Malls and big stores this time of year are the worst, and by this stage in the game it’s a little too late to trust Internet gifts arriving by Christmas Day, but you can piece together a respectable Christmas on the road trip home for the holidays.
Here are 10 ideas for adults, college kids, and the little ones you can pick up at gas stations that’ll make you look like a hero this Christmas.
For the adults:
Craft beer growlers (or bottles/cans) from Sunoco
Yeah, Sunoco is in the good beer business big time. More than 40 Sunoco "APlus" stores in New York state and areas of Charleston, SC have a rotating collection of craft beers on tap for growler fills and a steady mix of craft beer cans and bottles. For info on which stores, check out Sunoco's "beer exchange."
Heated travel mug
Pretty much any cool travel mug, even if it’s not heated, will do the trick, and every gas station on the planet seems to at least have a couple mugs available. Pick the coolest one. If you go to a truck stop like Flying J or TA/Petro, you can score the fancier heated mugs.
For only $50 (after a $50 Visa gift card rebate) you can hook your ma or pa up with a SiriusXM Satellite Radio Receiver Kit from Travel Centers of America/Petro. Just don’t make them pay for the first year or two of service. Not cool.
All sorts of Bluetooth gadgets
Almost all gas stations have a little kiosk of gadgetry these days, and any sort of charging/power station/mobile thingy is appreciated by most. But if you want to take it to the next level, choose from some Bluetooth gas station options like Plantronics wireless ear buds (from Pilot Flying J) or a Bluetooth Jukebox with fancy lights from Travel Centers of America/Petro.
A 46-inch television
Yeah, you read that correctly. Travel Centers of America/Petro’s December ad has a 46" HD LED TV for $399.97. Is it going to be the best TV on the market? Likely, no. Will it still impress your old man when you walk in with a big TV? Yes.
For the college kids:
Want your kid to visit more? Fill their tank! Plus, no college kid wants to spend their party money on something as boring as gasoline.
It might sound lame, but when I was in college I enjoyed stocking up on dorm room snacks whenever I went home. I assume kids these days are the same way. (If you really want to be the cool aunt or uncle, pretty sure a college kid wouldn’t mind some of that beer we talked about above -- if they’re 21 or older, of course)
For the kids:
Oddly enough, both major truck-stop-style gas stations, Flying J and TA/Pretro, carry multiple versions of different remote control helicopters at prices ranging from $35 to $90. That’s a gift the adults might commandeer from the kids if you’re not careful.
Sure, you can probably find a toy car or two at the gas station, but you’ll definitely find toy semis at the big truck stops. Assuming the kids are already getting some toy cars, be different and come home with 18-wheelers for the kiddos.
Got a little princess to buy for? Don’t worry, the gas stations have a pretty decent selection of stuffed bears and dolls. TA/Petro even has Disney Frozen Anna Sparkle dolls and other items from your favorite Disney movies.
So there you go, fellow procrastinators. Hit the highway for the holiday trip home and use Roadtrippers to find the perfect gas station for all your holiday gift needs.