Most Unusual Ideas for Celebrating Father’s Day During the Pandemic

You Can Call Me Gigi

Most Unusual Ideas for Celebrating Father’s Day During the Pandemic

Father’s Day 2020 is just around the corner, and while this year may not look like past Father’s Day celebrations for many, the quarantine shouldn’t stop you from making the father-figure in your life feel special.

Its Father’s Day in the USA on Sunday, June 21!

There is something about Father’s Day that takes me back to my childhood.

It’s not that I don’t think about my father almost every day, but this particular day keeps him front and center in my mind.

My dad passed away 2 1/2 years ago, and that’s the unfortunate day that I became a member of the ‘parents have passed away club’. It’s not a club that anyone ever wants to join, but it is inevitable. And like many clubs (the good and the bad ones), such as the ‘just had a baby club,’ and the ‘going through a divorce club,’ etc. you can’t really understand until you’ve been there.

We don’t usually get to pick our parents, and I consider myself very lucky for having ended up with a caring and doting father and that I had him in my life for as long as I did.

When my mom got remarried after being divorced four years (I was six and my brother three), she married my dad, a wonderful man, the man that any little girl would have wanted as a father. So, in a sense, I got to choose him as well. (But the truth is, what made me feel special, is that he chose us.) After their marriage, my dad legally adopted us (my birth father signed away his legal rights to us), and that means on my birth certificate, my dad- my adoptive dad- became my legal father.

My mom and dad (Poppy) with my kids way back when, and about six years ago.

To this day, it annoys me when someone refers to him as my stepfather. Not that there’s anything wrong with stepfathers. My children have the most amazing stepfather on the planet since I remarried three and a half years ago. Still, when a man legally adopts you as a small child, raises you as his own, and provides for all of your needs emotionally and financially, well, we’re talking an extra-strength super glue kind of bond.

Sometimes I still can’t believe that my dad is gone. He passed away just shy of his 86th birthday. He never saw the new home my husband and I purchased, and he missed out on meeting his new baby great-grandson, Jack, who is just over three months old. However, while his physical presence may be gone, I do believe he’s around me, and as farfetched as this may sound, it works for me, and it makes me happy.

I take comfort in the Red Cardinal that comes to visit in our backyard literally each and every day. I’d never heard about this before, but many believe that when you see a Red Cardinal, it is the spirit of a recently departed loved one that has come to watch over you. Well, not only does my dad come, but he brings his girlfriend (much to my mother’s amusement) and some of his blue jay friends, hummingbirds, and the occasional woodpecker. Yes, we have quite a happy hour in our backyard, and it always makes me smile.

Why do I think the Red Cardinal is my dad?

He just seems to show up when I’m thinking about my father, or when something important is going on that I wish he was here to share with me. Who knows, maybe it’s the gourmet birdseed my husband keeps replenishing every week. But I prefer to think he’s stopping by to say hello. And it’s not just the backyard. Sometimes he’ll pop up by the window in whatever room of the house I’m in, and there’s no birdseed there!

Along with my mother, my dad raised me, teaching me right from wrong, instilling ethical family values, and providing us with a wonderfully comfortable lifestyle. For that, I will always be grateful. Thinking about those years, the quality years we spent together, the more I appreciate what a good husband he was to my mom, what a loving father he was to me, and what a doting grandfather he was to my children.

This Father’s Day I’ll raise my glass in a toast to my dad, and I’ll most likely rehash some stories with my mom and kids, and my husband. For those that are lucky enough to still have their dads in the picture, I thought it would be fun to share some ideas to celebrate your superhero during this pandemic, without breaking the bank.

Celebrating Father’s Day while Social Distancing

Father’s Day 2020 doesn’t look or feel anything like past years, especially for those who are in lockdown, or who cannot fly to be with their fathers. For many, it is not possible to celebrate Father’s Day the traditional way, with lots of hugs and kisses, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t celebrate at all.

