High Gear Media's 2010 Holiday Gift List

December 8, 2010

Time really flies, huh? It seems like just yesterday we were complaining about the recession and lazy politicians and now...well, nevermind. The point is, we've reached another holiday season, and thus, another holiday gift list. 

To help you with your year-end gift-giving, we've divided our list into three categories, based on the personality of the recipient: there are gifts for tech fans, gifts for creative types, and gifts for people who have everything (also known as the "we have no idea what they'll like" set). We assume you already have a pretty good idea of what your close friends and family are jonesing for, so our hope is that the following items can help with co-workers and acquaintances whose tastes you don't know so well.

As usual, we haven't included a lot of "obvious" stuff for gearheads. We're sure you know exactly where to pick up the best retractable jumper cables or plush shammy. The gifts below are things that most folks will enjoy, but would never think to buy for themselves -- which makes them perfect holiday treats in our book. If you think we've missed something really big -- and we know we've missed several thousand -- drop us a line or leave a note in the comments.

* * * * *

GIFTS FOR TECH FANS

Case-Mate Vroom Case for Apple iPhone 4

Case-Mate Vroom Case for Apple iPhone 4

Vroom iPhone 4 Case from Case-Mate
Whether or not you're an Apple fanboy (or fangirl), chances are pretty good that you've got at least one on your list. We have several lurking around the High Gear Media industrial complex, and take it from us: the one thing they all want is a snazzy new case to house their pricey piece of pocket stuffing. We could could go for something slightly more beautiful and artsy, but the Vroom's tire tread makes it a perfect match for car enthusiasts, and as an added bonus, it's comfortable and easy to grip -- which will come in handy next time your pals are camped outside the Apple store waiting for the next-gen phone and their hands are numb from frostbite. So thoughtful you are.  

 

Plantronics Voyager PRO+ Bluetooth Headset

Plantronics Voyager PRO+ Bluetooth Headset

Plantronics Voyager PRO+ Bluetooth Headset
Maybe it's a question of convenience, or maybe you need a hands-free option to stay legal when you're chattering on your mobile phone behind the wheel. Either way, you know you need a Bluetooth headset, and your friends and family do, too. Plantronics' line of Bluetooth headsets are widely revered for their design, comfort, and ease of use. The Voyager PRO+ model may be a little bulky for folks with eyeglasses, but we love the hook that helps keep it in place -- it just feels more sturdy than some of the other jawbone devices we've tried. True, it may not be as sleek and stylish as many of those, but at least its online store doesn't keep crashing, either. (Lookin' at you, Earloomz.)

Flash Rods Delorean Time Machine 500gb hard drive

Flash Rods Delorean Time Machine 500gb hard drive

Flash Rods' "Back to the Future" Delorean Hard Drive
Surely by you're beginning to outgrow your hard drive by now. With the growing number of photos and videos and music we store on our computers, everyone we know is clamoring for a little extra room. Luckily, Flash Rods has come to the rescue with a 500 GB external drive that's perfect for the car hound in your life -- and the movie hound, too. Half a terrabyte of storage and a miniature replica from one of Michael J. Fox's greatest movies? Sign us up.

iPad brackets for the backseat
Say what you like about the iPad (go ahead, we'll wait), but you have to admit that it's chock-full of entertainment possibilities for kids and other backseat passengers. If you have a BMW or Mercedes-Benz owner on your shopping list, call your local dealer: you might be able to score a set of customized iPad brackets for the backs of their front headrests. For all other models, try ProClip,  which offers a range of holders for other parts of the car -- and for the home, too.

GIFTS FOR CREATIVE TYPES

Lee Friedlander: America By Car

Lee Friedlander: America By Car

Lee Friedlander: America
Lee Friedlander is one of America's greatest living photographers, and his recent exhibition entitled "America By Car" just wrapped up a three-month run at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art. Even if you didn't get the chance to see Friedlander's shots of the American landscape -- shots taken from the front seat of many different cars -- you can order the coffee table book for friends and family. (Or for yourself, natch.) In one fell swoop, it says "class" and "cars", and really, what more could anyone want?

 

Fine art photograph by Bert Teunissen

Fine art photograph by Bert Teunissen

Photos by Bert Teunissen
If you like the Lee Friedlander photos above but want to give something a little more unique to the good boys and girls on your list, we have a perfect solution. Jen Beckman's acclaimed 20x200 online gallery features the work of Bert Teunissen, who's taken several photos of his own travels by car.

