One year it was camels. Another year it was a matched set of Lear jets. This year, the Neiman-Marcus His and Her Christmas gift is a starter set of buffalo calves. Displayed prominently on page 23 of the 1976 catalog are two cuddly little bisons with a price tag of $11,750.

Neiman-Marcus has never had a reputation for discount prices. But do buffalo calves really cost that much? We decided to find out.

Beverly W. King, Jr. owns a buffalo herd as well as some Hereford cattle, elk and exotic sheep. His ranch is outside Jacksboro. “I’ve always sold buffalo at cattle prices or above,” King says, and though the going rate depends upon age and weight, he says, it’s generally between $400 and $600.

The catalog description says these buffalo are from the first certified 100 percent pure bred buffalo herd in America. Maybe it was the pure blood line that made the difference in price. We contacted the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Preserve in Lawton, Oklahoma. Were their buffaloes certified as pure bison? Well, no, we were told. They weren’t actually certified, but no buyers ever questioned that they weren’t pure buffalo when the Preserve sold off part of the herd every year. We asked one employee of the Preserve how she accounted for the $11,750 price tag. “They’re high because Neiman-Marcus is selling them – they must be delivering them in gold trailers,” was her explanation. While the employee couldn’t predict what prices might be for buffalo this year, she told us that last year, the average sale of a bison at the Preserve had been $543.46.

We called Neiman-Marcus to find out just what the price included. Maybe they did come in gold trailers. Tom Alexander, Executive Vice-President, returned our call.

Alexander knew what we were going to ask him. The Wall Street Journal had already inquired about the price.

“These animals are costly because they are from the very first certified American herd,” Alexander said. He explained that various universities, as well as the owners of the buffaloes for sale, had done extensive research testing the purity of blood lines in buffalo. The price tag also included delivery costs anywhere in the United States. “A buffalo is a highly impressionable animal,” he told us. The owners of the calves would spend time with the buyer and stand behind the purity and health of their stock. Yes, but does that cost $11,750? “We’re not making any money out of it,” he replied.

Is it really possible to determine buffalo purity? Jerry Caldwell, of Texas A&M University, doesn’t know of any test designed specifically for buffalo. “You can test for cattle re-agents [in the blood] and if buffalo possess those agents, then you know they have been cattle-bred at one time,” he told us.

Basically, then, it’s a negative test. If the buffalo doesn’t possess cattle re-agents, one assumes the animal is pure buffalo or pure enough to satisfy most researchers and buyers. Caldwell says the university has bought pure-bred calves for $500. When told about the Neiman-Marcus calves and their price tag, he replied, “It sounds to me like somebody’s taking them for a ride.”

The certificate of purity for the His and Her buffaloes comes from the American Buffalo Association. We didn’t have much luck locating their headquarters. But we did reach Roy Houck, past president of the National Buffalo Association. The NBA has been around for over ten years. Houck believes the American Buffalo Association was formed by former members of the NBA about two years ago.

Houck, who has a ranch in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, said he has heard of buffalo going for as much as $1,000 but no higher. “If that company is offering two 6-month-old calves guaranteed to be pure buffalo for $11,750, we could make the same guarantee and offer the two for $800.”

“That company” refers to Bison Enterprises, Ltd. of Hartsel, Colorado. Mr. and Mrs. Ed Newquist are the owners of the company and the calves that Neiman-Marcus is offering for sale.

Finally, we located someone connected with the American Buffalo Association. Joe Johnson, of Seattle, Washington, is a member of the ABA’s Board of Directors. “Ed Newquist came up with our certification program, said Johnson. “He has been working for several years on upgrading breeding programs and researching blood testing.” Did he know that the Newquists were selling two buffalo calves for $11,750 through Neiman’s this year? “They must have a diamond ring on each foot,” he answered. Johnson knows of grown buffalo bulls which have been sold for $2,000 or $3,000, but not any calves with a price tag of $5,875 apiece. “That’s a little bit high to me. I don’t tell a man what price he should sell his equipment or livestock for but . . . I’d be happy to sell any of mine at that price.”

To be fair, we explained that the price tag included shipment anywhere in the United States. Johnson thought it couldn’t cost more than $2000 to ship a bull as far as New York state. Shipping two calves should be less expensive because they weigh less and are easier to handle. A full-grown bison is as likely to charge a trailer as walk into it.

