christmas gifts and accessories
christmas gifts & accessories - just what you never knew you wanted
WHAT WOULD A MOTORING ENTHUSIAST LIKE TO FIND UNDER THE TREE ON CHRISTMAS MORNING? STEVE GHOSLEY OFFERS A FEW IDEAS
I must admit, having woken up on too many Christmas mornings to find a car wash kit or a press-on dashboard jotter under the tree, I came to the conclusion that the car accessory and the cherished Yuletide gift were never meant to overlap.
It doesn't necessarily have to be like that, of course. With a little more thought, it's quite possible to sift through the wacky and tacky and select a quite acceptable gift, even for the car enthusiast who has everything.
In reality of course, your preference as the joyful giver will depend on both the car and the driver in question. So here are a few suggestions to ease your Christmas present buying woes:-
Computer games featuring fast and powerful cars have become a 'must have' for any self respecting petrolhead. The games available are only relevant to the device they are played on so before you make your choice of game ensure you know the recipient's current games console. Gran Turismo 5 would be the choice for Sony's PlayStation 3 whereas for the Microsoft Xbox 360 (X360) and Nintendo Wii a good choice would be Forza Motorsport 3 and Mario Kart Wii respectively. Prices are in the region of £50 per game.
Alternatively, how about a computer mouse in the shape of their favourite car? At www.caagis.com you'll find an Aston Martin DBS, a BMW Z3, a Range Rover Evoque and the humble Volkswagen Beetle each for around £30 to £40.
And there is always the Driving Experience that offers the recipient a day out driving an exotic piece of motoring machinery such as a Porsche 911, Aston Martin, Ferrari or Audi R8. And you don't need a driving license either as these events are usually performed on tracks or private road ways. The only restriction being one of height, normally a minimum of 4ft 10 inches is required. For the enthusiastic youngster who can't wait to get behind the wheel, this could be a magical Christmas present. Prices start from around £100.
One feature that now appears on many new cars but can also be retro-fitted to older models are reversing indicators. These can be fitted to both the front and rear of the car or just the rear. They give the driver an audible warning when the vehicle is close to an object. This device has proved very popular and has save countless small accidents with cars saved from reversing into unseen objects or other parked vehicles. DIY prices start from around £50 and can be fitted easily with minimum effort.
With road maps fast becoming arcane to all but the dogmatic, and AA Route map delivering directions strewn with erroneous nonsense, the only way the modern individual can guarantee a trip from A to B that is stress-free, is by using a satellite navigation system. These devices really are fast becoming an essential motoring tool with maps literally being consigned to the dustbin. A decent satellite navigation system can be purchased for approximately £100.00.
If you really want to push the boat out then there is a plethora of in-car entertainment to choose from. These include radio/ CD players, DVD players, digital radios, devices to connect your MP3 player to the car audio system, hands free phone devices and much much more. If you decide to go down this route it is advisable to first consult an expert to ensure that the device you intend to purchase is compatible with the recipient's vehicle and its existing electronic devices.
And let's not forget the children and the big kids as well. For this group there is nothing better than a Scalextric. Whilst many cite snobbery as a good reason to stick with the Scalextric brand, you might want to consider the fact that Scalextric tend to be somewhat pious towards realism; therefore, if you have children who want proper loop-the-loop type action, then you'd do well to go for something outside of the brand synonymous with miniaturised race-car fun times. Entry level Scalextric sets start at around £40.00.
Then of course there is always the motoring memento that can be anything from a pair of socks to a die-cast model car. A website like www.motorgifts.co.uk is one of many such sites offering a plethora of different ideas to satisfy all tastes and budgets. They even do motoring gift wrapping paper to make your present complete.
Christmas is also a time when books become a very popular and relatively inexpensive gift. The choice of motoring reading also tends to expand this time of year so the choice becomes seemingly endless. You can narrow your search however for the ideal book as a gift by visiting websites like www.chaters.co.uk and www.motorbooks.co.uk or you can visit the latter in person at their famous Cecil Court shop in London. The choice is truly staggering so you are bound to find just the right book to make their Christmas complete.
A functional gift is always greatly appreciated and will remain in use long after more frivolous presents have started gathering dust. Here we're talking tools that could suit the car enthusiast and maintenance products or handy accessories for the less committed of motorists.
Security is always a good idea and if you come up with a present that stops the recipient's car being stolen, you can justifiably expect an entire chapter of dedication in their good books. Steering locks, wheel clamps and security posts are all effective and easily available from companies like Autolok. Visit www.autolok.co.uk for more details.
Mobile phones have become commonplace in many people's cars and the associated Hands free kits, holders and chargers make good inexpensive presents. For under £10 you could even obtain the Mo-Go phone charger, the key ring mounted powerpack that gives up to 8 hours of standby time for your phone Visit www.boysstuff.co.uk for more information.
You could also choose a gift according to the car they drive - if you're absolutely sure that they don't intend to change their vehicle in the near future you could purchase a present from the car manufacturer's gift catalogue. Most of the premium brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar have brought out their own gift catalogues, offering anything from a key ring pendant to a £200 all weather jacket.
Whatever automotive gift you eventually decide upon, you can be sure that it will be joyfully received by the motoring enthusiast in your life. Merry Christmas!