An ode to dad mugs: Musings on missing out on one of the best Father’s Day gifts

By Andrew Blackburn on March 22nd, 2024
Dadmug 1

I think coffee is gross. I think tea tastes like water dreaming about what it would feel like to have flavour. I only recently learned that “blonde roast” is not when a group of people gathers to lovingly insult Thor. So, as you might guess, I don’t really use mugs. Which might make you wonder if Hallmark picked the wrong person to write this article about mugs.

But here’s the thing: I wish I used mugs. And not just so I could start each day with a steaming hot cup of something. Because I’m a dad. And if you haven’t heard, let me be the first to tell you: Dad mugs are a thing. A thing that I’m missing from my life in a big way.

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Dadmug 1

The widely accepted definition of a “dad mug” is as follows: a mug gifted to a dad that they proceed to use every day for approximately the rest of their life. It often represents something the dad is interested in. A hobby. A sports team. A school. The word “DAD.”

The important part is that every day the dad wakes up, makes his coffee, pulls out his dad mug, and spends a moment thinking about the person who gifted it to him. And from that moment, the coffee he just poured won’t be the only thing making him feel all warm and happy inside.

So this article will be written from a place of longing. I know what it’s like as a dad to receive a meaningful gift from one of your kids. But alas—not a dad mug.

To those of you with dads in your lives so much luckier than me—let this article serve up a steaming cup of inspiration on how (and why) to find them the perfect dad mug for a gift this Father’s Day.


If Dad is, like, a total geek

Take it from this total geek: There’s nothing a geek loves more than geeking out as often as possible. I personally am a big Harry Potter™ fan, and I love being reminded in just about any way of the magical world that’s brought me so much joy over the years. It just makes me happy.

If a dad in your life is a geek, trust me—he’ll feel the same way. Giving him a chance to think about his favourite fandom every time he pours a cup of coffee will infuse a little extra joy into his day, whether it’s Harry Potter, Star Wars™, Disney, or another fandom.

And better yet, it’s a chance for you to show him that you know him and care enough about him to affirm this geeky part of his life. (Plus, it’s a verified fact that coffee tastes better when you drink it out of R2D2.)


If Dad would pretty much always rather be outside

I have heard rumours that there are people in the world who sleep outside, in tents, completely by choice. I am not one of these people. But it’s possible that there’s a dad in your life who is, and on those unfortunate mornings when he finds himself waking up indoors, an outdoorsy dad mug is the perfect way to remind him of the outside world that’s probably already calling his name.

And that’s not all—while the dad in your life is being reminded of the majesty of sleeping under the stars or the thrill of reeling in a 45-pound bass (that may be wrong, I’m not much of a fisherman either) or the invigorating challenge of a long hike on a mountain trail, he’ll also be thinking about you. He’ll feel seen, he’ll feel appreciated, and he’ll feel happy just about every day knowing that you’re the one who gave him his new favourite dad mug.

Other ways to celebrate Dad

Mugs are great—if you couldn’t tell, that’s the main point of this article—but there are other great ways to honour Dad on Father’s Day, too. If you want to stretch your Dad-honouring muscles beyond mugs, here are some ideas to get you started.

  • A Father’s Day card is a great way to show your dad how much you care about him. If deciding what to write in a Father’s Day card is intimidating, here are some ideas to get you started.
  • Honouring Dad on a budget? A homemade Father’s Day gift can be a great way to save money and give a meaningful, memorable gift.
  • If the way to Dad’s heart is through his sweet tooth, consider one of these bold, Dad-inspired desserts to help celebrate his day.
  • Father’s Day doesn’t have to involve beer, sports and barbecue. There are lots of great ways to celebrate dads who don’t fit inside the typical “dad stereotypes.”
  • Want even more ideas? Here are some thoughts from some real dads on what a happy Father’s Day looks like to them and a great big list of gift ideas you could consider for the dad in your life.

If Dad is a pet dad, too

If some (or all) of his kids have four legs, nothing will make the dad in your life happier than being reminded of his fur babies every time he pours his coffee. And let’s be honest—the feeling goes both ways. If my cat saw me drinking out of a mug, he would almost certainly wonder why his face wasn’t on it. (Shoutout to Charlie, who will never read this article and would probably be annoyed that I’m currently writing it instead of feeding him treats.)

But seriously—there’s a reason why we call pet owners “dog dads” or “cat dads” instead of “people who tolerate and feed the animals living in their houses.” Pets are part of the family. And for a dad who’s passionate about their furry family member, having a pet-themed mug that celebrates that part of their life can be more than just fun—it can be really meaningful.


If Dad is the family comedian

When I became a dad, something magical happened. I didn’t see it right away. But over time I came to a shocking, thrilling realization: Now that I’m a dad, every joke I make is a dad joke.

People talk about dad jokes for a reason. Dads love making jokes, and even though their jokes of choice can sometimes be a little corny, they’re usually pretty darn good at making people laugh.

Finding the dad in your life the perfect funny mug can show him that you value his role as the bringer of laughs and that you understand and appreciate his sense of humour. And if you pick just the right funny mug—the perfect pun, a funny compliment, or any one of those created by our humour experts at Shoebox—you might just impress him by making him laugh, too.


If the dad in your life is a grandpa

I’m not a grandpa, but from my observation, there’s only one thing a dad likes better than being reminded of their kids: being reminded of their grandkids. It didn’t take long after becoming a dad for me to realize that I was suddenly much less interesting than the grandbaby I was toting around. (Dad, if you’re reading this, I promise I’m not bitter.)

Maybe you have kids of your own and want to find a mug for your dad (their grandpa). Maybe your kids are old enough that you want to help them buy the perfect grandpa gift by themselves. Maybe you’re celebrating your own grandpa or papa or any other grandfather figure in your life who’s passionate about his grandkids. In any case, you really can’t lose with gifting them a dad mug that reminds them of their grandkids every single morning.

If a dad mug is on your Father’s Day shopping list, hopefully this article has helped you get started down the right path. If you still need more inspiration, we’ve got a thoughtfully curated selection of mugs for you to choose from for the dad in your life.

He’ll thank you, and he’ll think of you with a smile every time he pours his coffee.