Father's Day 2021: Last-minute gift ideas from Vietnamese coffee pies to soap, water, and common sense

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      With Father’s Day fast-approaching on Sunday (June 20), here are a few quick ideas for those who haven’t found a gift yet.

      Although these suggestions may appear to fall into somewhat traditional territory—coffee, grooming products, soap, socks, books—these items are all from local businesses and therefore support the local economy, and some have progressive elements to them, for fathers from all walks of life.

      Vietnamese coffee

      For the father who loves coffee on the sweet side, not to mention pie, here’s the best of both worlds in one. The Pie Hole offers a gluten-free Vietnamese coffee pie, and a nine-inch baked pie is $32.

      But for dads who prefer tea, there’s also an Earl Grey cream pie, with a custard filling and topped with whipped cream ($12 for five-inch, $32 for nine-inch).

      (Alas, the hickory-smoked, maple double bacon cheeseburger pie is listed as sold out at the moment.)

      The Pie Hole has two locations—at 1864 West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano and at 7832 6th Street in Burnaby—and orders can also be made online.

      Cà Phê Vietnamese Coffee House

      If you’re not able to take a gift on Sunday and can wait a few days (or something to keep in mind for any other gift-giving opportunities), you can also consider Cà Phê Vietnamese Coffee House (160–422 Richards Street), which is open Mondays to Fridays and also has online delivery and pickup options.  

      This social enterprise offers a variety of sleek and stylish coffee kits featuring bold minimalist design, and proceeds from sales go to community programming.

      Kits include various items, such as phin (Vietnamese coffee filters), preground beans, condensed milk, coffee chocolate, and even a coffee scrub, and range from $55 to $125.

      Peregrin Supply Co

      Hair and body care

      Peregrine Supply Co, which launched in Vancouver in 2015 and is run by wife-and-husband team Katrina Moscato-Hill and Tyler Hill, has collaborated with other local and Canadian businesses to launch a trio of Father’s Day gift boxes.

      Peregrine is a men’s skincare and grooming brand intent on cultivating healthy masculinity and was inspired by the pandemic to team up with other local businesses.

      The bundles, which are available online and range from $70 to $100, include various configurations of:

      • Flight Club Espresso, roasted by Burnaby’s Heights Coffee;
      • Peregrine skincare products, such as face wash, body wash, beard oil, and more;
      • Canadian-designed, Italian-made socks by Friday Sock Co.

      As an added karmic bonus, a portion of sales from these boxes will be donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.  

      There’s also a shave box care set ($42), a beard box care package ($50), individually sold products, and more to check out at the Peregrine website.


      Soap and common sense

      We’ve been constantly advised to wash our hands during this pandemic, and the use of hand sanitizer has also become widespread.

      But repeated handwashing or sanitizer use can potentially dehydrate skin, or exacerbate pre-existing skin problems such as eczema, especially for those who don't use moisturizers.

      Accordingly, special soaps or other handcare items might be an idea to give to a father who may not consider buying these things himself or for those interested in taking care of their skin.


      Earlier this year, Vancouver-based lifestyle brand Obakki (202–261 East Pender Street) launched a collection of six soaps that are cold-pressed in small batches by hand in Vancouver; use natural, vegan ingredients; and come in recycled and compostable boxes.

      In addition, these soaps don’t contain palm oils, artificial fragrances or colourants, parabens, sulfates, or animal products.

      The collection includes:

      • Moringa Oil and Rose Clay Soap, with antioxidants and oil to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and soothe inflammation;
      • Shea Butter and White Kaolin Soap, to help sensitive and acne-prone skin and includes butter with anti-inflammatory and healing properties;
      • Avocado Oil and Glacial Clay Soap for sensitive and acne-prone skin with oil that has anti-inflammatory properties;
      • Marula Oil and Black Clay Soap that removes impurities, neutralizes free radicals, and restores hydration;
      • Argan Oil and Rahassoul Clay Soap, for clarifying skin while protecting it from the elements;
      • Baobab Oil and Activated Charcoal Soap to balance skin, improve elasticity, and regenerate cells.

      The gender-neutral colour palette can have a broad appeal, but they also have a variety of fragrances for fathers of all kinds, including elements such as grapefruit, lemon, sandalwood, rosewood, Himalayan cedar, Japanese mint, bergamot, lavender, and more.

      And they help address the gender disparity by using ingredients that provide sustainable income for female entrepreneurs in Africa.

      Individual soaps are $22, sets of three are $60, and the whole collection is $95. Full details are available at the Obakki website.

      If you have a father who is interested in understanding more about hygiene, viruses, and pandemics (or for a not-so-subtle hint for fathers who haven’t been abiding by pandemic guidelines), consider adding Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Soap and Water and Common Sense: The Definitive Guide to Viruses, Bacteria, Parasites, and Disease.

      Drawing upon her experiences dealing with Ebola in Uganda, polio in Pakistan, SARS in Toronto, and the H1N1 influenza outbreak in North America, Henry provides practical advice about fighting colds, flus, and deadly diseases. It was originally published in 2009 and updated in March 2020. 

      For the father who wants the inside scoop on what happened during the first few crucial weeks of the pandemic in B.C., there’s also Henry’s book, which she cowrote with her sister, Lynn Henry, entitled Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe: Four Weeks That Shaped a Pandemic.

      After all, the application of her oft-cited mantra, used for the book title, is one that we could all benefit from experiencing more in our lives, regardless of whether there's a pandemic underway or not.