Fun Stuff

What Not to Get Your Car Enthusiast These Holidays

Ho ho ho! Where’s the Tylenol? Christmas is coming, the halls are decked, beasts are broiling, and various egg-nogs and gravies are flowing in abundance. Soon, you’ll need to invest in a bigger belt to deal with the influx of holiday calories and beverages.

Hopefully, you’re surviving Christmas shopping season. Maybe, you haven’t even started yet. And, in any case, you’ll want to check out our list of tips below, especially if there’s a Car Guy or Car Gal on your Christmas shopping list.

There are scores of automotive websites where you can read about how the writer in question wants the new McLaren, the latest Bluetooth gadget, some fancy tires, and a battery tender from St. Nick. At, we’re going to also highlight the gifts for car buffs you’re best to skip.

Do your favorite gearhead a favor, and consider our 2016 list of things you should never buy a car enthusiast for Christmas.

Anything Scented*

Does the gift you’re considering hang from the rearview, clip to a vent, or adhere to the dashboard to make the interior smell all prissy? If so, leave it on the shelf. Car Guys and Car Gals want their rides to smell like engines and grease and gasoline and off-gassing plastic panels – and not soda-pop, fruits, pine trees or any sort of baked goods. Translation? Save the air fresheners for Aunt Maud, because the car buff on your list doesn’t want them.

*Unless they’re bacon-scented. Or Black Ice scented. Nothing smells classier than Black Ice when you get into your ride, and bacon air fresheners are humorous and encouraged.

Truck Nuts

Giving someone a glorious set of truck-mounted plastic testicles for Christmas sounds like a good idea, but we promise you, it’s not. A few reasons why: first, testicles aren’t pleasant to look at. Second, truck testicles instantly identify their user as a 5'5" tool-bag who probably wears a flat-brimmed hat and hasn’t quite established object permanence. Third, vehicles are not gendered, and therefore don’t have nuts. Nuts have their place – and hanging from a truck’s bumper isn’t one of them.

Exterior Car Cleaning Supplies

Understand this, and understand it well: to a Car Guy or a Car Gal, the choice in exterior car cleaning supplies is as important and deeply personal as their choice in underwear, or personal grooming implements. Choose a wax, soap, polish or clay-bar kit for them, and you’ll probably get it wrong. Car wash kits are okay as gifts for the family Camry, but anyone with a hot car wants to spend about 45 minutes every spring in their favorite car-care aisle, contemplating which wash / glaze / polish / wax / tire shine is best. This is an important springtime ritual and pilgrimage for the car nut, and a vital and elemental part of being a gearhead. Don’t deny the car buff on your list this extremely personal voyage to the car care isle, but do consider a gift card instead.

Car Eyelashes

“OH MY GOD!! CAR EYELASHES! THIS IS THE BEST GIFT OF LIFE!!!” said no car buff, ever. Car eyelashes are stupid, and if you’re considering a set for the car guy or car gal on your list, consider avoiding an embarrassing Christmas morning situation, and just toss the $24.99 into the nearest dumpster, instead.

Pokemon Accessories


Actual Racing Shoes

Okay, this isn't owned by Pacquiao, but it's so unusual that we've got to include it. In 2011, some of his fans pulled up to a Manila park in this high-heel custom job/monstrosity to watch a free screening of their hero's fight against arch-rival Marquez. Or, um, this shoe.

Here’s the thing about racing shoes: they’re racing shoes, and they’re built to resist fires, and for driving a fast race car, really, really fast, while racing. Racing shoes are typically uncomfortable and inconvenient if you do anything with them other than drive a race car. In fact, using race-car shoes in a street car can even be unsafe.  So, even if the car buff on your list has a Civic Si with an intake and header, and figures he’s a pretty aggressive driver, a set of racing shoes is still a pretty crappy idea. As an alternative, check out some Piloti casual shoes, which are inspired by the brand’s racing shoes, but built for everyday use.

Anything Chrome

Some people are apparently so vain that they need to see their reflection as often as possible - including every time they get into their car. How else would you justify this hideous chrome explosion with which Justin Bieber has assaulted this Fisker Karma? Still, at least Bieber chose a nice, eco-friendly performance car. Good for him, looking out for the planet and all that... People might think you're Justin Bieber...

Are you contemplating a gift with chrome on one side, and adhesive on the other? If so, your Car Guy or Car Gal will probably peel-and-stick it to the inside of the nearest garbage receptacle while you’re gone for a third helping of fruitcake. Chrome is almost always the wrong choice – though gold might be okay, if the recipient is an aspiring pop artist who drives an old Lexus.