Creative Child

The First Father's Day

by Rebecca Eanes

The History of Father’s Day

We now recognize Father’s Day as the day when billions of dollars are spent on neckties, golf clubs, and tech gadgets, but this holiday has a bittersweet history. Grace Golden Clayton of Fairmont, West Virginia was the first to petition for Father’s Day in 1908 after a mining tragedy the previous year had killed more than 360 men and left nearly 1000 children fatherless. With a desire to honor those fathers who had a passed, she asked her local church to dedicate a day to honor fathers.

The celebration however did not spread to a wider audience. Though Fairmont was named the birthplace of Father’s Day, it was across the country in Spokane, Washington 2 years later where Sonora Smart Dodd heard a Mother’s Day sermon and proposed the idea for a celebration for fathers by the local churches. Dodd’s mother had died in childbirth, and she and her 5 siblings had been raised by her father. She wanted fathers to be celebrated just as mothers were.

Slowly, celebrations began to spread through the churches in the United States over the next 50 years. While local celebrations were held around the country, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon made it a federal holiday. Now celebrated in many countries around the world, Father’s Day is seen as a day of gift-giving, but let us remember the origin of this celebration.

Let us remember the two women, one with a heart for the fatherless and one who was motherless, and the reasons behind their proposals to honor fathers. Let us remember those fathers whose lives were lost in the mine and all fathers who have gone on and all of the children they’ve left behind. Let us celebrate the fathers still with us, not by digging into our pockets, but by opening up our hearts in gratitude.

Beyond Neckties and Store-Bought Cards: Meaningful Gift Ideas for His First Father’s Day

  1. Homemade cards. Use baby’s handprints and footprints to make a sweet, artful card Dad will cherish. Here are some great ideas to try!
  2. Keepsake keychains. Keys are something we keep with us most of the time, so a personalized keychain is a meaningful gift that will always be close at hand.
  3. Unique photo gifts. Have you seen the photos with “We love you Dad” written on the kids’ feet? It makes a really cute Father’s Day gift. Alternatively, I love this photo from The Unoriginal Mom that uses wooden letters from the crafts aisle.
  4. Handprint sports balls. If Dad is a sports fan, he’ll adore this! Simply put baby’s handprint on a baseball or any other sports ball Dad is a fan of. It’ll make a cute display in his man cave.
  5. Photo books. Gather up the sweetest and best photo memories of Dad and baby thus far and compile a photo book keepsake. I really love the spin that From the Fence Post put on a board book titled “I Love My Daddy Because…” which she bought on Amazon for under $7. She matched the photos with the text of the book to make a really special and unique gift.
  6. Edible tackle boxes. The fisherman daddy will get a kick out of this cute and creative gift found at Let Your Scribbles Be Enough. Filled with Swedish Fish and Gummy Worms, this is one tasty little gift.
  7. Personalized mugs. Dad can have his morning coffee in a mug made just for him. Again, use baby’s handprint or footprint to personalize the mug for Dad. Follow these eHow instructions to make a sweet and meaningful mug Dad will love.
  8. Photo blocks. Turn your baby’s photos into an interchangeable photo block that will look great on Dad’s desk. Follow this tutorial from Meaningful Mama.
  9. Matching father/baby tees. How about Darth Vader and Luke/Leia Skywalker shirts for the Star Wars fan or go humorous with “sleep deprived” and “sleep depriver” shirts. Just think of how cute they will look!
  10. A babysitter. Daddy loves his little pumpkin, but I bet he’d love some time alone with Mom, even if it’s just to catch up on sleep!

Be sure to check out these other Father's Day Gift Ideas here! 

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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