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GIFT GUIDE

By Babs Suzanne Harrison |

When the Ho Ho Hos turn into Ho Ho Hums, it’s time for a refresher course in the art of gift-giving. Oh sure, those of the Scrooge school will say it’s the thought that counts, good things come in small packages, and it’s better to give than to receive. But just how many more unimaginative, small, dull gifts can you really stand? When more than one recipient thanks you with “You shouldn’t have” perhaps you really shouldn’t have indeed.

The extraordinary gift need not be exorbitant in cost, though it well might be. It is the idea, the style, and quality rather than the price that makes a present memorable. From ten dollars to just under one million, we’ve culled some fabulous gifts, both exotic and unique, that are sure to banish this season’s yawns and feigned delight into never never land.

BLACK GOLD



Purveyors of caviar in Paris, France, since the days of the White Russian exiles of the 1920s, the Petrossian family is the only company today allowed by the Russian government to select its caviars from the catch of the Caspian Sea, home to the best sturgeon in the world.

“Caviar is not a food, it is a dream, and everybody, even socialists, needs to dream a little,” says Christian Petrossian. All the more reason to saunter down to their boutique in Neiman Marcus NorthPark and purchase a kilo of beluga. Daydreamers may prefer a half kilo tin which slips perfectly into a specially designed caviar server. Gold plated spatulas are used for placing the delicate roe directly on the tongue, where connoisseurs then burst them against the roofs of their mouths for an explosion of earthy flavor. One kilo beluga, $900; 1/2 kilo, $460; Caviar Server, $1,200.

FEED BAG



Where would Santa Claus be without his reindeer? It seems that in all the rush and excitement, Donner and Blix-en and the other notorious gang of eight have been slightly snubbed in the snack department. Santa enjoys cookies and milk at the foot of every fireplace, but what do the reindeer get while patiently waiting on the roof? This year, there’s Reindeer Feed, Tied with a Christmas ribbon and jingle bell, the burlap bag is filled with tasty alfalfa. Leave it by the fireplace for Santa to take up to the mighty beasts and just see if Christmas doesn’t come around sooner next year. $8 at Cosmetique (all L’lmage locations), The Original Christmas Store, and The Market.

ALL BOXED UP

Six-sided objects were never more exotic-looking than the stunning collection of boxes at Loyd-Paxton. These tabletop objets dart will turn anyone into an inquisitive Pandora, but instead of releasing a cloud of human ills, the boxes will hold a multitude of small objects safely and elegantly. Lacquer, malachite, lapis lazuli, jade, ivory, and other semi-precious stones are used to glorify the object as box, and some are even adorned with jewel-encrusted antique ornaments. From $40 and up at Loyd-Paxton, 3636 Maple, 521-1521.



WHEN A TIE IS NOT ENOUGH



The man’s leather jacket is taken to its finest extremes at Gerard Thomas. Baby lambskin, buttery soft to the touch, drapes fluidly on the body in a blouson style. The mink collar can be removed for cleaning or during the warmer months and the squirrel lining zips out to reveal a silk patterned lining. $4,800. Lined with chinchilla. $15,000.

One’s luggage makes an immediate statement upon arrival and a set of crocodile suitcases definitely talks. Looking perfectly elegant, each suitcase uses one skin that is centered to show off the pattern of the Paraguay crocodile. Accented with gold plated lockers, it comes in a variety of color choices. Set of three pieces, about $20,000.

For weekdays in town, a black crocodile briefcase lined with shaved blue mink will definitely get you noticed. Also accented with gold plated locks, it comes in a range of colors for both the crocodile and mink. $6,000. All at Gerard Thomas, Highland Park Village, 522-5392.

CARIBBEAN QUEEN

For the discriminating traveler, the crown jewel of the Caribbean lies in the Bahamas at the Royal Bahamian Hotel and Villas in Nassau. This resort was formerly the Balmoral Beach Club which was lovingly patronized by those seeking pampered seclusion (such as the Beatles and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor).

