Shopping Siren has never gotten a car for Christmas.

No waking up to gently wafting snow and my model/millionaire husband presenting me the keys to my new luxury SUV in a Tiffany-blue gift box. No surprise sports car magically showing up in the driveway, topped by a gigantic red bow and the tag “From Santa.” No choir ringing in the season next to a shiny, zero-percent-everything hybrid.

Watching the holiday car commercials, I’m a little jealous.

Maybe you’re giving a car for Christmas? Or getting one? If so, congrats! (Also, save that giant bow. Grandma likes to reuse things.)

But if you aren’t close to a model/millionaire, Santa Claus or a boys’ choir, chances are your holiday season, too, will be lacking that new-car smell.

Never fear! Turns out there are tons of gifts out there to give an old car a new-car spark. By “out there,” I mean the thousands of auto parts stores on Center Street in Auburn.


By “thousands,” I mean five.

Hey, just because Santa never hangs a mini-chandelier in the car in the Lexus ad, that doesn’t mean they aren’t awesome. And real.

• Blue or pink bling steering wheel cover by Bell, Advance Auto Parts, $16.99

Black steering wheel cover bedazzled in blue or pink. Blingy without being ostentatious, this is the new-old car accessory nobody has but everybody will want when they see it. Better buy a few. 

• Pilot stick-on “Limited Edition” emblem, Advance Auto Parts, $5.39

You know those emblems on the backs of cars? They say things like “Ford” or “Honda” or “Smith’s Used Truck Lot.” Turns out, they aren’t locked away in some super-secret vault to be doled out only through a password and photo ID. You can buy them. There are tons to choose from, but I liked the chrome-plated “Limited Edition” decal. Stick on the back of a rattling old car and suddenly you have a limited-edition rattling old car. Best confidence-booster $5 can buy.      


• Lighted vehicle wreath, Pep Boys, $14.99

Mount on a car grille, roll down your windows and sing “Deck the Halls” all the way down Center Street. For some reason, you never see that in a commercial. 

• “Star Trek” seat cover, Pep Boys, $24.99

Gold and black seat cover with the “Star Trek” delta insignia high on the chest. Gives new meaning to captain’s seat.

• Thermometer and clock by Bell, NAPA, $15.99

Lighted and battery-operated, this thermometer/clock tells the temperature inside and outside and gives the time in big, easy-to-read-at-a-glance numbers. Much better than the old method of sticking a hand out the window to see how cold it is. The answer is always just cold.   


• Pilot emblem letters, Auto Zone, $1.49

Like the “Limited Edition” emblem above but in individual letters, so you can spell out any words you want. Think “Kara’s Kar” or “Luv Bug.” 

• Chroma car chandelier, Auto Zone, $7.99

It’s a little chandelier. For the car. A “cardelier,” if you will. (According to the box.) Hang from a rearview mirror and let the gentle swaying lull driver and passenger into dreams of mansions, butlers and Santa-brought Lamborghinis. 

• Type S plug and glow LED car lighting, Auto Zone, $24.99 to $99.99

Lighting kits that let you turn the inside of your car into a rave. Basic kits light up an accent spot or two while more complex kits let you customize different zones, choose colors to fit your mood and make the lights pulse or strobe. Also, there are apps to go with it. Not distracting at all. 


• Ready Remote remote car starter, O’Reilly Auto Parts, $81.99

Because it’s winter in Maine. Enough said.

Best find: Christmas Value red sparkly ribbon, 90 yards, Hobby Lobby, $3.99  

Fashion your own big red bow and stick it on … a new bike? A skateboard? Really, any mode of transportation will do. It’s the thought — and, OK, the size of the bow — that counts.

Think twice: Car Lashes, Pep Boys, $24.90 (pink) or $29.99 (black)

Adhesive-backed lashes that you stick over your car’s headlights. Cute for about five seconds and then just weird and creepy after that. No car needs or wants fake eyelashes. Nine out of 10 models/millionaires would agree.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who believe December is a great time to stick their heads out the car window) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at

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