Top 10 Stocking Stuffers Under $50 for 2008
Car-Themed Gifts for Everyone on Your List
Porsche Design has released a list of holiday gift ideas with gold as the theme. As in, the metal. As in, right there on a pair of sunglasses. And then there's Amosu Luxury, which offers a diamond-encrusted key fob for the Lamborghini. Is your wallet already convulsing at the thought of either? Then these 10 items for less than $50 are probably more your — and your wallet's — style. We've got something for everyone, from gadget lovers and sports fans to readers and safety geeks. Remember, there aren't many last-minute shopping days left!
1. Talking Programmable Tire Gauge, $29.95
You likely know by now that one of the key ways to ensure you're getting the best fuel economy possible is to have your tires properly inflated. This gauge not only measures the amount of air in them, but it will audibly tell you how much air to add — in English or Spanish — based on the pressures you have programmed into it for your specific vehicle (factory-spec tire pressures can be found on the door jamb — click here for an article that offers more information on how to check your tire pressure). There's also an LCD digital display and a built-in flashlight, which makes it a snap to find the valve stem at night or in a garage. The gauge comes with a metal storage case.
2. NFL Seat Covers, $39.99
Flip through the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book and you'll find a limited-edition 530-square-yard Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium End Zone Package for a cool $500,000 (and installation is not included in that price). Looking for a way to show your Cowboys — or other favorite NFL team — support that's a little more on the subtle side? These NFL-logo seat covers are made from wrinkle-resistant polyester, with urethane foam backing for comfort. (No risk of artificial turf burns here.) Plus, the covers will protect the seat from spills, dirt and Fido's hair.
3. Emergency Tool and Flashlight, $18.95
A safety item as a holiday gift might seem as practical (and boring) as a hairbrush (yes, we once got one), but this is so cool, it'll probably be the most envied. The four tools are: flashlight, seatbelt cutter, steel-pointed hammerlike tip and flashing red strobe. A bonus is that it has a magnetic bottom for attaching to the side of a vehicle to alert oncoming traffic to a breakdown or worse. The cutter is sharp yet designed to protect you from injury as you slice through a seatbelt, and the steel point instrument will shatter a window with just one tap, to create a quick escape route. It's waterproof and runs on two AA batteries. Click here for an article that offers tips on how to survive driving emergencies.
4. Child-Seat Cooler Pad, $49.99
You may be knee-deep in snow right now, but in the summer months, the interior of a parked vehicle can reach temperatures of nearly 200 degrees. You know not to leave your kid in there, but keep in mind that the child car seat that's left behind gets hot, too, as do its buckles and snaps. The BabyBeeCool Car Seat Cooler Pad is made from an insulated fabric, with lined pockets that hold reusable ice blocks (included with the pad) that can stay cool for as long as 10 hours. The pad's universal design fits all baby car seats (by the way, if you're the parent of a young child and you're in the market for a car, you may want to click here to read about our picks for the best vehicles for kids in car seats). And when it's not cooling your baby's bum, the pad can be used to keep bottles and food cool.
Forget astrology and personality tests as a way to scope out the truth about people. This book zeros in on how what you drive speaks volumes about your behavior, likes and quirks; it covers everyone from Prius drivers to Porsche owners. With its help, you may just start to get a bit more insight than ever before about that new friend from CarSpace, the guy in the next lane who seems a little odd, or that person you've been married to for years.
6. Parking Meter Alarm Keychain, $9.99
From: Gracious Home
You know from experience that no matter how many times you ask the three people with you to remind you in 55 minutes that the meter needs to be fed, they'll never remember. As a result, that perfect space in front of the restaurant will inevitably turn into a pricey parking ticket. You can put an end to that hassle with this keychain: a parking-meter alarm. Another perk is that since this unit holds 10 quarters, you won't have to dig under the seat for change that never seems to exist when you need it most. There's an LCD display that counts down the meter time, and there's a loud alarm, just in case.
7. Car-Themed Computer Mouse, $44.95
Personalized mouse pads are so common they're, well, common. So how about customizing the otherwise drab mouse that sits on that pad? This line of wireless computer mice is styled like current-model muscle cars: the Challenger, Charger, Corvette, GT40, Mustang, Viper and new Camaro. The Road Mice come in various colors — including black-and-white police and highway-patrol versions — and even feature functional headlights. All are compatible with PCs and Macs, utilize a USB receiver and feature 800-dpi resolution for precise movement.
8. Serious Ice Scraper, $19.99
There's a credit card, and then there's the Transformer of ice removal: The Ice Master. This has blades that you can reposition and lock into various positions to make the task at hand less of a hassle — and when you're freezing, ease and speed are top priorities. It doesn't matter whether it's frost or snow or the weather conditions in between covering your windshield, side windows or rear window — the three blades can remove all of it without scratching the glass. There are we-mean-business polycarbonate teeth for breaking through thick ice, too. Once you're done clearing your windshields, take a look at these 10 tips designed to help you drive more safely in snow and ice.
9. Paint Touch-Up Kit, $39
Nicks and scratches in your vehicle's paint aren't just ugly. If they're deep enough, they can allow moisture to seep down to the bare metal, where rust can form. You can protect the metal and make those ugly scratches go away with one of Dr. Color Chip's Paint Touch-Up Kits. The kits include paint (you provide your car's paint code for proper color match), a brush, and also a bottle of blending solution, which is used to buff off the extra paint and blend it with the existing paint around the repair. The Doctor's instructions are this easy: Dab! Smear! Remove!
10. Engine Ornaments, $12.95
From: Summit Racing Equipment
It wasn't long ago that high-performance engines were things of beauty, not the dull-looking appliances hidden under plastic covers in today's cars and trucks. The gearheads on your list can hang these 1:18th-scale replicas of the muscle-car era's most famous power plants on their Christmas trees. Choose from Chevy big- or small-blocks, the Chrysler Hemi (in either street or supercharged drag-race trim), and the 427-cubic-inch Ford V8s in SOHC or Wedge versions. Each resin engine replica is sold separately.
Need even more gift ideas and would like to spend a bit less? Check out Edmunds' Holiday Gift Guide for Car Lovers — 14 Gifts Under $30.