Create a memorable gift for the man in your life: a birthday journal. -


I don’t know about you but my dad and my husband have always been the most difficult to buy gifts for. Their lists of wants is always so short and their list of needs is non-existent. When they need something throughout the year, they just buy it because they obviously need it for a reason. I’ve always been at a loss for what to get hubby but there is one thing I’ve done every year since the kids were little that has always been a winner: a birthday journal.

Several years ago, I read a story in a major magazine about a journal a family had created for their father. As young children, they would draw a picture or write something in the journal. As they grew older, they continued in the form of a letter, story or note of thanks. As adults, they still contribute and it is something their father treasures greatly. It sounded like such a fantastic idea and it was something that couldn’t be bought. Except, of course, the journal itself.

With a vision of what I wanted, I set out to find a journal deserving of this amazing husband and father. What I found was…well… girly. Store after store, every single writing notebook and journal I discovered had flowers or something “pretty’ on it. Wish I had realized there were sites like Rustico Leather with attractive leather journals. Definitely more manly.

Rustico Leather Journal Open -

My first entry was hubby’s birthday in 2005. The first page was reserved for me where I explained the idea along with my personal thought, feelings and birthday wishes. Our youngest wasn’t even six months old and our oldest had just turned two. I took the opportunity to outline their hands since they were obviously too small to write. Miss M “wrote” her version of Happy Birthday. It only took a few years before they were each able to really participate.

Create a memorable birthday gift for dad: a birthday journal.

In subsequent years, they’ve drawn pictures and written something. The outline of their hand is something we still do. My, oh my, they have grown. Not just physically but also emotionally. When they wrote in his journal this year, they put great care and concern into their words. After so many years, they understand the importance of this simple bound book.

Our only rule is that as we are preparing to write, we are not allowed to read what we have written in prior years. It has to be heartfelt and original. Each year, I use it as an opportunity to chronicle the time since hubby’s last birthday and reference adventures and achievements, opportunities as well as hurdles. I always make myself scarce when I give it to him so he can read it without someone watching his reaction.

It’s one of the few gifts that I have given him that I’m truly proud of.

As hubby’s birthday approached this year, I examined the Rustico leather journal, passport cover and luggage tag and I recently received and lamented not having it long ago. Not only would he have a memento to remember the years but would also have a passport cover and luggage tag to remind him of it each time he traveled.

Rustico Travel Set - Passport Luggage Tag -

Alas, we still have pages open in our current journal but when we run out, we’ll be switching to something like this instead. If you’re looking for a priceless idea for the man in your life, consider the birthday journal. I think this is a great gift idea for a father-to-be!

Is your man hard to buy for? What types of gifts are always winners?

62 thoughts on “The Best Birthday Gift for Dad

  1. Love this idea! So very heartfelt and affordable too. It seems like the gifts on most mens’ wishlists are power tools and gadgets. Sorry Hubs! LOL

  2. What a beautiful journal. That’s actually a really great idea. My husband’s always talked about writing a short story. I think this would be a lot more personal than just typing it up.

  3. Such unique ideas that I’d never considered! My husband travels for work sometimes and a custom luggage tag would really remind him of home.

  4. My husband is IMPOSSIBLE to shop for, and I honestly think I might be getting him a birthday journal this year! I had never heard of the idea but I absolutely love it. Thanks for the idea!

  5. That is such a great idea. I’ve never thought of something like that before. That would perfect for hubby who is extremely difficult to shop for. Since my toddler is only 2 it would be great to start with her. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I always struggle with gifts for the men in my life. Why are they so difficult to shop for? I’m going to consider these great ideas for Father’s Day this year!

  7. I love how practical the gift is but it’s also got such a cool & manly feel! Anything tech-related is a win with my boyfriend.

  8. What a fantastic idea! Very thoughtful & I think Those are the types of gifts that mean so much more than average store bought gifts. I also noticed everything in stores seems girly so I’m going to head over and check out Rustico for the Mr.

  9. That is a cool journal! I think this is a neat idea for my boyfriend who likes to write but doesn’t always allow himself time for it.

  10. Hand prints? A-dorable – I think that is an excellent dad gift. Too bad we just missed my husband’s birthday, but maybe for a Father’s day?

  11. What a great gift to give a loved one. I love bound journals because you can use them in multiple ways.

  12. What an creative and loving gift! <3 Those are usually my favorite types to gift the men in my life. My boyfriend is so easy to buy for.. he's obsessed with video games so anything inspired by the video game is something he'll love, without a doubt.

  13. You are so right, it is always difficult to find gifts for men. I like this idea of creating a journal. I think I will make my girls do that for father’s day.

  14. I would love to receive a journal from my wife. I guess i’ll go out and get one! Another really good gift idea for Dads – nice comfy sheets.

  15. What a cute idea – definitely creative, and something different. I am not much for journaling myself, but I bet I could probably do it for my Dad or my husband. Thanks for sharing!

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