Dads have had a rough year.
COVID-19 undoubtedly changed everything, particularly how people relate to one another. While some may have gotten closer with others under lockdown, others have drifted apart. The internet has both helped and hurt. Zoom makes it possible to connect to loved ones easily, but the potential internet rabbit holes of fake news, rumours and conspiracy theories may have changed loved ones. People may not have the same relationship with their fathers, making Father’s Day especially difficult.
But it’s not necessarily that grim. A study by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation found that 40 per cent of fathers feel the lockdown made them better fathers and reinforced relationships with their children. But the question remains: after a year of either getting to know your father better or slowly watch him slip away, what kind of Father’s Day gift might matter? The answer, of course, lies in what kind of relationship you’ve managed to build. If it’s truly strong, then you already have a good grasp on his interests.
Uncertainty has been a running theme throughout the pandemic, and money may well still be a concern in your family. This year may be the same as last: holidays with a strict budget. While you may know your father better than ever and are ready to select the perfect item beyond stereotypical golfing equipment or tools, save that knowledge for another year. Go back to the handwritten, heartfelt cards and gestures you may have resorted to last year.
There’s a strong push against this kind of thinking, however. We’ve often heard the pandemic discussed in terms of wartime. Part of the sacrifices ordinary citizens were encouraged to make during and just after WWII was stimulating the damaged economy by purchasing war bonds and goods. If you’ve managed to squirrel away money during the pandemic, the government is already calling upon you to start spending.
“Unleashing these savings will be a key element of the government’s recovery plan,” read the economic statement last fall from Prime Minister Trudeau’s government. A study from the economists at Canadian Imperial Bank suggests that Canadians have been saving—not because they want to, but because COVID-19 made some products unavailable or undesirable.
From February last year to April 2021, long-term unemployment went up in all major demographics.
But hopefully your family hasn’t dealt with unemployment. Ultimately, you know your father, perhaps better now than ever before, and you also know your current financial standing as well as your family’s. Buying something lavish may seem appropriate— vaccinations are being administered and optimism is high, so it could double as a celebration of the end of COVID as well as of family. But, at least for a little while longer, let your budget dictate the gifts.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer