Reflections on Manhattan Fruitier’s 30th Anniversary

Thirty years ago, on the afternoon of Sept 5th 1987, I got married to Lauren on the rolling green lawns of the old Inn on Lake Waramaug in beautiful western Connecticut. Forty-five of our closest friends and family were with us, as well as the Inn’s old pony named Chester who was fitted with a large lace collar for the occasion! After a three-day long celebration over the Labor Day weekend, Lauren and I left for Martha’s Vineyard for a brief but delightful honeymoon. On September 15, the day after we returned to Manhattan, the doors of Manhattan Fruitier were opened!

It was a whirlwind summer with side-by-side preparations for our wedding and the new business. I couldn’t have been happier!

1987 – Manhattan Fruitier Opens Our Doors

I met Lee Grimsbo at a small dinner party in early 1987. Lee was a friend of my sister’s and was the Fruit and Produce Manager at Dean & Deluca, when it first opened on Prince and Broadway. Lee had made a few fruit baskets for customers that he designed using Flemish still life paintings as his inspiration, and he wondered if it could grow into a business. I thought it could and we became partners in G & G (Gold & Grimsbo) Manhattan Fruitier!

Founding Members of Manhattan Fruitier

Jehv, Lee and cat Kato

Our first little shop was down on 6th Street near the Bowery. And in 1987, the Bowery wasn’t at all hip. Our first employee was Drew Pleak, a colleague of Lee’s from Dean & Deluca. (Thank you, Dean & Deluca, for hiring and training such talented people — we have employed quite a few other alumni/alumnae over the years as well). Drew is still with us and his design sense and creativity infuse all of our gifts.

After the first year, we took over the basement, and after the second year we rented additional space to handle our holiday business. In those early holidays, we worked around the clock making baskets and organizing deliveries. Lauren was in graduate school at the time, but helped out when she could, especially at the holiday time.

In December 1990, in between doing research on her dissertation, Lauren (also 8 months pregnant with our daughter) would tie netting over the baskets to keep the fruit secure and wrap a simple grosgrain ribbon around the basket and tie it with a bow. I remember we had to rig a little adaptation for her so that she could get her body close enough to the counter where the baskets were lined up ready to net.

We were a real curiosity. People would stop on the sidewalk, day and night, and watch us work through the glass in the door. “Oh, look at Santa’s elves at work!” they would exclaim.

After a couple of years, Lee left Manhattan Fruitier to pursue his love of all things related to gold leaf. He found a great gig at New York Central Art Supply that lasted almost 25 years. He has always championed the growth and continued success of Manhattan Fruitier and we remain friends.

Expanding Outside of New York City

Initially, we only hand delivered our gifts in and around the NYC area. At the urging of a travel agent who was promoting vacations to the Caribbean, we sent tropical fruit gifts in wooden crates across the country. The success of that project led us to develop our shippable hampers and expand our gift line. This was one of our first lessons in listening to the good suggestions of our customers.

 

Manhattan Fruitier Store Front on 29th Street at Park Avenue

Store Front on 29th Street at Park Avenue

After five years, in 1992, we moved Manhattan Fruitier uptown to Park Avenue and 29th Street. We had a beautiful old store front (which we didn’t mess with, though we needed to replace the broken glass). We spent 20 years in that location and watched the neighborhood change around us. By-the-hour hotels and “street walking” business women were slowly replaced by high end hotels, wine bars, yoga studios and condos.

In 2005, we opened a location in Los Angeles to serve our bi-coastal customers which included a few movies and TV shows (see some of our highlights below). As a result of the recession, we decided to close this location in 2009.

By 2012, it was time for us to move again. We had very much outgrown that space and were maintaining separate facilities in Queens and Brooklyn across the years. Our next stop would be Long Island City, where we could consolidate and where we currently operate the business.

