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Gift Giving: How Not to Blow It

By Elizabeth Jenkins

Ever since I was very young I have been known to be a bad gift giver. I stress over each person’s gift and hope they love it, but it never seems to be as magical as I anticipate. One year, I thought it would be so funny to get gift cards for my family members in random amounts, like $44.38. This plan totally backfired because my family accused me of returning items and getting the refund in gift card form so I could then re-gift.  I didn’t do that… but I should have.

Another year, I got my dad some foot warmers for his fishing trips. I would totally have used them myself because they were awesome. When he opened the gift Christmas morning, everyone in my family burst out in laughter. Apparently, the warmers only worked with a special insert you put in your shoes. I confessed I didn’t have enough money for them, and to this day, not a Christmas goes by without mention of my gift giving faux pas.

I’ve learned a lot about gift shopping over the years, and especially while working at Salt Lake Running, so all of you below-average-gift-givers listen up. Runners love getting gear and accessories for Christmas beacause they wont have to buy them themselves and they are gifts that will actually get used.

Once you have set a budget and had a protein shake for the energy you will need to fight off crazed shoppers, it is time to go spend some dough! If you come into Salt Lake Running, allow a sales associate to assist you if you are overwhelmed by all the runningness. Let’s start with the small stuff and work up from there. Great running stocking stuffers can be found for less than $10.00. They include Body Glide for chaffing, Nip-Guards for nipple chaffing, goggle anti-fogger, Stink-Free for those athletes with offensive smells escaping their gym bags, a cute and colorful running ornament, key chains, mouse pads, Quench gum, gels, Clif bars, electrolyte tablets and a lot more.

In the $10 to $35 range, you have a lot of options. Most of these items are ones that usually need replacing, have gotten lost over the year, or are just great to have on hand. Gloves, goggles, socks, pull float, pepper-spray, technical clothing detergent, Camelback insulated waterbottle.  For someone who doesn’t think they have earned the title “runner’, get them items that scream “I AM A RUNNER!” like mugs and license plate frames. Books, hats, ear warmers, iPod arm-band, race belt, Nike+ system, or maybe even sale apparel will help people through the winter training months.

The $35 to $75 range gets a little more exciting. These items tend to fall into the category of things runners use all the time, but don’t necessarily replace all that often. Hydration packs are great for long distance runners, stereo headphones are great for everyone, compression sleeves for recovery, Yaktrax so your runner won’t slip on the ice, foam rollers to save the I.T. bands, nutrition supplements, running underwear (yes there is a difference!), head lamp, sunglasses, warm running clothes, reflective vest to keep your runner safe and visible to those Utah drivers, and arch supports.  This time of year we have a lot of sale shoes so be sure to check for the sizes of those on your list!

One great thing about buying from the Salt Lake Running Co. is our ability to magically remember what a customer bought in the past.  For example, if you know your runner needs new shoes or arch supports, but are unsure which kind, we can tell you!

Now for my favorite category of gifts! Theses items fall into the $75 and up range and usually a gift from this category will elicit tears of joys from a runner. Most often, running shoes, the holiday favorite—Vibram five-fingers, high-tech-running-nerd gadgets, and the warmest apparel like the incredible Nike Thermal Jacket with built-in mittens fall into this category. These items are not your everyday purchases;  they are special, which is why they make excellent gifts! Heart rate monitors, Garmin watches, and a sexy pair of running tights are likely to make anyone’s season bright!

If this is all too overwhelming for you, we also have gift cards. But doesn’t “Thank you for this Garmin 310 XT multi-sport GPS watch and heart rate monitor, which I have wanted since I was in the womb!” sound so much better than “Thanks for the gift card?” I think so too.

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