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Top 10 car gifts for your Valentine

Posted by Bill Griffith  February 14, 2010 11:23 AM

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Valentine's Day has a special automotive memory for me. The years blur, but I believe it was 1998, give or take a year, when we came out of church one Sunday morning and I spotted the "For Sale" sign on a 1988 Jaguar XJ6.

Turns out, the car belonged to one of my wife's "Church Lady" friends. Normally, the car wouldn't have been of any interest. But Mrs. G always said the car of her dreams was a "Hunter Green'' Jaguar with a tan interior. And there it was, standing before me.

The next morning, driven by the need to come up with "something" for a Valentine's Day present, I went and looked at the Jag-and wound up buying it.

It was, to say the least, a big hit, by far the neatest Valentine's Day present in our family's history. Certainly, it's one I haven't been able to top since.

Buying a Jag can be a bit over the top when it comes to Valentine's Day gifts. Nor do I recommend a dashboard-mounted flower vase such as the ones made semi-famous in the new Volkswagen Beetle. Plastic flowers. Yech! So what's the average guy to do?

Here are some auto-related recommendations, with a tip of cupid's cap to Mrs. G. and Jodi Holihan, executive chef at Joseph's Winter Street Café in Newburyport.

10. A can of de-icer spray. Not romantic, but useful, especially on those mornings when a scraper doesn't do the job.

9. Towelettes. The individually-wrapped kind because they won't freeze together in winter. A glove box must.

8. An eyeglasses clip for the visor unless your car has a built-in sunglasses holder.

7. A pair of reading glasses for the car. Useful for reading maps, directions, and-ahem-texts.

6. A mitt for drying off the car after you run it through the car wash.

5. Cargo mats. Nice rubber, non-skid mats that protect the carpet and can be removed for cleaning. "I wanted them for my entire car,'' says chef Holihan, "and wound up buying them for myself.''

4. Take her to dinner. Bring flowers home. And have chocolate(s) on hand. It could be in the form of chocolate ice cream, a box of candies, or some mints for her pillow. But how does this rather traditional Valentine become part of a car story? Simple. You have your car nice and clean for the ride to the restaurant and, instead of making her walk from the back of the parking lot, take advantage of the valet parking service.

3. A new sound system that's synced with the iPod, iTouch or iPhone you bought her for Christmas. Being able to make hands-free calls and to listen to one's own music on demand helps ease the stress of commuting.

2. A book of car wash tickets to her favorite car wash. It's a gift that may not make a big splash on Feb. 14, but it's appreciated for months.

1. The best? We think the devil is in the details-as in a Spah Day for the Cah. Give your Valentine a gift certificate from the local car detailing shop. Not only does it give everyone's spirit a lift, but it's a gift that can be held for a month and then become a true harbinger of spring.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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