A chicken. Yes, that would be perfect. A nice ceramic chicken. Ooh, and the top half comes off, revealing a space below for cufflinks and collar stays. What a bonus! An absolutely perfect gift for Cheryl’s husband for the holidays. She asks to have it gift-wrapped while shopping for additional presents for her spouse. Hmmm, […]
When Melissa Lee McConnell and John Prentice Fuselier wed on August 7, it was a culmination of a journey that took them from where they grew up—Melissa in Mobile, Ala., Prentice in New Orleans—then meeting at University of Alabama, moving to Colorado, and ultimately relocating to New Orleans. The wedding took place in Mobile, starting […]
On Oct. 9, Christ Episcopal School celebrated its 20th anniversary. More than 350 people attended the event held in the campus’ gym, including current parents, alumni, alumni parents, faculty and staff. Special door prizes were given to attendees who had traveled the farthest, couples who had the most children attending the school and teachers who […]
The Cancer Crusaders would like to “Picture Cancer Cured,” and they invited others to join them on the night of Oct. 16 for its annual fund-raising event. This year’s sold-out soirée took place in Hotel Inter-Continental’s Grand Ballroom, which was the backdrop for a spectacle of flowers created by Glenn Vesh of Perfect Presentations. After […]
Conspicuous consumption never played so well than at Saks Fifth Avenue’s “Key to the Cure” kick-off gala and shopping weekend. The kick-off party on Oct. 14 drew a large crowd that filled Saks’ three floors, where partygoers could find food and libations, as well as entertainment from Ya Ya Soul, Don Vappie and the Creole […]
The invitation requested “creative chic attire,” but whatever guests donned on Oct. 8, a fantastic time was had by all. The Idea Village’s second annual fund-raiser, “What’s the Big Idea,” was held at the Renaissance Arts Hotel—and the “Big Idea,” by the way, is entrepreneurship—according to this local nonprofit organization. Presented by Fertile Crescent Entertainment […]
The Family Service of Greater New Orleans’ “Ten Outstanding Persons Gala” took place on Oct. 21 at the Audubon Tea Room. The gala is held to recognize ten people in the community for their civic, volunteer and charitable contributions. This year’s honorees were Edgar “Pepper” Bright Jr., Martha Caruso, Arnold Fielkow, Sylvia Guillot, Edith Gee […]
This year, City Park turned 150 years old, so there was naturally much cause to celebrate. The Friends of City Park threw its annual “Lark in the Park” event on Oct. 8, when almost 1,000 brave guests faced the stormy weather—some donning cocktail dresses complete with designer rubber boots. Guests sipped on “Merrymaking Martinis” and […]
Event co-chair Jude Swensen wasn’t the only person who enjoyed herself on the night of Oct. 10. Of course, she may have been the only one serenaded by the wait staff at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans in honor of her birthday, but all 250 people who attended the Overture to the Cultural Season’s 36th annual […]
The clear tent was draped in tiny white lights, while on small tables mushroom-shaped lamps glowed through their toppings of flower petals. Where was this fetching setting? Washington Square Park, which was the site for Girls and Boys Town of Louisiana’s annual fund-raiser. Held Oct. 14, the fête’s theme was “The Enchanted Forest,” and the […]
The sign read, “Welcome to Fabulous Paws Vegas,” and with Elvis wondering around Generations Hall, it would be hard not to realize that the theme of the LA/SPCA “Howling Success” fund-raiser was “Viva Paws Vegas.” Held Oct. 22, the soirée also had some humans dressed up as their favorite animals, as well as “gaming” tables […]
It was definitely “O, What a Night,” for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s inaugural gala on Oct. 22 at the museum. The artwork was the décor, so to speak, as were the crowds who packed the five floors of the museum dressed in their finest cocktail attire. Dr. Michael White was the entertainment for […]
I adore eggnog, as does my husband—and we seem to have passed our pronounced passion on to our offspring. I am now forced to confess to purchasing eggnog as soon as it arrives each year (often as early as mid-October) for my clamoring children, who eagerly imbibe the carton-kind from the supermarket. Even my spouse […]
Since its inception in 1995, “Sentimental Journeys” has been the benchmark for fund-raisers—the food, the wines, the décor and auction items can be considered the best in the city. This year’s gala was no exception, especially with such talented people both in front of and behind the scenes. The festivities kicked off on Oct. 15 […]
