Celebrating Father's Day at home or from afar

Father's Day will look a little different for many families this year, but that doesn't mean you can't make the day special and fun.

  • There are plenty of ways you can get creative at home with backyard picnics, brunch or a beer tasting.
  • You can use video chat to share the usual Father's Day dinner or movie night with your dad


For Darrin Godin, Father's Day 2020 almost wasn't a reality. The way things stood three months ago, it seemed like Darrin's two sons wouldn't be able to spend Father's Day with their dad.

That's because in March, after being hospitalized for symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), Darrin was fighting for his life in the intensive care unit (ICU) at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, California. In a coma for nine days, Darrin's situation was grim.   

But, thanks to a group of "angels" who stayed by his side in the hospital, Darrin, 45, eventually recovered and returned home to his family. Father's Day 2020 is back on — and Darrin is going to savor every minute.

Celebrating Father's Day during COVID-19

While your family may not share the same story as Darrin, spending time together on Father's Day has some extra meaning this year — even if you can't spend that time together in person.

With COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures still in place, families across the country will need to get creative with celebrations this year. In the end, these creative ideas may lead to the most memorable Father's Day yet.

If you're lucky enough to live with Dad and spend time with him on Father's Day, here are some ways you can safely celebrate at home.

Plan a backyard picnic

Put in a grocery order for Dad's favorite foods and plan an afternoon or evening picnic. You can pack sandwiches, finger foods and Dad's beverage of choice. Then, pull a big blanket (or two) out of the linen closet and lay it across the grass, making sure there's room for everyone in the family.

Arrange a family Olympics

Gather some of your favorite backyard lawn games and create a series of "events" for an at-home Olympics. You can use games like cornhole (bean bag toss), croquet, ladder toss and KanJam. Try splitting into teams or competing individually — you could even create a scoreboard to track winners.

If you don't have lawn games, come up with a few events inspired by your kids' field days, such as:

  • Wheelbarrow races
  • Pillowcase "sack" races
  • Egg-and-spoon races
  • Yard bowling - fill up empty bottles with water, sand, pebbles or rice and use any sports ball as your bowling ball

Go camping in the backyard

Venturing to a busy campground may not be the safest option right now, but that doesn't mean you can't have a similar experience in your backyard. Take your tent, sleeping bags and lanterns and set them up like you would on any other camping trip. If you have a fire pit or grill, you can also spend some time roasting marshmallows and making s' mores.

Put together a beer or wine tasting

Has your Dad been missing his favorite craft breweries or local wineries? It's time to bring the experience to him! You can arrange a sampling of craft beers or wines from a specific region or style, or you can create a spread that spans different varieties. Make sure to have little note cards where Dad can score each beverage, record tasting notes and mark his favorite.

Make brunch

Brunch isn't just for Mother's Day — dads love brunch, too! Arrange a full spread of Dad's favorite breakfast and brunch foods, making sure to remember the bloody marys, mimosas or beermosas (whichever Dad prefers).

Getting creative with a virtual Father's Day

If COVID-19 or other circumstances are keeping you and your dad apart this year, there are plenty of ways you can celebrate virtually. Try one or two of these ideas.

Have a virtual dinner party or cocktail

Don't let COVID-19 stop your annual Father's Day meal. Arrange for Dad's favorite restaurant to deliver a surprise dinner and share a meal over video chat.

If dinner requires too much coordination, why not share a cocktail? You can mix up a couple of drinks and lay out some snacks to nosh on while you catch up with Dad.

Book a tee time at Dad's favorite golf course

Does your Dad prefer spending Father's Day on the links? Give the gift of a tee time at his favorite local course. Many people have been able to maintain physical distancing on golf courses, and Dad may be eager to get out of the house.

Watch a movie together

Schedule a time to watch one of Dad's favorite movies together over video chat. Some streaming platforms, including Netflix and Hulu, also allow you to create "watch parties" for movies and shows.

Try out an Airbnb experience

Since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, Airbnb has shifted their Experiences platform online. Now, you can take Salsa dance lessons from a professional in Puerto Rico, learn how to make coffee from a master in Mexico, or tour a Zen garden in Japan — all from the comfort of your own home.  

Most experiences work well for groups of all sizes and prices seem to range between $5/person and $35/person. Find one that fits one of your Dad's favorite interests and gives him a unique, global experience without having to get on a plane.

Spreading joy on this #FarAwayFathersDay

While some of you may be lucky to spend Father's Day with your dad, not every family will be reunited. Countless fathers and grandfathers will spend Father's Day in hospitals and care facilities, and won't be able to visit with family members.

To lift the spirits of our patients who are spending Father's Day in quarantine, Providence has launched the #FarAwayFathersDay campaign — and we're looking for your help!

You can share a friendly message on Instagram and Twitter using the #FarAwayFathersDay hashtag, and we will compile the messages to share with our quarantined patients. Our residents will be overjoyed to see all of your smiling faces and, hopefully, feel a little less isolated. Messages for female residents are welcome, too.


If you, your dad or someone you love needs care for whatever ailment, don’t delay care because of COVID-19. Learn about your care options with Providence.


Related articles

Keeping your dad healthy (whether he likes it or not)

How do dads bond with kids? It's all in their heads

Parenting during quarantine

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Body & Mind Team is dedicated to providing medically-sound, data-backed insights and advice on how to reach and maintain your optimal health through a mixture of exercise, mindfulness, preventative care and healthy living in general.

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