A New Father’s Day Tradition: The DIY Book

Our favorite Father’s Day tradition actually began at Christmas. Cards for all holidays were a big deal for my husband’s family, and Christmas was no exception. I grew accustomed to giving and receiving cards for all the holidays, and once we had kids, like many things in my life, keeping up with holiday cards became a challenge.  Our first Christmas with two toddlers (ages 1 and 2), we sent cute family cards to loved ones in the mail (mostly because Shutterfly did all the work for me), but I didn’t pick any out for my husband, his Mom, or anyone else.  I was in survival mode, and trips to Target were for diapers and Starbucks — not for leisurely perusing the card aisle.

After the wrapping paper was cleaned up and the kids were napping on Christmas morning, I was presented with thoughtful cards from my husband, my mother-in-law, and from the kids that my husband had picked out for them. I had nothing, and while they were both super understanding, I still felt guilty. Valentine’s Day and Easter passed in a similar fashion. A few weeks before Father’s Day, I knew I wanted my husband to feel celebrated, but I was over the idea of another pretty card getting shoved in a drawer, box, or trashcan. After a few late-night Pinterest sessions, I decided to do a Father’s Day Book, and it has become a favorite family tradition for us.

I found a generic journal that was sturdy with unlined pages. I started the book with a note to my husband, the kind of note I would typically write in a card, but I had plenty of space to come up with my own message. The first year the kids were 2 and 3, so they weren’t able to do much drawing or writing in the book, so I had to come up with some ways to personalize it from them.

I love the crafts that have little handprints and footprints; I remember always comparing my hand to my sister’s tiny hand that hung in our hallway from a preschool project she did. So, I included a handprint and footprint from each child, which turned out so cute, and we have loved comparing how much they have grown each Father’s Day. We have stopped doing this “chapter” because their hands and feet no longer fit on the page!

These tiny hands and feet are now almost as big as mine.

I also love when kids try to answer questions about their parents. I see them on social media, and the answers usually make me laugh. So we started an All About Daddy page in the book. The first few years, I wrote the kid’s answers down, and my husband enjoyed hearing about how they see him.

All About Daddy!

As the kids have grown, they have been able to participate so much more. The first year my daughter wrote her own answers and note to Daddy so was so proud, and she has taken over writing her own answers and notes since.

card favorites
Card Writing

And that led us to the next chapter of the book, where each child draws a picture of Daddy. This is a family favorite.

Trevor, the best dad ever!

Each year, when I pull out the book, my favorite part is reading the letter I write to Trevor. I try to include things he has done with the kids that year or silly things they are saying at the time, so it is a lovely walk down memory lane for all of us. The kids get so excited to work on their pages each year, and the timing works out because it is usually a few weeks in to summer, when we are looking for a craft or project to work on. As they grow, they have chosen to add their own notes and pictures, and “chapters” have grown with them. I’m so happy that we ditched the cards for at least one holiday and started this fun tradition just for our awesome Dad.

Note: I asked the kids if I could use images from their book for Dad, and my son did not want his included, so I have only included images from my daughter.  

What special traditions do you do for Dad every year?

Jessica Stewart
Jessica is a North Carolina girl, who after living in New York City for eight years, is loving being back in the south since moving to Jacksonville in 2008. She is a stay at home mom to Linda Claire (3) and Liam (2). Prior to filling her days with parks and play doh, Jessica worked in event planning and marketing for financial and media companies, including This Old House. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, she is a passionate Tarheel fan, and college basketball season is her favorite time of year. Jessica spends her free time on the tennis court, training for races with her running buddies, or drinking wine her husband, Trevor. Her favorite things include snuggling with her sweet dog at the end of the day, hearing her kids laugh together, and pink cupcakes with sprinkles.


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