Father’s Day is around the corner, but if you’re an adult, then that may mean that your father is in the 65-and-up group who is at risk during this COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, getting together for a long day of being near each other wouldn’t be responsible right now. Your dad may not even be sweating it, since baby boomers have a way of not panicking about this pandemic, but as the young one who can carry the virus to him, you have an obligation to keep your dad safe. Of course, you still want to make your dad feel celebrated. These times are very hard on intergenerational relationships. My grandpa who is about to turn 100 hasn’t had a visitor in two months, since his nursing home banned them. And they were right to do so, since someone his age is definitely at risk. But he doesn’t understand why he can’t have visitors. After a certain age, particularly after someone has retired, visits from loved ones are one of the few things people have to look forward to. It’s true of grandparents, but it can also be true of your father. I know not being able to spend time with him in a normal capacity this Sunday can be tough, but there are ways you can still make him feel celebrated and appreciated, from a safe distance.
Have a tailgate (in respective cars)
If you live near enough to your dad, have a tailgate. That’s some serious dad stuff. You can send him some of his favorite sports team’s paraphernalia in advance, bring a laptop, and play the game on it while you both barbecue on the mini grills you’ve brought. He’ll love giving you grilling tips and talking sports, even if you’re a car’s length away.
Have a beer or whiskey tasting shipped
Whatever your dad’s drink of choice is – be it beer, whiskey, wine, tequila – look into a company that can ship him a proper tasting. Many will do that now, complete with beverages chilled in a cooler, glasses, and even appetizers to have on the side. You could order the same for yourself, and enjoy it over Zoom with dad.
Go for a nature walk
If you have some nice nature walks that won’t be too crowded in your town, go on a nature walk with your dad. Walking in nature gets you away from all the noise of the city so you can have some deep conversations. And you can keep six feet of distance in nature, far more than you can in the city. Bring a couple of folding chairs so you can eventually get set up at a pretty spot and relax.
Pick up his favorite takeout
Though under normal circumstances you may cook for dad on Father’s day, that probably isn’t the safest option right now. Instead, just order him his favorite takeout food. If you don’t live in town to bring it to him, have it delivered.
Have a socially distant patio lunch
If you do live in town, and one of you has an outdoor area in your home, maybe you can have a patio lunch. You can sit at least six feet apart, kick back, and enjoy some of your dad’s favorite food. Don’t forget to bring his favorite beer, too. If neither of you has an outdoor space in your home, find a quiet park to have a picnic. Again, sit apart, on separate blankets.
Have a virtual poker night
If your dad loves a good poker night, and that’s something you often do together as a family, find an online platform where you can have a poker night with you, him, and your siblings. You could mail him some good cigars and whiskey in advance, for him to enjoy during the game.
Have a socially distant game night
If you have siblings who also live in town, you can all meet in the driveway, yard, or a park, for a socially distant game night. Think of games you can play distantly like charades, bingo, or Pictionary. If dad likes to drink, you can all play a drinking game. Just sit far apart, and don’t share cups.
Teach your dad how to use Zoom and more
Throughout the year, your dad probably needs your help learning how to use different types of technology. You’re probably impatient and in a rush when you teach him. How’s this for a Father’s Day gift: take your time to patiently teach him how to use technology like Zoom or FaceTime, and other platforms on which he can chat with you.
Get all the kids on Zoom
Once your dad knows how to use Zoom, get all of his kids, and all of their kids (his grandbabies!) on there for a virtual Father’s Day party. If your dad lives far away from some of his kids and grandkids, this will mean the world to him. You could ask everyone in advance to decorate their background with Father’s Day décor to make it extra special.
Email him a photo collage
Create a photo collage of your memories together. You can include videos, too. Just create some presentation he can easily click through. You can add your voice for narration, talking him through some old funny stories and memories. Maybe you aren’t in a position this year to build new memories, but you can certainly enjoy old ones.
Have an outdoor movie night
If you live near enough to your dad, have an outdoor movie night. Rent a projector. Get some classic father-daughter movies ready to go. Sit at least six feet apart. Give everyone their own personal popcorn bowl. Grab dad’s favorite boxed candy. Enjoy a night under the stars in the backyard, having a good old fashioned movie night, the way you used to do when you were a kid.
Or watch with him on Netflix party
If you don’t live near enough to your dad to have an in-person movie night, teach him how to use Netflix Party so you two can still get the experience of watching something together. On here, you can pause, fast forward, and use similar features together, so it feels like you’re in the same room.
Perform with your siblings for him
If you and your siblings used to get together and make up plays, dances, magic shows, or other performances to put on for dad, do that over Zoom. It will melt his heart if you all get together early and prepare some entertainment for dad. There are few things that make parents happy like seeing their kids working together.
If your dad has a garden, or if there is a community garden you can visit, have a gardening day. You’ll be outdoors, and can keep your distance. It’s relaxing, and good for you both. You can take home some of your pickings, like stuff to make a salad, and call each other on Zoom later to enjoy that food together.
Virtually visit a national park
Many national parks allow you to virtually visit right now. Are there some that you and dad always talked about visiting, but never got around to? You can visit them virtually now, and still plan to visit them in person later.