My father has always been a stern, but rational man. At times, emotionless and cold. When that happens, I tend to stay away. At times, he’s warm and cracking the lamest dad jokes. Now there’s just something about telling your own father that you love them and that you appreciate them that makes it somewhat terribly awkward.

Possibly because mums are the better candidates for emotional support than dads. Heck, the only times I have reached out to my father was when I was a teenager needing money to eat at school canteens. As I grew older, I turned to him if I wanted rational advice about my future prospects. I could always count on him to keep it real with me. He would paint a realistic world for me, more so than an idealistic one.

So even though it was Father’s Day yesterday, you might still be struggling to show your father that you mean a lot to him without deliberately saying “I love you, dad” in front of his face without feeling tremendously awkward afterwards (if you haven’t done so already). He would definitely appreciate it if you did. But if you’re still not up for it, there are ways to overcome this and here’s how you can celebrate Father’s Day, or even any regular day with him without emotionally confronting him:

Do chores around the house

Your dad might be in charge of a handful of the chores around the house, such as taking out the trash, mowing the lawn or washing his favourite car. Whatever he does around the house, take over and do it for him. It doesn’t hurt to lend a helping hand whenever you can. It’s a great way to support your father. Your love and consideration for him would definitely cross his mind, and he’ll appreciate it.

Cook him a meal

Most of the time, my mum would spoil us with her cooking. Then there are those rare, surprising times when dad would show his hidden culinary arts. When those times occur, I would always be amazed at how wonderful of a human being my father really is. So if you’re confident in your own cooking skills, it’s time to show your dad what you can do in the kitchen. Prepare a meal for him that he’s fond of, whether it’s a hearty lunch, or a quick and simple dessert. Whatever it is, he’ll get the hint. He knows what you’re trying to say.

Write a letter or a poem

If you’re like me, who is an absolute emotionally reticent person, it’s difficult to properly verbally communicate appreciation towards your dad. As an alternative, you can write your feelings down on a piece of paper. If you’re clever with words, you can even pen a poem for him. While spoken words are immediate and easily forgotten, written letters can be looked back on and be reminisced. He’ll be able to read it whenever he wants to and your words will always be there to keep him company.

Give him a framed photo

This is a sweet and simple gesture, but it’s a meaningful one. Rummage through your phone camera and find that selfie picture you have with your dad. Have it printed and framed and you’re already halfway done with a Father’s Day present. Top it off by writing him a note telling him how much he means to you.

Listen to his stories

Old folks have the tendency to start a conversation with “During my time, we had to…” and an automatic reaction to this would be to roll your eyes, because we’re not living in that era anymore. But give him a chance and listen carefully. Listen to his stories of his childhood memories. Listen to the ways of how he tackled his problems as a teenager. Listen to his scrupulous ways of getting his first ever full-time job. You’ll be surprised at how compassionate he is when he recalls wonderful, nostalgic stories. If you’re listening carefully to him, he’ll want to continue and he’ll feel special knowing that you’re taking a real interest.

Seek forgiveness and give gratitude

Some of us take our fathers for granted. There are probably times when you’ve hurt your dad, usually unintentionally. This can develop an accumulation of guilt and shame, especially if you know you’ve hurt a person you really care about. Offer him a hug and ask for forgiveness. You don’t have to decorate your words too much and you don’t have to ramble on and on asking for forgiveness. A simple, sincere “sorry” is enough for your father. He will understand.

The number one thing a father wants for their children is what’s best for them. That, and happiness. Nothing hurts a parent more than to see their daughter or son unhappy. Father’s Day is one of those moments where you can take time out of your busy schedule and keep your dad company. It’s never too late to show him you’re doing well and that the sacrifices he made when he started parenthood, giving up his hopes and dreams to give you a better life, were all worth it.