We tried reaching the Newquists in Colorado. Three different telephone operators told us there was no such listing in Hartsel or nearby Fairplay. Neiman-Marcus gave us a phone number but the operator told us the number had been disconnected. All we had was an address so we sent a mailgram. Mrs. Newquist called us the following day.

She said they hadn’t had any offers yet, but the catalog had, after all, been out only a week. She also told us that buffalo markers in the blood had been isolated to aid in their certification program.

The calves were expensive, she explained, because they were from the first certified pure herd. We’d heard that before. “There are a lot of people who are allergic to beef and not buffalo meat. If we can certify that the buffalo have no cattle markers whatsoever, then they can eat this meat” without fear of an allergic reaction. But is this market large enough to justify a price tag of $11,750, we asked? Mrs. Newquist said that they aren’t getting all that money, but she wouldn’t tell us how much the agreement she and her husband had with Neiman’s would net them. She did reveal that both she and her husband and Neiman-Marcus officials jointly arrived at the price printed in the catalog.

Dale Pugh is a Dallasite and president of the Bison Hybrid International Association. He had read this year’s Christmas catalog. “I just can’t believe that anyone could have asked that kind of money,” was his comment.

So, if you really have to have a buffalo under your Christmas tree, you can take advantage of some of the buffalo alternatives Neiman’s is offering this year. Like the 40 uncirculated 1938 buffalo nickels, for $450. Or one three-legged buffalo nickel, 1937 D, for a mere $275. And there’s “Henry Byron Bison,” a 4-foot-high stuffed toy buffalo that goes for $700. While the initial cost is more than that of a lot of live buffaloes, the upkeep is relatively low – just an occasional once-over with a vacuum cleaner is all he needs.


We all learn sooner or later that Santa Claus lives not at the North Pole, but in our pocketbooks. This year, if you want to be Santa in fiction as well as in fact, there are some people in the area who can suit you up.

If price is no object, then Baba, a well-known local designer, can whip up a design for you similar to the ones you see pictured. Baba has created her vision of Mr. and Mrs. Christmas especially for D Magazine. Father Christmas’ coat and hat are made of near-eastern velvet. Hundreds of dollars worth of sable trim the edges of the coat. Mother Christmas wears the latest in fashion. Her elegant peasant dress is made of embroidered velvet with jeweled satin. Her silk organza sleeves are also trimmed in jeweled beads as is her red and white striped apron of silk and wool.

There are several companies in the area that have plenty of traditional Santa suits available. All of these businesses provide the works: boots, belts, pads (if you need them), wigs and beards, caps, pants, and coats. Even elves’ suits and Mrs. Claus dresses can be obtained from the Harris Costume Shop in Fort Worth.

Mrs. Harris recommends that you make your own padding. She says the rented variety is difficult to keep clean and doesn’t dry quickly. She suggests a nice soft pillow with elastic sewn onto each corner. The top loop of elastic should go around your neck. The two bottom loops should go around your legs. The big black belt of the suit will secure the pillow around your middle.

In addition to being roly-poly, you have to have a long white beard. Pat, at Texas Costume Company in Dallas, prides herself on applying beards so well they look real. Just be wary of mischievous children who like to pull them.

If you plan on making deliveries as well as taking orders for gifts this year, you’ll need a “Santa Sack.” Magicland has toy sacks in bright red fabric for $2.98.

Dallas Costume Shoppe 428-4613 3400 Parry, off 2nd Ave. Purchase price: $25-$250 Rental price (per 24 hours): $22.50-$75

Texas Costume Company 748-4581 2125 North Harwood Purchase price: $20-$110 Rental price (per 24 hours): $30-$40

Harris Costume Shop

332-7465 1100 Norwood near Casa Mariana, Fort Worth Purchase price: $32-$ 175

Rental price (per 24 hours): $10.50-$25

Special rates for longer periods


747-0789 409 N. Ervay across from Republic Bank Purchase only: $19.98-$129.98

Baba Originals 741-6227 2618 Cedar Springs Custom designs for sale only

In case your children want to reiterate the requests they made to Santa in person, they can write him a letter of reminder. He has a working relationship with the Post Office. His address is: Santa Claus, The North Pole, c/o Dallas, Texas 75200. Be sure to include a return address on a pre-stamped envelope. Santa will answer those letters.


