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5 gift ideas for dad this holiday season

Don't know what to get dad this holiday season? Here are some recommendations that should make him happy. Global News

TORONTO – A recent survey out of the U.S. found that no one likes shopping for dad during the holidays, with 98 per cent of the 1,048 respondents saying someone other than dad (including the generic choice “someone else”) was their favourite person to buy for. Why are dads so difficult to shop for? Well, if you’ve ever asked your own father what gift he would like you’ve probably heard the popular responses “Nothing”, “Don’t waste your money” or “I don’t need anything.” This in turn leads to you giving him another set of pyjamas, a tie or sweater he’ll never wear, or a DVD player.

As a young father myself who has to deal with gifts for a stubborn father-in-law, I have put together a list of ideas that should make the dad in your life happy until the next time you need to ask him what he wants (and if all else fails the gift of peace and quiet is always welcomed).

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Heated hoodie/jacket

Whether dad works outside for a living, enjoys camping or hunting, or just likes being warm, a heated hoodie or jacket is a gift that he will be thanking you for for years to come.

I received a Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie earlier this fall and it has been with me at all times ever since. I wore it while doing my fall yardwork, cleaning up after the first snowfall and setting up my Christmas lights. I wear it on my morning commute so I don’t have to wait for my car to heat up. I even wore it at work one extremely cold day and made my co-workers jealous (TV newsrooms are kept cool all year long so the equipment doesn’t overheat).

While both the jackets and hoodies generally work the same, the Milwaukee hoodie I have is powered by a small battery that is stored on the inside of the back of the hoodie. The logo over the left-breast acts as the power button and glows when on. A built-in thermostat is hidden below the logo, making it easy to adjust the temperature by pushing up or down.

The Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie is available in many different styles and sizes with a suggested retail price of $119 for just the hoodie or $159 with the hoodie, battery and charger. DeWalt’s heated hoodies retail for around $149, with jackets from both companies starting around $199. Sizes and styles for women are also available from both companies.

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Harmony Ultimate Home Remote

Over the years, you’ve most likely given the dad in your life a VCR, DVD player, Blu-ray player, an Apple TV or other media streaming device, gaming console, PVR, and some sort of stereo equipment (see the Sonos recommendation below). This has no doubt caused him as much pain as joy, with remotes all over the place and a phone call to you whenever he tries to switch an input. Solve his problems this year with the Harmony Ultimate Home Remote.

The Harmony Ultimate Home Remote sports a slick touchscreen, connects to Wi-Fi for absolute home integration and can control up to 15 devices, including products such as the Nest Learning Thermostat and game consoles like the PS3 and Wii U (along with a variety of over 270,000 devices from 6,000 brands, according to the product page).

Along with the main unit, the Harmony Ultimate Home comes with the Harmony Hub, which, when combined with the free Harmony App, enables an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet to act as a secondary remote. The package also includes a charging base station and two IR extenders for those who wish to hide their devices in cabinets.

Creating activities based around your entertaining habits is where the remote really excels. A user can have “Watch TV” turn their television on, along with the cable or satellite box, and set the TV to the proper input. “Movie Night” could be set to power on the TV, Blu-ray player and stereo receiver, set the correct input and then dim compatible connected lights.

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Once you get past the sticker shock (the Harmony Ultimate Home retails for $349.99 at most major electronic stores) you’ll realize it’s well worth the price as you won’t be spending endless (exhausting) hours on the phone with dad trying to explain how to switch inputs to get Netflix working.

Gift Cards/Memberships/Subscriptions

There is no harm or disrespect in throwing pops a gift card to Home Depot, Lowe’s, Canadian Tire, Future Shop, Tim Hortons, Cabela’s or anywhere else he likes to shop. Men in general enjoy the freedom of picking out their own stuff and I’ve always fared well with gift cards (in both giving and receiving).

If you don’t think gift cards will fly with your dad, sign him up for a membership to something he might want but wouldn’t get for himself. My father-in-law wouldn’t spend the money on a Costco membership but uses the one we gave him on a weekly basis. A CAA membership is another great option, especially if your dad commutes or lives out in the country.

If your dad enjoys watching movies and TV shows, a subscription to Netflix ($7.99 per month) or Shomi ($8.99 per month) works well, especially if paired with a streaming device like a Roku, Chromecast or Apple TV. If he’s more of a music guy, an Rdio or Spotify subscription (both $9.99 per month) will keep him rockin’ and boppin’ all year long.

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If dad has an iPad or Android tablet, a subscription to Next Issue ($9.99 per month for basic, $14.99 per month for premium) will keep him occupied with access to an endless supply of magazines every month. The service covers the latest issues (as well as back issues) of titles like Consumer Reports, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health, Wired, Moneysense, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly (along with many more). Magazines can be viewed online to save your storage space or downloaded for when travelling without an Internet connection. With five devices allowed under one account this can be a gift for mom as well.

Sonos: Play 1 wireless speaker

Forget the days of needing a huge stereo system to get great sound. The Sonos: Play 1 wireless speaker allows audio to be sent to it directly from a smartphone, computer or tablet while delivering an amazing listening experience.

The speaker can bypass external devices and stream directly from online services, such as Rdio and Spotify, or a turntable can be connected via the line-in port so dad can pump his vinyl collection (if dad doesn’t have a turntable that also makes a great gift as vinyl is making a huge comeback).

NOTE: Some turntables may need an adapter to work with the Sonos: Play 1.

On its own, the Sonos: Play 1 needs to be connected to the Internet via an Ethernet cable. Incorporating a Sonos Bridge allows the Play 1 to connect to the Internet wirelessly, giving you the freedom to move it around the house and even take it outside during the summer months. Additional Play 1 units can also be connected together in order to create a bigger, more diverse system.

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The Sonos: Play 1 wireless speaker comes in black or white and retails for around $199 at most electronic stores.

Next-gen Tools

If dad is a DIYer, getting him some tools is a no-brainer. But with so many options out there it’s hard to find something he will use that also stands out as a great gift. That’s where Ryobi’s Phone Works line comes in.

Phone Works is a line of smartphone add-ons that connect to select iPhone and Android devices to give you high-tech tools for a low cost. The line consists of a moisture meter, inspection scope, laser distance measurer, stud finder, infrared thermometer, laser level, laser pointer/transfer level, and noise suppressing earphones with microphone. Each product in the line is sold separately with prices ranging from $14.97 (laser pointer/transfer level) to $99.97 (inspection scope).

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If dad does a lot of yardwork, the EGO Power+ line of battery-operated tools (they make a lawnmower, leaf blower, trimmer and chainsaw) are highly recommended, as is the Snow Joe iON18SB battery-operated snow blower ($399). Dad will be impressed with the power while you’ll be happy he gets to retire his old gas-powered polluters (as a bonus, battery-operated tools are much easier to borrow).

SOUND OFF: Have a great gift idea for dad this holiday season? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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