Appetizer: Salmon rillettes with herb blinis and salmon caviar Salad: Confit of duckling salad with butternut squash and pomegranate Entree: Double-cut pork chop pan-braised with an apricot and onion compote, and served with duchess potatoes and french-cut green beans Dessert: Bette Noire: Flourless chocolate cake with a white chocolate Drambuie sauce Salmon Rillettes 12 oz. […]
Two words to describe this luxurious creation by Adler’s: fabulous color. Glowing apple-green tsavorite, bright poppy-pink sapphires and brilliant star-white diamonds set in an 18 kt. yellow gold crescent-shaped necklace is almost as much a delight to behold as it is to wear. Adler’s, 722 Canal St., 523-5292; Lakeside Shopping Center, 523-1952; Oakwood Shopping Center, […]
It was a night of possibilities, but there was one that was in the forefront of peoples’ minds—supporting New Orleans Outreach. This group’s annual fund-raiser, “Brainstorm,” took place on Oct. 23 at the comfortably chic home of Terry and Liz Creel. Attracting a broad range of New Orleanians, the party served up down-home cuisine and […]
Since 1727, locals have worshiped on the site of the St. Louis Cathedral. French engineer Adrien De Pauger and engineer-in-chief Leblond de la Tour designated the area, and it was the first building in New Orleans constructed in the briquete entre poteaux system (brick between posts). It is even rumored that De Pauger was buried […]
It’s hard to describe the living areas of Boody and Remy Fransen’s State Street home without reaching for the word “not”: not cluttered, not stuffy, not overly formal, not cliché. “A neighbor recently walked through and said, ‘My, it looks so lived in,’ ” says Boody, smiling at what she supposed had been a criticism, […]
My wife had an excellent suggestion on a recent Sunday morning after we tried, unsuccessfully, to have brunch at two separate Uptown restaurants: “Why don’t we open up a place and get people really excited about it with a lot of buzz, serve mediocre food that just gets worse and treat everybody who comes in […]
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A chicken. Yes, that would be perfect. A nice ceramic chicken. Ooh, and the top half comes off, revealing a space below for cufflinks and collar stays. What a bonus! An absolutely perfect gift for Cheryl’s husband for the holidays. She asks to have it gift-wrapped while shopping for additional presents for her spouse. Hmmm, a kaleidoscope. Definite possibility. A glass dove? Maybe too frou-frou. Ah, a glass paperweight with floating snowflakes. Lovely. Wrap it, please.
As Billy Crystal might say, let’s analyze this. Cheryl’s husband, Mark, is not a girlie man. He’s a bright, Ivy League guy who works out, plays on a club rugby team, has Saints tickets, and belongs to the Pickwick Club. He enjoys golf and twice-a-month poker games. Given this profile, is it likely that Cheryl’s choice of a ceramic chicken will endear her to him forever? Is it likely he will pause at work, while the market ticker moves quickly above him, to gaze into a kaleidoscope? And these days, who uses paperweights, for God’s sake?
Cheryl is shopping for Cheryl. She is buying what appeals to her, not to Mark. She is thinking that a chicken with colorful plumage would be a nice accent on their bedroom dresser. She is thinking how soothing it would be to ponder snowflakes in a paperweight. It is this kind of misguided gift—thinking that leads to a virtual warehouse of blue, blown-glass vases and cookie jars with faces of chipmunks and napkin holders with carved fingers and not-quite-clever cocktail napkins that say, “Bottoms here.” Most of these tchotchkes have a half-life of 45 minutes and wind up on the top shelf of the garage, destined for an eventual charitable tax deduction.
Women shopping for men should think about what men like. It’s not that complicated. Men, for example, like gifts that have bulk and physical presence and are hard to gift-wrap, like a Jaguar XJR, a home-theater system with surround sound and a 50-inch plasma monitor, a luxury box for Hornets games, or a spacious condo in Watercolor, Fla. Men also appreciate big gifts in small envelopes, like a certificate for five golf lessons with Tiger Woods, a confirmation of two weeks viewing wildlife in Amboseli Park near Mt. Kilimanjaro, or tickets to the Super Bowl and the Final Four.
Men also like clothes. Build a wardrobe for the poor guy. Pick out an Armani blazer and a couple of Zegna suits, half a dozen cashmere sweaters (four-ply, of course, and from Scotland, not China) and a few Turnbull & Asser shirts. It’s not so tough, ladies. Go into his closet, copy down the sizes, cash out a few of your Muni bonds, and spend half a day at Saks Fifth Avenue, Perlis and Jos. A. Banks.
