We know what you're thinking: "Another holiday gift guide?" But hear us out, because this one's a little different.
For starters the following 12 goodies are geared toward commuters, tinkerers, and other car fans. Whether they're shade-tree mechanics or shuttle-service soccer moms, there's something on this list for nearly anyone who spends time behind the wheel.
Furthermore, we've done our best to find gifts that appeal to a range of personalities and price points. From high-end cufflinks to completely free smartphone apps, we've got you covered.
And most importantly, all of these gifts are available online. You don't even need to think about setting foot in a mall -- unless of course you have a thing for Orange Julius. (In which case, could you bring back an original Orange Julius with protein powder? We're trying to make up for some Thanksgiving gluttony.)
Still, we're sure we've missed more than a few good gift ideas. If you've got one (or more) that you'd like to share, feel free to drop a note in the comments below. Have a safe and happy holiday season.
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SiriusXM Edge with vehicle kit: $139
If there's a commuter on your shopping list, the new Edge radio from SiriusXM could be a perfect gift. It's the first device to make use of SiriusXM's 2.0 technology, which offers an expanded set of stations, plus the ability to pause, rewind, and replay music, news, and anything else on its airwaves. Act before December 31, and you can throw in a three-month subscription for as little as $38.85.
Joby GorillaTorch flashlight: $29.95 - $59.95
We fell in love with Joby's clever camera tripods years ago: their flexible arms grip a range of surfaces, allowing shutterbugs to wrap cameras around trees, lightpoles, handrails, or just balance them on uneven surfaces. More recently, Joby applied the concept to a line of flashlights, which are perfect for the weekend mechanic in need of a little extra light. And since they're equipped with LEDs, that light will be strong for a long time to come.
Paloma Picasso "Caliper" cuff links: $375
Holiday season means parties, and the dress code at those parties is often on the formal side. So, to dress up those tuxedos and French-cuff shirts, Pablo Picasso's youngest daughter, Paloma, created a nifty set of cuff links that reference her love of classic cars and auto racing. They're made of stainless steel and midnight titanium, so they're as strong as some of the calipers on the market today -- and as an added bonus, these come in Tiffany's trademark blue box. (Not a cuff link fan? There's a ring, too.)
Le Mans on DVD: from $11.99
Some of your younger relatives might think that Hollywood's fascination with fast cars began with the Fast & Furious franchise. Why not school 'em with this classic Steve McQueen flick, which turned forty this year?
Bulgari Black eau de toilette: $77
Ordinarily, we shy away from giving fragrance as a gift -- but then, Bulgari Black is no ordinary fragrance. It's one of the few truly unisex scents on the market, blending vanilla, black tea, and other ingredients into a very distinctive package. Perhaps best is the top note (the first few minutes of the fragrance) when Black smells just the tiniest bit like fresh, clean rubber, which is echoed in the rubber-encased bottle. Fragrance expert Luca Turin has called it one of the best in production -- and who are we to argue?
Wagan EL2022 Ionic Air Purifier: from $9.71
Then again, maybe you know someone who doesn't enjoy fragrance of any kind. For them, the Wagan Ionic Air Purifier might be just the ticket. It plugs directly into a car's cigarette lighter and immediately begins attacking bacteria, pollen, dust, and stubborn odors. Best of all: no filter required.
Key chains: Dr. Who, Star Wars, Batman, and more from $2.00
At first glance, a key chain might seem like a silly gift, but look again. Think Geek has a range of options -- some aimed at loud, proud sci-fi nerds (like the Dr. Who options pictured), while others are more practical, offering amenities like special tools, headphone splitters, and even a miniature speaker. We'll take the Batman version please, which comes complete with an emergency signal light.
TuneIn Radio app: free - $.99
Ditch those preconceptions, folks: TuneIn is no ordinary internet radio app. For starters, it works like a real radio, allowing you to listen to local stations in your neck of the woods or around the globe. It also works on a range of devices, including iPhones, iPads, Androids, Blackberries, Windows, GoogleTV, and more. The Pro version let users record, pause, and rewind any station as they're listening -- and they can even use the built-in timer to record their favorite shows, then listen to them later. Not too shabby for 99 cents.
Thule Storage Lift: $159
Summer is long gone, and for many of us, weekend outings are on hold for another several months. What to do with that rooftop storage container while you're waiting for the temps to warm up? The Thule Storage Lift gets it off the ground, making room for snow shoes, show shovels, and winter's other necessary evils. Even better, it works on a range of items, including kayaks and ladders. If you're looking for a kinder, gentler way to tell your spouse that it's time to clean up the garage, this might be it.
"25 Scooter Drawings" by Christine Berrie: from $50
People are sometimes reluctant to spend money on art. Maybe that's because they think art is an extravagance, or maybe it's because they don't feel comfortable picking out something for their walls. Jen Bekman has made both non-issues by offering great-looking, inexpensive, limited-edition prints like "25 Scooter Drawings", which comes signed by the artist and printed with archival inks. You can even order it framed, if you're feeling generous.
NFL auto accessories: from $3.99
The great thing about the winter holidays is that they dovetail perfectly with football season. Sure, it may seem like a cop-out, getting a Patriots fan an NFL-sanctioned keychain or wallet, but wouldn't you rather give 'em something they'll proudly display and use? (If not, may we suggest a nose hair trimmer?)
Pump Rebels 2012 Fuel Efficient Car Calendar: $14.99
If you've got an eco-minded gearhead on your list, the Pump Rebels calendar might be just the thing to brighten up his or her day. Riffing on the oversexed calendars from Pirelli et. al, the creators of Pump Rebels set out to prove that fuel-economy isn't for fuddy-duddies. As they say, "Despite the cliché images of daisies, leaves, and fluffy clouds—fuel efficiency is bad-ass, and long overdue for an attitude update". (Check our full review of the calendar at Green Car Reports.) For those who'd prefer some half-naked beef on their wall...well, we tried, but came up empty-handed. Perhaps you could revisit everyone's favorite Herb Ritts poster?