By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
They say it's the thought that counts. This implies that a fellow should feel confident about giving his paramour an inexpensive gift -- so long as he puts some brainpower into his purchase and comes up with something apropos, unique. Something with gravitas. But I'm here to tell you that the fellow who rushes out at the last minute and mindlessly slaps down his plastic for a string of pearls has nothing to worry about. His lack of thought will likely draw little criticism. So it is the thought that counts, sure. But let's not pretend price doesn't matter, too.
$25,000 and under
Freelander from Land Rover Dallas (11400 N. Central Expwy., 214-691-4294). This is one gift not likely to be returned. The Freelander is the newest S.U.V. from Land Rover, due to roll onto the showroom in early December. With a 2.5-litre high-tech V6 engine, all-wheel drive, and all the refinement you'd expect from Land Rover, it's a steal. $25,000.
Road Star Warrior from Central Yamaha (7000 Avenue K, Plano, 972-423-4089). Part modern-day muscle bike, part cruiser from a fabled era, the Warrior happens to be the biggest, baddest air-cooled V-twin ever made. What man on your gift list wouldn't be satisfied with 102 cubic inches of pushrod action? $12,000.
$5,000 and under
Dinette set with matching tureen from Dulce Interior Consignment Showplace (2914 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-219-5656). The table is 100 years old, and came from Milan. Its top is rare black quartz glass. Dulce is an upscale consignment store that carries unusual items. Dinette set $5,000.
Sticks game table from The Nest (3007 Henderson Ave., 214-827-5300). These bright, artistic tables contain up to four games: backgammon, checkers, chess, and, for the terminally old-school, cribbage. $1,250-$3,500.
Standing wrought-iron wine tree from Carving Artists (910 18th St., Plano, 214-616-7951). This beautiful, organic sculpture holds 15 bottles and is sturdy enough to sustain the spiciest of cabs. $1,800.
Henry Miller chaise lounge from K's Victorian Gallery (511 E. Camp Wisdom Rd., 972-780-8120). K's carries all manner of rare and unusual antique pieces, including fainting sofas and loveseats. Chaise lounge $1,400.
Burley Zydeco tandem bicycle from Richardson Bike Mart (9040 Garland Rd., 214-321-0705; 1451 W. Campbell Rd., Richardson, 972-231-3993). It's true what they say. Life is a journey. Why not get some exercise on that journey? And, as long as you're getting some exercise, why not stare at your loved one's rump? $1,200.
Production cel of Bugs Bunny from Fine Toon (13331 Preston Rd., Ste. 2042, 469-374-0774). Every animation lover's dream: an original, hand-painted cel signed by the legendary Warner Bros. director Chuck Jones. $900 unframed.
Hand-painted wood menorah from The Nest (3007 Henderson Ave., 214-827-5300). Each candle lit atop this distinctive hand-carved menorah will shine all the brighter through its eight days. $650.
Faux diamond necklace from Pe Sha (4021 Preston Rd., Ste. 625, 972-781-1611). Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but azarite is friendlier to man. Pe Sha carries an enticing selection of bracelets and earrings with the man-made diamonds that will fool even most jewelers. 9-karat necklace $995.
A smooth, hairless back from Prestige Electrolysis & Laser Hair Removal (6757 Arapaho Rd., Ste. 763, 972-386-9082). Ladies, your man will thank you for it, but this is really the gift you give yourself. Skilled technicians use only the most advanced lasers at Prestige. $925, not including follow-up treatments.
Lulu Guiness Chinese clutch from Avant (2716 Greenville Ave., 214-824-0260). A woman can never have too many handbags, and this one, with its scalloped edges and silk embroidery, is a work of art. Guiness' creations are in the permanent collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. $524.
$500 and under
Gendron cars and trucks from The Tiecoon (4015 Villanova, 214-369-8437). These limited-edition beauties are made from the original 1930s designs. Their headlights work, and the hoods open to reveal their "engines," though we all know they're pedal operated. Starting at $500.
Buzz Lightyear cookie jar from Froggie's 5&10 (3211 Knox St., 214-522-5867). Your thighs will go to infinity and beyond as you dip your hand into this limited-edition porcelain collector's jar. $300.
Madonna Belt from La Boutique (10723 Composite Dr., 214-358-2589). Any woman would love the same belt that the Material Girl wore on her latest album cover. $300.
Royal Tiger Massage from Water Tiger (3100 Main St., No. 8, 214-752-0414). What could bring you back to normalcy better than a full-body Shiatsu massage and paraffin dip? Water Tiger therapists are registered and experienced in the arts of relaxation. $120 for 90 minutes.
Kippys cowboy belt from Sheers the Bodywear Bar (4266 Oak Lawn, 214-528-7292; 4021 Preston Rd., Ste. 624, Plano, 972-473-7293). You've seen Elizabeth Hurley in this sassy, crystal-studded belt. Haven't you? Sheers is a candy store for big girls, serving non-fat designer bodywear, legwear, shapewear, and accessories. Kippys belt $400.
Chan Luu necklace from Francesca's Collections (5307 E. Mockingbird, Ste. 105, 214-370-3646; 10720 Preston Rd., Ste. 1005, 214-891-9866). Amathyst, peridot, and freshwater pearls on Luu's signature ribbon. If it's good enough for Jennifer Aniston, it's good enough for us. $345.
Red velvet high-heeled chair from Home Concepts (2900 Main St., 214-761-1872). This gift isn't right for everyone. But for that certain someone on your list, this funky chair is the perfect gift she didn't even know she wanted. Also in black velvet with leopard print. $189.