Father’s Day Traditions Beyond the Gift-wrapped Tie

Father’s Day wasn’t always about gift-wrapped ties. And if you trust recent surveys, it shouldn’t be. Families celebrate the holiday in varied ways, but fathers have distinct preferences about this June holiday.

When was the first Father’s Day celebrated in the United States?

The first Father’s Day occurred in 1910.

What was the impetus for Father’s Day?

The historical underpinnings of Father’s Day are blurred. Factors that probably influenced the establishment of Father’s Day include the earlier declaration of Mother’s Day combined with a memorial service in 1908 for a group of West Virginia men, including many fathers, killed in a mining accident.

Sonora Smart Dodd pushed for the establishment of Father’s Day in recognition of the efforts of her own father to raise her and five siblings after their mother died. This Spokane resident was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909 that set her to wondering why there was no similar day of recognition for fathers.

Is Father’s Day a federal holiday?

No. But it has been nationally recognized since 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge declared its purpose to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

What are some of the common ways families celebrate Father’s Day?

The ways people in the U.S. celebrate Father’s Day are as diverse as the population itself. They include: extended family get-togethers; dining out; family activities; breakfast in bed; attending sporting events; and giving gifts.

What do fathers prefer for Father’s Day?

Back when Dodd began her campaign to establish Father’s Day, some men opposed her concept, saying they preferred a national day of fishing.

A recent survey by now-defunct InteractiveDad.com shows 36 percent of fathers prefer eating out with the family as a Father’s Day celebration; 13 percent want an electronic gift; 8 percent would like time alone; while 6 percent covet something sports-related. Ties were universally bashed as the worst Father’s Day tribute, ranking even lower than underwear for desirability. Power tools and cologne/aftershave also received low rankings.

New dads may not fit this profile. A 2010 Baby Center survey of 1,000 dads revealed that 57 percent wanted sex (from their wives) for Father’s Day. Close behind: family outings were a popular choice.