At Perkins Chapel on the SMU campus there will be two events of special interest. On December 9 at 4 and 8 p.m., the Christmas worship service is the setting for the major fall concert of the University Choir and the Perkins Theology School Seminary Singers. The service has several contemporary features – often dance is part of the presentation – and many of the musical presentations are written by members of the music faculty. A faculty member from Perkins is selected each year to deliver one of four Christmas sermons by Martin Luther which are rotated each season. On December 14, 7:30 p.m., at Perkins Chapel, the distinctive Moravian Service of Light will be offered. The Moravian Church, of Lutheran influence, was formed in the 18th century. Its uniqueness lies in its liturgy. Hymns and anthems emphasizing the life and passion of Christ are used to illustrate, supplement and even replace spoken discourse and prayer.

Novena will be celebrated all day, December 12, at the Cathedral Shrine of Guadalupe, 2215 Ross Avenue. This is the only shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the United States. For nine days, beginning on December 4, the church sponsors a vigil in preparation of her feast day on December 12. On that Sunday, festivities begin at 5 a.m. with a Mananitas, followed by a mass. In the afternoon, there is a Mariachi Mass. Indian girls perform a traditional dance in front of the altar and parishioners from all over the diocese bring Our Lady of Guadalupe offerings. Everyone dresses in native costume. The ceremony is in Spanish.

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2001 W. Seminary Drive in Fort Worth, will offer several special Christmas events. All performances are on campus and free. Amahl and the Night Visitors will be presented November 30 by the Opera Workshop directed by Scotty Gray at 8 p.m. in Truett Auditorium. On December 2, the Men’s Chorus directed by James McKinney with the Hand Bell Choir directed by A. Joseph King will present a Christmas Concert at 8 p.m. in Reynolds Auditorium.


Despite the Southwest weather s obstinate refusal to provide the area with even a soupc,on of snow, getting in the Christmas spirit doesn’t defy all efforts.

The city of Dallas begins celebrating its “Festival of Joy” December 14 with a tree-lighting ceremony at 7:30 p.m. at the new City Hall. Also at this time, local civic and church groups begin a program of caroling that will continue until Christmas Day at the Convention Center, near the tree. Caroling begins around 5 p.m. each day. In addition, there will be a holiday festival with arts and crafts for sale as well as fruits and vegetables at the Municipal Produce Market (1010 Pearl Expressway) December 15-23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. December 19 is the annual Santa Parade beginning at 10 a.m. on Griffin Street.

Fort Worth’s downtown will be outlined again with lights for 37 nights during the holidays. Lights will burn from dusk till dawn November 26-January 1. They will again outline the city during the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show for the nights of January 28-February 6.

Fort Worth is a must see, even if you simply admire it from the turnpike. It makes for a magnificent skyline – as if the entire city were packaged just for Christmas. The Christmas tree in Burnet Park, downtown Fort Worth, will be erected November 14; lights will be turned on November 26.

For the entire family: Try the Citran bus tour of Fort Worth Christmas lights in Diamond Oaks and Williams Place, December 18 for $1.25 per person. There will be eight pick-up points, all at Senior Citizen Centers throughout the city at 6:15 p.m.: 2033 Dayton (Halton City); 1600 Circle Park (northside); 2836 Hemphill (southside); 4200 Camp Bowie (near west side); 1401 Etta (stop-six); 5201 Libbey (far west side); 200 Burnett (Hunter Plaza); and 310 N. Cherry (downtown). Tour tickets are available in advance in any of the 11 Senior Citizen Centers through December 13. From then until tour day, they will be available at Citran; call (817) 336-1222.

The Dallas County Heritage Society is again sponsoring the Candlelight Tour at Old City Park, 1717 Gano Street in downtown Dallas. Old City Park depicts Dallas life in the mid-1800’s with all of the buildings and their furnishings restored to that period. The Candlelight Tours are a walk into a 19th Century Christmas celebration with special exhibits, caroling, musical entertainment, dramas, old fashioned games, taffy pulls, a bake and pantry sale and the general store. All activities are planned to reflect the period accurately. The tours will be December 10, 11 and 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 each evening. Admission is $1 for adults and 50¢ for children.

For an enjoyable family outing, some folks in Oak Lawn provide the spirit. An “Old Fashioned Christmas” will be the theme of an open house that residents of the neighborhood surrounding the Quadrangle will be sponsoring on Saturday, December 11. Over one third of the people who work in this area (Routh, McKinney, Fairmont, and Maple streets) also live there. They want the rest of Dallas to come and visit between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and partake of free refreshments and entertainment. Stroll through the many shops (maps are provided) and view displays in keeping with the theme. The Great American Coverup, for instance, will have a special collection of Christmas quilts for you to see. The children’s choir of Primera Iglesia Baptista will sing carols, and Santa Claus, his sack full of candy, will be eager to take orders for December 25th from the children who are present.

