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Holiday Cheers 

A guide to perfect holiday gifts

Photos by David Richmond



Sitting Pretty -- It's difficult to give a gift of calm and serenity, unless you opt for a "meditation chair" signed by artist Lou Sparks Smith, highly decorated on the front with the words "a positive focus" setting the tone. On the back are the sentiments: "spiritual connection" and "gratitude is a heart that is open," $84.95, from Monet's (1862 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 674-2442).


Festive Toast -- Make their holiday toasts as merry as the season (and many more throughout the year) with unique glassware stems plated with 24-karat gold, guilloche enamel and Austrian crystals by artist Edgar Berebi, $200 to $225 each, that screw onto a variety of glass tops, including wine, champagne, martini and others, $22 each, from Arabella (3902 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 727-9787).

Silver Lining -- An architectural design on a wide silver bracelet is embellished with turquoise and amber stones, $38; plus matching earrings with a square silver bead from Bali and a turquoise bead on the end or a round silver bead from Turkey accented with Chinese turquoise by Priscilla Duffy, $25 each; all from Clothes Minded (115 A Metairie Road, Metairie, 836-9798).

Winning Purse
-- Scenes of the past are captured and made more exciting with beaded embellishments on a tall purse with a turn-of-the-century fashion plate on the front and chocolate crushed velvet on the back, $198; or a clasp-top retro handbag with Miss America contestants putting up their bead-spangled shoes, $179. Add a little whimsy with an irresistible ceramic cat sculpture, $40, all from Simply Red (602 Metairie Road, Metairie, 833-2500).

Bagging Style -- No matter what your outfit, one of these accessories will make it complete: A hard frame shimmering gold purse with a crystal stud on the top-clasp (optional shoulder strap included), $55; shiny satin with square silver sequins and beads as well as a chain shoulder strap by Elan, $45; a drum-shaped black velvet satin handbag with flowers around the top and a drawstring by La Regale, $18; or oversized round sequins on a bead-handled evening purse in platinum by La Regale, $18. To tie up the gratitude, wrap up a lariat made of multiple strands of seed beads bound together in the center for an accessory that can be worn as a necklace or a belt, $36. All from Bagatelle (200 Broadway St., Uptown Square, 861-3341).



Illuminating Presents -- Dress up any area with weathered metal filigree candleholders, $60 each; with a ribbon and cross ornament (that can go anywhere), $38 each; and white pillar candles, $11; all from Julie Neill Designs (3621 Magazine St., 899-4201).

Girl Stuff -- A fun outfit warms the heart of every young-at-heart girl, especially when it includes a pullover with a bold image of a girl on the front, black velour sleeves and spunky red chenille around the neckline, $58; sunglasses with nickel silver frames and dazzling blue crystals around the lenses, $28; and a deco-inspired watch with a large face and a metal stretch band, $38; all from Judith B's (2700 C Metairie Road, Metairie, 838-7166).


Relax and Enjoy
-- For someone truly special, wrap up a bit of relaxation with buckwheat hull pillows that soothe the neck, head and back by Martin & Barnett, $67.76 large or $31.50 small; plus a limited-edition lavender-scented eye pillow by H2B Co., $18. Add a human tree stocking holder by Christmas Kringles, $25.50. All from Belladonna (2900 Magazine St., 891-4393).



Pack and Tote -- Send your traveler off in style with faux-fur suitcases with hard sides in white with red cherries or black with pin-up girls printed on it, $49 each. Add black patent-leather Mary Jane-style high heels by Alec, $78. All from Winky's (2038 Magazine St., 568-1020).



Royal Ideas -- Decorative crown bowls make a royal impression, especially when they're signed by artist Elizabeth Carlton and come in a choice of designs, such as a blue ceramic base with yellow balls on the crown points and bottom, $64; or a cream-colored bowl with decorated balls adorning the outside of the vessel, $116; from Judy at the Rink (2727 Prytania St., 891-7012).

Love Story -- Your favored woman will delight to the sight of this unusual purse made from a Love Story magazine cover with faux-leopard skin lining, $140. Make her fashion statement scream with black suede spike heel mules with leather ribbons laced through grommets on the front by Bebe, $129.95. For the perfect finish, add a bottle of Naughty Nights bubble bath in champagne and raspberry by Nanette Lepore, $25. All from Hemline (605 Chartres St., 568-0111; 3025 Magazine St., 269-4005; 838 Royal St., 522-8577; 7916 Maple St., 862-0420).



Perfect Accessories -- She'll always have something perfect to finish an outfit with a chocolate brown leather purse with exaggerated top stitching and a shoulder strap by Edrige, $315; camelian beads interspersed with carved ivory beads and an ornate carved medallion, $185; garnet and amber beads in a rosary configuration with an engraved silver cross, $225; and a sheer gold wrap with tiny round sequins on it, $148. All from Total Woman (3964 Magazine St., 891-3964; 736 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 892-9460).



Sterling in Silver -- Jewelry designer Donna Marie Aucoin of Aucoin Hart has expanded her artistic renderings to include home decorating items of many types, most using 24-karat gold and platinum leafing. Here she's applied her love of precious metals to a canvas rich in platinum, silver, gold and white gold colors, $450, from Donna Marie Creations at Janet Molero (200 Metairie Road, Metairie, 838-8303).



Winning Combination -- Net a great big hug from your favorite sports fan this holiday with a "hoop dream" package from the New Orleans Hornets that includes two tickets to three home games (Detroit Pistons, Jan. 10; Washington Wizards, Feb. 19; San Antonio Spurs, March 30), plus a team logo hat, all starting at $88. All from the Hornets (525-HOOP or


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