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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.  

For the person who wants two things for Imelda Marcos to sit on:
Give your favorite footwear fetishist a little cush push with a leopard-patterned chair ($1,200) in the shape of a hot stiletto with a matching powder-puff ottoman ($595)--because no one should keep his or her predilections locked in the closet. Or, be really dramatic with a "Billy" doll, the explicitly anatomically correct action (so to speak) figure. Get these and more--including leather-scented candles and the white-trash Ridge White Mobile Home and Paper Doll Book at Mark & Larry's Stuff, Gift Gallery and Retail Experience, 2614 Elm, (214) 74-STUFF.

For the angst-ridden hipper-than-thou disco-attired twentysomething with dental tattoos:

Admit it. You want to scream at 'em, but you don't have the lung power. So call the professionals at the Fort Worth Opera and set your grunge puppy up in the 20 plus or minus club. In addition to tickets to some great opera productions, your loved one will receive a card good for 15 percent off at Borders; a Sundance Square Sunup to Sundown savings book; and a Fort Worth Opera T-shirt. Because no one can scream their angst like a diva. Fort Worth Opera, (817) 731-0200.

For the woman who takes her hair almost as seriously as a man does who has none:

And she needs hair that complements her fall-and-winter wardrobe with the hottest clips of the season. Send her to L'Image, where she can choose from the Slidestep Crop, a racy, romantic cut that easily converts from a one-length look to layered; the City Cut, a sleek, sporty, chic clip; and the Lattice Layered Bob, a versatile, layered version of the classic bob. L'Image, Highland Park Village, (214) 526-6410. Other locations in Addison, Plano, and Arlington.

For the person who likes to watch Barry Goldwater buttons spin on a Victrola:

If you know someone with a yen for eclectic nostalgia who might wear Bakelite jewelry and watches from the '40s, smoke a Romeo y Juliet preserved in an antique humidor, draw inspiration from religious artifacts older than a non-metal Pat Boone album, decorate their sacred spaces with African art, spin Jelly Roll Morton 78s on a Victrola, or create a shrine with sports or political memorabilia, then your gift list is in desperate need of fulfillment at the Lower Greenville Antique Mall. 2010 Greenville, (214) 824-4136.

For the person who would like to see unwanted body hair removed and donated to the Hair Club for Men:

Let's be honest about this. Mother Nature was a ditz when she set out to carpet the human body. Certain parts simply should have been left bare. Now women have to deal with unwanted facial, bikini line, underarm, and leg hair, and men have to deal with backs that look like woolly-mammoth toupees. Mother Nature may have had practical reasons for installing this stuff on these places, but this is the '90s in Dallas, fer chrissakes, and no man wants to put baby's breath in his ear braids, nor does a woman want to have to grease her handlebars. That's why there's the EpiLight semi-permanent hair-removal system. This FDA-approved, non-invasive, pain-free procedure is safe and more effective than laser. The proof is in the smoothness. Try EpiLight at Advance Aesthetics, 403 W. Campbell Road, Suite 310, Richardson, (972) 498-8625.

For the person who fell asleep in the tattoo parlor, woke up looking like a tropical fish in a Versace gown, and has an interview with EDS January 2nd:

Tattoos are cool. They fashionably broadcast your chic rebellious angst, piss off your parents, and make you feel at one with Dennis Rodman. Trouble is, all these warm, fuzzy feelings disappear after about five minutes. And tattoos are forever--at least until now. Remove every case of bad pigmentation judgment you ever exercised over your body simply and cleanly. And if you have spider veins and unsightly scars, you can get rid of those along with your G N' R emblem. Visit North Dallas Vascular Associates, 403 W. Campbell Road, Suite 310, Richardson, (972) 498-7680.

For the person who gets lost in his own driveway and thinks Bangladesh is a gizmo for storing bracelets:  

Give the gift of knowing where you are at all times, at least on paper. With over 3,000 updates and revisions, Mapsco street guides ($29.95) are the most current, accurate, and detailed map books available. And for those who need to know our place in the world, give the gift the Flat Earth Society hates: a beautiful globe ranging from the 3.3-inch mini globe ($5.50) to the 32-inch Diplomat Globe on a mahogany hardwood stand ($6,000). Mapsco Map & Travel Centers: 5308 Maple, (214) 521-2131; and 11811 Preston , (972) 960-1414.

For the person who needs a shot of go-go juice just to snore properly:
Let's face it, anyone who wanted to could bring this country to its knees simply by cutting off our coffee supply. Do your part for strategic defense. Give someone a Starbucks coffee gift pack that includes sampler packages, a stainless steel Barista set, coffee mugs and tumblers, chocolates, and tea sets. From $10.95 to $399; 36 Metroplex locations.

For the person who likes to suck spirits and cook while getting spiritual listening to Christmas carols:

Start things off with a stiff martini from "the bullet" cocktail shaker and two martini glasses. Then get into the spirit of the season with Menus & Music for Christmas, a holiday cookbook and 60-minute Christmas CD. Finally, chant over your meal while it's cooking (turn the stereo down a little for this) while burning incense sticks (a variety of fragrances are available) from Provence, France, in a handsome leaf-design incense burner. Nuvo, 3900 Cedar Springs, (214) 522-6886.

For the person who thinks healthy food is for holiday mice:
Admit it: Everyone craves rich, salty goodies during the holidays. Why else were New Year's resolutions invented? Satiate your gift list with Goodies from Goodman gift tins and buckets including peanut-butter fudge, nuts, bing cherries and chocolate almonds, caramel corn, and cookies. Plus, they have 10-pound smoked turkeys and smoked hams. Corporate logo gift orders available. Goodies from Goodman--too beautiful to eat...almost. (972) 484-3236 or (800) 535-3136.

For the person who needs party trays to survive a year of entertaining:
Ever think of giving anyone a gift certificate to a grocery store? Of course not. Grocery stores smell like old ham, and they're only fun on free-sample day. Unless it's a grocery store with fresh, unique foods. Fiesta has perfect gift ideas like bread baskets made of bread and filled with pastries, exotic or traditional produce fruit baskets, shrimp party trays, and panetome (Italian cake), as well as fresh flowers, a deli, and more. Gift certificates are available from $5 to $100. Fiesta, 5334 Ross at Henderson; 9727 Webb Chapel (new location!); 611 West Jefferson; and 303 Lancaster at Kiest.

For the person who thinks bagel fetishism doesn't get its just deserts during the holidays:

Don't forget those on your list with a lust for donut-shaped yeast rolls with that classic dense, chewy texture. Hit them with an unexpected gift combo this holiday season. The nosh box ($29.99) comes with a dozen bagels, pound cake, chocolate-covered bagel chips, chocolate chip cookies, one pound of coffee, and a mug. Or get a bag of doggie bagels (95 cents each) for the bagel enthusiast who also has a fetch fetish. Einstein Bros., (214) 221-0787.

