Top 10 Stocking Stuffers Under $50
'Tis the Season
Raise your hand if you've done all your holiday shopping by now. That's what we thought. Consider Edmunds.com the Secret Santa with ideas for everyone on your list. Useful, fun and essential gifts are each included here, and while they're automotive-themed in spirit, the recipient doesn't necessarily have to be a car nut to appreciate them. Happy holidays, and merry shopping!
1. Car Accident Kit, $14.95
From: Vat 19, A Unique Auto Boutique
There's no greater gift-giving buzzkill than practicality, the sort evidenced by gifts such as ties and underwear. But you'll dig the usefulness behind the DocuDent Auto Accident Kit. Following a fender-bender comes the swapping of information, then the nightmare of playing "he said/she said" with the insurance companies. But this kit includes all the necessities for being organized if you're involved in an accident. The key benefit offered by this kit is that it assembles everything you need in one place; you're not scrounging around for a pen or scribbling contact information on your cable bill. DocuDent includes a camera (good for 12 snaps), pen, flashlight, whistle and accident report form.
2. Car Care Kit, $41.95
From: Available only at Wal-Mart stores
Meguiar's has put everything you need to make a car sparkle in a six-piece kit. Included in the box are ScratchX for removing light scratches and swirl marks from paint; NXT Tech Wax 2.0 polymer car wax; Ultimate Quik Detailer for those between-wash wipe-downs; All Wheel Cleaner, which is mild enough to be used on any wheel; Hot Shine Tire Gel for that just-washed look; and Quik Interior Detailer, a mist-and-wipe cleaner for any interior surface, from leather to navigation-system screens.
3. Calendar of Cars, $11.69
Abandoned hulks of wrecked, rusting cars trigger something primal in us, from nostalgic pangs for the car's former beauty to the fantasy of a start-from-scratch restoration project. Or maybe it's just that wrecked stuff is cool. Regardless of the reason, there's a definite appeal to the junkyard classic, 12 of which appear in this 2008 calendar from Motorbooks, "Roadside Relics." Inside are Cadillacs, Hudsons, Buicks and more, all in various states of disrepair and dissolution. Less quirky automotive-themed calendars are also included in the site's offerings.
4. Trunk Organizer, $29.90
From: Keep Your Cooler.com
It's a sound we've come to dread — soup cans, juice bottles and other groceries rolling around in the trunk after we turn out of the grocery store driveway just a bit too fast. KeepYourCooler.com's handy Trunk Organizer with Cooler has two storage compartments that are just the right size for grocery bags, and the third cooler compartment (with an easy-clean liner) will hold up to 27 12-ounce cans. Each section folds flat when not in use, and handles on either side of the cooler make it easy to carry into the house, to the picnic area, or wherever.
5. Crank Light, $29.99
From: All Things Jeep
An item Jeep puts its own name on is the Ultra Tough Crank Light. But the reason it appeals to us — beyond being a light source — is the fact that it can recharge a cell phone battery, giving you around four to eight minutes of call time for one minute of cranking. And who hasn't accidentally left his charger at home and been stuck on the road with one power bar left on the phone? The built-in battery pack in the crank light is rechargeable. One minute of cranking nets 60 minutes of lighting for the two LEDs, and 20 minutes for the extra-bright solo middle LED.
6. Emergency Tool, $39.95
You've probably seen those hammerlike emergency tools that'll help you get free from a wreck. Great idea, but we worry that the thing will wind up smacking us in the head during the accident, or turn out to be impossibly hard to find in the aftermath. The 7-in-1 Emergency Tool is more convenient, because it's small enough to hang on your keychain. Packed in this little kit are a glass breaker, seatbelt cutter, flashlight and emergency flasher, plus a digital tire gauge and a thermometer. The electronics are powered by a button battery that's included in the kit.
7. Auto-Fabric Purses, $95 and up
From: Kim White Handbags
Yeah, we know a purse would seem better suited for a holiday guide on, say, Vogue.com. But there's a secret ingredient to the Kim White handbag lineup that makes these purses a must for this list: They're made from '70s and '80s vintage, unused automotive fabric, from such models as Camaros and Mustangs. The bags feature all sorts of patterns and styles, including a butterfly or big flowers (we're hoping the latter was originally intended for a van versus a Hemi-powered car), but there are also retro themes, plus ones in bright, statement-making colors.
8. Muscle Car Knife, $29.95
From: Knifecenter Store
Something sharp and pointy doesn't typically scream "happy holidays," but if there's a muscle-car enthusiast on your list, know that those types tend to collect all that is muscle-car-themed. We're talking anything and everything. What's particularly cool about SOG's Fusion Muscle Car knife is that the makers didn't simply throw racing stripes on the handle and call it a day — there are car-inspired parts all over it, including a muffler, a shifter-handle pocket clip, a hood latch acting as the thumb stud and a fan/pulley setup that actually moves as the knife opens.
9. Chocolate Cars, $5.45 and up
From: The Chocolate Vault
Chocolate Santas are so Christmas-past. Surprise the car person in your life with an edible replica of a favorite car, truck or SUV, thanks to the candy gourmets at The Chocolate Vault. The 1-pound Porsche 911 "Sports Car" is just one of many available in milk, dark or white chocolate. These confections, most of which are solid chocolate, also come molded in the shapes of motorcycles, antique cars, airplanes, boats and construction and recreational vehicles. In fact, why stop at just one replica? Isn't this why New Year's diet resolutions exist?
10. Racecar for Kids, $19.99
Trying to grow your own auto enthusiast at home? If adding water to your toddler isn't making that happen, there's help in the form of the My Race Car plush toy. It's part of the Baby Talk line, which also includes My School Bus. The racecar features individual pieces, such as a checkered flag that makes a cheering sound, and a steering wheel and tire with start-up and horn noises. The racecar driver is a finger puppet. Each piece can be stowed inside the car, which doubles as a carrying case, making it perfect for road trips (to Baby's first NASCAR event, perhaps?).