Flying direct from D-FW via Delta’s first class service, villa guests are met by a Rolls Royce and whisked away to the pink and white colonial style resort within minutes. Hotel rooms here are above average for the Caribbean, but the most luxurious lodgings are in the private villas scattered throughout the lushly landscaped gardens.

A complete health and fitness spa at the hotel offers further rejeuvenation for souls weary from corporate struggle. A special attraction is the therapeutic natural earth baths. A private stretch of sandy white beach melting into crystal clear Bahamian waters provides a buffer zone against the rest of the world. But raucous times can be had just minutes from the property at Nassau’s many casinos and nightclubs. Call 1-800-822-4200 for reservations.

STRETCH, KNEAD, AND ROLL



When is a chair more than a chair? The Panasonic Shiatsu Momi-Momi Massage chair and ottoman looks like a regular reclining duo but actually doubles as an Oriental masseuse. The ancient technique of accupressure can be activated by merely setting the controls to the type of massage desired; stretching, kneading, or rolling. The chair then begins to stimulate the spine’s acupoints. An automatic timer lets you know when you’ve had enough of a good thing. About $1,800 at Aber-crombie & Fitch, Caruth Plaza, 696-1116.

CRYSTAL COUPE



Mercedes buffs will appreciate this crystal rendition of a Mercedes SL that commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the first automobile. Executed in the finest Daum crystal, it measures 16 inches long and weighs approximately 17 pounds. The daum family of Nancy, France, designed the clear and frosted piece and gave an international exclusive to Bachendorfs. $1,500 at Bachendorf’s, Galleria, Prestonwood Town Center, and Campbell Center.



A MOVEABLE FEAST



The very mention of a gift basket can elicit negative images of the same old cheese spread and fruit wrapped in cellophane. L’Epicure takes a different approach this season with one-of-a-kind assemblages packed inside unusual containers. A large twig planter or ornamental oak box might hold the ultimate selection of hors d’oeuvres perfect for feasting after the ballet-champagne, pate, caviar, crackers, and handmade chocolates. Prices range from $65-$100. L’Epicure at Stanley Kor-shak, in the Crescent, 871-3600.



SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS



Just as one can never be too rich or too thin, it is equally true that one can never have too much champagne. And the finest in France is considered to be Krug which, luckily for holiday bubble heads, comes in the magnum size in both ’64 and ’69 vintages. Each bottle is crated, numbered, and signed by the Krug family before being directly exported from Champagne to the Texas Art Gallery. About $250.



TOYS FOR US



If Christmas is for children, then everyone deserves at least one good toy, especially adults. The U-1 Communication Robo plays the game “Rock, Scissors, Paper,” retreating several steps when it loses and advancing when it wins. Voice, lights, and sound effects add to its appeal. U-1 also comes with a remote control unit. $185.

And for comic relief in the office or letting off steam at home, the battery-operated bubble machine gun sounds menacing but elicits only smiles when bubbles emerge from its barrel. $32. Both from Modern Toys, 4524 Cole Avenue, 528-4220



A WELL-TRAVELED GUN



Give the hot shot in your life a taste of the Ottoman Empire with eighteenth-century flint pistols from Turkey. They’re strikingly beautiful as well as being collectors items. The steel shaft is decorated with an overlay of repousse silver and inlaid with arabesques of turquoise and coral. Mounted on specially designed acrylic bases, they are $4,850 each from Loyd-Paxton, 3636 Maple Avenue, 521-1521:



FLOWER POWER



Flower Children of the Sixties may have grown up into successful yuppies for the Eighties, but they still love flowers. Gift them with a monthly delivery of wild exotics and European classics from Zen throughout the year as an enduring forget-me-not. The inventive floral studio specializes in the use of tropicals which they grow themselves in Hawaii as well as using the newest items to be found on the floral market. Zen will work with the client to create anything they desire. Call Judy Cocke, Zen, 526-9736.



