Dad will be lucky to get a tie this year

Poor pops. In this recessionary year, Mother's Day has already suffered the impact of reduced spending; respondents to two surveys last month indicated they planned to spend less on Mom for her special day, but things are looking even worse for Dad.

In a pair of polls conducted by and the National Retail Federation, Americans are cutting their spending on Father's Day gifts even more drastically than they did for Mother's Day.

Pricegrabber found that 34% of shoppers plan to spend less for Father's Day, a higher percentage than those who said they were scaling back their Mother's Day gifting last month. Some 7% of survey respondents said they weren't going to spend anything on a gift for Dad this year. One quick reminder to those seven percent: You can only get away with giving him a Play-Doh ash tray -- especially if he doesn't smoke -- until you're about eight or so.
According to the National Retail Federation's annual research, Dad's getting the short end of the stick. While we spent an average of $123.89 per shopper on Mother's Day gifts this year, we'll only be spending an average of $90.89 on Father's Day gifts, down about three and a half bucks from last year. The NRF survey also discovered another way we're cheapskates when it comes to the men in our life: While most of us buy Mother's Day gifts for sisters, aunts and grandmothers, over half of us only buy a Father's Day gift for our father or stepfather.

What are we buying for our fathers? Taking him out to dinner or to a sports game accounts for the highest amount of Father's Day spending. Other popular categories include clothes (more ties!), electronics, home-improvement items and sporting goods. Apparently a lot of us also have my particular problem; we never know what to get the old man, so we throw up our hands and get him a gift card instead -- to the tune of an expected total of $1.2 billion this year.

So, whether you're buying him a cordless drill, fishing rod or just a burger at the ballgame, let him know the recession hasn't changed how you feel about him. It might not be a bad idea to put something heartfelt in the card (you are giving him a card, right?) about how he did such a great job teaching you the value of a dollar.
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