Father’s Days Gifts for the Asian Dad

I don’t know about you but it’s extremely difficult to get my dad a gift for any occasion.  It’s not that he won’t willingly accept the gift but no matter how “useful” I think the gift is, it could potentially stay in the closet for forever.  Asian dads don’t like to be wasteful but keeping a gift in the closet without any use seems wasteful to me, don’t you think?

Here are some things we have gotten him that might work for your baba:

1. Uniqlo Jacket – Asians LOVE this store.  I think because it is fairly inexpensive, good quality, and the styles are simple.

uniqlo jacket

2. New messenger bag (or upgrade to any item your dad uses frequently) — The problem with buying my dad a replacement/upgraded item is that he loves to use the same thing no matter how janky it becomes.  My dad had been using his current messenger bag for over 20 years and it was falling apart at the seams and was barely zipping.  He continues to use that one and the new one is stored in the closet.  Looking back, I realize that the shape was important.  Contrary to the typical horizontally style messenger bag, he prefers the style below because it was easier to store his lunch box flat on the bottom.  So if you DO decide to upgrade one of your dad’s current items, make sure it is exactly what he wants and THAT much more better than the current item.  Actually, this Tumi Alpha Organizer Travel Tote may be a new contender.

messenger bag

3. Classic Sweaters (emphasis on CLASSIC) — Consists of 90% of his gifts.  These are foolproof and you really can’t go wrong with the sweaters you find at Macys.  We’ll switch it up though–zipper/no zipper, buttons/no buttons, different necklines…gotta keep things exciting.  No turtlenecks though.  I can’t go beyond the classic style because changing something my dad has been comfortable with would most certainly freak him out.


mens sweater


Dad: How do I button this? Is this hip hop?



Dad: Is this for your mom?



Dad: What happened to the rest of the pattern?  Why would I want to unbutton one sleeve only?

trendy mens sweater

4. Ipod Shuffle — This was the biggest splurge yet and a personal “success” for my brother and I.  My dad loved it because we pre-loaded all his Chinese music onto it and it was easy to use for someone who is 99% tech illiterate.  He goes walking everyday so this was a nice upgrade from his… cassette player.

ipod mini

5. Arometherapy neck pillows — If your dad is like mine, he is having aches and pains all over.  This pillow is from those mall kiosks; you are supposed to microwave it and it has a light aroma-therapeutic scent.  I’ve seen it used a couple times but I think he prefers the electric heat pad because it stays warmer, longer.


6. Handwritten card in Chinese — You can do translations on Babelfish and it will most likely come out sounding like a 5 year old wrote it but it will give him a good laugh.


7.  Duck tour (or anything toursity in your city) — Available in most major cities.  Asian dads, particularly mine, just loves experiences.  He spent so much of his time working the graveyard shift and only having weeknights off that he didn’t get to explore the place he has been living in for over 30 years.  There are so many touristy things to do in metropolitan areas that you should not run out of ideas for a long time.


8. Dim Sum (or any delicious meal together) – Going off of experiences, there’s quality time.  Although it sounds generic especially for you families who eat dim sum every month with your dad anyway, they love this because they love food.  They’ve spent all their lives providing materially for us that they end up not really wanting anything more practical than food.  Even if your family is dead silent at the meal, I bet your dad will still appreciate this.


Hope you found this helpful and happy early father’s day to all you babas out there!

Father’s Days Gifts for the Asian Dad

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