The holiday gift season is in full swing, and while I greatly enjoy finding just the right presents for friends and family, I tend to be a last-minute shopper. Nothing stirs my creativity in figuring out the perfect gift like pushing it down to the wire.
If you are like me and still haven’t found the perfect gift, here are some cool holiday gift ideas for wheelchair users:
Exerstrider 0S2 Walking & Nordic Poles for Fitness: Exerstrider OS2 Poles are a blast when used to propel a manual wheelchair. They provide a super fun workout akin to gliding on a cross-country sit-ski and work great on sidewalks, streets, and bike trails. For higher speed or pushing on grass and dirt trails, combine the poles with a FreeWheel. In addition to a fun workout, using poles exercises muscles in the back of the shoulder and upper back, which helps keep shoulders strong and balanced.
Wheelchair lights: How cool and useful to see and be seen! My current favorites are NiteRider SWIFT 300 lights.They are small (less than the size of a fist) and rechargeable. A quick-connect rubber strap easily goes on or off any round wheelchair tube in seconds. The light can be turned to aim in the direction you choose. I find mounting it low gives me a good view and illuminates bumps and divots ahead. Run time goes from 1.5 to 25 hours depending on brightness setting. Found at bike shops and REI for around $25.
Here are two more options for wheelchair lights: Apace Vision LED Safety Lights can be attached to wheelchair back packs, a sling back, or other places on a chair, as well as collars of pets (including service dogs) for extra safety at night. Available on Amazon.com for $17.50 a pair; another cool option for being seen at night is wUnderGlow Wheelchair LED. It clips to the underside of a manual chair and casts a cool multi-color light on the ground that illuminates the center of the chair. Available for $28 at Amazon.com.
Amazon Alexa and Echo: These virtual assistants do voice command tasks ranging from answering questions, “conversing,” making to-do lists and reminders to playing music and controlling compatible smart-home devices — ranging from dimming lights, locking or unlocking doors to adjusting the thermostat. I find they are helpful by themselves, and particularly fun at gatherings, from pulling up an obscure song, settling trivia, finding games or answers nobody at the gathering knows or remembers. Available at Amazon.com for $119.99 (Alexa), and $69.99 (Echo).
HandyJack by Fleximounts: For the wheeler who wants an organized garage or storage shed plus an ergonomic design to help you reach items on top shelves. HandyJack is a motorized system that raises and lowers shelves and is operated by a remote controller. Suggested retail: $399.99
3D Printer: What could be a better gift than a 3D printer! With just a computer and some design inspiration, you can make all the fun, useful adaptive gizmos you’ll ever need. For more on how to get started, check out “The Revolution Will be 3D Printed.”
RAM Camera Mounts: For budding photographers, RAM Mounts make a variety of camera mounting systems that can turn a wheelchair into a steady shooting platform. These mounts are especially cool for photographers with limited arm or hand movement. Prices range from $36.99-$75.99.
Xbox Adaptive Controller: The Xbox Adaptive Controller by Microsoft is a custom controller with large control surfaces for people with limited hand movement. Also connects to external switches, buttons, joysticks, controllers and inputs to make gaming extremely accessible. $99.99
KrazyStraws: In addition to being reusable, KrazyStraws are hand-crafted, cool, and custom made to the design and color of your choice. $5.99
Last but not least, for more ideas, check out Bob Vogel’s Bob Vogel’s 12 Holiday Gifts for Wheelchair Users (2013 edition). Some gifts never go out of style.