Skip to main content
Longboat Key Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 1 year ago

The Longboater's guide to Christmas shopping

Longboaters will enjoy these gifts all year round — or at least until they migrate north for summer
by: Nat Kaemmerer and Brendan Lavell

Christmas and the strain of the gift-giving season is upon us. If you're paralyzed with fear on what to get your fellow Longboat Key friends and family, then read this list and rest easily. We've compiled a list of the best and most practical gifts for every island dweller in your life, while keeping a sense of humor about it. Maybe even pick up something for yourself while you're at it. 


Traffic got you down? Just turn on an audiobook.

Audiobook subscription

Traffic is an inevitable part of life on Longboat. At some point or another, you will be late for something, not that we would use that excuse to justify 10 extra minutes on a rerun of The Real Housewives of Orange County.  Ease your stress and embrace the time spent in the car, stuck in traffic, with an audiobook subscription like Audible or pick up a membership to the Longboat Library and browse their extensive collection of books on tape. This gift is perfect for pretty much anyone who lives on Longboat Key, because we are all victims of a GMD traffic jam. 

How To Do Nothing

It’s often said that Longboaters don’t know how to relax, even if they’ve retired. Gift the former high-powered CEO or stressed-out doctor in your life the veritable how-to manual for slowing down and taking it easy. Put this notion in their hands and force them to sit on the beach for a while. It’s time to enjoy the life they’ve earned. 

No alcohol, no problem. Go bubbly without the booze on Longboat's beaches.

Non-alcoholic beach picnic

Now, you can’t bring alcohol onto the beaches of Longboat Key. But wouldn’t it be nice to kick back with a glass of something grape-based? Head to the Bay Isles Publix and go bubbly without the booze with a bottle of Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice (retail price, about $3) If you want your Christmas dinner seaside, grab a ham or turkey sandwich, some cranberry sauce and potatoes and maybe a pie or two. This is perfect for the Longboater who might need some quality time to remember why they moved here in the first place.    

There's got to be an easier way. Get your favorite beach buddy a handheld vacuum to avoid this scene.

Handheld car vacuum

The longer you live on the island, the more sand you’re bound to build up. One beach trip brings a dusting, the next a strong flurry and before you know it your car will be celebrating a white Christmas, the Florida way. For the avid beachgoer, pick up a handheld vacuum to keep the blizzard at bay. Top of the line Dysons go for about $200. Black and Decker? More like $30.

Aloe plant

When it comes to Christmas, nothing goes together like red and green: sunburn and aloe, that is. Did you get burned while enjoying your Christmas picnic dinner on the beach? Don’t fear, aloe vera is here. Cut off one of the fronds from your plant and smear the ensuing goo over the afflicted areas. It won’t smell good, but perhaps it can serve as a fragrant reminder to use sunscreen next time. This is a perfect gift for the Longboater in your life who enjoys fun in the sun 12 months a year. About $25, depending on size.

Depending on how bouncy your favorite tennis players likes their tennis balls, you may need quite a few cans, as balls can wear out in just a couple days.

A year’s supply of tennis and golf balls 

Got your sunscreen now? You’ll need the sweat-resistant variety while testing your skills in Longboat Key’s deep-rooted tennis community or spending a few hours on the links. A dozen cans of tennis balls should last a competitive player for a while. If you’re buying for a golfer, two to 20 sleeves of balls will do depending on their skill level. This is a perfect gift for the active, competitive Longboater in your life. A pack of 36 tennis balls go for about $25. Shop around and you can find the gold standard of golf balls, the Titleist Pro V1, for about $40 a dozen.


This season’s social calendar got you going crazy? With a party or club meeting seemingly every other day, keep the social butterfly in your circle from showing up at the wrong party on the wrong day with a colorful planner they won’t leave home without. If you know someone who retired to Florida for the relaxation, only to keep a busier schedule than they used to, this is the perfect gift.

New belt

It’s OK to put on a few pounds over the holidays — but make sure your wardrobe is prepared. Whether it’s Christmas dinner or simply a meal at Harry’s Continental Kitchen, there’s something about the holidays that makes food taste even better. A new belt may be in order, but don’t worry, you can always tighten it up if your New Year’s resolution is to start biking or play more tennis. This is a perfect gift for the fashion-forward foodie Longboater in your life.

A gas can just might save your skin one day.

Gas can 

Still sitting in traffic? Has your gas tank been on empty for 10 minutes? Is your engine sputtering? Well you can forget about reaching the Longboat Key gas station. Grab a gas can and fill it up the next time you top off your tank. Need a boost before you reach St. Armands on your way back to the island? Simply step out of the driver’s seat and dump the gas in. The traffic will only move 12 feet before you’ve buckled up again. This is a perfect gift for the procrastinating or free-wheeling Longboater in your life.

Helmet and kneepads

If you’re eyeing the traffic, thinking you’d be better off on your two-wheeled transportation, you’re probably right. For the person who prefers more natural modes of transportation along GMD, buy them a helmet and kneepads for riding streetside, just to be safe. Those bike lanes sure are skinny. 

Related Stories