For the person who thinks a condom fashion show would be a swell idea:
The NFL has yet to license a series of condoms, but that doesn't mean you can't get X-mas condoms or select from an additional 150 prophylactic styles. Pair your condom stocking...er...stuffer with other great gifts, including fantasy kits (we swear this stuff is legal), oils and mood enhancers, and lingerie. Plus, check out the assortment of leather restraints, paddles, floggers, masks, and chastity belts. While Santa may know who's been bad or good, it's hard for the rest of us to know, so it's better to be on the safe side. Priscilla's, Where Fun and Fantasy Meet. Three locations: Lake Worth, (817) 237-5770; Fort Worth, (817) 244-8008; and Dallas, (214) 828-2727.

For the person who likes to light up his or her Freudian symbolism:
Store 'em, pack 'em, enjoy 'em with a beverage. It's easy at Nicole's, where you'll find a huge selection of cigars, a 50-cigar capacity humidor with a hardwood exterior and a cedar lining ($99.95), cigar gift packs ($25-$75), and a great selection of old and new barware. Plus, to battle stogie stench, choose from among the best, longest-burning candles made anywhere in more than 20 fragrances. Nicole's, 3611 Greenville, (214) 821-3740.

For the person who likes to roll around in the mud and then get scrubbed and waxed...all without four-wheel drive:

If mud can be exotic and luxurious, then this is the place to get it. Give that special person on your list a Rain Forest Mud treatment, a rare gourmet earth immersion that works wonders on the skin. Follow that with a deep-pore facial cleansing and corrective, and a waxing that renders smooth, shimmering skin while it retards hair growth over long periods of time. Holiday mud treatment special, $100; facials, $65-$85; half-day and full-day packages available. DayBreak Salon/Spa, Preston and Forest, (972) 387-4247.  

For the person who likes to spin through the holidays:
Choose from a selection of beautiful, decorative dreidels ($4-$100); brass, silver-plated, ceramic, or glass menorahs ($12-$300); Hanukkah music and videos; and holiday books, toys, and games. Find it all at The Source gift shop, 7900 Northaven Road, (214) 739-2737.

For the person who likes the relaxing sound of a steady tinkle:
Nothing is more restful or inspiring than the sound of trickling water--when it isn't pouring from a hole in your roof onto the top of your $7,500 home-entertainment center. So why tempt the fates? Outfit someone on your list with an elegant or whimsical fountain to soothe and amuse them at home or the office. The office? From $160-$1,5000 at Bear Creek Gallery, 6932 Snider Plaza, (214) 750-9880.

For the person who would have finished first in his class at Top Gun school, except he's afraid of flying:

You don't need a 90 degree trajectory up to 60,000 feet to be a flyboy who gets oohs and aahs for his stellar aviation skills. You just need a gift certificate to Air Combat School, a fighter-pilot training program that incorporates full-scale, hydraulic-motion, single-seat flight simulators. Air sickness bags not included. Air Combat, 921 Six Flags Drive, Arlington, (817) 640-1886.

For the lounge lizard with more CDs than you can shake a forked tongue at:
In the midst of sweltering Texas summers, you'll often find lots of little lizards crawling up your walls. Why not put one of 'em to work holding your White Zombie retrospective? Get your grunge, metal, or Donny Osmond fan a wall-mounted flat black steel lizard CD rack ($34.99) with slots for 40 single CDs and three doubles. Is there any better way to say, "I'll hold your gifts of music for you if you keep feeding me flies"? Get it at Eurway, 4720 Alpha Road, (972) 445-5208.

For the person with patio pyromania:
They'll need a large outdoor fireplace to immolate slow-moving bugs and stupid Father's Day ties. Available in a wide assortment of colors, these clay Chimineas ($95-$200) are complete with metal stands. Odd Pot Trading Co., 2900 N. Henderson, (214) 887-9455.

For the person whom you'd like to experience the rewards of annoying Internet hype:

Those TV ads are right. The Internet will revolutionize the world. Take air travel: What you could once accomplish with a five-minute phone call, you can now take care of in close to two hours of pointing and clicking over the Internet. Why not share these high-tech conveniences with a loved one? Give them a subscription to Internet America, where they can have a personalized e-mail address, ski the Web (surf boards aren't fast enough these days), even publish their own Web page. That way, you can get multimedia life updates on your loved ones in real time via a point and click session instead of those annoying phone calls. Internet America, $19.95/mo., unlimited access plus $29.95 set-up fee. Web site $1.67/mo. with subscription. Call (800) BE-A-GEEK.

For the person who believes you can never have enough Santa facsimiles:
Folk art is hip. So why not get your folk-art version of largest toy distributor in the world? Carved and painted wood sculptures, these Santas are original works by Texas artists and range in size from a 6-inch-tall stick Santa to a 40-inch monster. From $90-$290 at American Artistry, 6829 Snider Plaza, (214) 692-1092.

For the gardener who thinks troweling in the dirt with tulip bulbs would make a swell role-playing game:

And thank the gods someone has done it. Greenfingers is a game from England dedicated to the gardening enthusiast as well as to those who can't tell the difference between a silk flower and a rosebush. The object of the game is...well let's just say it costs $50, and gardeners everywhere seem to love it. The Urban Gardener, 305 Centre Street, (214) 943-6785.

For the person who likes to be ogled at while ogling holiday garishness:
At a loss on what to get for the hopelessly sentimental on your list after you've already given them the Barry Manilow retrospective and the complete remastered video library of The Waltons? How about a Christmas-lights tour by limousine? They pick you up, show you some of the greatest power drainers in the city, and then drop you off at home. And as an added bonus, any eggs catapulted from homeowners sick of being on a street drawing crowds of Italian-lights groupies mess up their car, not yours. Limos 4U, four-hour tour Max, $159, 3030 Ross Avenue, (214) 349-LIMO.  

For the person who likes handmade body ornaments:
You'll find hundreds of beautiful, distinctive pieces created from sterling silver, fused glass, copper, and precious and semiprecious stones from $10-$90. This stuff says "stuff me in sock" all over it. Art Encounter, 230 Spanish Village, Coit & Arapaho, (972) 726-7220.

For the woman with the man who shamelessly delights himself in women's lingerie without being named Marv:

Face it: A woman melts before a man who boldly enters a lingerie shop and tastefully sets about redecorating her personal spaces. Let Sheers be the recipient of your sensual intestinal fortitude. With all things bodywise--including hosiery, lingerie, bridal wear, and shaping implements like Donna Karan waist cinchers and bottom lifters--Sheers will make underwear your overture. Sheers, The Body Bar, Oak Lawn at Wycliff, (214) 528-7292.

For the people who like to sit on their butts as well as smoke them:
Appropriate cigar enthusiasm requires all of the right accoutrements: the right smokes, a humidor, strips of cedar for ignition, a good ashtray, a ventilation system, and...the right chair. This premier club chair is finished in fabric printed with cigar boxes, nailhead trim, and legs of solid, turned wood. Its dark brown and taupe hues say, "smoke one on me." Available for $600 at Globetrotter, 1801 Dragon Street, (214) 744-4732.

