Justin Pritchard, Car Nut
Justin Pritchard, not the kind of man you buy a Hello Kitty steering wheel cover for. Click image to enlarge

Article by Justin Pritchard

It’s the time of year where automotive bloggers / journalists / writers everywhere publish their automotive Christmas wish list. Just use Google, and you can read all about how your favourite car writer wants a McLaren MP4-12C, some sort of Bluetooth gizmo, a fancy set of tires, and a set of Formula One tickets from Saint Nick.

I’ll offer my advice in a different way. Clueless on what to get that car buff on your Christmas list? You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the same circle as at least half of my family. So, do your favorite gearhead a favour and read my list of things you should never buy a gearhead as a present, would you?

As a first step, get them a gift card. Usually, these are offensively unoriginal and tell the recipient you remembered their existence while at the shopping centre for toilet paper and lunch meat. For a car nut though, getting, say, a Canadian Tire gift card for Christmas brings joy, smiles, and man-happiness for days to come.

If you need to buy an actual gift, keep the following in mind: My name is Justin Pritchard. I have a cool car. I’m a car nut. And like thousands of my brothers and sisters, I don’t want any of the following crap for Christmas.

Air Fresheners: A car-buff wants his ride to smell like fragrant leather, slightly burned motor oil, and plastic panels that are slowly leaching noxious chemicals into the cabin. No car buff wants his ride smelling like cherries, orchards, tulips or anything related to plant growth.

Bacon air fresheners are, however, acceptable and encouraged. Ditto those little ‘Black Ice’ scented pine-tree fresheners. Nothing smells classier than Black Ice when you get into your ride.

Stick Figure Families: Just don’t.

Stick Figure FamilyCar Cleaning Kit
Stick Figure Family & Car Cleaning Kit. Click image to enlarge

A Car Wash Kit: Car wash kits are okay as gifts for Dad if he drives a Camry. Anyone with a hot car wants to spend about 45 minutes every spring in their favourite car-care aisle contemplating which wash/glaze/polish/wax is best. This is an important springtime ritual and pilgrimage for the car nut, and a vital and elemental part of manliness. Translation? Don’t deny the car buff on your list this extremely personal voyage to the car-wash aisle. Buying car cleaning products as a gift is like buying underwear as a gift – you’ll probably get it wrong.

Stick On Chrome: Does your prospective gift have chrome on one side and a peel-and-stick adhesive on the back? If so, I’ll probably peel-and-stick it to the inside of the nearest garbage can while you’re gone for an Egg Nog refill. Chrome is always the wrong choice – unless the recipient is five-foot-three and drives a Ford Super Duty with smokestack exhausts and a lift kit.

Hello Kitty Cover and Air FreshnerDrum Kit Steering Wheel CoverChrome Nutz
Hello Kitty Cover and Air Freshner, Drum Kit Steering Wheel Cover, Chrome Nutz. Click image to enlarge

Steering Wheel Covers: No car-nut, anywhere, has ever put a steering-wheel cover on their steering wheel – ever. Leave this one on the shelf with the cartoon floor mats and Hello Kitty seat covers.

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Truck Nuts: Are you the zany, jovial creepy uncle type? Fight the temptation to get your car-enthusiast a set of Truck Nuts, which are the most offensive things on the road since Ford Super Duty’s with smokestack exhausts and lift-kits. These bumper-mounted testicle replicas do nothing but identify their user as an idiot to anyone they share the road with, because (as everyone knows) vehicles are female and don’t have nuts. Truck Nuts are even worse when hung from a car instead of a truck. Nuts have their place – and hanging from a car bumper isn’t one of them.

What's the worst Christmas present for a gearhead?

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