SMU inaugurates the season with one of the most extensive schedules in the city. November 30, December 2 and December 4, “Christmas in Music and Dance,” including “The Legend of Befana” and “A Wreath of Carols,” will be presented at 8:15 p.m. in the Bob Hope Theater. Admission is $2. “The Liebeslieder Waltzes” and “A Ceremony of Carols” will be performed December 1 and 3 at 8:15 p.m. in the Bob Hope Theater; admission is $2. December 5, the annual SMU Christmas Choral Concert takes place at 4 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium; admission is free. The Fort Worth Symphony Chamber Orchestra will present a free concert December 10 at 7 p.m. in the Seminary Shopping Center Mall. The Fort Worth Youth Orchestra will present a free concert of Christmas selections December 7 at 8:15 p.m. at Orchestra Hall, 4401 Trail Lake Drive. The Texas Chamber Orchestra Concert will be held December 19 at 2 p.m. at the Kimbell Art Museum, 1101 Will Rogers Road; free.


One place to go is the Haymarket Theater, opened recently at Olla Podrida by Kathy Burks Enter prises. Tuesday through Saturday, December 7 through 31, The Green Christmas, a marionette show, will be staged. Tuesdays-Fridays at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. Admission to each show is $1.

The perennial favorite, The Nutcracker, will be performed by both the Dallas Civic Ballet and the Fort Worth Ballet. Performances by the Dallas ensemble are December 23 at 2:15 and 8:15 p.m.; December 26 at 3 p.m.; December 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Hall, Fair Park. Tickets are available from the Civic Ballet ticket office, 3601 Rawlins, Dallas 75219; call 526-1370. The Fort Worth Ballet performance stars Fernando Bujones and Veronica Tennant, December 14 at 7:30p.m. in the Tarrant County Convention Center. There is a possibility of a second performance on December 15. For tickets, write the Fort Worth Ballet, 3505 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth 76107, or call (817) 731-0879.

Also in Fort Worth, Casa Manana will present The Littlest Angel December 4-18 on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. For information and reservations, call (817) 332-6221 (3101 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth). The Littlest Wise Man will be playing December 9-12 at the Scott Theater. For more information, call (817) 738-1938 (3505 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth).

“The Symbol of the King,” a dramatic narrative with slides and special effects adapted to a “planetarium play” of the heavens at the time of the Wise Men and the Star in the East will be presented daily December 19-26. Tickets are 50c for children under 12 and $1.50 for adults. The play will also be performed on weekends December 4-26 at 11 a.m., 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the Charlie Noble Planetarium, Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, 1501 Montgomery, (817) 732-1631.

Richland’s multi-media Cosmic Theatre and Planetarium presents the play December 1 through 19. Shows are Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.; admission is $1 adults, 50c children. 746-4444.

A family-oriented original play, Humbug, will also be performed at Richland, December 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and December 5 at 2 p.m. The location is the Arena Theatre, and admission is free. Call 746-4554 for more information.

The Dallas Metropolitan Ballet presents Peter and the Wolf, Cinderella and Act II of Coppelia December 12 in McFarlin Auditorium. Tickets are available from Preston Ticket Agency (363-9311) and range in price from $2.50 to $10.

Almost all the theaters in the area include children’s drama in their schedules. Cinderella will be performed December 4 through January at the Magic Turtle Theater at the Dallas Theater Center (3636 Turtle Creek) on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $1.75; call 526-8920 for reservations.

El Centro presents its annual Christmas program December 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the main lobby. Entertainment includes an appearance by Santa, a tree-lighting ceremony and a puppet show by Liz Allis entitled How Goat Came to the Christmas Party. Admission is free.


You can deck the halls, hang the mistletoe and trim the tree to the hilt. But how can you make your Christmas at home – decorations and entertainment – the exception instead of the rule? There are some off-beat as well as traditional things you can do to change this year into a special celebration.

For uncommon ornaments, stop by the Museum Shop at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts where the most unusual pick from their collection is the wooden block ornaments from India, carved in relief so they can be used for actual block printing after tree duty. The owl, lion, elephant, fox, bird and others sell for $2 or $2.25. Other Museum Shop baubles include Indian lac balls in colored beads and mirrors for $1.25 each, stamped aluminum fish embossed with scales for 95C, and capiz shells from the Philippines outlined with gold configurations for $1.25.

