WASHINGTON—He taught you how to ride a bike, warded off the monsters under your bed and was your No. 1 fan on game day. So have you bought Dad anything for Father's Day yet?
Fear not. All he probably wants for the holiday is a greeting card, according to a new shopping trend survey. One-third of the dads in a survey sponsored by Discover Card said they considered a card their ideal gift.
"Fathers don't want to give the impression that they wish to be fussed over," said David Stewart, a consumer-behavior specialist at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. ``It's all a part of the way we define the traditional masculine role."
A quarter of the dads surveyed said they'd be happy with a nice meal at a restaurant. Gift certificates, dinner at home and sports gear rounded out their top choices.
Gift-buyers planned to spend less on dads than they did on moms, the survey found. Respondents estimated their Mother's Day outlay at $41 on average, compared with $31 for dads.
Women who were polled estimated that they'd spend $43 on Father's Day. Men estimated their Mother's Day outlay at $63.
What's going on here?
"Men don't share emotions and they're not all that communicative about what they want and need," said Gilda Carle, an author and TV commentator on domestic roles and relationships. "As a result, their kids will spend less money because they don't know what to buy for Dad other than the usual tie."
Dads also get fewer gifts than moms do because "lots of things we do for moms aren't appropriate for most dads," USC's Stewart added. "You don't send your Dad flowers, typically."
Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., estimates that Americans will buy 102 million Father's Day cards this year.
The survey's findings are based on a representative U.S. sample of 500 women and 500 men that comprised parents and nonparents. The 291 fathers surveyed answered questions tailored to them. The margin of error on their preferences is 4.5 percentage points.
(c) 2006, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
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