Signing Manhattan Fruitier Long Island City lease

Jehv & Massimo Signing Lease For Our First Space in Long Island City

The Manhattan Fruitier Family – Our Incredible Team

The vast majority of our current staff have been with us for 10-20 years which means they like what they do and the environment they work in, and that makes me feel really good. We’ve celebrated milestone birthdays together and watched our children grow up. Like all work places, employees meet and sometimes have romantic relationships, which can lead to marriage and children. By our best reckoning, there have been three marriages and seven children so far.

Over the years we have also lost some good people to their career dreams. For instance, Joe R. a ridiculously smart and funny guy, cut his satirical teeth at Manhattan Fruitier and later became the editor of the Onion satirical media outlet. A group of talented Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) graduates (Adam, Mahoney, and Jason) worked at Manhattan Fruitier in the early years and then went on to form Urban Folk Arts where they pushed each other creatively producing provocative art. Michael M. and Georgia H. both went on to get PhD’s in psychology. Matt J., our intrepid literature enthusiast, was just accepted to the Applied Quantitative Research program at NYU.

Manhattan Fruitier Centerpieces for Explorers Club

Lauren Arranging Centerpieces For a Party at The Explorers Club

We are also so fortunate to have talented people return year-after-year to help us with our holiday business: Tunde I., Haydn L., Jai S., Roushka V., Jillian D., Martha R., Kritzia P., Terry G., Riley S., and Jari J. for example.

And while we have suffered a few losses in the Manhattan Fruitier family over the years I am reminded to value each person, not only for their contribution to Manhattan Fruitier, but for their specialness in the larger world.

We’d love to tell you who our customers are, and who some of their recipients were, but we pride ourselves in being discreet.

Highlights from the last 30 years:

    • Featured for the first time in the New York Times. (1987)
    • Candace Bergen (my actress crush) calling to place an order. I happened to take that order. I just had to share that! (1988).
    • Featured in the New Yorker Magazine: “Run, don’t walk, to the phone and call Manhattan Fruitier.” (1988)
    • Our fruit basket appears in Mike Nichols’ movie “Working Girls” as a gift to Sigourney Weaver’s character when she is in the hospital with a broken leg. (1988)
  •  Martha Stewart & Drew on set
  •  Martha Stewart & Drew On Set
    • Martha Stewart doing a “field trip” to Manhattan Fruitier to record a segment for her TV show. (1997)
    • Our fruit basket was presented as a retirement gift to Kevin Kline’s character in The Emperor’s Club. (2002)
    • Our fruit basket makes a cameo in the Woody Allen film “Hollywood Ending”. (2002)
    • Lauren got to take a call from Renee Fleming in 2003, one of her all-time favorite opera singers. She was as gracious on the phone as she appears on the stage.
    • Our fruit basket appears in a final episode of “Sex and the City” in Carrie and Misha’s Paris motel room. (2004)
    • On Boardwalk Empire the character Lathrop gets one of our fruit baskets with a note that says “Thanks, you’re a peach.” (2011)
    • Liz Lemon snags a cookie from a Manhattan Fruitier fruit basket in an episode of 30 Rock. (2013)
    • A gift hamper was in the Academy Award winning movie Birdman. Hint: The gun was hidden behind our hamper on the top shelf in Riggan’s (Michael Keaton’s) dressing room. (2014)
    • In HBO’s Girls, Hannah delivered a fruit basket to Adam and Jessa as a way to make peace with them and herself after ex-boyfriend and best friend started dating. During a Moth-like open mic performance, Hannah says something like, “I even gave them a fruit basket, and a not-too cheap one at that.” (2016)

Being in business for 30 years, we’ve been buffeted by many forces outside of our control, and survived. There was 9/11 and all the anxiety and disruption around it. There was the subway strike on December 19, 2005 that paralyzed NYC during our busiest week of the year (our intrepid employees came to work by foot, bicycle and roller blade). And, we experienced the hopefully once-in-a-lifetime great recession of 2008 (never good for gift giving). In 2012, there was Hurricane Sandy, and its impact on NYC’s infrastructure. Overall, we’ve tried to be patient, taken a long term perspective, and proven ourselves to be resilient.