For the person who wants a pet that doesn't cost much to replace and whohas already seen all of the aquarium videos at least twice:

The real thing is always better than the movie--unless, of course, it's a Courtney Love feature film. So get your perplexed wannabe pet owner a 37-gallon Fishstuff (what happened to nice round numbers?) aquarium with wet-dry filtration and an advanced three-bulb fluorescent lighting system in a beautiful oak cabinet. Plus, there are more than 1,000 wood finishes to choose from. Available for $599 at Aquarium Warehouse, 1401-A Floyd Road in Richardson, (972) 480-9779.

For the lame duck in the kitchen who needs a good, swift kick in the turkey tush from a ragin' gobbler:

Get 'em prepped with a zesty Cajun turkey plus all the right sides, including jambalaya ($2.50), mashed potatoes and gravy ($2.50), crawfish salad ($2.50), and dirty rice ($2.50). What does a Cajun "gobble gobble" sound like, anyway? Ten- to 15-pounders, $35 at LuLu's, 2621 McKinney, (214) 969-1927.

For the person who's in a knickknack conundrum:
Knickknack confusion is a horrible affliction that's painful to watch and usually leads to hoarding precious, cute collectibles from Hallmark that should immediately be put into service as plinking-range targets. Stop this temporary condition before nausea sets in. Give beautiful hand-crafted Bohemian crystal, hand-carved German nutcrackers (Are these for pecans or fascist S&M games?), music boxes, and unique toys. Plus, one-of-a-kind, signed pieces are available. Ruby Queen Bohemian Crystal and Art: Plano, Ruisseau Village, 221 West Parker, (972) 881-7749; and Dallas, 3419A Milton Street, Snider Plaza, (214) 265-7177.

For the person whose taste in frames is better than their taste in art:
Choose from a wide selection of hand-painted frames for photos, prints, or posters. These frames can be customized as personal gifts for anyone on your list including pets...Are there some people out there who frame their pets? From $50-$450 at State St. Gallery, 2606 State St., (214) 220-0556.

For the gear goon or gadget gidget who needs a mobile phone for the jet ski:
There should never be a time when a person on your list is out of touch. That's why Samsung Sprint PCS digital phone ($150) is such a swell gift--free voice mail, caller ID, and crystal-clear digital calls throughout Texas--at a great price. Or perhaps you know someone who has fantasies of being on a mob hit list. Humor them with a keyless auto entry system with remote engine start ($199). And for those who believe the Texas highway system has a speed limit, play right into their transportation role-playing games with a combination radar-laser detector ($250) that comes with a guarantee against tickets. Does that mean that if you show the officer your written radar-detector guarantee, he'll just tell you to have a nice day and maybe slow down a little? Get it all at Joseph's Electronics, 2929 N. Galloway, (972) 613-0096.

For the person whose abstract nachos sculpture in petrified Cheddar needs some other pieces to set it off:

Enhance your main pieces with beautiful Mexican enhancements. Choose from handmade wood crosses covered in tin and colored glass jewels from San Miguel de Allende ($15-$175); hand-carved wood figures including reindeer, mermaids, lizards, cats and devils from Oaxaca ($15-$3,000); and clay figures such as nativity scenes, saints and Adam and Eve ($10-$700). Casa Mexicana, 2616 Elm Street, Deep Ellum, (214) 747-7227.  

For the person who thinks a couple of Japanese tea ceremonies might hedge against Asian stock-market sputters:

They can begin their ceremony with a beautiful Japanese tea set that comes complete with two, four, or five cups ($25-$80). Or perhaps you'd prefer something a little stronger for those Asian-market sniffles that make New York sneeze: a Japanese sake set with two or four cups ($13.50-$30). You'll also find a wide selection of Japanese plates, bowls, soy dishes, and platters to stuff in that fireplace sock ($.99-$35). Portable gas grills ($69) and rice cookers ($37.95-$199.95) available too. Kazy's Gourmet, 9256 Markville, (972) 235-4831.

For the person who doesn't really believe in "good luck" voodoo, but has run out of straight pins, so they're willing to try anything:

Give the gift of magic with a hand-crafted voodoo doll made from wood, straw, and ceramic that's especially designed to deliver good luck ($225). Or perhaps a beautiful sculpture of Degas' "Ballerina," ($225) or Erte's bronze sculpture "Justice" ($4,400) would bring in all the luck, if not beauty. Find it all at Empty Walls Gallery, northeast corner of Preston and Royal, (214) 369-9989.

For the person who would like to see a likeness of themselves in watercolor or acrylic:

It used to be that only kings and aristocrats commissioned artists to have their portraits painted. Now you can do the commissioning for anyone on your list, including your dog...or maybe even your canary. Pat Kochan, an artist well known for her "Downtown Dallas Series," accepts commission work on any subject or size, from miniature to eight feet on canvas or paper. All Kochan needs for the work are pictures, fabrics, sketches, and your ideas. Commissions for Christmas delivery must be received by December 1. A truly distinctive gift set apart from all of the rest. Artisan's Studio-Gallery, 2825 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch, (972) 488-8182.

For the person who thinks the best place to taste wine is shoulder-to-shoulder with rows and rows of commercial jetliners:

And it is, in Texas at least. You can experience more than 30 different Texas wines at La Bodega Winery, the world's first and only producing commercial winery in a major international airport. (What's next? A fully operational winery in a subway?) Browse through La Bodega's wide selection of wine-related gifts as well as cigars and gourmet items. La Bodega Winery, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Terminal 2E, Gate 6, (972) 574-1440.

For the person desperate to turn their body into an addiction:
And it can be done quickly and cheaply with no fuss and lots of mess, which the best addictions always have. Load up all of the stuffable stockings on your list with chocolate body paint ($9.95) and watch the need for 12-step programs explode among your friends and family. Or give the gift of healing this holiday season with dysfunctional family relief religious candles ($12.00). Other hot gifts include limited-edition pilsner ($32), milk ($20), and shot glasses ($21). Art Gallimaufry, 3515 Oak Lawn, (214) 528-1577.

For the person who needs to get away for the holidays before they ever come:
And who doesn't? What with all of the decorating, mummified turkeys, in-laws, battle-hardened fruitcakes, old college keg-drainers dropping by from out of town, and fat old men and midgets traipsing across your roof, it's a wonder more of us aren't checked in for a lengthy stay at a state mental health spa. Well, from November 28 through December 24, you can send someone on your list to a luxurious regrouping at the Stoneleigh Hotel. "Holidays at the Stoneleigh" packages range from a deluxe guest room only, to a deluxe guest room with breakfast, dinner, gifts, shopping excursions, and tickets to "A Christmas Carol" at the Arts District Theater. Package prices range from $99 to $270. The Stoneleigh Hotel, 2927 Maple Avenue, (800) 255-9299.

For the barfly who wants to know how high they got before they fell off:
Give that special high-performance beverage aficionado on your list a maple barstool with a swivel memory ($45), so they'll always remember where they left off. Or, how about a doll for that loved one who wants to role-play as the nation's No. 1 law enforcer--J. Edgar Hoover-style? The Drag Queen Doll with Red Satin Tutu ($44) is the perfect fantasy aid for real men who dream of taking down real bad guys without running their stockings. Or for those who want to test the sheer strength of their trigger finger, give them a challenge fit for an Olympiad: a speed-dial, redial, and multiple-option automated voice-system triathlon on a 1940s vintage black rotary phone ($120). And for the strongly opinionated on your list, there's the amber large-mouth bass vase with blue glass trim ($65). The Consignment Solution, 4101 Bryan, (214) 827-8022.  

