If the father in your life happens to be deployed this Father's Day, here are a few ideas to help bring him closer to home, if only in his mind:
Gather your kids, pets, friends and neighbors for a formal portrait sitting; make a sign that says "Happy Father's Day from the Whole Gang!" and send him prints of the photo. Portraits usually cost between $100 and $250, depending on the photographer.
Buy a cheap iPod Shuffle ($42 on Amazon.com) and load it with his favorite songs, songs that remind him of home and your "special song," and mail it to him in a care package.
If you're taking a vacation or road trip this summer without Dad, have a life-size cardboard cutout made with his image; in all the photos, make sure "Dad" is included. http://www.lifesizecustomcutouts.com">Six-foot "Hero Helpers" are about $100; ask for the military discount.
If you know his return date, visit http://www.stubhub.com">www.stubhub.com and purchase tickets to a concert or sporting event; scan the tickets and e-mail the photo to him on Father's Day. When he opens his e-mail, he'll see a pair of tickets to watch his favorite team compete.
If you're short on cash (and who isn't these days?) you can still say "I love you" by sending him his favorite snacks, baked goods, magazines or toiletries in a care package. A homemade card from the kids, a recent snapshot and a handwritten letter will warm his heart as much as anything you could purchase. (Although tickets to see the Dallas Cowboys are a close second.)