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With the holidays around the corner, Autoblog has come together to create our holiday gift guide for the year. If you’re looking for some gift ideas for a loved one (even if that loved one is yourself), we’ve got some great ones for you to consider, hand-picked by the Autoblog staff.
With the onset of winter, I find a cast iron skillet to be the perfect tool for cooking warm and cozy meals. I use it for everything. Cast iron is so versatile, serving up everything from a fried egg with flavor to grilling smokey potato slices. The pan is also excellent for searing pork or steaks and then throwing the whole skillet into the oven to finish the job. Cast iron adds an old-timey vibe that creates a depth of flavor and smell that non-sticks simply can’t match. It’s timeless. While I pine for the days of grilling in the summer, using cast iron in winter makes making dinner a comparable event. Crack a beer and get started. — Greg Migliore, editor-in-chief
A nice gift for the person in your life who seeks to spend winter outdoors — which I personally think is a great way to fend off the winter blues. These are actually a bit trendy right now, as everyone from collegians to fashion tastemakers are embracing the century-old icon of the Northeast. Beans are not the most tactical boots you can buy, and the looks are polarizing. But, I’ve had a pair for a few years now, and they are perfect for walking in the snowy woods with my golden retriever, which is a page in the Bean catalog, or it should be. They’re also stylish enough to be worn to restaurants, holiday shopping or the local winter festival. You can get the minimalist leather tops, or opt for more insulation and padding. While I’m someone who prefers being barefoot if at all possible, a decent pair of boots is needed in winter. These will get you through. — Greg Migliore, editor-in-chief
I love cooking, especially when it means trying new foods or techniques. I enjoy the approach America’s Test Kitchen takes to making interesting recipes manageable for home kitchens, and the way they explain the science behind the processes. I’m always saving ATK recipes and videos I find online, but I’ve never actually owned one of their books. Hopefully that changes with this on my list. I’m going with spiral-bound, because having a book that’ll lay flat on its own while your hands are covered in tomato sauce is something you don’t usually appreciate until it’s too late. — John Snyder, senior editor, green
Currently at the top of my “really want but definitely don’t need” wishlist is a countertop ice maker. There is nothing wrong with my current process of making ice with plastic ice trays and freezer. But it is a manual and slow process. Between my smoothies and my iced coffee, I go through a lot of ice every week, so a machine to help save me time and effort is something I’m into. This one is highly rated on Amazon, but there are a lot of good options out there that I’ve been researching prior to purchase. Including this sub-$100 model also from Silonn.
There are a few things I’m considering before purchasing. While it’s not a huge machine, I have a small kitchen. Do I want to give up countertop space I use for cooking for an ice maker? Maybe. Probably. How loud is it? If it’s too noisy I’ll likely be limited on when I can make ice. Video reviews I’ve watched don’t make it seem loud, but real-world use might differ. If you have someone on your holiday shopping list who just can’t abide room temperature beverages, here’s a cool gift idea. — Eddie Sabatini, production manager
If you’re like me, getting the right cinematic shot from your smartphone to capture that special moment is essential. That’s why I rely on the DJI OM 5 smartphone gimbal to stabilize my shots without having to worry about shaky footage or accidentally dropping my phone. The portable gimbal has a built-in extension rod, is foldable, and can switch from horizontal to vertical shooting with the press of a button, making it perfect for vlogging and filming for TikTok and YouTube. The battery life on the DJI OM 5 is also surprisingly solid. Even though it was only 290g, the gimbal allowed me to film for nearly 6 hours. My DJ OM 5 is also accompanied by a travel case that holds everything neatly within its contents. The STARTRC OM 5 case is waterproof, with a shoulder strap, and its inserts are configured to hold your entire gimbal and phone. — Amr Sayour, producer
Most of the year, I go off-roading weekly — in my own yard, on a riding mower. The yard is an acre, is constantly wet with steep and deep parts, and it’s easy to get stuck. So this Christmas, I’ve asked for traction boards. They’ll be great for the car when it snows, too. This set, from Orcish, has a 4.5-star customer rating, with mounting pins if you want to display the boards on your overlanding rig, and a storage bag if you’re stashing them in a trunk. The built-in handles let you use a board as a shovel to dig out. And they come in a rainbow of colors, including safety orange. — Greg Rasa, managing editor
If you’re looking for a gift for the gamer in your life, rather than trying to find the perfect game, why not pick up an extra controller for them instead? This one is compatible with Xbox systems as well as PC. You can get one in basically any color you’d like, but the Pulse Red is currently 15% off right now, so that seems like as good a choice as any. You’ll never hear a gamer complain about having too many controllers, trust me. — Erik Maier, multimedia producer
Year in and year out I deal with mediocre gloves that don’t quite do the job of keeping my hands warm, all because spending the big bucks on gloves seems so frivolous. This year is going to be different. I’m going to buy gloves that last, even though they cost this much money because in the long haul, because having good gloves that last a decade will be cheaper than buying mediocre ones every year.
These Guide Gloves from BD are ones that I’ve lusted over for years and have incredibly high ratings. They even come with Gore-Tex glove liners so I not only know that my hands will be warm, they’ll stay dry too. Synthetic insulation means that they’ll still work when wet, and they’re abrasion resistant so I can be tough on them and not have to worry about activities like chopping wood. They’re rated to -29 Fahrenheit, so they’ll handle the kind of weather I typically go out in. Available in all black as well as a cool black and yellow, my personal preference. — Christopher McGraw, senior producer
I’m lucky enough to have access to a park near my house full of trails through the woods and along a stream and a reservoir. It’s one of my favorite places to be, especially while running. The downside is that unless I want to drive there, it takes me about 2.5 miles of running on pavement to get to the dirt trails I enjoy. That means any old trail running shoe with their aggressive lugs and softer rubber won’t do; the pavement will simply wear down the shoe quicker than I’d like. Thankfully the Challenger ATR is a great middle ground that’ll keep me happy on all kinds of terrain. — Christopher McGraw, senior producer
I haven’t decided which kayak I want yet. Do I get one specifically for fishing or a two seater so my daughter can go with me? Or how about a whitewater kayak to take advantage of the rapids nearby? So many options. While I don’t know which kayak I’ll choose, I do know that I’ll need to transport it, which is where the Compass comes in. We also have a few SUPs that I’d like to drive around a bit more easily than I do now, so this rack is a no-brainer. — Christopher McGraw, senior producer