China, Japan, the Philippines and South Africa.
Let’s make this year special and show your dad all the love he deserves. First, identify your dad’s love language.
Confused? The five love languages were first described by author and radio personality Gary Chapman. In his 1992 book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, he noted these languages as:
The person with this love language interprets giving gifts as caring and loving. They appreciate the effort, thoughtfulness, and meaning behind the gifts. They feel valued when someone spends money on them.
Acts of service
Someone with acts of service as their love language loves it when someone does something for them, whether big or small. To them, it means this person values them enough to put the time and effort in helping them or just generally making their life easier and better. In simple words, they believe that actions speak louder than words.
Physical touch as a love language means a hug, a kiss, a pat on the shoulder is a way of saying “I care about you, I love you.” A person with this love language needs to be touched to feel loved. They appreciate closeness and physical intimacy.
A person with quality time as their love language enjoys spending time with their loved ones. They associate the quality and length of time spent together with care, effort, and love. To them, making time for people they cherish is very important. They feel emotionally full after a deep conversation or some interactive playtime.
Words of affirmation
If someone has words of affirmation as their love language, it means they feel loved when there are verbal expressions of love. Doing favours for them, giving them gifts, or spending time together is not enough; the effort, care, and meaning behind those actions have to be said out loud to them. They want to hear all the details about how loved and appreciated they are.
So how do you figure out which one is your father’s number one love language? The best way, of course, is to send him the questionnaire and check his result.
If this is not possible, you could take Chapman’s advice and ask yourself (or other people who are close to him on a daily basis) these questions about your father:
How does he most often express love to others?
What does he complain about most often?
What does he request most often?
The answers to these questions will give you insights into the way he interprets love in concrete terms so you can show it right back to him.
Here are 16 ways to make Father’s Day memorable for your father, based on his love language:
If your father’s number one love language is receiving gifts
1. Buy him a new smart gadget: Your father may grumble about how his old handset was working perfectly but, be sure, he will be secretly pleased. A new phone or a smart assistant is more than a fancy gadget; it is a method of communicating and staying in touch. In these times when empty-nest households are emergent, this would be a touching gesture.
2. Give him a gift voucher for his favourite store: Depending on your father’s hobby and your level of income, you can give him a gift card for a brand he loves or a shop that supplies his favourite gears.
3. Take him online shopping: This one hits two birds with one stone. You can both treat him materialistic gifts and spend some quality father and son / daughter time together. If he’s not digitally savvy, it could be very beneficial and fun to show him how everything works on the internet.
If your father number one love language is acts of service
4. Cook him a three-course meal: Cooking for someone you love is easily one of the most intimate and enjoyable activities you can indulge in. Let this be a surprise; chances are your father will not know that 21st June is his day. Try and experiment with new recipes, but don’t forget the delicious basics either.
5. Offer to wash his car, mow his lawn, clean his house, or anything that you think you could help him with: Basically, ask him if you could pick up any of his mundane tasks that he hasn’t got around to. While he sits and rests, make him a nice cup of tea and clean it up for him. Treat him like a star of the day!
6. Give him acts of service coupons: Use some basic design skills to put together a page of coupons for tasks you could help him with (see examples in the point above). You can do it on Photoshop, free online services like Canva, or even Microsoft Doc or Excel. Make it colourful and fun!
If your father’s number one love language is physical touch
7. Play a team sport together: Cricket, basketball, football, and wrestling are some good examples. Pick a game that allows you to have physical interactions and embrace each other during the process.
8. Pick a brand new outfit for him: Choose items that have skin-soothing materials such as cashmere, velvet, or soft cotton — anything that is nice to touch. If you know he’s into a type of sports, equip him with the right attire for his next game.
9. Buy him a new duvet cover set (or sofa throw): Likewise, you could order him a top quality duvet cover and pillowcases set which is so comfortable to sleep on that he will never want to leave his bed again.
If your father’s number one love language is quality time
10. Host a movie screening: This is an ideal low-key outdoor activity. Let him choose the flick. You will need a projector, a large blank wall, some candies and popcorn and an after-movie dinner for the perfect home screening experience.
11. Explore the world’s best museums together (virtually): One of the few positives that this lockdown has brought along is a growing interest in virtual museum tours. From London’s British Museum to the never-ending Louvre galleries and the Sistine Chapel-take a tour of a lifetime sitting at home! You will likely get to hear him sharing more about his young life and his personal experiences with history.
12. Enjoy a wine tasting session: Wine is best had with family. This Father’s Day, pick up a couple of good white and red wines, besides grapes and a woven placemat. Ensure that you discuss the wines- their taste, texture, richness or colour- while you sip away together, reminiscing old times.
13. Bring out the old photo albums: Our old albums are a veritable time machine: they help us go back and relive a memory. This Father’s Day, have the entire family sit down and let the old man narrate the stories behind every snap you look back at. For some time, he may happily transcend into a realm of magic reality!
If your father’s number one love language is words of affirmation
14. Write him a letter: There’s nothing more personal and meaningful than a handwritten letter with loving words to your father. Tell him how much he means to you and how thankful you are for everything he has done for you.
15. Make him a scrapbook of your past adventures together: If you have pictures taken with your father, put them together and make notes on each of them sharing your positive thoughts and feelings about him and your shared memories. Go through this scrapbook with your father and reminisce about the good times.
16. Get him wall art prints with words from your heart: Does he have a favourite quote? Is there anything you want him to remember? Personalise it in an art print and get a nice frame for it.
After all, it’ll be fine as long as you put your effort and love into it. You don’t have to try too hard or overdo it. Instead, improvisations work better. Just ensure that you buy all the stuff needed for the day in advance.
Sometimes a simple phone call is good enough.
Last but not least, I understand that not everyone is lucky enough to have their father here with them or have a relationship with their father. In that case, use the day for yourself. Make it your self-care day. It’s okay.