THE GREAT PRETENDER



Its not quite the Great Barrier Reef but a mini live coral reef can be constructed in your aquarium at home. Rick Beaman of Dallas Pet Gallery will personally set up the reef in any size tank desired using a variety of specimens of growing coral. The wondrous reef can then be populated with your choice of marine life such as the rare purple tang ($500) from the Red Sea, an octopus, or even a spotted shark straight from the Barrier Reef itself. About $1,500. Dallas Pet Gallery, 17194 Road, 248-4956.

If dinosaurs have got your goat this year, consider a Savanah Monitor from South America as this year’s new pet. The scaly reptile dates back millions of years and grows to be anywhere from four to six feet long. $93.59 at Dallas Pet Gallery.



PICTURE PERFECT



Nancy Reagan so admired Robert Whiteside’s Faberge-inspired picture frames that she bought one for her own collection. Whiteside has since been commissioned by the White House to create gifts of State and has already made frames for President Sarney of Brazil and Chancellor Kohl of Germany. Each frame is individually crafted so that no two are exactly alike. Made of sterling silver and guilloche enamel, the frames sport a rosewood panel on the back with hand scrolled sterling silver supports and are presented in a beautiful dove gray gift box. Red enamel frame pictured, $2,300. Whiteside & Co., 7805 Inwood Road, 358-0089.



WELL SEATED



The well-heeled equestrian usually pines for an Hermes saddle. But the best of show is their ostrich English saddle in a peanut butter tan color. Handmade in the workrooms in Paris, France, the saddle exemplifies Hermes excellence in leather goods. Saddle, $6,325; bridle and reigns. $1,925, Hermes, Highland Park Village, 528-0197.



FAMILY TRADITION

Keeping skin beautiful longer is a family tradition at Georgette Klinger where both mother and daughter have made it their work to further the Klinger philosophy on good skin. One of the first recommendations is for a monthly facial for both men and women. The individualized facial by a European-trained cosmetologist includes facial massage, steam and deep pore cleansing, followed by several masks to refresh and nourish the skin. Twelve facial treatments, $535 at Georgette Klinger, Galleria, 385-9393.

A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND



When in doubt diamonds always suffice. Melt her heart with crystal fire the likes of which one seldom sees. A diamond bracelet strings a row of perfectly matched and flawless marquises across the wrist. The bracelet’s diamonds total approximately forty carats with the center stone rating five carats and the others graduating down in size. All are of the highest grade, D and E color, indicating totally colorless stones. The large diamonds are absolutely flawless and the smaller stones are near flawless. Priced in the $700,000 range at William Noble Rare Jewels, Highland Park Village, 526-3890.



TIPS FOR TOPS



Finally, a gift for the person who has everything – including a Mercedes. PowerTopSL is a new convenience enabling you to raise or lower your convertible top with the touch of a button. Now you don’t have to worry about cloudy weather-this handy little gadget invisibly attaches to the existing top, a factory Mercedes switch is added to the console and handles are permanently installed on the latches. Installation takes about three days and the cost is $3,300. Perfect for that special someone who would rather leave the top up than break a nail. For more information call 380-0506.



PURPLE RAIN



Beneath the earth’s surface lies an enchanted crystal kingdom of powerful quartz crystals that generate their own measurable electro-magnetic fields while slowly reproducing themselves through the centuries. Indians and others have long used them as healing tools because of their great power, but they are just as much loved for their pure beauty and decorative impact in a room. Krystallos features quartz crystals mounted as art pieces. One of the most impressive of these is a matched pair of specimen amethyst tusks. The large tusk-shaped stone is a gem-quality amethyst about 5 feet long that has been split in half and mounted to reveal its rich purple sparkle that draws you into its very being. $50,000 the pair at Krystallos, 3131 Maple, 871-9271.



