BY PAUL WESSLUND
At the end of the year, thoughts of gifts dance in our heads, whether for others or just treating ourselves to the achievement of being able to turn the page on 2021.
Electricity offers one way to brighten gift choices as inventors and innovators keep coming up with new gadgets and gizmos to power our lives with efficiency and fun. Here are five electric ideas to add pizazz to your holiday shopping list.
Healthy French fries? Air fryers aren’t really fryers but high-heat convection devices that simulate traditional recipes like chicken tenders, egg rolls, potato chips, fried vegetables and apple fritters. It’s a health-conscious way to enjoy the comfort of fried favorites with much less oil. A friend of mine calls his electric air fryer “the greatest invention of all time.”
Hit the road. “Electric vehicle” doesn’t mean just cars and trucks anymore! The sidewalks of college campuses and downtowns are now shared with electric scooters. And if you’re having trouble keeping up with a bicycle fanatic, an electric bike might help you scale those steep hills. You can go off-road while hunting or bird watching with an electric All-Terrain Vehicle.
And if you were born to be wild, you can head out on the highway on a battery-powered motorcycle. The electric Harley Davidson boasts instant 100% torque, electronic safety features and the ability to use your smartphone for checking battery status and stolen vehicle tracking.
Walk the talk. Walkie-talkies are one of those old technologies for staying in touch that still work great for businesses, conference coordination, hiking or camping. They can help keep a caravan of cars and trailers together. Let the kids figure out games like hide-and-seek or scavenger hunts. When shopping, it’s helpful to know what you’ll use them for because there are both indoor and outdoor models, and range can vary from a half-mile to 20 miles.
Easy reader. If being at a computer keyboard seems too much like work and you’re tired of squinting at the little screen on your phone, look at tablets. They come in a variety of screen sizes that make it easier to enjoy that magazine, detective novel, streaming movie or TV show or your computer game of choice. Most models come with the ability to write or draw on them.
Packing power. A portable charger may seem like one of the least- exciting gifts you can give or get. But you’ll be thankful for one when your phone’s about to die as you hike over a hill and see a sunset vista to photograph, or you’re at a concert and the song you wanted to record comes on! A word of advice: charge it up the day before you expect to use it because the smallest ones for your purse or pocket tend not to hold a charge for several weeks.
Shop carefully and know how you want to use the device because they all come with a variety of features and prices. And be cyber safe by using a strong password because anything connected to the internet can be hacked. Then focus on having some powerful fun!
Paul Wesslund writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.