For someone who was really bad over the past 12 months and now has to make up for it with a few "best friends":

Fill out all of those credit-card solicitations and get started. Diamonds by Drake has lots of goodies to make up for any bone-headed things that might have gone on over the past year--leaving the toilet seat up, for instance. Choose from loose diamond solitaires at one carat ($3,500-$6,000); platinum diamond mountings ($750-$5,000); loose pearls ($250-$400); and pre-owned Rolex watches ($2,000-$12,500). Diamonds by Drake, 18352 Dallas Parkway, (972) 447-0400.

For that special someone who fell asleep listening to "In a Gadda Da Vida" with the blacklight on in 1971, and now they're awake and want to know who the hell canceled Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In:

Everyone loves a light source that looks like a gestating alien in Gymboree class. So get everyone on your list a lava lamp for every room in the house--especially the kitchen, where appetites need to be stimulated, and the living room, where guests need to be impressed. Choose from 20 different color combinations (avocado and harvest gold?) in two sizes, from $58.99-$229.99. Elliot's Hardware, 4901 Maple at Motor St., (214) 634-9900.

For the person who needs "old coot softener" that works gently overnight:
Know a scrooge? Sure. We all do. Maybe even you're one. So head on over to the Pocket Sandwich Theater and pick up some tickets to Ebenezer Scrooge--A Christmas Musical before those annoying ghosts who keep trying to teach us verb tenses start pestering us while we're trying to pilfer a few cents from the downtrodden. Performances run Thursday-Sunday, November 28-December 23. Tickets are $6-$12. Pocket Sandwich Theater, 5400 E. Mockingbird, (214) 821-1860.

For those who wonder, "Who is Richard Gere, and why is he always whining about Tibet?":

"Free Tibet" is the favorite mantra for Hollywood types who run around being pleased with themselves when they're not mumbling $20 million worth of dialogue in special-effects carnivals. But what's so great about Tibet anyway? And is it near Minnetonka, Minnesota? Well, besides being close to Mt. Everest, which is about to topple over from media overload, Tibet, as well as Nepal, has a hauntingly fascinating culture. Experience a part of it with beautiful and unusual pieces, including prayer wheels, prayer flags, jewelry, masks, and hand-painted artifacts from Far Fetched Imports. You can also arrange for mountain treks, tours of Tibet and sightseeing trips in Nepal, white-water rafting trips, and jungle safaris right in the store--by the far the most unforgettable gifts imaginable. Far Fetched Imports, 2818 Elm Street, (214) 651-7595.

For those who play hooky on Sunday:
Everyone has someone on their list who needs a little spiritual revival. Why not be the spark with a beautiful pewter cross? Over 20 styles to choose from at $15-$100. The Armoire Store, 10745 Preston Road, (214) 696-2684.

For the person who rarely gives the top of the head a second thought:
How many people would think of a scalp treatment as a swell gift? That's why, if you treat those on your list with this unique gift, you'll be known as someone who uses their head in the service of other heads, or something like that. Visit Hakan International's scalp treatment center for a series of five scalp treatments. Supplement this luxurious head pampering with a gift package of wild jasmine-scented candles, lotion, and shower gel. Soaps by Aveda are also available. Hakan International, 5601 Lovers Lane, (214) 352-7555.

For the golfer who needs to get some practice in during off-hours:
Know someone who is sick and tired of the movement of the solar system wreaking havoc with their tee times? Get that special lover of dimpled balls a pair of night-vision monoculars, binoculars, or goggles ($299.95-$999.95). These special vision enhancers offer daylight viewing at night, amplifying existing light as much as 35,000 times, so they'll have more trouble finding balls in broad daylight. Never let the rotation of the earth come between your loved ones and their bliss in life. Spy Supply, Inc., 2301 N. Central Expressway, Plano, (972) 392-4779.

For the person who sings like Barry Switzer snoring through a jew's harp and needs exposure to beautiful vocalization:

Early settlers on the prairie were driven daffy by the deafening silence across the endless expanse of grasses--so much so that they equipped their sod houses with cages of canaries to soothingly break the silence. Now you can fill the home of someone on your gift list with the beautiful sounds of the world's most popular song bird. Available in a variety of colors, from $50-$90 each. Backtalk Bird Center, 6959 Arapaho Road, (972) 960-2473.  

For the Nine Inch Nails fan who keeps opening the garage door during channel-surfing frenzies:

First you need to equip your "Nails" fan with quality headphones. Because while Trent Reznor writes some awfully beautiful sentimental music, listening to it while preparing dinner might drive you to season everything with lighter fluid. That's where the Grado 8R-60 headphones ($69) come in. This lightweight headphone offers superlative sound, and it's designed for use with portable as well as home audio systems. Or consolidate all of your remote needs and avoid unwanted interference with the Marantz RC2000 Handheld Learning Remote Control which can operate every piece of electronic equipment in your home entertainment system. Capable of learning 32 different functions for 10 different pieces of equipment (garage door function unavailable at this time). Wavelength Audio Video, 9780 LBJ Freeway, (214) 341-5800.

For the person who can never have too many accessories:
Accessorize someone this holiday season with beautiful details like authentic Victorian or contemporary evening bags ($32-$240); hand-crocheted beaded shawls ($56-$154); heavy antique silver wrist chains ($48-$138); and 1950s-style aluminum lighters. Avant, 2716 Greenville Avenue, (214) 824-0260.

For the lover of exotic jewels:
Obtain some beautiful, one-of-kind pieces from Ylang-Ylang, including wire-wrapped stone and sterling pieces from Beth Orduna, South Sea pear pendants from Erica Courtney, and Monkey candlesticks from Lazaro. Designer Erica Courtney will be on hand for a personal appearance and holiday trunk show on Friday, December 12, from 1-6 p.m., and on Saturday, December 13, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with pieces from her new collection. Ylang-Ylang, 1201 Galleria, (972) 980-0819.

Thursday, November 20
"Artists & Ornaments": Robin's Nest, A Different Gallery presents "Artists & Ornaments" through December 24. Show features hand-blown glass, painted & clay ornaments. Preston Forest Shopping Center 11700 Preston Rd. (214) 265-0067.

Friday, November 21
Teatro Dallas presents its 5th International Theater Festival every Friday and Saturday through December 6. All shows are highly visual and will be easily followed by the help of a libretto (like at the opera); a great way to test your Spanish. This Friday and Saturday (21 &22): "Dona Rosita Jalapeno Kitchen" by Rodrigo Duarte Clark. Rosita tells us about her life. In Spanglish. This hilarious piece is performed by Mexican American actress Ruby Perez from San Antonio. All shows are at 8:15 p.m. Performances are held at 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $15. Call (214) 741-1135 for more information.

