Producing my dad’s old-school custom T with the poster-lettered brilliance, “Laura, Jimmy, Tim and Tasha’s Dad,” included an adventure to that T-shirt place at the mall. Remember the store? Most likely named “The T-shirt Place (or Factory, or Shop),” it was collaged floor to ceiling with unicorns, big-eyed kittens and REO Speedwagon wings, and filled with the intoxicating aroma of ink and glue. I’m guessing my mom struggled to get us out of there without a Spuds Mackenzie T. Giving kids ownership of a Father’s Day gift is tricky. This year’s suggestion from my 4-year old daughter required some interpretation and “guidance,” but came full-circle to the T-Shirt, sans the glitter rainbows:
Me: What do you want to give Daddy for Father’s Day?
4-year old: Something scary. With skeletons. A scary coloring book
Me: How about a T-shirt with a skull on it?
4-year old: Ummmmm, yes, like this.
At this point, she grabbed her big drawing pad, a purple rollerball, and drew her skeleton masterpiece. Knowing her dad better than I thought, she requested a black T-shirt. I scanned her design, uploaded it to CafePress and voila! An original masterpiece, sans rainbows and glitter letters. My girl picked the American Apparel T, so this shirt’s starting at $27 before CafePress coupons, cash back, or CafePress credits.
2 More Custom Gift Ideas for Dad That Aren’t Ice Cream Cake
The chef’s apron: This one is especially fun with pictures of your kids that they’ll hate when they’e 13, like the classic food on the face photo. Most photo printing sites like Zazzle offer gift options at a reasonable price. This apron with photo will run you around $30 before adding Zazzle coupons and cash back.
The cash containment unit: Of course there’s the monogrammed money clip, a classic gift for a classic dad. Engraved money clips start around $20 on sites like Things Remembered and RedEnvelope.
For the Dad who’s more of a classic Greaser than a pinstripe suite, go kitsch. Google “custom hand tooled wallet” to find sellers willing to carve into leather any cliche he just won’t let go. Remember Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet in “Pulp Fiction”?
My 4-year old’s already more sophisticated than my siblings and myself. Thankfully I have the internet and CafePress rather than the mall. Although, I liked the smell of iron-on letters – a tear.
About Guest contributor Laura Pagles: I work and write for FatWallet.com. My biggest battle when prioritizing work, family, interests, and maintaining my own identity is remembering to slow down and stay frugal. I study the FatWallet Forums and follow our deal-hunting experts for Newegg coupons that say, “Here, celebrate your inner geek, but I still ‘need’ shoes.” Watch my posts for the tips and shortcuts I’m finding for managing a healthy and fun lifestyle for myself and family, while keeping my spending in check.