7 Gifts Ideas for Diabetics

Diabetes has become an epidemic in this country, particularly Type 2 diabetes which tends to arise in middle age. That sad fact means that any one of us is likely to know someone who has diabetes: a parent, a family member, a friend, a co-worker.

So how do you find a good gift for a diabetic? Well, the best diabetic gift ideas will be all about health and healing. We found seven gifts appropriate for people with diabetes. Before we get into the specific gift ideas, we’d like to say a few words about the reasoning behind our healthy choices. If you want to learn more specifics about the physiology of diabetes, check out one of the many easily accessible medical websites.

For health, our blood sugar (glucose) should remain relatively stable over the course of a day. It’s obvious, but worth the reminder, that we get sugar directly from the foods we eat. Certain food, like simple carbohydrates (starches) and refined sugars are known to immediately convert sugar into glucose and cause a spike in blood levels. These foods are considered to be “high” on the Glycemic Index (GI). The hormone insulin works to lower blood sugar. In people who are developing Type 2 diabetes, the body’s sensitivity to insulin begins to decrease. Insulin starts to be retained as fat (particularly around the abdomen) and causes weight gain. When insulin is no longer able to control the glucose levels in the blood, Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.

The best gifts for diabetics will be ones that 1) promote eating healthy foods that do not cause blood glucose surges, and 2) encourage weight loss and physical exercise, which help to increase the effectiveness of insulin. If you need to send a gift to a person who has diabetes, you will not go wrong if you choose one of these!

#1. Gift Basket Filled with Low Glycemic Treats
Fresh fruits are considered a healthy dietary choice for people with diabetes. However, some fresh fruits are higher on the GI than others. At Manhattan Fruitier, we have designed gifts for people with diabetes that include fresh and dried fruit known to be low on the Glycemic Index (GI) so they help keep blood glucose levels steady. Fresh fruits are considered a healthy dietary choice for people with diabetes. However, some fresh fruits are higher on the GI than others.

At Manhattan Fruitier, we have designed gifts for people with diabetes that include fresh and dried fruit known to be low on the Glycemic Index (GI) so they help keep blood glucose levels steady. In fact, we named our Diabetic gift baskets collection, “Even Keel”! To that we add other low GI snacks and treats including nutritious low carb chickpea snacks, jumbo roasted peanuts in the shell and stevia sweetened chocolate. Stevia is a natural plant-based sugar that has no carbs and no calories and doesn’t affect insulin levels or blood glucose. This is one of our favorite Even Keel gift baskets with delicious low GI treats:

Even Keel_Diabetic Gift Basket
#2. Cookbook
A cookbook for people with diabetes is a great gift, especially for someone who is pre-diabetic or recently diagnosed. It can be confusing at first to know what foods are better to eat than others, and it can be hard to adjust a familiar diet to make new and healthier substitutions. A cookbook with enticing photographs of meals focusing on fresh vegetables and whole grains can be inspiring! There are so many options available. Look for a cookbook with simple, easy to prepare meals if the gift is for a diabetic who isn’t facile in the kitchen. Your gift will be much more successful if the recipes aren’t intimidating. Conversely, you can find a gourmet cookbook written specifically for people with diabetes in mind, and still please the foodie who likes to cook. Also consider a cookbook with healthy recipes for smoothies and juices! A yummy way to get low GI fruits and vegetables.

#3. Blender or Juicer
And why not combine a recipe book for smoothies and juices with a blender or juicer? There are a variety of types at a variety of price points to fit any budget. A blender or juice is a great gift idea to promote healthy eating because they make it so easy! Whether it’s a fruit and yogurt morning shake or an afternoon veggie juice pick-me-up, you will be helping someone you care about to maintain a healthy diet and keep their diabetes under control.

#4. Exercise Gear & Apparel
Next to managing their diet, people with diabetes are encouraged to get into a steady exercise program. Recent research has shown that losing even a few pounds can have an impact on blood sugar levels. For someone who will be starting an exercise program for the first time, the best diabetic gift idea to encourage exercise is gear for walking.