The Dallas Opera: Billy Budd, an opera in four acts by Benjamin Britten; libretto by E.M. Forster and Eric Crozier. Performances: November 21, 23 (matinee), 25, and 29. Sung in English. Call (214) 443-1043 for times and ticket information.

Bizarre Christmas Sale: Art Encounter is taking 20% off everything in the Gallery. All art work: oils, watercolors, jewelry, pottery, wood turnings, ceramics, etc. Sale through November 23. 230 Spanish Village - Coit and Arapaho. (972) 726-7220.

Book Signing: Historian Charlene Ragsdale, Ph.D. to sign new work, Living Longer Than Hate: A Story of Survival and Success, at Borders in Lewisville at 7:30 p.m. Biography chronicles Houstonian's business and family triumphs. Call (972) 459-2481 for more details.

Paws & Presents: Want to help a furry orphan this holiday season? Don't know where to go? Through December 31, NorthPark is once again "adopting" the SPCA of Texas to provide special homes for cuddly cats and dogs. The SPCA of Texas Adoption Pavilion will be located between Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor. Paws and Presents is just another charitable way of helping the animals at the SPCA of Texas during the holidays! Call Carrie Clark, (214) 651-9611, Ext. 143 for more info.

Saturday, November 22
Galleria Wonderland Express: All aboard! The Galleria Wonderland Express is pulling into the station at 10 a.m. Now in its tenth year, the Galleria Wonderland Express is Ban Bywaters' spectacular toy train exhibit that has become a Dallas holiday tradition for children of all ages. The donation is $4 for adults and $3 for children and seniors. Children under two are free. All proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children. Displayed on level III at Galleria Dallas, near Nordstrom, I-635 at Dallas North Parkway, through Sunday, January 4, 1998. For more information on the 1997 Galleria Wonderland Express, call (972) 480-5312.

"Afternoon for the Senses": Join the Palace Theatre in historic Grapevine for an "Afternoon for the Senses." An afternoon of art, wine, and music . Local and regional artists, Texas wine & music! 3-6 p.m. 308 S. Main St. (817) 421-1091.

Sunday, November 23
Thanksgiving Service: Park Cities Presbyterian welcomes visitors to its Thanksgiving service from 4-4:30 p.m. 4307 Newton at the corner of Wycliff and Oak Lawn. Call (214) 523-5400 for information.  

Wednesday, November 26
Holiday Lights at Fair Park: Drive-thru tour of Christmas lights and holiday-themed displays. New this year--Santa's Village. November 26-January 4, 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m., 7 days a week. $8.00 per car. Call (214) 741-4848.

"Sleigh Ride From the Sky": A Christmas fundraiser benefiting disabled, disadvantaged and seriously ill children set to take romantic, business, and family flights for a "ride in the sky" to see the Christmas lights over Dallas. Flights are from 6-10 p.m. on various nights, November 28 through December 28. Please call Lonna Harris for more information and reservations at (214) 353-7000. Seating is limited, and reservations must be made by November 26.

Thursday, November 27
YMCA Turkey Trot: Come join the Dallas YMCA for its 30th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot at Dallas City Hall Plaza at 9:00 a.m. The event consists of an 8-mile race, a 3-mile fun run, and an 8-mile wheelchair race. Bring the whole family and enjoy Family Pavilion Tent with various activities for children. Call (214) 954-0500 for registration and information.

Friday, November 28
Highland Park Village Goes Red: Twenty-First Annual Tree Lighting Festival begins at 5 p.m. Zorya-Ukrainian Dancers of Dallas, who have performed as the opening act for Yakov Smirnoff and the Kiev Boys' Choir and at the internationally renowned Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, will be performing the Hopak (Russian dance of celebration), the Honyvitar (wind dance), and the Chumak (the salt trader dance) in their traditional style and custom-made costumes. Russian hors d'oeuvres in addition to Starbucks coffee, hot chocolate, gingerbread cookies, and pastries will be offered throughout the evening. Highland Park Village's version of the troika (the Russian sleigh) will be taking guests on complimentary sleigh rides through the historic residential area. At 6:30 p.m., the Christmas tree will be lit, immediately followed by the arrival of Santa Claus in a troika. After the ceremonial lighting, children are invited to be photographed with Santa and entertained by Frosty, Rudolph, and the Nutcracker. Call (214) 559-2740 for more information.

Santa cruises along the Mandalay Canal on weekends through December 23. The Mandalay Canal, one block north of State Highway 114 on O'Connor Road at Las Colinas Boulevard. Ticket prices: $3.75 adults; $1.50, children 12-3; children 3 and under free. Contact: (972) 556-0625 or (972) 869-4321.

"All I Want For Christmas": This is the theme for the "Parade of Lights," the event that has kicked off the holiday season for Fort Worth and Tarrant County for well over a decade. The parade begins at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse on Main St., goes down Main to 8th Street, west on 8th Street, then north on Houston St. The Tree Lighting Ceremony will follow the parade at 7:30 p.m. at General Worth Square. New this year is the "Parade of Lights" Craft Fair from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. at the Worthington Hotel. Call (817) 870-1692 for more information.

Operation Kindness: Santa poses with pets to benefit Operation Kindness animal shelter. Join them in their 10th annual "Pet Photos with Santa" at Warehouse Photographic and Lab, 2225 Beltline at Kelly in Carrollton, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., this Friday and the following three Saturdays to pose for pictures with pets and people. Call Operation Kindness at (972) 418-0938 or Warehouse Photographic and Lab at (972) 416-7110.

Teddy Bear Village: Over 1,000 teddy bears in all shapes and sizes make an impressive display at the Teddy Bear Village during its second year run at Valley View Center. On display through December 30. $1 for Seniors and children 12 and under; $2 for adults. Call (214) 369-4851, ext. 12 or ext. 16 for more information.

Dallas on Ice: Dallas' only outdoor ice skating rink, Dallas on Ice, at NorthPark Center will be open to the public 7 days a week for family ice skating. Admission is $6, and skate rental is $3. Private ice rental and birthday parties available after public scheduled sessions. Call 214 421-rink for times and reservations.

"Ebenezer Scrooge": A Christmas musical version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Presented by the Pocket Sandwich Theater on weekends through December 23. Tickets $6-$12. Performed at 5400 E. Mockingbird, #119. Call (214) 821-1860 for info.

"Dickens of a Christmas": The Downtown McKinney Association will present the annual celebration in historic downtown McKinney. Merchants will be attired in Victorian costumes. Activities will begin at 10 a.m. A tree lighting will be held at the old courthouse at 6 p.m. Stores will reopen until 8:30 p.m. for your Christmas shopping. Join them again on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. as the children gather for breakfast with Santa. Activities will conclude at 5 p.m. Saturday. Call (972) 382-4727 for directions and more information.  

Saturday, November 29
Preston Park Village Tree Lighting: From 4-6 p.m., Santa will be on site with his reindeer to visit with kids & have pictures made. At 6 p.m. Santa will light a 30 ft. live Christmas tree! Preston at W. Park in Plano. (817) 625-1289.

