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Holiday Gift Guide: 2016's top gifts to buy at a gas station

Jacqueline Wolaver holds up a gift envelope for lottery tickets at the Rally gas station in St. Petersburg.

[Christopher Spata | Times]

Jacqueline Wolaver holds up a gift envelope for lottery tickets at the Rally gas station in St. Petersburg.



The 12 Blogs of Christmas, featuring stocking stuffer-sized holiday stories about pop culture and beyond, will run each weekday leading up to Christmas Eve. You can find all of them on The Feed blog.

Well here we are. The sweater is on, the car is packed and the dessert is plastic-wrapped. You're ready to head to the Christmas gathering. 

That's when you realize: you forgot so-and-so was going to be there, and they'll definitely have a gift for you. Or maybe you knew they'd be there, but didn't care enough to get a gift earlier. That's fine. This isn't about judging. It's about solutions.

You don't have time to stop at a proper store, but you do need gas, so here are the top gifts you can buy at a gas station on the way to the Christmas party.


No doubt, this is your best possible option, and if you strategize your choice in gas stations well, you can find one with good craft brews. The Rally on 4th Street North in St. Petersburg, for instance, offers mix-and-match six-packs for $10, and a selection of Tampa Bay-brewed beers (Green Bench, Coppertail, Ybor Gold) which make a nice gift for an out-of-towner. They also have bottles, cans and bombers of craft beers and even some real rarities from brewers around the U.S. Of course, you could do much worse in terms of gas station beer selections. Worst case scenario, go with novelty over quality, and grab one of those giant cans of Foster's or a four-pack of PBR tall boys. Don't forget to throw in a keychain bottle opener. 


I don't know what was going on with my parents that Christmas that I found my stocking filled entirely with 10-packs of chewing gum, but oh what a Christmas it was. This falls under my theory that even a stupid gift is better in bulk. One pack of gum is lame, but have you ever seen what $25 worth of Wrigley's looks like? It's impressive. This also works with beef jerky. Just a buttload of beef jerky. 


Much like a casino, this gift is designed to confuse the brain. The great thing about scratch-off tickets is that maybe (just maybe) you're giving someone a million-dollar gift, which is a great way of distracting from the fact that you're actually giving them a $5 piece of card stock. 

Related: Who needs the mall? Reporter finishes holiday shopping at an Ybor bodega


Who doesn't need a fresh set of jumper cables or a spare can of Fix-A-Flat? You can make a little car-lover gift basket (and by "basket" I mean plastic shopping bag). Fill it with pine tree air fresheners, some Armor All to shine up that dashboard and some power steering fluid. Your uncle-in-law will love it. 


The key here is to go with items that seem exotic so you can be like, "Oh, you've never tried ranch-flavored popcorn? I knew you'd love it!" Pizza-flavored kettle chips. Sriracha peas. Marshmallow peeps shaped like snow men. You get it.


People who use lighters never seem to have a lighter so get them so many lighters that they'll be swimming in lighters. And there are so many options! On one recent gas station trip I spotted lighters with the following things on them: a New England Patriots helmet, a taco, dice, a margarita, a weed leaf, a Grateful Dead logo, the "real tree" pattern (for hunters), a scorpion, cheetah print and a Walking Dead zombie. Dazzle them with variety.

[Last modified: Saturday, December 24, 2016 12:33pm]


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