A Fitbit would be a great way to introduce the concept of walking for health. Fitbits are ubiquitous among those of us who already know the benefits of walking. But for someone who is just getting off the couch, it can be a real eye-opener. Daily step/mile requirements set a concrete goal and watching as that goal gets closer and closer can make the challenge more fun! And that’s the purpose of a good gift for a diabetic: to help them establish a new healthy routine.

If they are already a walker or exerciser, there are other thoughtful and inexpensive gift ideas for exercise gear. There are some really practical and attractive waistbands for walkers or runners with discrete pockets to conveniently hold cell phones, house keys, tissues, and even healthy snacks. Another pragmatic gift for a diabetic for walking or running is an easy to hold water bottle: some have special hand holds, others attach to the wrist and some even attach to waistbands for hands-free exercise.

If interested in starting yoga, or already a devotee, yoga clothes are easy to find and always appreciated. Yoga pants and tops can be found in lots of fun patterns and colors, both lightweight for warm weather months and heavier weight for the cold.

#5. Exercise Equipment
Depending on your budget, think about giving a gift of a gym membership or a pack of yoga classes at a local studio. These would make excellent birthday gifts for diabetics! There is no better way to encourage exercise than in the group setting of a health club or yoga studio. If your recipient is already a gym member, consider hiring a personal trainer for 5 to 10 sessions. A trainer can breathe new life into a tired routine and help a person with diabetes keep motivated to continue their exercise program and even move to the next level. (While you’re gifting them, why not purchase yourself some workout classes and take the classes together).

Yoga Gift BasketAn organic yoga gift basket (like the one above) with an environmentally friendly water bottle, yoga belt, eye pillow and organic snacks of fresh and dried fruit and nuts is a great diabetic friendly gift idea for the yoga lover. Workout equipment for home or travel use is another thoughtful gift. A set of hand weights, exercise bands, travel yoga mat or block will help keep a person with diabetes engaged in their exercise regime even when they can’t get to the club or to group practice. (We also love these fun gift ideas for any yogi in your life.)

#6. Medical Supply Bag or Case
Besides adjusting to a new diet and weight loss program, a person with diabetes also has to find a way to carry around all their diabetic paraphernalia. Medical supplies such as blood glucose meters and monitors, lancet devices, glucose test strips, insulin bottles and needles need to be carried wherever the person with diabetes goes. A very considerate diabetic gift idea is a medical supply bag that can carry all the testing gear in as compact and attractive way as possible. Many diabetes websites have examples to choose from so you can find one that matches their style.

#7. Diabetic Reference Material
Especially for the newly diagnosed, a comprehensive medical reference book that explains everything you’d want to know about diabetes is a necessity. This gift may not be something that is immediately thought of as essential, but it’s guaranteed to be used again and again. A subscription to a monthly diabetic publication is another gift for people with diabetes that they might not think they need, but can be very informative. Publications range from medical and scientific, to lifestyle so you can choose the best match.

When thinking about what gift to get for a person who has diabetes, the most important criterion is to keep it healthy and healing!

Gifts For New Parents That They’ll Actually Enjoy

Close friends of ours just had a baby! A shout out to beautiful cupid-cheeked baby Uma! Like most new parents these days, our friends signed up for a baby registry which made it easy for us to give them a newborn baby gift that we knew they wanted.But don’t hesitate to send a baby gift not on the registry, especially if it’s an item that you may have discovered by trial and error as a parent yourself: share that one toy that would infallibly sooth your cranky newborn, or that one mobile that magically mesmerized her. “Welcome New Baby” gifting solved. But what about the parents? New parents are desperate for sleep, nutritious food and adult conversation. But mostly they are short on time: time to take care of anything that isn’t directly related to their new baby. Here are 8 great gift ideas for new parents that will really be appreciated.