Oh big deal, so these gifts cost a little more than the Jerry Garcia necktie you had been eyeing at Macy’s. Just think, however, of the delight they deliver, of the admiration—indeed, undying love—you will gain for striving for the spectacular, for breaking out of the conventional gift box. And after all, how many times do we wear this mortal coil? Once, right? (At least that’s the number we can confirm.) So do it. Go for the big one. Make your man happy.
What Women Want
Women are less ego driven. With women it’s the thought that counts, the sentiment. So guys, when you go out to do your holiday shopping, think tenderness, sweetness, kindness. There’s no point in popping for major carats, sable, or Louis Vuitton and Vera Wang creations. Those gifts would be seen as nothing more than a cynical, crass attempt to buy love and loyalty from your wife or lady friend. No, much better to purchase a single long-stemmed red rose resting on soft green paper in a long box. A red rose, after all, is the embodiment of love. It’s sensual but not flamboyant and yet it makes a powerful statement. Other options? You could challenge yourself and cook your sweetie a souffle (well, maybe brownies from a mix might be safer), take her for a picnic on a blanket in Audubon Park, give her a handwritten voucher for a massage (including the use of top-quality baby oil), or you could accommodate her private moments by presenting her with a small bottle of nail polish remover. Oh, and whatever it is, make sure you attach a card that has a syrupy, not smart-alecky, message, something like, “I love you today [open to inside] but not quite as much as I will tomorrow.” And when you sign it, include lots of Xs and Os. Maudlin? Yes. Corny? For sure. But she will appreciate that you are taking a chance and exposing your innermost feelings—your vulnerability—and she will cherish that card for decades.
The holidays do pose a number of questions. How many gifts for any one person? How much to spend overall? Gifts to friends? Tradespeople? Only close relatives? Ship gifts? When to start shopping? Gifts for Chanukah, as well as Christmas (father Jewish, mother Lutheran)?
Perhaps the most difficult category is choosing gifts for teenagers. If it’s your son, you must assume he already has his quota of T-shirts with dumb sayings, baggy jeans, caps he can wear backwards, CDs with incomprehensible music (better known as noise), an iPod and a cell phone that is never turned off. His room is plastered with posters that speak to a world of sports heroes, rap groups, and sexy women with impossible bodies and pouty expressions. What do you get this kid? A hardcover copy of The Stoic and Epicurean Philosophers? The libretto for “Rigoletto”? A subscription to The Economist? Yes, this is definitely a tough category. We suggest you get your precious son 12 pairs of Nike tennis shoes and leave it at that. (No male teenager in the Western Hemisphere has ever had enough tennis shoes.)
Your daughter presents a different problem. Invariably, her bedroom is filled with animals. Her bed is hidden under a menagerie of stuffed monkeys with long arms, tigers with kind expressions, and bewildered bears. On her bureau she has mostly ceramic frogs and beatific cats with bulging eyes. She also has a jewelry stand that holds beads, bracelets and watches (with wide pink or purple bands) that long ago stopped running. The total value of her jewelry is $18. In a corner she has a CD stand that holds exactly the same CDs her older brother has. So what do you get your darling daughter? A copy of the South Beach Diet? A plunger to fix her balky toilet? A lunch date with Fletcher Mackel? Probably the best thing is a complete make-up kit with one of those funny up-close mirrors that makes her face look like it’s been injected with steroids.
It’s hard to know when to stop shopping. The ads are so enticing and the newspaper inserts promise so many bargains. “Buy this 8 megapixel digital camera for $9.95 and we’ll throw in a 256mb memory card plus a $7 mail-in rebate.” Or, “Holiday special! Sweaters woven from cashmere of specially bred Himalayan goats in Nepal! Only $39.99 with free gift-wrapping and a raffle ticket for a trip for eight around the world!” You tend to start shopping right after Thanksgiving, putting a few gifts under the tree. And then another shopping impulse hits you and you visit the mall again, telling yourself you have to get a coffee mug for the gas-station owner who adjusted your side mirror for nothing. And while you’re at it, you might as well get those gardening gloves for your husband and that apron for your sister-in-law, the one that says, “Shut up, I’m the cook.”
Our advice is to keep shopping until you drop or they come to repossess your car. And when you tire of fighting for parking spaces and waiting at the cash register, go on the Internet and click “Add to cart” until your fingers are numb. Just keep this formidable economic engine running. Keep spending. Jack up that tree and fit more presents under it. Enough is never enough.
Asher Rubin goes to shopping malls to buy hot dogs at the cutesy kiosks. In college he majored in Browsing. Every year he buys his wife kitchen utensils for the holidays; for his kids he gets movie passes for theaters showing foreign films without subtitles. He confesses to using too much Scotch tape when he wraps gifts.