Father’s Day: A “Second Christmas” or Day for Memories?

Where did Father’s Day (or Mother’s Day for that matter) come from? Like Valentine’s and many other purported holidays, the success and continuity of Father’s Day was tied to retailers…literally with a bunch of striped, polka dotted, and plaid men’s ties.

The genuine celebration of fathers originated in Spokane, Washington in 1910 when Sonora Dodd, the product of a single father who raised six children, heard a sermon on Mother’s Day and decided it was time to honor dads.

The story is sweet and honorable if you stop there. However, Father’s Day failed to catch on and it wasn’t until years later in the 1930’s that Dodd promoted the holiday with the full backing of men’s retailers nationwide that it began to get attention. By 1938 the “Father’s Day Council”, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers, was in full swing commercializing the promotion.

Even then, consumers had their eyes open and recognized the rouse for what it was: an guilt-laden reason to buy hats, ties, tobacco pipes, and a myriad of other men’s gifts. Americans held out for several decades, but by the 80’s, commercialization won out with the Father’s Day Council writing, “[Father’s Day] has become a ‘Second Christmas’ for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.”

What does this have to do with lifestyle design?

While gifts ┬ámay be a tradition in your household thanks to the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers, it’s up to you to create purposeful and memorable experiences with your father, your kids (if your a dad), and for your family.

What kind of gifts produce memories that last a lifetime? Certainly not a Dilbert tie (except maybe those forever imprinted when dad has to wear the obligatory tie in public).

Perhaps we should all strive to create traditions around experiences and connections on these Men’s Wearhouse and Best Buy holidays? Gifts that give us stronger relationships, shared stories, and belly laughs.



How will you remember this Father’s Day?

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I meant to post on Father’s Day, but as soon as I saw this come through my email, I shut my laptop and went and played ‘airplane’ with my toddler. Best hour ever.

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