All of Olla Podrida is a veritable Christmas decoration haven . . . most handcrafted and customized to your taste. There are eggs painted with Christmas scenes at Patchworks, customized Christmas bells bearing your family name at China Bell and tree-perfect hangings of colored glass at Stain Glass Studio. At the Busy Needle, you can pick up needlepoint or crocheted holiday characters in different sizes for hanging up or placing on a package. They cost $1 to $7. They also have an idea you might borrow to do yourself: decorated Mason and Bell jar lids at $3.50 each that may be used for a gift you canned, or for a tree ornament (the hook is included). Final Touch gives you a neat alternative to a tree, or a great outdoor decoration, with their hay and cedar wreaths. The country look of the hay wreath has become very popular, and both selections are decorated to your specifications with all natural items – coral, shells, pine cones. They range from 12 to 36 inches in diameter, and can cost from $5 to $75.

If you don’t have room for a tree, you can stop by any of the local greenhouses or Christmas tree stands and buy several ropes of greenery. Shape the ropes on table tops and mantle, decorating the greenery with ornaments or candles. Caution – the stuff will dry out fast. So use tall candles – and be careful.

Of course, if you’re a plant freak in the first place, you already have all the greenery you need to decorate as you like. And the newest alternative to the Christmas tree this year is the poinsettia hanging basket available at CasaVerde, 3215 Armstrong.

After you trim the tree, treat yourself to some holiday cheer. Though the following recipes aren’t as convenient as pre-mixed eggnog, they offer more impressive serving than cardboard cartons – and they taste better.

Both hot buttered rum and mulled cider are great for cold evenings. For hot buttered rum, put a small stick of cinnamon, 1 tsp. sugar, a lemon twist, and 1 jigger of rum into mug. Fill with boiling water; add 1 pat of butter on top.

For mulled cider, combine ? cup brown sugar, 1 stick cinnamon, ? tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. nutmeg and 6 cups apple cider. Slice 2 oranges and 2 lemons; stuff the slices with 12 whole cloves; add to the spice and cider mixture. Bring it to a Don, making sure the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer several minutes. Makes 6 cups.

Milk punch is ideal for holiday brunch, especially if you have been partying the night before. For 8 servings, combine 3 cups half and half, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 1/2 tbsp. sugar and 1 1/2 cups bourbon or brandy. Chill well. If desired, whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg may be added on top. Makes about 8 servings.

Here are two more for a larger crowd:

Wassail – the name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “Wes hal,” roughly meaning “To your health.” Combine 1 tsp. nutmeg, 2 tsp. allspice, 2? tsp. ground cloves, 2 tsp. cinnamon, the juice of 1 dozen oranges, the juice of 4 lemons, ? cup sugar. Cook the mixture over low heat for 30 minutes. Add 4 quarts of claret or vodka (or almost anything alcoholic), mix well, and cook until it’s hot but not boiling. Pour into punch bowl. Serves 4.

Listing holiday beverages demands a nod to tradition, so we’ve included an eggnog recipe at least 200 years old. Separate 20 eggs; beat the yolks well, and add 2 cups sugar gradually, beating until the mixture swells. Slowly mix in 5 cups whiskey and 2 ounces rum; then add 10 cups milk and 5 cups cream. Beat the egg whites until stiff, and fold into the milk mixture until blended. Chill and stir before serving. Makes 25 cups.

To add to your holiday cheer, try roasting chestnuts. Cut a ring around each chestnut, making sure not to damage the kernel. If you don’t have a special chestnut pan, you can use a pie or cake tin. Roast them on hot embers or on the stove, tossing them frequently so they are thoroughly cooked. They are done when they pop.

Chestnuts are available at Texas Nut and Candy Company, 2797 Irving Blvd., for $1.50 per pound; frozen, at Fisher Foods, 4260 Oak Lawn, for $1.29 per pound, and at other local groceries. Chestnut pans can be found at PanHandlers, 5946 Royal Lane, for around $6.75.

Christmas generally is considered an at-home, family-oriented celebration, but if your penchant for partying persists through this already bustling season, try, at least, to do it with a flair for the unusual.

A trim-the-tree soiree, for instance, is always a favorite. But to give a new spark to this most traditional of traditional gatherings, have your guests do the honors of making the decorations themselves. In advance, collect all the necessary trimmings – glitter, glue, popcorn, ribbons, nuts and whatever. Then reward their creativeness with some wassail and roasted chestnuts.

