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What Dad Really Wants

So how do you make dad feel first rate this Father’s Day? Step one – avoid giving a plain old tie, cologne, underwear, or socks. Step two – check out our gift guide, with ideas ranging from the extravagant to the, well, free.

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• Dad may not want a tie, but you can finish off his outfit in style with a pair of clear Swarovski crystal cufflinks from Harry Rosen. He’ll feel like a million bucks…and to hold some of that cash, you could go for a black and white Swarovski inlayed money clip. Both items $160 at Harry Rosen stores.

• Want to get dad to help with household clean-ups? Give him the Dyson DC16 cordless handheld vacuum, ideal for the car, workshop, or little jobs around the home. Using Dyson’s innovative cyclone technology, with no bag or filter to clog, the DC16 offers twice the suction power of conventional cordless handhelds. The battery uses advanced lithium ion technology, so the DC16 also recharges more quickly. $180, at Future Shop, Best Buy, the Bay, and other retailers.

• If dad is king, give him his crown-Crown Royal Cask No. 16. This new deluxe Canadian whisky was aged in authentic French oak cognac casks, giving it a finish with hints of rich dried fruit and spiciness. The faceted decanter-style bottle is wrapped in a black velvet bag with gold stitching, and packaged in a black and gold gift carton. This is a whisky that suits life’s important occasions-like toasting dad. Retails for around $100, wherever alcohol is sold in your area.

• Maybe dad never got to ride through the streets of Rome, the wind whipping in his hair. Maybe he doesn’t even have hair anymore. But he’ll still thrill at this icon of Italian design-the Vespa scooter. The 2009 collection for Canada includes the sleek and sporty Vespa “S.” It features a four-stroke 150 cc engine and has great efficiency-you can fill the tank for about $8 and get about 220 km. So save on fuel, and look cool. Suggested retail price of $5,300.

• Is dad always hard at work (or play) on his laptop? The Laptop Cooling Pad from Belkin has a patented wave design that keeps laptops from overheating. It uses natural convection to enhance fan cooling, and ensures low power consumption. $29.99 at Future Shop, Best Buy, and at Belkin’s online.

• Dad has helped you come so far-now help him find out where he came from. At Ancestry.ca, people can research a vast database of birth, death, marriage and military records to build their family history. You can then publish your family tree, records and photos in a leather-bound book. A yearly Canadian membership in Ancestry.ca is $83 (400 million searchable names), and a world membership (tap into a global network, with 7 billion searchable names) is $300. There are also one-month and three-month memberships. The books are extra.

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• If you just can’t think of what to get dad, let him decide. A gift card for his favourite home improvement, sporting goods or electronics store shows you care, lets you pick the amount, and gives him the chance to put it towards exactly what he wants.

• Dad will never miss a favourite show again with the TiVo digital video recorder. It has the ability to record two shows at once, schedule recordings from the web, and give suggestions on what shows you might like based on your recording history. $199, plus standard TiVo subscription fees, at retailers including Best Buy, Future Shop and The Brick.

• You can’t put a price on the gift of time. Let dad kick up his feet with some uninterrupted time-no bugging him or reminding him about chores allowed. Speaking of which, you can save him even more time by doing some of those chores for him. So grab that mower.

• Many men hate shaving…but love gadgets. Like the Braun Pulsonic, whose motor sends over 10,000 micro-vibrations per minute through the shaver head to stimulate the skin. The flexing head has twice the pivoting angle of other Braun shavers, while touch-sensitive foils respond to the slightest change in skin surface. From $280-$340, at department/specialty stores and mass merchandisers.

• Dad is great at offering directions-now he can get some too, with the Sony NV-U83T nav-u portable navigation device. It features a 4.8″ ultra-slim widescreen LCD display, full North American mapping, Bluetooth technology, and a touch panel. $449.99 at Sony Style retail stores, and authorized dealers across Canada.

• Gifts don’t have to be extravagant; sometimes, they don’t have to cost a cent. I can’t immediately recall all store-bought Father’s Day gifts that I’ve received. But I’ll never forget the homemade pen holders, framed handprints, pictures and cards that my daughters took the time to craft.

Sometimes, the best gifts are a simple sign of appreciation and an “I love you”… although a big screen TV never hurt.