We know that artwork is a tricky thing to give -- what you find spectacular others may only find so-so -- but even the most timid gift-givers have to admit that it's hard to go wrong with fine art photographs starting at just $20. Besides, we don't know of anyone on our list who couldn't use a boost in their taste level.

 

Sara Ray's 'The Trouble With Zombies'

Sara Ray's 'The Trouble With Zombies'

Art by Sara Ray
But perhaps classy black-and-white photography isn't your thing. Maybe you want to give the folks on your list something a little...well, trashier. We suggest paying a visit to Sara Ray Studios. Not only does Ms. Ray crank out some badass custom paint jobs for motorcycles and guitars, but she's also fond of canvases. Her self-described "lowbrow" posters are totally affordable and hearken back to the days of 1950s pinups, with a few zombies thrown in amongst the bad girls and hot rods. (Yes, as a matter of fact, she is from Southern California. How'd you guess?)

Nissan Graphics Cube - order printout

Nissan Graphics Cube - order printout

Custom graphics
These days, many automakers are targeting Generation Y, and the one thing that demographic seems to want -- apart from kickin' stereos, telematics systems, and in-car internet -- is custom graphics. Of course, that sort of thing has been available from aftermarket providers for decades, but recently, automakers themselves have joined the fray. Check the offerings from Nissan and Ford for starters, and if you need more ideas, try third parties like DecalDriveway. (Just don't whip out the airbrush and try doing it yourself. Take our word for it.)

GIFTS FOR THE GUY OR GAL WHO HAS EVERYTHING

Personal Breathalyzer Alcohol Tester Keychain With Parking Meter Countdown Timer & LED Flashlight

Personal Breathalyzer Alcohol Tester Keychain With Parking Meter Countdown Timer & LED Flashlight

Breathalyzer Keychain With Parking Meter Timer
Maybe you know someone who likes to drink a little. (Apart from us, we mean.) Or maybe you know someone who's constantly forgetting how much time he or she has left on the parking meter. Now you can give that forgetful boozer what he or she really needs: a keychain that knows when to say "when" and also counts down the minutes on the parking meter. Added bonus: this keychain might be a really strong hint that someone needs to check himself into Betty Ford lickety-split.

Then again, maybe you're not that mean -- in which case, you could always opt for one of several Dr. Who keychains, which are just as awesome in our book. Sonic screwdriver, please! [Hat-tip to John]

 

Pump Gloves
Even the greasiest of greasemonkeys likes to escape the smell of gasoline now and then. There's nothing worse than being all dressed up and ready for love, then having your date night turn south when you stop to top off the tank. Wouldn't it be awesome if someone invented a device that could keep that from happening? A piece of clothing, perhaps -- something that could go right over your hand and keep the regular unleaded from coating your freshly scrubbed fingernails. Something like a glove, but fancier? If you've got a frivolous driver on your list, there are worse things you could get her (or him) than a set of Pump Gloves. Even Kathy Lee seems to like 'em. Doesn't that say it all?

Car Lashes
Okay, we're going to come right out and say it: Car Lashes are freakin' creepy. Transformers was one thing, but this -- this is quite another. It's as if those cars from the Chevron commercials have come to life, and they're out for blood .

But then, we understand that we're not everyone. There are bound to be at least a few people out there who aren't weirded out by seeing eyelashes on headlights. We don't think we know anyone like that, but maybe you do. Brooke Shields, perhaps? (We haven't heard whether these things change the pigmentation of your car's headlights, but proceed with caution.)

 

Digital photo mug

Okay, yes, the idea of a coffee mug that features a rotating display of photos may seem completely off the wall -- not to mention a perfect example of what the Japanese call chindogu. But think about it: where does that coffee mug sit all day long? On your desk, staring at you. Wouldn't you rather look at pics of your college frat parties than a bland hunk of plastic? Of course you would. And so would the people on your gift list. True, you could opt for something practical, like a rechargeable flashlight, or you could wimp out and take the easy road with a remote-controlled car (which is what Radio Shack is probably hoping, since it's about the only thing keeping them in business). But it's the holidays: live a little. Your friends will thank you for it.

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