#1. Food
Eating becomes a “catch it as you catch can” endeavor when you have a new baby at home. One of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts for new parents is a good meal. Bring over some healthy home-made dishes that are divided into meals and can be frozen and defrosted as needed. Replenish! Or if you aren’t into cooking yourself, consider signing the new parents up for a food delivery service. Some services send fully prepared meals that only require heating; others send a simple recipe with all the ingredients to make the meal, which at least saves shopping for groceries.

#2. Gift Baskets – For Moms, New Parents, & The Baby
If you don’t live close enough to bring homemade food to the new parents, and you don’t want to commit to a subscription meal service, then a food gift basket for the new parents is just the ticket! Finding time to sleep can be hard enough, let alone finding time to cook. How about a breakfast hamper such as our Early Bird Breakfast Basket with artisanal bread, jam, granola, and Clementine juice, or our hearty Bagel Brunch Baskets with delectable smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese, capers and organic blood orange juice? These gifts are sure to please new parents who likely eat breakfast any time of the day or night!
 

A gift basket designed just for new or expecting moms, filled with all of the essential vitamins.

Nutrition is critically important for new mothers, especially if they are breast-feeding. It’s hard to make sure to get enough healthy food when you don’t have the time to put into shopping and food preparation. We have designed the Mother’s Nature collection, a line of healthy gift baskets specifically to address the nutritional needs of pregnant and nursing women. In three different sizes, we include fresh and dried fruit that contain many of the most essential vitamins and minerals necessary for good maternal nutrition, and a variety of healthy, easy to eat snacks filled with protein for energy.

You can also add a little present for the new baby to a gift basket for new parents! Our customers tend to include baby booties, and/or baby blankets in pink, blue or a neutral shade, or a soft and cuddly teddy bear to acknowledge the new arrival.

#3. Laundry Service
The diaper service has been engaged, but what about the rest of the family laundry? Find a laundry service that will pick up dirty clothes, sheets and towels, and deliver them back all cleaned, folded and pressed, and you have a good gift idea for new parents!

#4. Doula or Housekeeper
Doulas are breast-feeding specialists, but their expertise can extend into other areas of newborn child care and maternal health and well-being. Doulas are companions as well as mentors. They also typically will do light grocery shopping, prepare simple meals, and tidy up. Sometimes Grandma or Grandpa can fill this role, but often grandparents don’t live near-by or new parents don’t want the complications of a relative taking on these responsibilities. Doulas can live-in or visit daily for as long as needed. For more heavy lifting in maintaining a clean and tidy household, think about engaging a housekeeper for the new parents. Scrubbing a bathroom or scouring a stove top aren’t high priorities for parents of a new baby.

#5. Run Some Errands
Any chore that involves leaving the house can be a challenge for a brand new parent. Offer to do grocery store or pharmacy shopping, drop off dry cleaning, pick up older kids from day care/school, or walk the dog. If you want to visit the home, offer to do some chores, such as ironing or washing dishes, while you are there.

#6. Pet Care
Taking care of pets that need special attention, such as an elderly dog, a young dog that needs lots of outdoor running, or a cat that needs twice daily glucose injections, for example, can be an extra burden when all the focus is on the new baby. Offering to take a pet for a few weeks may be a great gift for new parents. Even if a pet doesn’t require additional care, they may suffer a bit from their owner’s distraction. You can also benefit from all the good energy a pet can bring to your own household!

#7 Short Story Books
Reading a book is almost impossible when you can only get through one or two pages at a single sitting. Short story books can be the perfect solution for new parents who love to read. There are lots of classic selections such as the short story collections of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Munro, or Mark Twain, or you can chose the current year’s “The Best American Short Stories” which are consistently excellent. Another great option is the “Letters of Note” volumes, which print correspondence written in the near and distant past from famous people and average citizens, and in ordinary or extraordinary circumstances. Each letter is about a page and fascinating enough to hold your attention, at least for the time you have to devote to it!