1997 "Christmas on the Boulevard": Jefferson Blvd. will be decorated with Christmas lights and banners starting November 29. To bring in the holiday season, live entertainment will be provided from 3 to 7 p.m. Booths from area businesses will be set up along with great local shopping. 611 W. Jefferson Blvd. Call (214) 948-4336 or 943-3662.

Holiday Carriage Rides: For the eleventh consecutive holiday season, Highland Park Village will offer horse-drawn holiday carriage rides through the historic residential areas of Highland Park. Rides will operate nightly through December 30, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Prices vary. To make reservations daily call (214) 521-ride, or individuals may purchase tickets from the Ginger Bread House at the center court of Highland Park Village.

Sunday, November, 30
Food for the Soul: The Body & Soul Homeless Ministry and the Stewpot are providing a unique outlet for the homeless this December through arts programs. They have organized an exhibit to display works, including drawings, paintings, sculpture, woodcarving, pottery, and needlework. The exhibit may be viewed in Gallery 4 of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young, through January 15. Call (214) 760-1400.

Dallas Cowboy tickets: Borders Books and Music in Lewisville will be holding its drawing of a winning entry at 3 p.m. for tickets to the Dallas Cowboys-Carolina Panthers game on December 8. Tickets donated by the publishers of You Know You Are a Dallas Fan If.... Call (972) 459-2481 for details.

Holiday Toy Drive: The holiday season is approaching, and that means it's time again for the Turtle Creek Chorale's annual holiday toy drive benefiting Children's Medical Center. Take an unwrapped gift or toy to any of the Chorale holiday concerts at the Meyerson. Today at 8 p.m.; Dec. 3, at 8 p.m.; Dec. 7 at 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. Call (214) 526-3214, ext. 108.

Monday, December 1
Carols and Lights: Ring in the season with the lighting of the city's Christmas tree in Grapevine's Main Street historic district, and join choirs and families as they gather to sing traditional Christmas carols at the Town Square Gazebo on Main Street. A canned food drive will help the less fortunate--please bring a donation. Call (817) 410-3185 for more information.

Wednesday, December 3
Organ Concert: Take a break from the holiday rush and enjoy a noon concert by Russ Rieger at the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church. Followed by lunch in the Fellowship Hall. 3014 Oak Lawn Ave. Call (214) 521-5197 for details.

Thursday, December 4
Holiday Gallery Night: All members of the Dallas Gallery District Association (29 Galleries in Uptown and North Dallas), will be open from 6-9 p.m. featuring artists and special events in each gallery. The Uptown tree lighting ceremony will be on McKinney Avenue at 7p.m. Call (214) 754-7070.

Parade of Lights: An excellent Christmas photo opportunity in historic Grapevine. Join the city in its 17th Annual Christmas "Parade of Lights" at 7 p.m. on Main St. Parade begins at the Convention Center and heads north on Main to Wall Street. Call Michael W. Woody at (800) 457-6338 or metro (817) 410-3185.

Don't Get Malled!: An evening of Shopping in Deep Ellum! Receive 10 to 50% off selected items at the following participating merchants: Mark & Larry's Stuff, Hill Country Experience, The Arrangement Southwest Furniture, Insomnia Coffee Bar, Casa Mexicana, Articles, and Wild At Heart. Discounts vary by store. Call (214) 747-8833 or (214) 747-7227.

Friday, December 5
Whistle Stop: Grapevine does a nostalgic Whistle Stop Christmas in Grapevine's historic district. Children can visit with Santa, stop by the blacksmith shop for roasted chestnuts, wind their way through Frosty's Snow Fort Maze, and enjoy a hayride. They can also learn how to make their own Christmas ornaments, visit with McGruff the Crime Dog to learn about Christmas tree safety, try their hand at exploring the internet on the GTE Amazing Yellow Adventure Bus, and a whole lot more. Times for these free activities will be from 1-7 p.m. Also Saturday, December 6, and December 12 and 13. Call (800) 457-6338 or metro (817) 410-3185.

Bear Creek Gallery: Join a three-day celebration of over 100 artists. Opening reception 6-9 p.m., 6932 Snider Plaza. Call (214) 750-9880.

Texas Harp Ensemble: Grapevine's historic Palace Theatre will host holiday entertainment. The Texas Harp Ensemble will perform as a part of the Grapevine Heritage Foundation's '97-'98 concert series; performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Call (800) 457-6338 or metro (817) 410-3185 for more information.  

The Nutcracker: Presented by the Irving Ballet Company. At Carpenter Hall, Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., between Highways 114 and 183. Prices range from $10- $22. Call (972) 252-7558 for details. Through December 7.

Christmas in Old Downtown Plano: Downtown Plano and Haggard Park, 901 E 15th St. Admission is free. Call (972) 461-7250 for more details. Through Saturday, December 6.

Open House: Join City Center Antiques and Design District for two delightful days (through Saturday December 6) of shopping in unique stores, eating in tempting restaurants, and exploring an area that is coming alive with antiques, florists, gifts, custom furniture, upholsterers, and much much more! You can register to win a $250 or a $100 gift certificate that can be used at any of the member shops. Call (214) 741-2390 for information.

Saturday, December 6
Grapevine Opry: Grapevine's historic Palace Theatre will host holiday entertainment by the Grapevine Opry, which will perform their country Christmas program at 7:30 p.m. Performances are also on December 13 and 20. Call 800/457-6338 or metro (817) 410-3185 for more information.

Open House: The Urban Gardener invites you to a festive holiday open house all day. Enjoy Christmas carolers, hot cider, and holiday treats. Five percent of all Christmas tree sales this day will be donated to Rosemont PTA to help a local family this Christmas. 305 Centre St. Call (214) 943-6785.

Jesuit Christmas Bazaar '97: Over 50 specialty booths of finely hand-crafted items, fun, food, music, entertainment, baked goods, and breakfast with Santa! Santa's Workshop: Story hours, crafts, Santa letters, and more. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jesuit College Prep Campus, 12345 Inwood. Admission is free. Reservations only, call (972) 458-1348. For information call (214) 321-2215.

Christmas Parade: 10th Annual Christmas Parade and Santa in the Park. Heritage Park, Second and Main Streets, downtown Irving. Call (972) 259-1249 for details.

Babes in Toyland: Casa Manana Children's Playhouse, 3101 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth. This traditional Christmas favorite and family treasure is filled with Mother Goose characters and beautiful, memorable music. Mean-spirited Uncle Barnaby wants to ruin Christmas for everyone, but young sweethearts Mary and Alan join Santa and his elves to save the holiday. Performances are at 7:30 p.m Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. All tickets are $7. Call (817) 332-2272, ext. 123.

The Christmas Witch: Gloria, a young apprentice witch, discovers the miracle of Christmas can heal hearts and unite bitter enemies, in this seasonal extravaganza filled with flying, fantasy, and fun in acclaimed children's author/illustrator Steven Kellogg's heartwarming holiday musical! Adapted by Linda Daugherty, with lyrics and music by Gordon Hunt and Amanda McBroom. Brought to you by Dallas Children's Theater. Performances are at El Centro College at Main and Market Streets in downtown Dallas through December 21. Call (214) 978-0110.

