Gather 'round, foot-draggers. With just four more shopping days until Christmas, it's time once again for the Doc's annual round-up of gift suggestions for perennial procrastinators. If you find yourself stumped for gift ideas for the road warriors in your life, you're in the right place.
Last-minute desperation may lead you to the automotive store or even easier, the automotive aisle at your favorite retailer, and that's not a bad thing, since chances are you have a few drivers on your shopping list and practical and affordable are two words that seem to fit this holiday season.
Here's the Doc's list. Most items are available at Target, Walmart, and other discount retailers, and are priced at or under $20:
Sticky dash pads, about $5: These fabulous do-dads make great little stocking stuffers. Made of sticky "jelly" material, the reusable flat pads come in a rainbow of colors and stick to your dash to grab just about anything you slap onto them from coupons to a BlackBerry or cell phone. If they collect too much dust or lint, just wash them in warm soapy water, air dry, then slap back onto your dash. The Doc uses hers daily.
Case Logic catchall, about $5: This soft little pouch is made of light neoprene with an adjustable arm that bends to hook into air vents for secure attachment. The pouch can be used to hold sunglasses, pens, cell phones and hair clips. It comes in black or gray.
Also from Case Logic, the front seat caddy, about $8: Too few beverage holder built-ins in your ride? Check out this insulated nylon caddy that can hold two average-size water bottles. It also has side mesh pockets, a zippered main pocket and elastic loops for tire gauge, mini-flashlight or pens.
Expandable cargo carryall, about $19: these foldable nylon containers use Velcro to stay put and allow you to transport groceries and other items in your trunk neatly. They're big enough to hold several bags of groceries and have three sections for organizing and mesh pockets.
Document organizer made by High Road, about $20: This handy-dandy nylon folio helps to keep all your auto documents organized and in one place. It fits in most glove compartments and has three pockets for insurance cards, registration, manuals, maps or maintenance receipts.
Maxsa parking mat, about $20: Not skilled at garage parking? No problem, just roll out this bright yellow rubber mat complete with parking bumper and you'll be lined up in the same spot from now on. The mat also comes in black.
Apollo roadside tool kit, about $59.99: This all-pink emergency tool kit is perfect for the lady who has everything but good luck. Packed in a soft-sided bag for easy storage in a car, boat or RV, the kit includes pink tools as well as an air compressor for inflating tires and a 12V vacuum cleaner. The manufacturer says a portion of the proceeds is donated to further breast cancer awareness initiatives.
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Have a happy and safe holiday, folks, and above all, avoid drinking and driving.
Get your designated drivers lined up now. If all else fails, remember that AAA offers anyone a safe, confidential free ride home during the holidays, no questions asked. The Tow To Go program will drive your car onto a tow truck bed and give you both a lift home if you have imbibed too much.
The program, which is a partnership between AAA Auto Club South and Budweiser, has provided nearly 10,000 drivers with rides home since 1998. That's a lot of intoxicated folks off the roads — and who knows how many tragedies averted. Never thought I would say this, but thanks, Budweiser! Call toll-free, 1-800-222-4357.
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