Why do dads want ‘NOTHING’ for Christmas?

Ever since I was a little kid, I recall asking my dad what he wanted us to get him for Christmas, and time and time again he would respond “nothing”.  This would often be followed by “I just want my family to be happy,” or some variation of that.  This always bugged me.  I wanted to get my dad something, anything, he deserved it and him asking for nothing was robbing me from showing him my appreciation.

Then I became a dad… and my wife and kids now ask me what I want for Christmas, and typically I say “nothing.” This response is so common, that there are multiple products listed on Amazon around buying NOTHING.  So why?  Why is this such a universal dad thing?

Priorities Change

Becoming a dad has made me a thousand times less selfish.  Before fatherhood, my happiness came from experiences and material possessions.  The new iPhone, travel, a nice watch, etc.  NOW as a father of 3 and a husband, 100% of my happiness is derived from making my wife and children happy.  If the goal of buying a Christmas gift is to make the dad in your life happy, then the best thing anyone can do is share with him what makes you happiest.

They Have All They Need

We’re dads.. we do what we want.. (kinda).  If we REALLY REALLY want something, we can just go buy it.  Therefore, our basic needs are met.  We don’t need another tie, we don’t need more socks, we just want to get our families cool stuff.  Also, if finances are running low, not spending money on presents for dads will probably reduce their stress, which is also beneficial!

What Gifts DO Dads Like?

My personal favorite dad gifts are photos of my family.  I really love having a couple small photos of my wife and kids framed and on my desk at work.  Other sentimental gifts are probably at the top of the list, and maybe the occasional gadget B-)


Since 1,000 B.C. to 10,000 A.D. dads are going to continue to ask for ‘nothing’ for Christmas.  It’s just our instinct.  So get us something sentimental or small, but we really mean it when we say ‘we just want everything for our families and nothing for us.’

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