Not a Creature Was Stirring?: An original holiday treat created by the company that dazzled audiences with last year's breathtakingly delightful Nutcracker. On this adventure-filled Christmas Eve many creatures are energetically stirring as Malcolm and Millicent Mouse and their family jubilantly decorate for the holiday season! A touching affirmation of family and the uniting power of love. Performances through December 28 at The Crescent Theater. Call (214) 978-0110 for information.

Stockyards Station Holidays: Join the Stockyards Station every Saturday in December for holiday entertainment and visits with Santa from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 130 E. Exchange Ave in Fort Worth. Call (817) 625-9715 for more information.

Tales of Christmas: British public speaker and book reviewer Judith Dyer will present "Tales of Christmas" at 3:30 p.m. at the Renner Frankford Branch Library, 6400 Frankford Road. She will speak about Christmas traditions and stories from Europe and the British Isles that span 2,000 years. Her tales include pagan rituals, saints, and English kings. For more information, call (214) 680-6100.

Holiday Shopping Party: Refreshments, margaritas and shopping at The Cave. There will be a $50 gift certificate giveaway. The Cave at 5618 Bell. Call (214) 824-5566.

Gloria Schirpik - Folk Artist: Austin, Texas, folk artist Gloria Schirpik presents her holiday collection of whimsical folk art, priced at $35-$375. You can meet the artist from noon to 4 p.m. at the American Artistry gallery, 6829 Snider Plaza. Exhibit runs through December. Call (214) 692-1092.

Candlelight at Old City Park: Hundreds of hurricane lamps illuminate the pathways. Carolers sing in full Victorian attire. Children taste sweet pioneer popcorn for the first time. And a horse-drawn surrey rolls down red brick streets. It's Candlelight at Old City Park, when Dallas' only historical village--profiled against the magnificent downtown skyline--captures the magic of holidays past. The event will be held December 6, 7, 13, 14: Saturdays 5 to 10 p.m.; Sundays 5 to 9 p.m.. 1717 Gano Street. Tickets: $3 to $8. Call (214) 421-5141 for more details or visit the internet site at www.oldcitypark.org.  

Santa's Annual Bicycle Ride: Join Santa and his elves (dress up please!) on the fun ride downtown to bring gifts and season's greetings to the kids at the shelter. Will be departing at 9 a.m. from the parking lot across from Kuby's in Snider Plaza, by SMU. Bring a wrapped gift, indicate age and gender, and have a great time riding with Santa and bringing joy to the kids. Contact Gary Zimny, (214) 357-8337 for more information.

The Neiman Marcus/ Adolphus/ Children's Parade: At 10 a.m., Dallas and the entire nation will officially usher in the holiday season with the only Christmas parade in the United States designed specifically for children. Also known as "The Miracle on Commerce Street," the parade features colorful floats, towering inflatables, award-winning marching bands, high-stepping horse units, hundreds of comical clowns and countless children's characters and celebrities. The parade begins at the corner of Lamar and Commerce Streets and continues east on Commerce to Ervay. It then extends south to City Hall Plaza, turning west to Akard. For more information, call the Parade Hotline at (214) 640-8383.

Free Holiday Greeting Card Workshop: Families and children are welcome to participate in this fun and creative workshop. Santa Claus will also be in the Main Gallery, 2-4 p.m Bring your wish lists and your cameras! Meeting rooms, Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. Mac Arthur Blvd., 2-4 p.m. Call (972) 252-7558 for more information.

Holiday Exhibition 1997: A season of Romance: Main Gallery, Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Featuring trees decorated by the IISD Parent Teacher Associations and holiday artwork by IISD elementary students. Holiday Open House and Awards Ceremony December 13, 6-9 p.m. Call (972) 252-7558 for more information.

Herbal Holiday: Every year it's hard to come up with unusual gifts that your friends and family will appreciate and will fit within your budget. Natalie Shein, owner of Good Heavens Soap Co., will teach how to make simple and elegant all-natural gifts for giving this holiday season. In this class, you will make fragrant bath salts, kitchen potpourri, and herbed teas. Class at 10 a.m., fee $25. 305 Centre St. Call (214) 943-6785.

Sunday, December 7
"Christmas Cheer Charity": The 6th annual "Christmas Cheer Charity," benefiting at-risk children. The fun, entertainment, and festivities will take place at the Hard Rock Cafe from 7 p.m. to midnight. The evening will feature a live and silent auction highlighting hundreds of beautiful home-decorating accessories, jewelry, artwork, leather jackets, watches, and many other unique gifts plus fantastic raffle prizes. Maylee Thomas and her band will headline an evening of entertainment. Call (972) 458-9770, Ext. 232.

Carols: Holiday Cheer, a singing group in full Victorian costume, will stroll through Borders Books and Music in Lewisville singing Christmas Carols for customers at 3 p.m. Following, at 5 p.m, the Renaissance Choir from Marcus High School, dressed in medieval cos tume will sing a variety of Christmas music. Call (972) 459-2481 for more information.

Monday, December 8
Handbell Choirs: Two handbell choirs from Hampton Road Baptist Church will visit the Mountain Creek Branch Library, 6102 Mountain Creek Parkway, on Monday, December 8, from 7-8 p.m. to present "It's a Family Affair: Ringing in the Holidays." For more information call (214) 670-6704.

Handbell Choirs: Come to Luby's Cafeteria at Oak lawn and Cedar Springs to listen to the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church Handbell Choir. Performance will be at 6:30-7:30 p.m. Call (214) 521-5197 for more information.

Tuesday, December 9
Birthday Party for Baby Jesus: A children's event for children of all ages. Bring unwrapped toy in honor of Baby Jesus' Birthday. It will be used to brighten a child's Christmas. Party begins at 5:30 p.m. at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, 3014 Oak Lawn Ave. Call (214) 521-5197 for more information.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Chorus Director David R. Davidson leads the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in performances of "A Christmas Celebration". This popular holiday program features favorite Christmas melodies performed by the Dallas Symphony orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Chorus, the Dallas Handbell Ensemble, and soloists Teresa Gomez, soprano; Rebecca Campbell, alto; and Donnie Ray Albert, baritone. Nine performances are all sold out, but return tickets, if available, range from $17 to $55. Call (214) 692-0203 for more information.

Thursday, December 11
Eggnoggin' & Carolin': Cafe Society will host a holiday party for kids from 5-8 p.m. Special coffees, eggnog, wines, and music. Admission: one new, unwrapped toy for area needy children. 209 Henry St at Commerce. Call (214) 745-1964 ext. 31.

Tree Lighting Ceremony: Join the City of Irving for their tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m., City Hall, 825 West Irving Blvd. Call (972) 721-2600 for details.  

"Irving's Special Christmas": Special appearances by Irving Ballet and Irving Community Concert Band. Irving City Hall, 825 W. Irving Blvd. 6:30 p.m. Free admission. For more information call (972) 721-2501.