#8. Parent Pampering
One of the best gift ideas for new parents is some pampering. The very last thing new parents are thinking about (even lower on the list than laundry) is taking care of themselves. Give a gift certificate to a nice restaurant near-by home and take care of the baby so the new parents have the chance to freshen up and share a few hours together out as a couple. It’s easy to forget the importance of your relationship with your partner when you become a family. Another good gift for new parents is a spa treatment! Send them a gift card to the local nail salon. And don’t worry: manicures and pedicures aren’t just for women any more. Men are going to nail salons in increasing numbers these days for care of their feet and hands. Facials or massages are also good options.

The point is to give a gift that reminds the new parents of what they used to enjoy before baby came into the picture. The needs and wants of the new parents are often forgotten in the flurry of attention that the new baby draws. Giving a gift specifically for new parents will be a delightful surprise and greatly appreciated. If you can, don’t just offer one homemade meal, one week of laundry or housekeeping service, or one day of errands or pet care. A personalized gift that keeps on giving over 3 to 6 months is the best gift you can give new parents.

7 Reasons to Send a Gift Basket to Your Favorite Clients

When you work with clients, there is always one that you enjoy working with the most. For example, they may be the friendliest to interact with, the easiest to make decisions with, the biggest account, or the most loyal to you and your company. Whatever the reason, you are grateful to them, value their business, and want to communicate your appreciation. Large office gift basket Here are seven reasons to send a corporate gift basket to your favorite client that will make him or her feel special.

#1. Anniversary of your first business transaction or renewal of your contract
The anniversary of the beginning of your relationship is a perfect time to recognize your favorite clients with a gourmet gift basket that says “Thank You.” Typically, this anniversary will mark a year, although with some contracts it may be a longer or shorter period. Either way, this date can serve as a cue for you to take this opportunity to tell your best customers how much you value their business.

#2. Expanding their work with you and/or your company
A client has just given you and your company a new project or has expanded your work on an ongoing assignment. That is a tangible vote of confidence! What a perfect time to let him or her know how grateful you are. Send a large corporate gift basket for the firm to enjoy with a card addressed to your client that says, “We appreciate your confidence in us. We look forward to our continued work together.”

#3. Referral to another potential client
Small Office Gift Basket_Roxbury Every business person knows how significant it is when a customer refers new business to you. When they refer a new potential client to you, they are showing their trust and support. No wonder they are your favorite client! There’s no better time to communicate your thankfulness with a delicious gift basket filled with treats is the perfect gift.

#4. A good customer review
Writing a review takes time and thought, so it is not to be taken for granted when a client (especially the ones that have been happy with your work) goes the extra mile. When they do, it is an occasion worthy of a gift basket to show your gratitude. Online reviews can make or break a company, so don’t miss the opportunity to let your client know just how much their positive review means to you and your company.

#5. End of the quarter/end of the season/holidays
Natural transitions that mark time are a good excuse to show your appreciation to your favorite clients. End of the quarter numbers look good largely because of your best customer? Let him or her know. End of the season marks the end of a project? A perfect time to send a business gift basket filled with fruit that represents the best tastes of the season. Winter holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year are traditional gift giving events. Many companies send all of their clients gifts at this time of year. If your company does, make sure to send something extra special to your favorite client – something that distinguishes him or her from the rest. If your company does not typically send gifts at holiday time, be sure to find a way to justify the expense of a gift to your favorite customer!

#6. Personal occasions
Business Gift Basket_Pippin Chances are that if a client is your favorite, you will know a few personal facts about him or her. Perhaps you know their birthday, that they are an expectant parent, that they have the flu or are a veteran. All of these occasions are great reasons to single out your best customer for a gift basket to say “Happy Birthday!”, “Congratulations!”, “Get Well”, or “Sending my appreciation for your service on this Veteran’s Day.” It is a very personal way to reach out and communicate how special they are to you and your business.

#7. Just because
Finally, it may be a real treat for your favorite client to receive a gift from you “just because.” You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to express your appreciation. A surprise gift basket with a simple note that says “I really enjoy working with you!” is going to make him or her feel special. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

The bottom line is: don’t miss an opportunity to send a gift basket to your favorite corporate client. It is the perfect gift to send and it will make your client feel good (as well as yourself) and is great for business too!

