This Father's Day, making dear old Dad happy will be easy, if you keep it simple.
Fathers will wear those ever-popular ties and will eat the chocolate (or anything else you toss their way), but they're more likely to remember this upcoming Sunday if you plan a day that they'll cherish.
"Last year, we started noticing a trend in consumers purchasing luxury-type gifts such as a special outing — a day at the ballpark or a nice dinner out — and that trend has continued, especially with the notion of buying dad a gift card to maybe his favorite restaurant or for anything else dad wouldn't treat himself or buy for himself throughout the year," said Kathy Grannis, spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation.
Outings can include anything from indulging Dad's love of sports with a day at the game to saluting and expanding his know-how with a factory tour.
Zephyr Field in Metairie, La., will be rocking Father's Day weekend with the Rebirth Brass Band playing the Saturday game against the Oklahoma RedHawks. Dads get a special gift at the gate on Sunday for the New Orleans Zephyrs' afternoon match-up and a photo op after the game, when kids will be allowed to run the bases.
At the Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto, Ky., visitors can see how Kentucky bourbon whisky is made and even dip a bottle of their own in the company's signature red wax.
But don't expect to see Maker's Mark owner Bill Samuels Jr. around. He'll be cruising the Ohio River with his family on Father's Day.
"It's the one day of the year where you think I would have control over the agenda, but it never really works out," he said. "I have a little program where I seduce the grandchildren and they go to work for Popsy, to get what Popsy wants, which is usually we all go just out on the boat and spend some time with the children and the grandchildren, and we come back and have steaks in the backyard."
If you don't have the time or the wherewithal to pack up the family van for a day trip, head to the theater to catch the latest summer blockbuster in air-conditioned comfort — "Ocean's Thirteen" or "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" might be just what your dad wants.
The weeklong run up to Father's Day also signals National Men's Health Week, where you can show dad you really care by urging him to get screened for a number of preventable men's health problems.
Or take him out to dinner, or brunch, at his favorite restaurant.
First-time father, Brad B. McCormick of Brooklyn, plans to spend time with his 14-month-old daughter, Mia, and wife, Anja, over brunch.
"The idea of like 'Hey, it's Father's Day, I'm a father' — that's kind of cool," he said.
But the "kids" have it easier on Father's Day than Mother's Day — consumers traditionally spend more on Mom each year, and the most popular gift for Dad is a simple greeting card.
"We just like to believe that Dad is just a little more low maintenance," Grannis said. "Consumers recognize that it really is the thought that counts with Dad."