Friday, December 12
Holiday Concert: Join the Irving Symphony Orchestra for its holiday concert at 8 p.m., Carpenter Hall, Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MarArthur Blvd. Ticket prices: $10- $30. For more information call (972) 831-8818.

The Dallas Opera: The Magic Flute. An opera in two acts by Mozart; text by Emanuel Schikaneder. Sung in the original German. Performances: December 12, 14 (matinee), 17, 20, and 27. Call (214) 443-1043 for times and ticket information.

Eddie Coker: Borders Books and Music in Lewisville will be hosting Eddie Coker, the "Pied Piper of Dallas" and the premier children's performer in the Southwest in an evening concert for children and their parents. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Call (972) 459-2481 for more information.

Saturday, December 13
Gift Wrap: You've found the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, now you need to come up with equally perfect and unique gift wrap. Legacy Trading Company will show you some quick and easy gift wrapping ideas that would make any elf proud. Five percent of all Christmas sales this day will benefit AIDS Services of Dallas. Starting at 10 a.m., 305 Centre St. Call (214) 943-6785.

Holiday in Sound '97: Irving Community Concert Band plays at 8 p.m., Carpenter Hall, Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Tickets: $7 for adults, $3 for students and seniors. Call (972) 438-6259.

Breakfast with Santa: The Rape Crisis Center of Collin County invites you to have breakfast with Santa. Admission is $8 at the Harvey Hotel. For info: (972) 985-0951.

Open House: The Oak Lawn Branch Library is hosting an open house. Everyone is invited to celebrate the completion of the first year of the Oak Lawn Branch Library in this location. Turtle Creek Chorale and Women's Chorus of Dallas will sing. Refreshments will be served in the auditorium. 4100 Cedar Springs Rd. 4-6 p.m. For more information call (214) 670-1359.

Holiday Concert: Irving Chorale's Holiday Concert with St. Mark's Boys Choir will be held at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church, 1615 W. Airport Frwy., 8 p.m. For more information, call (972) 257-1417.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Ninth annual "Deck the Hall" program provides family entertainment in the Morton H. Meyerson Center. Program begins at 10 a.m. with the Junior Group of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League. The concert also features the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, the Choristers from Booker T. Washington High School and Toni Simians, storyteller. 2301 Flora St. Ste. 300. Ticket prices range from $7 to $20. Call (214) 692-0203 or visit the box office on the upper level of NorthPark Center for tickets and information.

Cabbage Patch Kids: Beginning at 11 a.m., Borders Books and Music in Lewisville will host a children's story hour featuring the Cabbage Patch Kids and their new CD with a video and a giveaway of CDs and two Cabbage Patch Dolls. Call (972) 459-2481 for further details.

Harvest Day: Free children's activities, free sampling of winter fruits. Shop for fruit baskets, Texas pecans, poinsettias, and Christmas trees at the International Market Place (shed 2). Gourmet foods and quality gifts from around the world. Prices range from $3 to $20. Dallas Farmers Market, 1010 S. Pearl. Call (214) 939-2808.

Sunday, December 14
"Gloria": Join the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church choir, with orchestra, as they celebrate the season by experiencing "Gloria" by Vivaldi at 10:50 a.m. There's lso a toy drive distribution at 1 p.m. They will share the toys brought to Baby Jesus' Birthday Party with children selected by the missions work area. Oak Lawn United Methodist Church is located at 3014 Oak Lawn Ave. Call (214) 521-5197 for more information.

Christmas Concert: Park Cities Presbyterian Church invites visitors to their Lessons and Carols Christmas Concert at 7 p.m., 4307 Newton Court (at the corner of Wycliff and Oak Lawn). Call (214) 523-5400 for information.

Christmas Music: The Rich Matschulat Trio from Denton will perform their special brand of Christmas music in the Cafe Espresso for store patrons, beginning at 5 p.m. Call (972) 459-2481 for more information.

Thursday, December 18
Ho! Ho! Ho!: And Away You Go...Thousands of area runners, walkers and volunteers will jingle their way through Dallas' West End at the 14th Annual Jingle Bell Run. Race location is at The Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N. Akard in the Dallas Arts District. Events begin at 6 p.m. and race is at 7:15 p.m. Call (214) 351-8549 for information.

Friday, December 19
Women's Chorus of Dallas: Visions of Sugarplums, will be the opening concert for the Women's Chorus of Dallas' ninth season. The concert begins with a North Pole revolt by disgruntled elves of the female gender (elves aren't only male, you know!), spearheaded, naturally, by Mrs Santa. Tickets range from $10 - $25. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Caruth Auditorium, SMU campus. Call (214) 520-7828.  

Saturday, December 20
Las Colinas: Join Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Celebration at 8 p.m. in Carpenter Hall, Irving Arts Center, 3333N. MacArthur Blvd., between Highways 114 and 183. Ticket prices: $9, $19, $24. Call (972) 580-1566.

Soul Rep Theatre: "Habara Gani," a play about Kwanzaa, will be presented by Soul Rep Theatre at 3 p.m. in the Kahn Pavilion in the Children's Center of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young. For more information call (214) 670-1671.

Sunday, December 21
Christ Episcopal Church: Advent Lessons and Carols at 7 p.m. 534 W. Tenth Street. Call (214) 941-0339.

Christmas Concert: Oak Lawn United Methodist Church soloist will perform at 1 p.m. Caroling will start at 4 p.m. You can sing Christmas carols to the church's shut-in members. Call (214) 521-5197 for information.

The Living Christmas Card: This outstanding singing group that premiered their album by the same name last year at Borders in Lewisville, will present another outstanding Christmas concert beginning at 3 p.m. Call Borders Books and Music for more information at (972) 459-2481.

Don Cento Duo: The Don Cento Duo will perform an eclectic array of Christmas, standards, and jazz works in the Cafe Espresso. Performance is at 7 p.m. at Borders in Lewisville. Call (972) 459-2481.

Monday, December 22
The Nutcracker: Fort Worth Dallas Ballet presents The Nutcracker at the Music Hall at Fair Park beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $6 to $48. Also shows on December 23 and 26 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on December 24 at 2 p.m. Call 1-888-672-8NUT.

Tuesday, December 23
Hanukkah and Kwanzaa: Highland Hills Library has many activities planned to celebrate both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Theme: Family Celebrations--Ancient and Modern, includes daily display of banners, posters and books. Join them December 23 to celebrate with ponthskes (Hanukkah doughnuts), cheese, and hot apple cider from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, December 24, 10-11 a.m., is pre-school storytime--read stories about Hanukkah and family celebrations, with hot apple cider. Saturday, December 27, 2-4 p.m., is the Kwanzaa celebration. Play gospel and jazz CDs. Enjoy hot apple cider and tea cakes. And Wednesday, December 31, 10-11 a.m., is pre-school storytime--read stories about Kwanzaa and family celebrations, with hot apple cider. 3624 Simpson-Stuart Rd. Call (214) 670-0987 for further details.

Wednesday, December 24
Candlelight Communion service: A Holy Communion Candlelight Service will be held at the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church at 5:30 p.m. Visitors are welcome. 3014 Oak Lawn Ave., (214) 521-5197.


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