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.
For more holiday ideas, visit our Holiday Guide.
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.
Isabella Fiore handbag from Pe Sha (4021 Preston Rd., Ste. 625, 972-781-1611). With this over-the-shoulder sequined number, she can pretend she's on the set of Sex in the City. You can pretend she's Sarah Jessica Parker. $290.
Black-and-gold crack-finish Mediterranean-style Possini table lamp from Lamps Plus (1705 Preston Rd., Plano, 972-447-0019; 3319 Knox St., 214-520-2995). With its hand-painted shade, it would brighten any Italian villa. $300.
Maple wood bowl from The Ole Moon (3016 Greenville Ave., 214-827-9921). Illinois artist Jeanine Anderson Guncheon hand paints these exquisite maple bowls, perfect for serving any holiday dish. $305.
Rockstar glasses from Image Eyewear (4268 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-521-6763). Eyephorics 2.5 line of pastel-tinted eyewear has a frame made of micro-crystalline polyamide, so it's super strong and only weighs 2.5 grams. Starting at $245; $265 with non-prescription tint.
Mona Lisa bamboo curtain from K's Victorian Gallery (511 E. Camp Wisdom Rd., 972-780-8120). Fans of Dharma & Greg will recognize this curtain. Pretend you're living in a sitcom, too! $169.
$100 and under
Recycled Levi's from Gifted (2608 Elm St., 214-752-7839). Each design is a one-of-a-kind and pays tribute to a woman, from Jackie O. to Warhol superstar Edie Sedgewick. $90-$120.
Sterling silver cross necklaces from J. Tiras (5600 W. Lovers Lane, Ste. 122, 214-956-8181). Once Madonna donned them, they became eternally cool. Most at J. Tiras feature turquoise and other semiprecious stones. Starting at $88.
Rhinestone phone cover from Pe Sha (4021 Preston Rd., Ste. 625, 972-781-1611). Give your cell phone a distinctive flair that says, "Call me." Available in many colors. $85.
Champagne and martini glasses from The Ole Moon (3016 Greenville Ave., 214-827-9921). Hand-blown by artist Mariusz Rynkiewicz, these glasses will make anyone a toastmaster. $78 per stem.
High-caliber anger management from DFW Gun Range and Training Center (1607 W. Mockingbird Ln., 214-630-GUNN). This is the gift for the guy who has everything. After some brief instruction, he'll step into the range and get to shoot 100 rounds from a fully automatic MP5 submachine gun. They even offer Osama bin Laden targets. $74.
Brilliant dreidel from The Nest (3007 Henderson Ave., 214-827-5300). Made of metal, acrylic, and clay, this dreidel will delight whether it lands on nun, gimel, he, or shin. $66.
Soul Sister cotton T-shirt from Elements (4400 Lovers Ln., 214-987-0837). Sing it loud and sing it proud. Elements also carries groovy rock-and-roll Ts by Smashing Grampa emblazoned with icons like Mick Jagger, starting at around $40. Soul Sister by Project e, $78.
Reading glasses disguised as an oversized pen from Image Eyewear (4268 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-521-6763). A great stocking stuffer. Remove the pen cap, and tucked inside is a pair of reading glasses. In watermelon, frosted ice, purple haze, and a variety of other colors. $60.
Vintage Tees from Cotton Island (6601 Hillcrest, 214-373-1085). There are T-shirts and then there are T-shirts. Each Vintage Tee is hand selected and recut to create a one-of-a-kind unique look. Satisfy your nostalgiac yearnings. $40.
Kama Sutra Lover's Paintbox from Royal Tiger Massage (3100 Main St, #8, 214-752-0414). The decorative box contains a paintbrush and a jar of edible body chocolate in dark, milk, or white. You know what happens next. $36
Remote-controlled robot from Gifted (2608 Elm St., 214-752-7839). Functions as a baby sitter or personal valet for little or big kids. $40.
Tiffany glass accent teapot from Lamps Plus (1705 Preston Rd., Plano, 972-447-0019; 3319 Knox St., 214-520-2995). Brew something special for the one you love. $40.
Chrome rocket lamps from Home Concepts (2900 Main St., 214-761-1872). Francis Scott Key was a frequent shopper at Home Concepts (then called Ye Olde Home Concepts), and it was there that he first saw the rockets' red glare that inspired him to write our national anthem. It's true. $39 each
Extraordinaire Basket from Breadwinners Bakery (3301 McKinney Ave. at Hall, 214-754-0099). Two fruit breads, 12 muffins, two black-and-white brownies, 12 cookies, two coffee packs. Beautifully decorated with ribbons and gift card. $50.
Steve Madden shoes from Cotton Island (6601 Hillcrest Ave., 214-373-1085). The way to a woman's heart is through her soles. Steve Madden Tennis Mules in leather or nubuck starting at $60. Pointy toe, stiletto heel boots starting at $100..
Dexter the Jester marionette from Froggie's 5&10 (3211 Knox St., 214-522-5867). Remember that guy from Being John Malkovich? With a little work, you, too, can put on a show. $32.
Rhinestone-encrusted claw clips and ponytail holders from L'Image Salons of Dallas (47 Highland Park Village, 214-526-6410; 1900 Preston Rd., Plano, 972-964-7577; 5100 Beltline, Ste. 520, Addison, 972-934-8080). No need to buy a new outfit for those holiday parties; one great hair accessory with that classic black dress will add instant elegance to your holiday look. Clip $38, ponytail holder $32.
Silk Chinese evening bag to go from J. Tiras (5600 W. Lovers Ln., Ste. 122, 214-956-8181). Every man should have a woman in his life who can pull off these tasty numbers. $35.
Walk-all-over-you boots from Ciel (1927 Lower Greenville, 214-370-3001). Ciel is also a great boutique for all sorts of women's accessories, from denim purses to belts to bracelets. Boots $30.
$25 and under
Traditional wooden Welsh lovespoon from The Celtic Store (7402 Greenville Ave., #208, 214-361-5797). The custom of giving lovespoons began in Wales as early as the 16th century. A suitor would give his loved one a spoon whose carved design represented what he could bring to their marriage. Today, lovespoons are given to commemorate the birth of a child, wedding anniversaries, and birthdays. And The Celtic Store has a great selection. $20.
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College-opoly games from The Tiecoon (4015 Villanova, 214-369-8437). A twist on the old Monopoly board game, these feature team mascots as board pieces and college buildings for the various properties. $25.
Black leather rose bracelet from Elements (4400 Lovers Ln., 214-987-0837). Elements is a very fashion-forward boutique and carries quite a selection of whimsical accessories. $32.
Holiday Gift Tin from Breadwinners Bakery (3301 McKinney Ave. at Hall, 214-754-0099). Your choice of mini muffins, cookies, or homemade biscotti. Tied with ribbons and gift tag. $17.
Platinum quad camera from Gifted (2608 Elm St., 214-752-7839). This good-looking camera takes a single photo that shows four quadrants of movement on your picture. A modern miracle to catch all of junior's moves. $15.