The holiday season is right around the corner…
…And that means it’s time to start shopping. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday both popping up in the next week (where did this year go?), it’s time to start taking advantage of your savings and start checking off names on your list.
Now, this holiday gift guide is more on the practical side of things, so it’s great for anyone who owns a car but may not consider themselves an avid car enthusiast. There’s nothing wrong with a little functionality to go along with the little pile of fun you’ll be stacking under your tree.
Music or Radio Subscriptions
I cannot drive without my music, and I know I’m not alone. There’s nothing better than a well-curated playlist or a brand new radio station to introduce you to something you’ve never heard before. If you know a driver who loves her music, then why not give her the gift of sound?
Right now, SiriusXM has a great deal going on: You can get a full year’s subscription for a mere $60, and you get a free Amazon Echo Dot in the process. There are also plenty of other options in case you want a slightly different package than what the deal offers—especially if you’re looking for a family plan. My husband bought his mom a SiriusXM subscription for Christmas last year, and it’s completely changed her driving experience for the better.
And don’t forget about Spotify. I’m personally a much bigger fan of Spotify because I like to plan my music selection, craft playlists, and have a history of the things I listened to and liked. As an added bonus, Spotify is offering you three free months of music if you sign up for the Premium plan!
The CupFone is a handy little tool for anyone who uses their smartphone for navigation. It’s a universal fit, which means WeatherTech designed this phone holder to fit virtually every single car’s cup holder via the kind of removable cups you’d normally give your kiddos to stack. My husband has not stopped talking about his, and I completely understand why: most of the other phone holders we’ve tried in the car have been a pain!
We flip-flop between Canada and Texas, which means our cars go through a lot of extreme temperatures. So, a suction-cup phone holder that you stick to the windshield doesn’t often work. And I’ve never found a holder that sticks into the air vent of the car that I’ve liked. The CupFone gets the job done, and it’s super easy to move it from one car to another. It’s one of those items I’d include in any holiday gift guide, car-related or not.
Seat Gap Filler
Is there any void as vast as the one between your seats and the door or center console? I’ll never forget the night my husband didn’t realize he’d dropped his phone down the crack between the seat and the console of my Mazda. We spent hours trying to hunt it down, a task made all the more difficult by the fact that he keeps his phone on silent. It didn’t occur to us to check the seat crack until we were ready to cancel the whole trip.
Save yourself the hassle. Buy a seat gap filler for anyone prone to mess.
Just a filler: buy on Amazon
A filler with storage space: buy on Amazon
If you know someone prone to a backseat mess, someone who just doesn’t feel like they have enough space to stay organized, then this is a great time to give them the gift of an avoided headache. Get them an organizer that hangs over the seat back, within easy reach of any kiddos or passengers who might need to throw out some trash, grab a tissue, or hold a drink bottle.
As an extra bonus, you can repurpose the trash compartment as an insulated cooler to keep your cans of soda chilled on the go.
Buy on Amazon
Waterproof Seat Cover
This hammock-like waterproof seat cover is designed for dogs, but I can think of about a million other uses for it. Yes, it’s a really great way to transport your dog: it keeps him settled in the back, unable to easily pop his head up to the front seat, and it collects all the water, dirt, and hair he might have collected on your trip.
But this is also a really nice gift for anyone who does a lot of outdoorsy activities. Pull up the seat cover, and you have a great place to store wet coats, muddy boots, or anything else that might have collected some detritus you don’t want in the car with you. There are two sizes: regular and XL.
Buy on Amazon
My family bought my mom a dash cam for Christmas a few years ago, and she absolutely loves it. While it’s great for its intended practical purpose—recording footage of accidents or other incidents on the road—it’s also been a fun little tool for creating memories. My family transitioned to more local vacations well before the pandemic, opting for destinations that are 10 or less hours away, and the dash cam has been a fun way to record and relive the road trip memories (albeit in a more fast-forwarded way!).
Buy on Amazon
Easy Jumper Kit
This is another tried-and-true gift given to my mom. While she’s never had a problem with her car, she’s been able to help out quite a few folks in the neighborhood with her jumper kit, all of whom tell her they didn’t realize how easy it could be to give their battery a little kick.
And you don’t even need another car to help you start with this handy little tool. It’s a 1000-amp lithium ion battery with the cords you need to jump start your car. Charge this bad boy up, and you can jump start 20 cars without running out of juice. But it also functions as a portable power bank and an LED flashlight. This is seriously a great tool for anyone with an unreliable car or who drives alone or with vulnerable passengers.
Buy on Amazon
Despite the fact that I do a lot of driving, I didn’t invest in a trunk organizer until recently, and I can’t believe I held out so long. To think I used to just let my winter tools, emergency kit, and various fluids fly around in the back all willy-nilly!
This organizer is collapsable, so it’s great for traveling. I road tripped around and camped out of my car in Iceland a few summers ago, and I kept regretting that I didn’t have something like this to set up and keep my things in order. And, as the cherry on top: this one is waterproof and can be belted down to prevent it from tipping over. Oh—it also comes in pink.
Buy on Amazon
If you do a lot of traveling or find that a growing family means less and less storage space, then it might be time to think about a cargo rack. I really love the one I linked from Pentagon Tools because it’s designed to connect to any car with at least a two-inch hitch on the back. That means trucks, SUVs, and even sedans.
This is indispensable for my mom, since she’s carted a full seven of us around for vacations before, which means there’s not much room in the trunk. This cargo rack is rated for 500 lbs, so you shouldn’t have an issues loading it up and hitting the road.
Buy on Walmart
Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide by Patrice Banks
Don’t get too bogged down in the name: This is a great book for anyone brand new to the driving scene. If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of your car, you’re not alone, but this handy guide helps you to learn the basics and give you the tools you need to confidently solve some basic problems—or, if you’re not interested in that, to explain your car’s issues to a mechanic.
Patrice’s book is written in easy-to-digest language, and it comes with tons of visuals to help you glean every bit of information you need to feel more empowered behind the wheel. You’ll learn how to dispel myths about car ownership, check your fluids, find a great mechanic, and more.