Since it’s almost Father’s Day, I’ve been pounding my brain (okay, the Google search button) trying to come up with something special to thank my man for being the best dad/tickler/parenting partner/playmate on the planet.

Navigating my way through the sludge of search results and pop-up ads, it suddenly occurred to me that all the hammer-shaped chocolate, do-it-yourself-books, and tool clearance notifications were shouting out a universal refrain: Dads fix stuff. For everything from leaky faucets to toddler-trashed toy tractors to burned-out light bulbs, what would we do without our resident handymen?

I realize I’m generalizing a bit here: not all dads are the tool-whisperer types, and sometimes overhauls are left up to the lady of the house; but for the most part, men seem to be wired to want to make things work. It’s certainly the case with my husband, and I’m more than happy to leave everything in need of replacement or repair in his capable hands.

This year, I decided it’s only fitting that I should turn the proverbial tables and work some handywoman magic for him. Here are some ideas for things that you, too, can fix or replace for the mister in your life without breaking the budget:

  1. His favorite tool. Does he have a favorite tool or gadget that’s become outdated or worn out? Browse the current Father’s Day tool sales, or call the local repair shop for a quote on a refurbishment. Brownie points if you do it on the sly and leave a note on the big day suggesting that he reorganize his tool box.
  2. His sunglasses, or something else that’s in disrepair or apparently not child-proof, and that he really misses. Glasses, watch, compass, electric razor? First, investigate if the item came with some kind of replacement warranty or company guarantee. If not, research eBay or other sites for the best deal on an exact replica. You already know he was a big fan of those glasses (or whatever it was that bit the dust), so brownie points if you score a protective case to go with it and hopefully prolong its life the second time around.
  3. The “honey-do” list. This one can use a major revamp. Replace “Take out trash,” “Prune the hedges,” and “Repaint the deck,” with “Go fishing,” “Enjoy the ball game with your buddies this weekend,” and “Let Wifey whisk you away to the movies—babysitter’s already lined up!” Brownie points if you actually accomplish some of the original “to-dos” and cross them off the list permanently.
  4. His ringtone. You and the littles can have real fun with this one! While Dad is in the shower or mowing the lawn, hijack his phone and record a humorous or endearing excerpt (e.g., “You Are My Sunshine”, “My Father’s Eyes”). Replace the current ringtone he has for you to the newly recorded song, and laugh together when you make the Father’s Day call and he thinks his phone is possessed. Brownie points if you can pirate his phone away a second time and complete the alteration by changing its wallpaper to a silly selfie of you and the kids.
  5. The outdated photo on his desk at work. Maybe your guy has a pic on his desk of the two of you from when you were first engaged. It’s super sweet, but has been there for ages and is now collecting dust. Plus, there are now a few kiddos in the picture (pun intended). No need to toss out the old pic if he truly cherishes it; instead, buy a frame that has room for a few more and insert some updated family photos alongside the antiquated one. Brownie points for staging a secret photo shoot and surprising him with stellar, never-before-seen shots.
  6. His favorite dinner. Going out to eat is nice…unless you really don’t have the cash to spare, or you’re just not up for dragging the young ones along for another regretful restaurant experience. Why not just fix his most-loved meal and serve it on a table set with matching silverware and cloth napkins? Brownie points for rounding it off with a special dessert.
  7. Yourself. I’m not implying that you’re a “fixer-upper” by any means, nor am I proposing you undergo a total makeover. Instead, may I suggest that you replace Mama Bear with Flirty Fun Girlfriend of years long passed—you know, that girl in love who always greeted her boy with a kiss and could make him swoon with a smile? I would also suggest donning an outfit reminiscent of what you wore on your first date. But no worries if you don’t own anything comparable. Brownie points for wearing nothing.

However the kids and I ultimately choose to honor the father figure of our family this Dad’s Day, I hope that what he comprehends most clearly is that he’s our hero, irreplaceable, and we wouldn’t change him for the world. Brownie points for everyone who gets that message across.

Leann Clarke

Leann Clarke is an outdoor-loving mama who enjoys riding horses, dancing, soaking in a good book, and hunting with her husband. She’s also mom to two active kiddos who excel at keeping her humble. She believes strongly in prayer, laughter, and eating chocolate for breakfast. Leann shares snippets of her life in Montana and more on her blog, The Hunting Mom.