You know your Dad is tired of the usual socks, ties and spy novels, so why not get him something really memorable this year? I mean – the man changed your diapers, put up with your tantrums and endured endless soccer games – the least you can do is get him a thoughtful gift.

We know its hard to find something that will both make him happy and make you proud of your fabulous taste (we’re in the same boat here). So we decided it was time to delve back into the Inhabitat vaults to see if we could find any Dad-worthy gems from the past year. Here’s what we came up with:


For the Green Thumb: A MINI TREE ? $3 to $30
(Nicki & Kyle)

Ever since he retired, my dad can’t find enough things to do; cultivating his green thumb is one of them. Why not give your gardener a little tree? With the proper care, the gift will be around long after the holidays. With a vast array of arboreal choices, ranging from apple to oak, holly to fir, you can even start working on your Xmas tree for next year.

?15-?30 from TREE2MTDOOR (only available in the UK)

If you like this idea, but are living in the US, check out the Arbor Day Foundation. The organization sells baby “gift trees” for $3 a piece, and larger regular trees for $10 and under – all online, with free shipping.

UNDER $100

FIREFLY LIGHTS – $50 to $75

My dad loves to barbeque on our deck in the summer, and I think he’d get a kick out of these faux firefly lights. Never mind that we don’t have fireflies in California – its all about the summer evening ambiance. These lights are fun without being too OTT. They flicker and fade like real fireflies, and you can put them in jars, or strategically place them around your yard for a serious faux-nature experience all year round. Unlike the short-lived real thing, Firefly Lights last for 100,000 hours and can be powered by an AC adapter, AA batteries, or, better still – through solar-rechargeable batteries.

$50-$75 from Firefly Magic

UNDER $150


Every year I hope to find a perfect gift for my dad, and every year I find myself stumped. Some men have gadget obsessions or sports fanaticism that lend themselves well to gift-giving, but not this guy. However, there are two things my dad always loves: wine and a mellow evening on the deck. Which is why the Whit McLeod Wine Barrel Chair screamed Dad the moment I saw it.

The McLeod Wine Barrel Chair is made from 100% white oak staves from barrels discarded by California wineries. Each chair has the original brand burned into it from the vineyard of its origin (inconspicuously located on the back), and is finished with linseed oil, a natural finish that preserves color and ages well. At $125, they’re not outrageous. I bought just one, and found that it fits in great with my dad’s Adirondack deck chairs, and also folds up easily for use inside.

$125 from Mcleod Chairs


While green thumbs may not be gender-specific, we know a few guys who would have plants if only they didn’t require so much maintenance. For those foliage-deprived dads (and lads), the Streamgarden is a magnificent solution. The Streamgarden utilizes hydroponics to cultivate a resilient and low-maintenance mini-garden. Instead of soil, the plants grow in tanks, where you only need to check the water level and refill approximately once a week. Every three months, all water needs to be changed out and nutrients added. More like a fish bowl than a flower pot. Anyone can handle that, right?

$140 from Design Within Reach

UNDER $250

(Nicki & Kyle)

For all of those nature-loving, yet design savvy Dads, the Modern Birdhouse is the perfect gift. The simple construction and beautiful materials speak for themselves, appealing to anyone who?s ever dabbled in home-carpentry. Plus they’ll help Dad brush up on his mid-century Modern architecture: each design inspired by one of the architects (Neutra, Davidson and Rapson) of the Case Study Houses Program

$195 from Modern Birdhouses


The power Dads out there will love Voltaic’s Solar-powered Messenger bag. Three large solar panels on the front of the laptop bag allow you to charge cell phones, PDAs, iPods, and cameras on the go, whether golfing at lunch or running to a business meeting. Voltaic also makes similar solar-powered backpacks and pouches.

$239 from Voltaic



This would be such a perfect gift for my dad. If only it wasn’t $2619. I can’t quite figure out why something that is essentially just a fancy oil lamp costs this much – but I suppose when no other company out there is making anything similar this Australian company can get away with it. Rich people, this object would make a fabulous gift for your old man.

$2910 from The Magazine


At the top of my “If only?”gift list this year: anything and everything by Matt Gagnon. We’ve waxed lyrical about Matt in the past, but there’s no reason to stop, really. For my dad, I’d choose the Paper Table. It’s certainly masculine enough in form and color, and it’s a great way to keep piles of magazines organized and integrated into his d?cor. All that, and it’s made from recycled materials.

$3400 from