Father’s Day Activity Ideas: How This Dad Likes to Celebrate

As a Dad, I’m a real fan of Father’s Day! While Father’s Day doesn’t get nearly the same amount of attention as Mother’s Day, as a parent, I feel just as important on my special day. And I know other Dads do too. There are so many ways to celebrate Father’s Day and lots of blogs give advice on Father’s Day gift ideas. Today, I thought I would make it personal by looking back over the last 26 years I’ve been a father and sharing with you some of my favorite ways to celebrate Father’s Day.

#1. Doing What I Want
Coffee & NewspaperFather’s Day is a holiday, and to me, that means no chores, no errands, no work, no alarm clocks, no time constraints, no rushing, and whenever possible, no subway! I like to sleep in, have a big breakfast and read the paper at my leisure. If the weather is at all decent, I’ll go for an epic bike ride and have a plan to stop off at my daughter’s apartment on the way home. She’ll take me out for a beer and chicharron (fried pork) at my favorite friendly hole-in-the-wall restaurant in her neighborhood. This will inevitably lead to an afternoon nap.

There’s nothing like becoming a parent to bring you closer to your own parents. When my father was alive, we would often arrange to spend the weekend with my parents, thereby making it a double father’s celebration day. This was always a special Father’s Day weekend as my daughter was able to celebrate with both her dad and grandpa. And my daughter could acknowledge her Grandpa too.

#3. Hanging Out with My Daughter
When my daughter was younger, nothing made me happier than spending time with her doing the things we liked to do together: namely to play some type of sport. We would grab a big sports bag and fill it with a basketball, lacrosse sticks, Frisbee, etc. and off we would go to the park. We would roam from basketball court to field and we’d come back home tired, sweaty and dirty. These days, we may meet in the park for a run. We still share a love of being physically active.

#4. Sharing Music
One of the simplest and longest lasting Father’s Day gifts is the gift of music, even if it’s just a playlist of current music that my daughter loves. I look to her to keep me up-to-date with new artists, or old artists that she’s discovered. Sharing music is very personal and brings us closer together. What you’re listening to can tell you a lot about a person. Once in awhile, I get to introduce her to someone she doesn’t know about!

#5. Receiving a Father’s Day Gift 

Custom Father's Day Gift

My daughter surprised me with this amazing custom bike jersey – one of my favorite Father’s Day gifts!

Gifts are always fun to get. I hardly ever buy anything for myself (I hate to shop) so I really appreciate it when someone else buys something for me! In the past, my wife has taken me jean shopping, and although I didn’t like the process, I was really happy to get some jeans that actually fit me well. My daughter has a real talent for researching and finding just the right Father’s Day gifts for me. One year she surprised me with a new bike jersey that she designed herself: it was customized around the theme of our French Bulldogs, Massimo and Lily. I cherish it.

This year, she gave me an early gift of a cordless electric drill! It replaces an ancient drill that required an extension cord and had a chuck key (really old school). My new one is lightweight and even has a light on it. She gave it to me early so that I could use it to help her put up her blinds, mount her TV, and hang shelves in her new apartment. Yeah, she’s smart.

Pistachio Gift Box

Who doesn’t love pistachios? (This dad is a big fan).

This year I would also especially love the Father’s Day gift from Manhattan Fruitier! I created it so, of course, I want it. I designed Pistachio Blitz because I’m such a pistachio lover. The gift features three flavors of pistachios in the shell, pistachio caramel corn and pistachio butter. I’m willing to share, but first someone (hint) needs to send it to me.



#6. Spending Time with My Family
No matter how I may spend Father’s Day, it almost always ends with my wife and daughter and I getting together to share wine and a meal. Speaking of wine, we recently discovered a medium-fruited and lively red wine, Langhe Nebbiolo, made from grapes from the same general area as Barolo and Barbaresco in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and in Lombardy. Delicious!

In my heart, Father’s Day is about more than gifts. It’s about opening myself up to receiving thanks for being a Dad and making memories with my family.