With the average American planning to spend about $120 for Father’s Day this year, it appears that Dads across the country will be in for a treat. That is, until you compare this figure to the amount spent on Mom: planned spending for Mother’s Day 2013 was 40% higher, at $168. And with this spending gap the widest since 2008, is appears that Dad increasingly isn’t getting his due.
So what’s the deal with Dad? A few of my theories:
#1: Maybe It’s Time for More Dads to Lean In to their Families
Under the most traditional of circumstances, Moms tend to be the nurturers of the family – the ones who bandage the scraped knees, cut the crusts off the PB&Js, and lend a sympathetic ear to the first broken heart. Moms can also be multitasking powerhouses: managing the household and its upkeep, shuttling kids to-and-from activities, and putting her needs and wants behind those of her family. And with a rising number of females becoming breadwinners in their households, more Moms are bringing home the bacon as well. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s a wonder why we celebrate Mother’s Day only once a year…
Takeaway: Perhaps more traditional parental dynamics predispose sons and daughters to doting more on Mom for Mother’s Day.
#2: There’s a “Spring” in Spending for Mother’s Day
If you’re “fortunate” enough to live in a state that sees all four seasons, you know that the annual Spring thaw is a welcomed change from Old Man Winter’s snowstorms and icy roads. And each year, Mother’s Day seems to occur at the near pinnacle of this seasonal transition; the weather warms, the grass is greener, and restaurants are opening up their outdoor patios. Plus, stores are positively bursting at the seams with blooms around Mother’s Day. Coincidence? Fantastic timing? Savvy marketing strategy? Whatever the reason, a new wreath for the front door, potted plant arrangement, or hanging basket is a guaranteed winner among most Moms.
Takeaway: As we shake off winter, a few more dollars may fall out of wallets as we enjoy the springtime – and celebrate Mom.
#3: Moms Do Brunch, Dads Command the Grill
Is a case of Mom likes to go out, Dad likes to stay in? According to National Retail Federation findings, more than half (55.3%) of Mother’s Day celebrants planned to treat Mom to a special dinner or brunch this year, compared to just 45.9% planning the same for Dad on June 16. Additionally, celebrants planned to spend about 25% more on Mom for this outing compared to Dad. Perhaps Dads just prefer to keep it simple – prime cuts of meat on the grill, surrounded by family would make a pretty sweet June evening.
Takeaway: The mimosa scene might not be for Dad, but a simple backyard BBQ makes for great family memories.
#4: Timing is Everything
With school out and summer vacations, sports, and activities officially “on” in June, perhaps Dads just takes a backseat on what’s supposed to be his special day. A day just for Dad might be displaced by a double-header – or one of those [very] memorable ten hour car trips to the summer vacation destination.
Takeaway: 2013 average planned spend on Father’s Day: $120. Enjoying road trips and home runs: Priceless.
#5: Fact or Fiction? Dad Really Wants a Tie When one thinks of Mother’s Day gifts, the ideas seem to flow pretty quickly: jewelry, flowers, brunch, spa day. Pamper. Indulge. Fun.
For Father’s Day: tools, electronics, sporting goods. However, unless Dad has filled out a wish list, these types of gifts could get a little confusing. What do you get for the golfer who already has a set of clubs? The woodworker with a garage full of unidentifiable tools? The gadget addict who already has the latest gaming system, Smart TV, or tablet?
Well…how about a tie?
Every guy could use a tie for at least one occasion during the year, right? They aren’t the potential budget-drainers that a new smart something-or-other could be. Bonus: it’ll only take up a little room in the closet (whether he actually wears it or not). And it looks like tie-loving [loathing?] Dad might be in luck this year; according to the National Retail Federation, aside from greeting cards, apparel is the top tangible gift for Dad, with more than two out of five (43.3%) celebrants planning to gift this item for Father’s Day. That compares to just a third (33.3%) who planned to give clothing or accessories to Mom. Forget the spending gap; perhaps Dad’s biggest issue is that he’s suffering from gift discrimination.
Takeaway: In order to avoid the dreaded tie gift, perhaps Dad should put his wishes in writing.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.