James Careless —
Christmas shopping can be really, really stressful. The Gadget Zone is going to provide you with some helpful suggestions and hints this month, to ease you through the pain.
The Gadget Zone presents a Christmas gift list for tech nuts and ordinary folks
In this column, we are going to try a one-stop-shopping solution: Canadian Tire. Despite the name, the stores sell a lot more than tires. In fact, if you are pressed for time and need to get a wide range of gifts fast, this Canadian icon can be a welcome relief. (You can find all of the items noted below in stores, or online at www.canadiantire.ca.)
Here’s a hit item this Christmas: The Keurig one-cup coffee maker. You just add water, put in a coffee grind single-serving cup of your choosing, close it up, press the button and voila! Absolutely amazing coffee, without fail! (Having failed a number of times making coffee with other machines, I know of what I speak.)
Canadian Tire is selling range of Keurig coffeemakers of different capabilities; made both by the original company and other manufacturers under licence. The one that catches my eye is the Cuisinart Keurig Single Serve Coffee Machine for $229.99; in part because I trust Cuisinart’s solid construction, and also because this unit holds 80 ounces of water at a time – for many, many cups of coffee.
For those people who worry about the cost of single-serving Keurig coffee packages, there’s the Keurig My K-Cup Coffee Filter. For $19.99, this is a reusable single-serving coffee filter that you can fill with your regular blend; meaning that you can still get big cans of Maxwell House on sale while enjoying Keurig coffee brewing quality.
Another “wow” present is the Dyson DC34 Car and Auto Vacuum for $239.99. This is a battery-powered portable unit that uses the same high-suction technology as the original Dyson. You can use it with the wand as an upright substitute, or remove the wand for portable use; especially in tight spaces. The DC34 is even easy to empty: Just hold it above a garbage can, push the Dyson’s ‘empty’ button, and the dirt falls in cleanly.
Speaking of cars: Small dogs love to travel as much as big dogs, but they can be at real risk inside a car during an accident, or even a sudden stop. The $59.99 Kurgo Skybox Pet Car Seat is a padded box-type enclosure that attaches to a car seat, providing dogs up to 13.6 kb (30 lbs) with an elevated view that lets them see the road. The Kurgo has mental supports for strength, and comes with an adjustable leash that can be attached to a dog harness. The pad is removable and washable, for on-the-road doggy accidents.
Speaking of car seats, here’s a gift for the Star Wars fan in your life: The Storm Trooper four-piece seat cover kit. Decorated with a big white Storm Trooper graphic, the $49.99 kit comes with two high-back front seat covers, a steering wheel cover and a ‘stuff sak’ for holding loose items. After all, it’s dangerous to leave a BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle – an Empire storm trooper’s weapon of choice – bouncing about the front seat.
The Mastercraft Multi-Purpose Tool Set is a smart present for someone whose tool kit consists of an old butter knife and a rock. Contained in a catch-all tool bag, the set includes a hammer, hacksaw, measuring tape, scissors, box cutter, adjustable wrench, linesman (snubnose) and needlenose pliers, and slot/Phillips/Robertson screwdrivers (either as individual units, or bits that fit into a universal handle). For $66.99, this set contains all of the major tools most people will ever need.
For those people who like power with their tools, the $139.99 Mastercraft 20V Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill and Driver provides a one-piece rechargeable unit that can drill holes and drive screws. This drill/driver has a ½” chuck, which means it will hold a wide variety of drill, holesaw and screwdriver bits. It offers variable speed rates to maximum user control, and a built-in LED work light that illuminates the work at hand – eliminating the need to hold a flashlight in one’s teeth.
Finally, I always like to close with a unique item. In this case, it is the $39.99 Gas Bar Dispenser: It looks like an antique gas station pump, but it dispenses liquor instead of Regular. This tabletop device can hold up to 900 ml of liquid, has markings on its clear fluid container to add an authentic touch, and even lets you pour the liquor using a genuine gas pump. How cool is that?!