Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Motoring through Christmas

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Since there's no doubt that the vast majority of us car, truck, motorcycle and snowmobile buffs are still big kids at heart, shopping for that special gearhead on your Christmas list should be an easy task.

If there's one thing to remember it's that us car-crazy kids are VERY brand-loyal. If we ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle we likely won't be caught dead in a Yamaha T-shirt, and vice-versa.

Branding is king in all areas of motordom, and anything emblazoned with the logo of our favourite marque -- including clothing, accessories and even toys -- is guaranteed to bring a smile to our faces on Christmas morning.

Automotive-related gifts are available from a variety of retailers and range from inexpensive items like key chains and air fresheners all the way up to expensive electronic gadgets like remote car starters and portable navigation systems that feature preloaded maps of the U.S. and Canada.

If you're not sure where to begin, Canadian Tire is always a great place to start, offering a huge variety of car-related gift ideas. One of the most thoughtful and potentially life-saving gifts is a pre-assembled emergency roadside kit. These kits are packed with essentials like first-aid supplies, road flares, candles, booster cables, gloves and those shiny portable blankets. If your winter traveller makes regular highway trips, an emergency kit should be at the top of your list.

When shopping for a youngster with an interest in vehicles, you also can't go wrong with tools. Both Canadian Tire and Sears offer a variety of quality tool kits that are not only reasonably priced but also guaranteed for life.

Believe it or not, Wal-Mart is also a great place to find cool automotive gifts. In addition to a well-equipped automotive department, your local Wally World's toy department has a great selection of die-cast scale models that perfectly depict classic cars, motorcycles and even planes and trains. The detail on today's die-cast models is amazing, and a miniature version of their favourite car or truck always brings a smile to an auto buff's face.

If you're shopping for a motorcycle or snowmobile enthusiast, a quick stop at one of the many dealerships around town will net you some great gift ideas. Popular items include riding apparel emblazoned with a favourite brand of bike or sled, as well as protective gear, lubricants and cleaning products.

Recent stops at both Winnipeg Sport & Leisure on Dugald Road and Harley-Davidson Winnipeg on Niakwa Road East revealed a mountain of fun gifts for the snowmobile or motorcycle enthusiast on your list. At the Harley store, there's even a pet section with items like spiked collars and leather caps for your favourite four-legged biker.

The biggest thing to remember is that if your gift caters to our hobby, we will love it!

Cheers and have a great Christmas!

Christmas gift ideas for your gearhead

Stocking stuffers: Key chains, ice scrapers, flashlights, snowbrushes,travel mugs, cup holders, air fresheners, car magazines and car movies

Accessories: Mud flaps, running boards, floor mats, seat covers, fog lights, shift knobs, chrome accents.

Gift certificates: Car washes, vehicle maintenance, oil changes. Apparel: Anything emblazoned with their favourite brand of car, truck, motorcycle or snowmobile is a sure bet.

Car cleaning products: Waxes, cleaners, polishing towels.

Die Cast models: Look for their car or truck, or the one they wish they had.

Tools: Tool kits, tool storage, battery boosters, power inverters, interior warmers, electric polishers, emergency kits.

Mobile electronics: Satellite radio systems, MP3 or portable DVD players, navigation systems, speakers, sub boxes, iPod accessories, remote car starters.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2012 F1

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