So what if there’s no snow and your friends arrive in shirt sleeves and halter tops. There’s nothing better for getting in the Christmas spirit than a caroling outing. Invite the family and friends over for an early evening rehearsal – which most likely will prove to be a jollity itself. After practice is completed, herd the group through your neighborhood where their vocal chords will be best appreciated. When you’ve had enough of this non-silent night, return the genial merry-makers to your home for a hot buttered rum.


Helen Corbitt, the Queen of Cooking herself, knows her Christmas Goose . . . not to mention a tantalizing Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing. We retrieved her very own recipe from her private files for this holiday entree.

Salt and pepper inside and outside of goose. Prick the skin with a fork and rub with soft butter. Truss securely. Scatter the onion, carrots and celery on bottom of roasting pan. Place goose on top. Roast at 350 degrees for approximately 2? hours, basting every 20 minutes with the broth or wine. Remove goose, pat dry and return to 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. The goose should be crisply brown so you may need to do the last roasting a little longer. Pour off fat from roasting pan; add 2 cups of chicken broth to pan and bring to boil on top of stove. Scrape all the brown particles into the broth. Put through a sieve, pushing down on vegetables to extract their juices. Add desired seasonings and serve with Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing.

Helen Corbitt’s Christmas Goose

1 12 to 14 Ib. goose, not frozen if possible

1 T. salt

1/2 t. white pepper

2 T. soft butter chicken broth or whitewine or both

1/4 c. each sliced onions, carrots, and celery

Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing

2 T. butter

1/2 Ib. sausage

1/2 c. chicken livers, chopped

2 c. dry white bread crumbs, coarsely torn

1/2 t. thyme

2 T. finely chopped onion

3 T. finely chopped parsley

1 t. lemon juice

1 can water-packed French chestnuts,or 1 c fresh roasted chestnuts, chopped

4 T. whipping cream, not whipped

Melt butter, add onion; cook until yellow. Add sausage broken into small pieces. Brown lightly. Pour into a sieve to drain all the fat off. In same pan, saute livers with 1 T. butter. Add sausage mixture, then rest of ingre-dients. Toss lightly and bake in a buttered casserole until hot and lightly browned. Or stuff into cavity of goose and cook. (But remember: do not stuff goose too early or the stuffing will spoil. One hour ahead at the most.)


If tedious preparation of the Christmas Day meal isn’t the way to make your season jolly, we’ve done some advance homework for you to find the local eateries that plan to open their doors on Saturday and do the basting and stuffing for you. You’re in luck. But you’d be wise to check with the one of your choice beforehand, as some have altered their hours to accommodate their employees.

If chow mein, Peking duck or prime rib teriyaki is the cuisine you had dancing in your head, you’ll be in egg roll heaven. Seven of the restaurants that will serve on December 25 (but only a regular menu) are Oriental, including China Inn, Hunan, Peking Palace, Royal China, South China, Trader Vic’s and Yet Lau.

The remaining choices include everything from hamburgers to tacos: Herrera Cafe at both locations, The Blackeyed Pea both on Cedar Springs and on Greenville (they will serve complimentary champagne), T.G.I. Friday’s, the Stoneleigh P, and the Pawn Shop. Restaurants adding a Christmas specialty to their regular – fare are The Chimney, the Pyramid Room, the Brasserie, The Enclave and Carlos and Pepe. (Check Dining Out for locations and telephone numbers.)

In Fort Worth, both the Fountain Square and the Greenery in the Hilton Inn will serve special Christmas dinners (IH-20 and Commerce, (817) 335-7000). The Old Spaghetti Warehouse (600 E. Exchange and Packers, (817) 625-4171) will serve its regular fare.

But by far the best Christmas day meal deal in either city will be at Dallas’ Fairmont Hotel’s Venetian Room. The entire menu has been transformed for the season, with each chef preparing Christmas specialties from his representative country.

Reservations are suggested for the Christmas Day seatings at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Cost that day is $12 per person and $8 for children under 12.


Gift certificates don’t necessarily have to be impersonal, last minute items. We’ve come up with a few that are guaranteed to show you cared enough to make a personal selection.

