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By Michael Monopoli

Father’s Day is this weekend, and with pandemic restrictions relaxed across the nation, many families are eager to safely celebrate with their loved ones and show their fathers how appreciated they really are.

For the majority of those who celebrate (86%), this means finding the perfect Father’s Day gift. But what does that perfect gift look like? We’ve decided to put together a list of the best and worst gifts fathers have received. As it turns out, the way to your father’s heart may be through his stomach. Fathers reported food and drink as the number one gift that they typically like to receive. With this being said, an equal number of fathers tend to be more emotionally involved in the holiday, preferring to spend time with their families instead of receiving gifts.

In terms of who is celebrating Father’s Day this year, fathers themselves, as well as younger Canadians are more likely to celebrate as opposed to their older counterparts. Interestingly, those in Atlantic Canada are among the most likely to be celebrating Father’s Day this year.

Looking at how Canadians celebrate Father’s Day, only 14% of those who celebrate do not typically exchange gifts. But even among those that do, most not spending a fortune on these purchases. Over 7 in 10 Canadians who celebrate will spend $100 or less (72%) with 38% of Canadians spending within the range of $20 to $50.

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The most popular gift to give Dad is food (41%), closely followed by clothing (39%) and alcohol (28%). Some fathers typically receive gifts related to technology (22%), or a hobby like sporting goods (19%). These gifts are all typically well received and enjoyed by fathers.


When it comes to gift-giving, Canadians who give gifts favoured store-bought items (45%) for Father’s Day gifts. This is followed by an experience (30%), and finally, something homemade (25%). Even though these are the most frequently given gifts, they aren’t always what dads want to receive. Spending time with family and homemade gifts are at the top of the list according to Dads themselves.

The best gifts received hint that you may not need to visit a store at all this Father’s Day. Rather than spending money, many fathers would much rather have you spend time with them instead. Fathers reported that the best gifts received for Father’s Day were time spent with the family (17%), a homemade gift or card (16%), or an item/experience related to one of their hobbies (9%). For those of us who do plan on getting a gift, we’re going to highlight the Father’s Day gifts that may be best to avoid.

Unsurprisingly, 2 in 5 Fathers indicated that there is no such thing as a bad gift or that all gifts received are appreciated. While you may not need to break the bank, we still recommend giving dad something, as 27% indicated that not receiving a gift was the worst gift of all. Ties (5%), socks (4%), other clothing items (3%), and gift cards (1%) may also leave your dad feeling a little disappointed this year.

This Father’s Day, Dads want to be celebrated by spending time with or hearing from their families (36%). This is followed by a special meal (home-cooked or take-out) (16%), and spending the day relaxing (12%). Just over one in ten fathers also indicated that they wanted to spend Father’s Day like any other day, and did not want to have the spotlight on them.


According to Michael Monopoli: Spending time as a family is the greatest gift a father can ask for. This Father’s Day, I’d suggest putting down the credit card and picking up the phone instead. If visiting dad isn’t something you can safely do at this time, a phone call or zoom meeting can go a long way.  Finally, rather than spending time searching for the perfect gift, spend some time making a homemade gift or a favorite meal for Dad instead. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

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The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadians from June 4 to 8, 2021. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.53%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This poll was conducted and paid for by Abacus Data.


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