Instead, let’s get creative!

Here’s a list of ideas to help you make Father’s Day super special for your dad. There is something for everyone on this list, with the first three all virtually themed.

1. Take a Trip through Virtual Tours

If your father loved going on adventurous trips before the quarantine, plan one for him this Father’s Day. Hike, take a deep dive, meet some furry friends, tour a castle, or walk a city’s streets… plan a virtual tour with your dad. Check out this list of virtual tours that you can prepare for your dad. It’s actually very cool.

2. Virtual Wine Tasting

Another virtual idea I love is a virtual beer night or virtual wine tasting. Start a video chat with your dad and enjoy some drinks together. You can parcel a box of his favorite beverages ahead of time. On Father’s Day, sip cocktails, relax and chat about past Father’s Days while enjoying the featured video.

3. Plan a Virtual Memory Lane Night

Virtual to the rescue again. There is nothing like old pictures to create smiles and brighten anyone’s day. If you don’t have time to digitalize photographs, share them on Zoom or Facetime. Make it a fun virtual family night and laugh away as you watch old pictures and share entertaining family stories.

4. Plan a Homebound Father’s Day Brunch

Father’s Day

Food brings comfort, and food brings families together. The food that you cook for someone special shows your love for them. So, if you can be with your dad this Father’s Day, bring out the recipe books or whip up some of your specialties, and cook a delicious brunch.

And if you’re with your dad but need to socially distance, kick it up a notch and take your meal in your backyard to devour it together while still staying at a safe distance.

5. Father’s Day Craft Ideas

Father’s Day

Some things never get old, and that’s the effectiveness of handmade, Father’s Day crafts. And, if the grandkids make it, that piece of treasure is going to melt your dad’s heart. Here is a list of some Father’s Day crafts that your kids can make. From custom paperweights to map scrapbooks, these handmade gifts will melt his heart.

There are so many ways to celebrate your father, stepfather, and grandfather. Let your imagination, and your love for your special superhero, be your inspiration.

This post is dedicated to my dad, William, (aka Bill, aka Poppy), and to all the wonderful dads and father-figures out there who deserve to feel special on Father’s Day. It’s to remind people that you don’t necessarily have to be a biological father to be an incredible dad.

How do you plan to celebrate Father’s Day 2020? Share with me in the comments below.

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  • Reply
    Terri Slater
    June 19, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Lovely and beautifully written, Gwen. We are celebrating Dads Day via a family ZOOM call with three amazing Dads on board! My hubby Rich (a fab stepdad), my son-in-law Carl (a wonderful first-time dad) in Oslo and my cousin Ian (an amazing dad of two teenagers) in Boston. Each Dad will be wearing a fun Dad-themed T-shirt gifted by me on the call. Also will be serving Bloody Marys on the call for an extra celebratory kick-off! xo

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      June 19, 2020 at 9:15 am

      I love your ideas! Wish I had thought of t-shirts! Not too late for those Bloody Marys, though! And thank you! xoxo

  • Reply
    June 19, 2020 at 9:17 am

    What a sweet post! I love the virtual tours idea. While my Dad passes away also, I can use the idea with my husband. Maybe we could do a museum tour for Father’s Day.

  • Reply
    Rosemary Davis
    June 19, 2020 at 7:50 pm


    This is a beautifully written post. I love your insight that you have to go through it to really know what it’s like. Losing your parents leaves such an empty space the our lives. The feeling of being an adult orphan and not being someone’s child is a tough experience. But love and memories live on and we celebrate their lives many times throughout the year, especially on Father’s Day!

    Rosemary xoxord

  • Reply
    Nancy Weiss
    June 21, 2020 at 9:14 pm


    I too miss my father and feel blessed to have had a wonderful life because of him. Hold those memories close to your heart

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      June 21, 2020 at 9:29 pm

      Always close, Nancy. Love the comfort cherished memories bring. Thanks so much for reading.

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