Holiday Highlights

A Dallas Observer Guide to Holiday Gift Buying and Events
For the holiday exterior decorator whose skills consist of creating Gordian wire knots, blowing fuses, and electrocuting small shrubs:

Tired of Houdini-proof tangles of wire, palm piercings caused by tiny Italian lightbulb tips, and the smell of smoldering body hair after your holiday decorator tries to locate shorts in light strings? Make it easy on your lighting architect this holiday season. These shrub and tree lights come not in cumbersome strings that coil, tangle, twist, trip, and otherwise strangle the joy out of the merry season; they're a lighting net that can easily be draped over trees and shrubs. So in the time it takes to exceed your credit limit, you can have your home sparkling and twinkling with holiday luminosity. Available for about $30 at Our Children's Store of Dallas, 437 NorthPark Center, (214) 691-9411.

For the desperately cellulite-phobic:
Dieting is a bore, and exercise is painfully stupid if you really think about it. But just scream the word "cellulite," and you can scare people into doing really daffy things like taking dieting tips from Tommy Lasorda or hopping on machines that simulate stairway strolls from the fourth level of an underground parking lot to the tenth floor of a highrise. But you don't have to eat like a termite or recreate like a gerbil to fit into that new red leather jumpsuit this holiday season. Try a body wrap from Suddenly Slender and watch as 6 to 20 inches of hip, thigh, and belly flab melt away in as little as two hours. The process is safe, effective, and guaranteed. Gift certificates start at $75 with discount packages available. Suddenly Slender: Dallas, (214) 341-5949; Plano, (972) 612-7117.

For people who love flowers so much, they attend group depression-therapy sessions with honeybees during the winter months:

Just because most of the beautiful blossoms in or near your home have long since entered service as compost doesn't mean you can't infuse your holiday space with an inviting warmth that brings back fond memories of Dallas in mid-July. An autumn table wreath loaded with seasonal flowers including sunflowers, button poms, yarrow, statice, and golden aster will keep your home colorful and those on your gift list with a flower fetish buzzing. A cornucopia jammed with hydrangea, colored rose, spray rose, safflower, seeded eucalyptus, and solidago can add colorful richness to your holiday decor. Order the wreath for $59.99 or the cornucopia for $54.99 through 1-800-FLOWERS. Or visit them on the World Wide Web at 1800flowers.com, or online at America Online, keyword: flowers.

For the Dallas fan who needs his or her Cowboy commode examined:
Maybe you're not there yet, but fanaticism might just be a kick-off return away. This book, You Might be a Dallas Fan If..., will help you determine if you're really true blue. For example, do you refer to your kid's allowance as a salary cap? Or have you ever styled your hair like Jimmy? Time for the silver and blue couch. Available for $6.95 at all locations of Borders.

For people who simply must decorate everything--even their fire:
Don't think wire is just a plaything for electricians. It makes for swell decorative touches too. Add holiday spark to your home with a two-and-a-half-foot snowman constructed out of colored wire. Or decorate your tree with handmade wire ornaments. There's even a wire mobile for those who like things that dangle. If delicate decor is more your style, try blown-glass fish, trees, stars, and hearts huffed and puffed straight from Italy. You can even decorate your own natural body smells with sensually scented soaps including holiday, Tahitian Vanilla, Mango and Facets of the Sea, Plum Crazy, and more. Plus, light your fire in style with a natural wood match holder mated with a striking rock. You can get all of this, plus more if you have the space, at Robin's Nest, (214) 265-0067.

For the person who was born with art deco facial features:
Indulge yourself with these stylized gifts like deco-designed card and cigarette cases in silver and chrome ($14+); a bullet-shaped martini shaker with a variety of polished, frosted, or patterned martini glasses available to match ($9.55+ glasses; $19+ shakers); attractive chrome, silver, or wood candlesticks ($29+); hand-crafted Thuja wood boxes in a variety of sizes and shapes ($39+); beautiful sterling, onyx, and mother-of-pearl jewelry ($10+); and for those on your list with a flyboy syndrome, airplane clocks, lamps, wristwatches, and keychains ($9.99+). Look hard, and you might even find an art deco lamp shade for New Year's Eve. The Roxy, 3826 Cedar Springs, (214) 520-7674.

For the photographer with at least a dozen photos without decapitated family members or friends with their eyes shut:

We all have shoeboxes loaded with snapshots of wall textures and in-laws with their mouths open. But buried in all of those nostalgic photos are a few well-composed images that really express the creative photographic skills of someone on your gift list. Why not find 12 and create a personalized calendar, complete with special birthdays and anniversaries listed? It's the gift that says "I love what you do with that shutter finger." Come to think of it, a calendar of wall textures wouldn't be so bad. Do it at the Print Place, 5703 Belt Line, (972) 392-2679; and at Color Copy Zone, 2603 Oak Lawn, (214) 559-0663.

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