Day of Beauty. 3525 Turtle Creek Institute de Beauté offers gift certificates good for one full day of beauty treatment. A $100 certificate includes yoga exercises, sauna and massage, as well as a facial, hair set, pedicure, manicure, lunch and make-up consultation. A $60 certificate will purchase a “miracle morning.” Call 526-3525 for information. The certificates are good for six months. Caricatures. Buy a certificate from Ed Cage to have a friend’s caricature done. Cage will do a personalized cartoon caricature from a photograph or your gift recipient may come in and pose. $30 for black and white, $40 for color. Call him at The Art Board (522-8590) for details. Tennis Lessons. The Village Tennis Center offers gift certificates for private or group lessons, as well as clinics. Group rates for children are also available. Prices vary according to the package you purchase. One sample package includes three 1-hour private lessons for $39. Call 363-3471 for details. Dallas Theater Center. You may purchase a gift certificate for a friend who loves the theater by calling 526-0107 or 526-8920. After Christmas, there are five more plays in the season. Season tickets for weekday performances are $28.75. On Friday and Saturday, tickets are $33.75. Single ticket certificates are $5.75 during the week and $6.75 on weekends. World Championship Tennis. Gift certificates for the World Championship Finals (May 10-15) are now available. Series tickets range from $25 to $70. Call 651-8444 for details. Museum Membership. Give a friend of the arts a membership in the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The cost is $25 per year for a single or married couple membership. The membership includes a bi-monthly newsletter with previews of coming events, invitations to shows, discounts on purchases in the Museum gift shop and discounts on subscriptions to various art magazines. Call 421-4187 for details. Sunday New York Times. If you have a friend who treks to the local newsstand every weekend, have the Times delivered to his doorstep on Sunday instead. A subscription for three months is $23.50. Six months is $46 and one year is $88. Call 239-5235 to place your order. Astrological Charts and Tarot Readings. Linda Matthews at The Opposition will sell gift certificates redeemable for either a tarot reading at $10 per hour or an astrological chart at $30. Call her at 324-0111 for details. On the Town. Give a friend a fun night out – at the Venetian Room. The Fairmont sells gift certificates in any monetary amount you choose. The certificates are also good at the Pyramid Room or the Brasserie. For details, call 748-5454 and ask for the Credit Manager. Universal Restaurants, better known as Arthur’s, Mario’s, and Old Warsaw, sells gift certificates for wine tasting parties, dinners or group parties. Certificates begin at $25. Call 526-5881 and ask Judy for details. USA Film Festival. This year, the festival will sell gift certificates for their 10-day program which begins on March 18. Tickets for the Great Director Retrospective, featuring King Vidor (Duel in the Sun, Northwest Passage) are $20 for all three nights (March 18-20) or $7.50 for one night. During “Critic’s Choice” week (March 21-27), two films will be shown during the afternoon and again in the evening. A full week’s ticket is $45 during the evening, $30 during the day. Single tickets are $7.50 in the evening, $5 during the day. Call 692-2979 for details.


What is a Jewish festival doing in an article about Christmas? Well, one of the things we all need to keep in mind about the holiday season is that not everyone celebrates the miracle of the birth of Jesus. Hanukkah, The Festival of Lights, is celebrated this year from December 16-24 in commemoration of a symbolic miracle which took place over 2000 years ago.

The Syrians and Greeks had swept down into Palestine, outlawed the practice of the Hebrew religion, and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem to Zeus and other idol-gods. The Maccabee family, with a small band of followers, fought to throw the powerful pagan conquerors out in the first recorded struggle for religious freedom. It is the Maccabee’s victory for freedom of worship that is celebrated at Hanukkah.

Legend has it that the Jews had only a tiny cruse of oil on hand, enough for merely a few hours’ light, when they mounted their revolt. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, aiding the Jews in overcoming the superior forces of their oppressors. For this reason, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days with the lighting of candles, symbolizing the ideal of light prevailing over darkness, ignorance, intolerance and injustice.

Hanukkah, like Christmas, is primarily a children’s holiday. In most households, it is like having Christmas for eight days, because each evening after the candle lighting, children search the house for presents. Traditional songs are sung and games are played, such as dreidel, a wagering game played with a spinning top.

Because Hanukkah is principally celebrated in the home, there are seldom public pageants for the holiday. However, each synogogue and religious school has programs planned, as well as the Public Library, Preston Royal branch, which is having a family Hanukkah party December 20 at 4 p.m. Temple Shalom, Hillcrest at Alpha Road, 661-1810, is having a free Hanukkah Workshop, open to the public (except children under 10). On December 1, at 7:30 p.m., there will be traditional Hanukkah dishes served, demonstrations of decorations and traditional games. There will also be an explanation of the history of the holiday and how it is celebrated in other countries. Other places to call are: Congregation Shearith Israel – 361-2803; Congregation Tiferet Israel – 691-3611; Temple Emanu-El – 368-3613; Akiba Academy- 239-7248; Julius Schepps Community Center- 363-5251.


