5 Father's Day Gifts That Go Beyond the Cliches

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Fathers Day giftsWhen it comes to buying meaningful or memorable gifts, Father's Day can be tough. Unlike Mother's Day, which makes at least a token attempt to fight against commercialization, Father's Day was pretty much designed to fill a blank spot on the retail sales calendar.

Unfortunately, the Father's Day options don't seem to extend far beyond classic offerings like neckties, barbecue sets, or memberships to the beer of the month club.
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Sure, there are tons of sports- and car-related items on display at retailers this time of year, but coming up with a unique, imaginative present that will surprise dad takes a bit of effort.

Regardless, people are still going to spend a lot of money on dad this year: According to the National Retail Federation, the average dad will get $117.14 worth of presents. With that in mind, we've compiled this short list of cool, reasonably-priced gifts that are likely to give dad a smile without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.

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5 Out-of-the-Ordinary Father's Day Gifts
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5 Father's Day Gifts That Go Beyond the Cliches

To you, he may be just dear old dad, but chances are that your father still dreams of being James Bond. While day-to-day life is woefully lacking in options for killing spies and taking death-defying leaps off cliffs, you can still help him channel the 007 look with a present from Tool Logic. The company's credit card-sized tool kits will add a touch of sleek style to your dad's wallet, and come with options ranging from nail files to compasses to deer-gutting knives. Most choices are available for less than $30.

Wallets are another classic Father's Day gift that are overdue for a little update. If you want to help your dad bring his billfold into the 21st century, skip classics like Coach or Buxton in favor of one of Stewart/Stand's offerings. Starting at $25, the company's wallets are woven out of stainless steel fabric, which blocks hackers from remotely accessing the chips embedded in your dad's credit cards. But paranoia is really just an excuse: Bottom line, these wallets look cool. Between their tastefully reflective surfaces and their chain-mail style edges, Stewart/Stand's billfolds are the kind of thing that King Arthur would carry.

Yes, yes, we know: A membership to the microbrew of the month club is a perennial favorite, and it generally seems to put a smile on dad's face. But this year, why not think outside the six pack? If your dad sometimes has a hard time choosing between a Martini and a Manhattan, you might try halving the distance with a barrel-aged gin like Ransom. After distillation, this tipple is kept in toasted barrels for a few months, where it picks up a slightly smoky flavor. The final product is amber-colored, with a flavor that lands somewhere between the flowery sophistication of gin and the coarse character of bourbon. What's more, at $25 to $40 per bottle, barrel-aged gins land at the lower end of the premium spirit price range.

Rum usually gets little respect; it's viewed as a sweetly-flavored mixer that doesn't have the character to stand up on its own. A Venezuelan company is trying to change that perception with Santa Teresa 1796, a rum that is finished in a collection of cognac and bourbon casks. Again, the wood deepens the basic rum flavor, yielding a finished product that is sweeter than whiskey, but has a comparable level of character. If your dad likes bourbon but has a bit of a sweet tooth, this might be just the thing to give him a Father's Day smile.

Then again, if your dad is a more creative type, he might be interested in creating his own barrel-aged cocktails. Tuthilltown Spirits, the New York-based distiller of Hudson whiskey, offers a 375ml aging kit for $12.50. Basically, all your father has to do is mix up his drink of choice, pour it in the bottle, and wait a few weeks for the charred oak to add a little age and character to the formula. And, once he gets the hang of aging, Tuthilltown offers bigger options, including a five-gallon barrel that costs $166.

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Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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