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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Emergency Car Kit? Did You Get a Gift Receipt?

Journey back with me to Christmas 2000. That year my paternal grandparents gifted me an emergency car kit--a hard yellow plastic container packed with work gloves, jumper cables, road flares, etc. As a broke 20-year-old student with a Plymouth Horizon parked out front, I was thrilled … as you can only imagine. Did you happen to get a gift receipt?

In hindsight, I should be thankful; I could have gotten pink bunny pajamas. That same year, my cousin unwrapped 10 packs of crew socks (a conservative estimate to be sure) and an almost comparable number of two-sizes-too-big packages of underwear all because he made a chance remark that he was “running low” on both.

Ten years later and a decade wiser, Christmas gift-giving has become less about getting “good stuff” and more practical. For instance, I wanted a dry erase board for Christmas. I’ll say it for you… NERD!

If you’re anything like me—someone who is “hard to shop for” (or so I’m told)—you have a wallet or purse fat with gift cards. Understandably, much of that money will go toward something you want or need—perhaps some snazzy New Year’s resolution workout stuff.

But what do you do with those few leftover dollars? The store won’t give you cash; they’ll hand back the gift card with $5.07 on it. Here are just a few suggestions on what to do with what’s left.

1. A manual can opener: Because when the electricity goes out, you’ll still want to eat even if it means cold beans straight from a can.

2.Duct tape: Let’s be honest, what can’t be fixed with the MacGyver-esque use of a roll or two. I’ve seen automobiles held together with nothing but.

3. A flashlight: Being able to see in the dark is overrated, right? Wrong. If you haven’t spent enough this holiday season, get one powered by a hand crank.

4. A first aid kit: A good thing to have no matter what. It just makes good sense to have a stocked first aid kit.

5. A pack of batteries: These are for the emergency kit not your “dying” Xbox controller or the kids’ toys that came “batteries not included.”

6. A Fast Follow membership to AzEIN. Alright, alright. So, this is free. You can’t blame a guy for trying. (

And by the way, only 50 shopping weeks till Christmas.

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