Monday, November 22, 2010
Black Friday is fast approaching. Here in Wisconsin it's the penalty hunters must pay for abandoning their significant others on Thanksgiving. While deer hunters cling to tree blinds in freezing weather at 4 a.m., their bargain hunting counterparts line up at 4 a.m. at the local big box store to stampede in and spend thousands of dollars with the hope of procuring at least one item at 90% off. I've never done the Black Friday run, but then my husband doesn't hunt, so he's around to knock some sense into me. Instead I spend most of October and November pouring through scores of catalogs in order to get my holiday shopping done early and easily. I rarely achieve either goal, but at least I get to see what's out there for the soccer parent shopper.
I have to preface these suggestions with the following disclaimer: Neither I nor U.S. Youth Soccer Association has any vested interest in these websites nor do we officially endorse any of these products. I just earmark these as I come across them because I think they would make great gifts for young soccer players. Some of them I've bought myself, but most I have just come upon in hours of catalog and web browsing. I'll categorize these by price points – Under $20, under $50, and under $100.
- Stainless steel 10 oz. snack containers with carabiner clip keep snack items fresh even in the heat and can attach easily to backpacks or soccer bags. Containers come in blue, black, pink, red, or green and cost $12.95. Stainless steel 24 oz water bottles in the same color choices run $14.95. You can mix and match snack and water containers to save $2.95 on the pair. http://www.windandweather.com/product.asp?section_id=0&department=0&search_type=normal&search_value=Water%20Bottle&cur_index=&pcode=2339
- Looking at the sky doesn't always help you figure out what the soccer weather will be. This forecaster key chain gives the weather, time, calendar, humidity and temperature. But that's not all. It has a flashlight and alarm clock as well. Clips on to a soccer bag or fits in your pocket and costs $19.95. http://www.windandweather.com/product.asp?section_id=0&department=0&search_type=normal&search_value=forecaster&cur_index=2&pcode=2112
- Fleece Ear Bags are handy little discs which fit over the ear, won't fall off, and eliminate that plastic ear muff holder or the slippage of an ear band. These can fit easily into a soccer bag for those days when Mother Nature has a cold. They come in a large variety of colors, fabrics, and prints at $14.95 a pair or $12.95 if ordering 2 pair or more. http://www.plowhearth.com/product.asp?pcode=96
- Fleece wrist wallets are zippered wristbands for holding keys, credit cards and cash without having to drag a purse or a wallet to the game. They cost $14.95 and come in a variety of colors, fabrics, and prints. http://www.plowhearth.com/product.asp?pcode=9954
- Nothing is worse than muddy cleats messing up everything in the soccer bag. These flannel shoe bags are $14.95 for 2 pair, one in baby blue and one in navy. http://www.magellans.com/store/Travel_Solutions___Packing_For_Carry_OnLP349N?Args. For the girls there's fabulous wild print shoe bags for $20 at Etsy. Each bag holds one pair of shoes. http://www.etsy.com/shop/zoetote
- Actually there is something worse than muddy cleats; it's muddy, smelly cleats and socks. So consider buying great shoe deodorizers called Skunkies which come in your choice of five colors (Kelly Green, Fluorescent Green, Pink, Red, and Royal Blue) in Xtreme Sport scent. These are small mesh bags with a soccer ball emblem which absorb odors and moisture. Buy several pairs to put in soccer bags, soccer drawers, cleats, and keeper gloves. Sold in pairs for $4.69 at Epic Sports. http://soccer.epicsports.com/prod/14002/skunkies-soccer-ball-shoe-equipment-deodorizers.html
- Soccer ornaments are a fun tradition for your family. Once the kids are grown they can take the ornaments to decorate their first tree with some memories and begin their own traditions. Ornaments also make great coach and manager gifts. Several websites have soccer ornaments at various prices, most under $15. Here are three websites I think have the best variety:
- You probably remember me talking about Dry Guy dryers. The one I own looks like an upside down table with the legs being posts on which you can put boots, gloves, hats, etc. and through which warm air blows to dry them. I recently came across Dry Guy in a format that has two dryers that slip into the shoes and a cord to plug in. There's no cumbersome motor base – just two dryer modules. They come in a travel form with both a 120V AC household outlet and 12V DC car charger or a regular household format with slightly larger dryers. Each cost $29.95. Their advantage is that they easily slip into a soccer bag or backpack. The disadvantage is that you can only dry two items at a time and at a slightly longer drying time than the bulkier one I own. This link takes you to the regular dryers, but if you scroll down you'll find a link to the travel version. http://www.plowhearth.com/product.asp?pcode=12057
- We all know how chilled to the bone we get after a cold game. So a Back to Basics Cocoa hot drink maker is just what the family needs to warm up at home. Just add the ingredients, use the provided mixing paddle to blend, and then heat. The front spigot allows for easy dispensing. $29.95 http://www.amazon.com/Back-Basics-CM300BR-Cocoa-Latte-Hot-Drink/dp/B0002TUVQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1289611974&sr=8-1
- Here's an item for the true soccer fanatic – the FIFA World Cup DVD collection 1930-2006. The set comprises 15 Discs with over 24 hours of viewing. That much soccer only costs $89.99! http://acornonline.com/fifa-world-cup-collection-1930%25962006/p/15065/
- You may remember me talking about my search for the perfect soccer chair. I located one that not only had a table with a cup holder, but had a heated seat as well! I can attest that the chair is wonderful, especially for watching from Wisconsin sidelines. But you can't always use a chair. Sometimes you have to sit in bleachers. TempaChair offers a battery powered heated seating pad. The pad rolls up and fits into a coat pocket or a soccer bag. Imagine a true ""bench warmer""! It costs $59.95 and lasts 2.5 hours on high and 4 hours on low on one charge. http://tweetys.com/tempachair-battery-powered-heated-seating-pad.aspx
All these websites will probably have shipping and handling charges and possibly local taxes, so the prices I've state are for the items only. I hope you all have a great holiday shopping experience.