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Christmas gift ideas for the driver in your life

I know.  You’d love to give that special someone who also happens to be keen on motoring a new car for Christmas.  Some of us are in a financial position to buy a Porsche Boxter, VW Beetle convertible or the new model Alfa Romeo Guilettta as a Christmas present, but the average Joe and Jill Australian can’t quite afford to do this – as much as we would like to.  So what do you buy that driver in your life for Christmas that won’t leave you wailing and lamenting when the credit card bills come in and/or New Year’s Day when you make your financial resolutions?  Here’s a dozen car-related suggestions…

  1. Any Top Gear related book, whether it’s The Stig’s new autobiography or one of their more amusing coffee-table varieties. (Note: that one I’ve seen in my local bookseller where you have to find The Stig in a busy picture rather than trying to see Where’s Wally this time is probably best for younger readers).  DVD versions of the TV shows also go down well.  So does a year’s subscription to any motoring magazine.
  2. Calendars.  You can get calendars featuring most of the hot makes of cars, as well as mixed-bag calendars of supercars, etc. 
  3. Computer, X-box, Playstation or Wii driving simulations.  This is one place where you won’t be left broke, catching a lift because you’ve lost your licence, behind bars or in a wheelchair (or coffin) if you scream around a city at 200 km/h smashing into other cars, walls, trees and signposts with a cop on your tail. 
  4. Car grooming gear.  Anyone who loves their car will make good use of consumable goodies for keeping their car bright and shiny.  Also consider accessories such as chamois leather and brushes.
  5. If you have a die-hard Ford or Holden lover, it’s easy to find everyday items branded with the logo they love, including (but definitely not limited to) T-shirts, coffee mugs and bed covers.  They seem to crop up in every gift shop I walk into, so they’re not hard to find.  Other logo-branded gear is out there, but the Big Aussie Two are the most common.
  6. Car accessories.  Check first before buying these, as your car lover may also have purchased them. Suggestions include leather or leather-look steering wheel covers, seat covers, spare wheel covers (for 4x4s – do a little sneaky work and find out how big the tyre cover ought to be).  Stereo equipment also goes down well.
  7. Driving gloves.  These are rather old-fashioned but they have a certain bit of class about them, especially if they’re in leather that matches the car’s upholstery.  Best suited for those driving classy European vehicles such as Jaguars, BMWs, Audis and Mercedes (but not Rolls-Royce or Daimler – the chauffeur probably already has driving gloves as part of the livery).  Scarves (not too long!) in silk or mohair are also appropriate for those who have the open-top versions.
  8. Jaguar aftershave/cologne/perfume.  If you have someone who yearns for a Jag or already owns a Jag, this could be a romantic, sexy option.  There are several options for men and women out there.  If your local chemist or department store doesn’t stock them, try the Jaguar fragrance website – and be quick so your order arrives before the 25th.
  9. If you’re broke and they know it, a model car of the sort they love.  This could be a Matchbox or Hot Wheels version, or one of those models that require a rainy day, tweezers and Superglue.  The toy version is best accompanied by a card that says you’d love to get them the real thing if you could, but this will do in the meantime.
  10. Customised pin-up picture for your Significant Other.  This requires access to photo-editing software and a cooperative friend.  Get the friend to photo you scantily clad in or on your Significant Other’s set of wheels in a sexy pose (wash and polish the car first and put the car against a nice backdrop.  If you plan to drop in a digital backdrop, hang up a sheet or three on the fence or the washing line to act as your backdrop – makes the digital bit easier).  Tinker around with the digital retouching and other tools to add the necessary glamour to car and person.  Print and/or frame.  Best not to open this one in front of prim and proper aunties.  The ambitious can create a home-made calendar of the tear-off type.
  11. A dozen “Free car wash by me” coupons, either handwritten or printed on the computer.  This is a good gift if you’re really hard up, as they cost nothing except a few hours in the weekend – just be prepared to follow through next year when they redeem the coupons.
  12. Quirky, clever or humorous signs or stickers.  These can range from retro-styled garage signs printed on metal to the classic bumper sticker or licence plate surround. 

If you are the car-lover and your nearest and dearest are scratching their heads as to what to get you for Christmas, print out this page and stick it on the fridge, leave the window open on your browser when they happen to walk in, or share it on Facebook as a not-so-subtle hint.

Bonus idea: Charity Gifts.

One recent trend is to buy something through a charitable organisation in someone else’s name as a gift, usually something that will help a third-world community pick itself up get out of the poverty trap.  You have to pick who you give this to, as some people like getting something from you, no matter how small.  But if you do this sort of thing, then there are transport-related gifts out there.  What could be more suited to the origins of Christmas than the gift of a donkey?