Should You Get Your Partner's Dad A Father's Day Gift? An Expert Weighs In
Holidays are always a bit more complicated when you're in a relationship. Like, whose house will you celebrate at this year? Or which traditions will you include each other in? For the big ones like Christmas and Thanksgiving, it's a little more clear, but when it comes to the smaller and more personal holidays, it can actually get even tricker, particularly when it comes to holidays like Father's Day. Like, for instance, are you supposed to get your partner’s dad a Father’s Day gift if you've been together for a while? What if you are really close to your SO's family and you want to celebrate that? Or is it ever really appropriate to be a part of a holiday like Father's Day, which focuses on celebrating a very specific relationship?
Honestly, the etiquette just isn't clear. So, to help figure out what's appropriate when it comes to giving gifts to your partner's father on Father's Day, I reached out to NYC relationship expert Susan Winter, who had some really helpful insights. Turns out, the answer is... it's complicated. According to Winter, it really is all about three things: how long you have been with your partner, what your relationship with their family is like, and what your motives are in giving the gift. So, here's what Winter says about knowing if the time is right, and when to wait on giving them a gift.
When It's OK To Give Your Partner’s Dad A Father’s Day Gift
Winter says you should only really even consider giving a Father's Day gift to your SO’s father “when you're in a long-standing, committed relationship,” and, even then, only if your relationship with your partner’s parents is a relatively close one.
“If you're in the center of your partner's inner circle (spending time with their family repetitively), then a small gift of acknowledgment is appropriate for Father's Day,” Winter tells Elite Daily.
If that’s the case, Winter says you should still err on the side of discretion because “you're not their child.” She adds that, if you do chose to give them a gift, the key here is to make the focus really about your partner.
“You can indeed acknowledge their contribution in your partner's life," she says. "After all, their father has helped to create the qualities you admire by being a great role model.”
When It’s Not Appropriate To Give Them A Gift
Giving your partner’s father a gift on Father’s Day is a little strange if the relationship is new. That’s especially true, Winter says, if there is an ulterior motive. “It's not appropriate to buy a Father's Day gift when you're using it as an inducement to crack into your partner's inner circle," Winter explains, adding, "The family is the last bastion of defense that protects someone you're dating from letting you in all the way.” Not only is that really overstepping, but it also undermines what it means to be let into that inner circle, says Winter. “Realizing you've been let into their inner circle is such a big deal. It's confirmation that you're a priority and have a solid position in their life.”
Also (and this is my personal opinion) it's just really awkward and can come off as forced. Let the relationship unfold naturally; don’t try and force it with a Father’s Day gift.
What To Get Them When The Time Is Right
Assuming that it's appropriate to give your partner's father a gift, Winter does have some advice on what to give them. Her first bit of advice is simply “less is more.” Keeping it simple and thoughtful is the best policy. “The best choice is something small, thoughtful, and tailored specifically to their interests. That means you pay attention to what's important,” she says.
And when in doubt, talk to your partner. They may give you a heads up that it’s too soon to give a gift, or they can provide some helpful insight into what will be received best by their parent. Winter suggests coming to the conversation with a few ideas beforehand, like “a book, coffee mug, or tickets to an event that they'd enjoy,” because, “running this by your mate in advance will help you make the right selection.”
So, the takeaway here is ultimately, don’t rush it, don’t go over the top with a gift, and communicate with your partner first to make sure when and if it’s a good idea. Easy peasy.
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