PARADISE FOR CHRISTMAS



Sometimes all we need is a change of scenery to boost our spirits. Imagine what a holiday vacation in some island paradise could do for you. We have a number of favorites in Hawaii, and recently visited one of Maui’s premier resorts, the Kapalua Bay Hotel and Villas. On 750 acres of coastline amid thousands of acres of pineapple plantation on the northwest coast of Maui, Kapalua features two championship golf courses, tennis, three beaches with available sailing and water sports, outstanding restaurants, and unique shopping. This haven of tranquility could be the perfect getaway after a hectic holiday season. For information contact your travel agent or call The Kapalua Bay Hotel direct at 800-367-8000.



VINTAGE CHOICE



For those who worship Bacchus, thrill them with a bottle or two of rare ’45 vintage Bordeaux from Chateau Lafite Rothschild. One of the finest vintages of the century for first-growth Bordeaux, each bottle is priced at $750. Texas Art Gallery stocks some 20,000 bottles of wine in their warehouse where blue jean clad visitors can be found perusing bottles of ’59 Margaux. Texas Art Gallery Wine Distributors, 2247 Monitor, 631-3307.



POCKET PRINCESS



If you can’t buy a string of hotels and make your wife a queen (aka Helms-ley), you can come pretty close by making her a princess through a noted gem rubelite. An oval fire-red loose stone known as the Portofino Princess awaits your beckoning at C. Bueché Precious Jewels. Weighing 48.32 carats, it is the largest gem from the original find in Brazil at the Oro Fino Mines. $60,000 at C. Bueché in Stanley Korshak at the Crescent, 871-3630.



A CADDY FOR CHRISTMAS



Texans love a Cadillac, even J.R. traded in his Mercedes to get the latest one-the Allante. The two-seater sports-car signals a total departure for Cadillac, incorporating their classic penchant for comfort with a dose of racy Italian style. Designed and handcrafted by Pinin-farina, master designer of the Ferrari Testarossa and Rolls Royce Carmargue, it includes Italian leather upholstery, symphony sound system, and three-way convertible top. In fact, the only extra-cost option is a cellular telephone.

A limited edition, the first ones will be arriving from Italy via 747 after the first of the year, but orders may be placed now at any local Cadillac dealership. Price ranges from $50,000-$58,000.



DREAM WEAVER



Portraicasts or Dream Masks by artist Julie Palmer are sculptures taken from an actual casting of the sitters face in a simple, fifteen minute procedure. Totally relaxed with eyes closed, the sitter reveals a serene tranquility, reflective in his moment of repose, and captured forever in the casting. The masks can either be left natural or painted to resemble the sitter or his favorite dream fantasy. Masks may be antiqued, colored, gilded in silver or gold, or embellished with antique trim. Allow 4-6 weeks for completion. Prices range from $400-$1,500. Call 855-5305 for appointment.



PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST



No reason to wait till you’re rich and famous to have a portrait done. Immortalize yourself or family in an oil by Dallas artist Alexander Clayton. Claytons style has been likened to that of Renoir, natural and pleasing with an intelligent playing together of form and color as noted by Howard Devree, former art editor of the New York Times. A portrait requires from four to eight sittings, each an hour and a half long. Clients will be in good company however as past subjects include Pope John XXIII, President Richard M. Nixon, and Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke. Prices range from $6,000-$30,000. Call 528-4584 for appointment.

IT’S ABOUT TIME



In ancient times, people collected meteorites and worshipped them as sources of supernatural or divine power. Today they could become the new status symbol as worn on the wrist. Corum has created a special, limited edition watch whose dial is carved from a meteorite fragment. Because most meteorites completely burn before falling to earth, they are extremely rare and even more precious than gold. Only five 18 K gold men’s watches will be made, and the only one in the country is residing at Joseph Edwards Jewelry. A certificate of cosmic origin accompanies the watch stating its point of impact with its coordinates also engraved on the back of the watch. This particular one is from Diablo Canyon, Arizona. $15,900 at Joseph Edwards Jewelry, Galleria, 960-0471.

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