How Did Father’s Day Become a Holiday Anyway?

Father’s Day is June 16, y’all. 

I don’t know why I said y’all. I think I was trying to create a sense of urgency. I digress. 

Father’s Day is that special time of year when dads everywhere are celebrated with BBQs, neckties, and homemade cards. But have you ever wondered how this holiday actually came to be? 

Pull up a chair and let’s chat about the origins of Father’s Day and how it found its spot on our calendars.

We Have a Mom to Thank

I know we just celebrated Mother’s Day, but it’s worth noting that Father’s Day was started by a mom. 

Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by her own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran who single-handedly raised six children after his wife’s death. Sonora felt that fathers deserved a day of recognition just like mothers.

If you’re a dad, and you didn’t serve in the Civil War, don’t worry, you can still celebrate Father’s Day. 

The First Father’s Day

The lovely Sonora didn’t just declare, “It’s Father’s Day, and it will be forever enshrined!” 

No, she had to do quite a bit of legwork. In 1910, she approached the suits at the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested June 5th, her father’s birthday, as the day to celebrate fathers. 

No guff, no resistance. They said, “Cool,” and determined that June 19 would mark the first official Father’s Day. 

Gaining Traction

Despite this initial celebration, Father’s Day didn’t catch on as quickly as Mother’s Day. 

Many people saw it as a commercial gimmick pushed by retailers to sell more goods.Oh, if they only lived today when every day has become a Hallmark National Day of something or other. 

Anyway, the idea persisted thanks to the efforts of Ms. Dodd and the backing of trade groups and advertisers.

It wasn’t until 1924 that Father’s Day received a major boost when President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national holiday. He encouraged states to celebrate the day, although it still wasn’t an official federal holiday. Over the next few decades, various attempts were made to formalize Father’s Day, but it faced resistance from Congress (surprise, surprise), which feared the holiday would become too commercialized.

Again, I have to chuckle knowing there was a time in our nation’s history when Congress was wary about capitalism. 

Making It Official

Fast forward four decades to the 1960s when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers in 1966, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. 

But…it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed it into law, officially establishing Father’s Day as a national holiday.

Hey, better late than never. 

Modern Celebrations

Father’s Day isn’t just an American thing. 

It’s celebrated around the world from Brasil, Germany, and Mexico to South Africa and Thailand. 

Whether it’s a heartfelt card, a new set of golf clubs (very American), or simply spending quality time together, the day is all about acknowledging the contributions and sacrifices of dads everywhere.

Now that you know the history of Father’s Day, it’s time to pick out the perfect gift, which means we need to cue the…


Dad will love our Build a Bar Gift Package, built in a galvanized steel tray and serving up: Elijah Craig Bourbon 50ml; Grey Goose Vodka 50ml; Havana Club Rum 50ml; Martell Cognac 50ml;

Dorda Double chocolate liqueur 50ml; Bombay Sapphire gin 50ml; Patron XO Cafe coffee liqueur 50ml; Casamigos Tequila Blanco 50ml; two different Jim Beam whiskies 50ml; and much more. 

Happy Father’s Day!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

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