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It’s tough to buy dads gifts for the holidays. We’ve bought them books they never ended up reading or Brookstone gadgets that ended up collecting dust in their offices. We’ve also bought them socks, in the widely diverse colors of navy, black and dark gray. The point is, while we’ve bought our dads gifts with good intentions, it’s difficult to find gifts that are both useful and unique. Here are three ideas to get you started:

Progressive onion chopper, $19.99, Kitchen Kapers, 23 Hulfish St.

Do not be fooled by its name. This handy grid-like blade is not just for onions — it makes chopping vegetables and fruit a breeze, streamlining his cooking routine. I am pretty sure it makes cooking more fun as well; we own one at my house, and my dad likes to forcefully chop things, making sound effects like “BAM!” as if he were Emeril Lagasse or a comic book speech bubble.

Brooks Running T-Shirt, $30, Princeton Running Company, 108 Nassau St.

We love that our dad likes to stay in shape, but we are horrified that he likes to do so wearing a T-shirt from our family vacation spot back in 2002. The shirt seems to always feature either a talking animal, large map or punny saying on the front. Said shirt may or may not have holes forming in the armpit.

Revamp your dad’s athletic style this season with one of these lightweight shirts that will also keep him cool and prevent chafing with flat-lock seams.

Black Lawrence 4x6 Picture Frame, $12, The Papery, 15 Hulfish St.

Pick out your favorite picture of you and your dad, print it at New York Camera or CVS Pharmacy and surprise him with this thoughtful, budget-friendly gift.

Perfect for his office desk or nightstand, you can be sure that your dad will appreciate a daily reminder of your bond now that you are away at college.