Your father-in-law can serve as a second dad for you, and his birthday is an ideal time to find a gift that shows him just how much he means to your life. Don't just hit the mall for a cliched gift such as a pair of socks, a tie or a gift card. A better approach is to take some time to evaluate your father-in-law's interests -- and perhaps enlist the help of his family members -- until you find the perfect gift.
For the Outdoorsman
If your father-in-law feels at home in the great outdoors, a number of gift ideas are suitable. A hiking GPS, a portable propane grill or a guide book to a new area for him to explore are ideal. For the fisher or hunter, a set of lures, a new vest or a canvas ammunition pouch can keep him organized on his trips. A thermal shirt, selection of ready-to-eat meals and snacks or an engraved knife are also gifts he'll cherish.
For the Techie
Not every father-in-law fumbles with the remote control; if yours is tech-savvy, gifts from an electronics retailer will suit him. A wireless MP3 speaker allows him to enjoy his music on the go, while a quadcopter is suitable if he's interested in a new tech-centric hobby. A wide-angle camera lens, photo-editing software or a specific photography course at a local store are suitable if you can often find your father-in-law behind a camera.
For the Backyard Enthusiast
Many men enjoy spending their downtime relaxing in the backyard, and several gifts can augment this type of father-in-law's hobby. A barbecue cookbook and a stack of cedar planks for grilling fish are useful if he considers himself a grill master, while a zero-gravity chair can be just the ticket if a nap is part of his Sunday ritual. Backyard games, such as a badminton set, croquet set or the equipment needed for cornhole, can provide hours of family entertainment.
For the Sports Fan
If your father-in-law's idea of fun is cheering for his favorite sports team, a pair of tickets to watch the club in action is a gift he'll remember forever. Depending on the depth of your relationship, tickets to a road game give you the chance to enjoy a short road trip together. For the father-in-law who's glued to the TV at home, a jersey of his favorite player or a set of team-themed beer glasses and a popcorn bowl give him the ability to improve his game-watching experience.