Christmas is traditionally the time of year when people have generous hearts. It is also the time of year when the underprivileged feel especially mindful of their need. If the Christmas spirit has begun to take hold of you, there are many people in the area who need your help, people who are financially and emotionally unable to cope by themselves.

John Hale, of the Texas State Department of Public Welfare, knows of several particularly needy cases in the Fort Worth area. These individuals are victims of welfare’s “no-man’s land.” Too poor to fend for themselves, they nevertheless have too much money to qualify for sufficient federal or state aid.

Dorothy Fagan is critically ill. She has one collapsed lung and her other lung performs inadequately. She requires eight to nine hours of oxygen a day at a cost of between $30 and $40 a week. She is no longer able to do housekeeping chores because of frequent blackouts. Because her husband works, they don’t qualify for welfare. They are unable to qualify for Social Security aid because their income is $10 over the limit.

Dorothy Fagan has been fortunate to obtain the help of Homemaker Services, a division of Traveler’s Aid. A woman comes to her home every day to prepare meals and clean, as well as supervise her intake of oxygen. The family has no insurance coverage or savings to accommodate necessary expenses for their 5-year-old child.

Rita Estrada is unemployed and blind. She lost her sight after complications following the birth of her last child. She is divorced. She does receive some help through Aid to Families with Dependent Children, but is unable to qualify for Social Security aid.

Somehow, she and her youngest child, as well as a sister with children who lives with her, manage to live on $147 a month. Rita has no insurance coverage and must pay for her child’s transportation costs to and from school each day.

The Welfare Department is unable to accept financial donations for these two families but the Community Information Service in Fort Worth has agreed to do so. This office will see that donations you may wish to send are forwarded to the Estradas or the Fagans. Send your donations to these families in care of Ken Cooley, Community Action Agency, 1201 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth, Texas 76102.

If you have an interest in volunteer work in the Dallas area, the Children’s Medical Center would like to hear from you. They are a private acute care hospital specializing in the care of children from birth to 18.

All applicants for volunteer work at Children’s Medical are interviewed and placed where they feel most useful and comfortable. Applicants must be at least 16 years old and must commit to at least three hours of work a week.

If volunteer work would be easier on your pocketbook or if it appeals to you more than simply writing a check, then call the Volunteer Director at 637-3820.

Sara Garcia is one of approximately 400 victims of kidney failure in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. While she awaits a kidney transplant, her life depends upon a dialysis machine. Sara travels to one of three centers in the area three times a week to have the impurities her kidneys would normally filter from her blood removed by a dialysis machine. Each treatment takes six hours. Sara uses the machine from 10 in the evening until 4 in the morning. It can be a painful procedure, made more painful by the tremendous financial burden it places upon her and her family. Dialysis treatment costs between $18,000 and $25,000 a year.

Not too long ago, her husband was injured by a hit and run driver. His leg was broken and he was placed in a cast that extended from his thigh to his toes. For several weeks, both Mr. and Mrs. Garcia spent their nights either at the dialysis center or at Parkland receiving or awaiting medical treatment. Mr. Garcia’s leg did not heal properly and he may need a bone graft. He is unable to work.

The Garcias have three children. They receive aid from AFDC but the Social Security office has not yet approved their request for assistance. Sara has a liver disorder as well. Until the problem is corrected, she will not be eligible for transplant surgery. She has been on a dialysis machine for eight months. That situation won’t change for some time.

The Kidney Foundation of Texas is trying to help Sara and hundreds like her in this area. Renal failure is the only catastrophic illness covered under Social Security. This government assistance helps to alleviate some of the financial burden, but certainly not all of it.

Kidney transplants are necessary for full recovery. If transplant recipients are lucky enough to obtain a matched donor, they must face medical costs of $35,000 for this surgery

The Kidney Foundation functions in several areas. Thirty percent of their funds go toward research. A small portion is set aside for emergency assistance when victims are so financially strapped that other sources of aid have been exhausted. A large part of the Kidney Foundation’s program is devoted to obtaining donor kidneys. If you would like to obtain information on their donor program or would like to make a financial contribution, call or write the local office at 1525 W. Mockingbird, Suite 310, Dallas 75235 (638-7558).


Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.