We're into the final month of the calendar year, and that means that the holiday festivities are about to pick up once more. I had published my "Way Too Early Gift Guide" in November for those that were interested in picking up some hockey stuff before the holiday season struck, but now we're into the home stretch. Christmas morning is a mere 21 days or three weeks away. If you're still looking for that special gift for the hockey fan in your life, HBIC is here for you. None of the following gift ideas will break the bank, and all of them should bring a smile to the face of your hockey fan. After all, isn't that the best feeling on Christmas morning: making someone smile contently through giving?
We're going to go through this methodically. I want to make sure I don't miss anything, so I'll have some suggestions to offer up on a number of options. Let's take a look at some great Christmas gifts you can pick up for your hockey fan.
TBC wants to give your hockey fan, whether that fan be big or small, something to occupy and capture the imagination. YBC has reviewed a pile of excellent books over the last two years, so we'll take a look at some of the favorites that stood out.
- They Don't Play Hockey In Heaven, written by Ken Baker and published by The Lyons Press. This story about Ken Baker's battle to make the ECHL's Bakersfield Condors after beating cancer is heart-warming and inspirational.
- Open Ice, written by Jack Falla and published by John Wiley & Sons. Mr. Falla's love for the game of hockey cannot be more evident in this book, and his story about his life in the game of hockey is warm and touching.
- Walking With Legends, written by Ralph Mellanby published by HB Fenn and Company. If you grew up with Hockey Night In Canada, you'll want to read the incredible stories on the men who made that show into the institution it is today. Mr. Mellanby does an excellent job at showing you how dedicated these people are while telling some great stories.
- Canadiens Legends, written by Mike Leonetti and published by Raincoast Books. With Montreal having celebrated their 100th season in the game against the Bruins tonight, your Habs fan will want to see this book. It is truly an encyclopedia of Montreal Canadiens legends.
- Just One Goal, written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko, and published by Scholastic. Ciara has an idea of building her own backyard rink. After starting out on her own, soon the whole community is helping out. Ciara plays hockey every day, but her team never wins. Can she score that one elusive goal that will help her team win?
- Where's My Hockey Sweater?, written by Gilles Tibo, illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin, and published by Scholastic. Nicholas is late for hockey practice, but can't find all of his equipment. He finds his skates, his pads, and his stick, but where is his hockey sweater? Will he make it to practice on time?
- Off The Crossbar, written by David Skuy and published by Scholastic. This book is more geared towards adolescents, but it still an enjoyable read for all ages. Charlie Joyce has moved to Terrance Falls, and knows no one. Making friends is hard enough, but he is also trying to make the school's hockey team. This story deals with classic adolescent themes, and does an excellent job in showing how Charlie Joyce works through them.
We recently saw Teebz's Tech Time debut on HBIC, but there are some other gifts that can be enjoyed by your technologically-inclined hockey fan. TTT has the opportunity today to give you some ideas on what to get the hockey fan that has an interest in technology. Parents, please note that I have included movie and game ratings in order to help choose an appropriate gift for your budding superstar.
- Slap Shot: a hilarious movie that shows exactly how crazy minor-league hockey was in the 1970s. Starring the late, great Paul Newman, Slap Shot will go down in history as one of the best hockey movies of all-time. A "must-have" for any hockey fan. Rated R.
- NHL 10 by EA Sports: The NHL series produced by EA Sports is still the epitome of hockey gaming. Available for the XBox 360 and Playstation 3, NHL 10 is the latest in a long line of excellent hockey gaming choices. There are several difficulty levels to choose from on the game, and the options of gameplay are pretty neat. Whether it be exhibition, season play, tournament play, or online play, NHL 10 will keep your hockey fan busy for the next few months. The hockey fight system puts you right into the fight, but it also caused the rating level for the game to jump a bit due to mild violence. Rated E10+.
Now that we've made it through those sections, HBIC would like to look at some additional options for your shopping. I've tried to find the best pricing on hockey items that I can, so some of these may be in your price range while others may fall outside. Please use common sense and don't put yourself into a well of red ink by trying to buy every item on this list. Christmas is about enjoying the holidays, not stressing out about how you're going to pay it off.
- Want some retro hockey shirts? MindlessThreads.com is where I shop. They have t-shirts and hoodies with all of the defunct team logos on them: Atlanta Flames, Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and the Winnipeg Jets. There are a lot more on the site, along with a ton of other cool t-shirts. The best part? Use the promotional code "4threads" to get $4 off when you checkout. It's not huge savings, but it helps out, right? Nothing on the site is over $25 either, and most of the items are on sale daily.
- Artwork is another great gift. Framed photos of your fan's favorite player are always a nice touch and much better than a poster. I'm not a fan of framing jerseys, and it's quite expensive, so I'm not recommending that avenue. I would, however, suggest you head down to your local framing store and see if you can get an 8x10" glossy framed for Christmas. There are a ton of awesome prints at Art.com you can look through if you can't find a photo of your fan's favorite player.
- Lastly, pick up a pair of tickets or a family pack from your local hockey team, and take your hockey fan out to a game. ECHL and AHL tickets are routinely priced fairly low, and NHL tickets come in all sorts of packages. Live hockey is infinitely better than watching it on TV, so call your local ticket office and take the fans out to the game!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!